DENVER (Reuters) - A Denver policeman has been fired for falsely claiming that he was raped by a woman he impregnated in what authorities said was an effort by the officer to avoid paying child support, a disciplinary letter released on Thursday showed.
Samuel Sheppard, a six-year veteran of the force, was dismissed for fabricating a sexual assault by the unnamed woman, and lying to internal affairs investigators about the nature of the couple’s relationship, according to an order signed by Denver’s Deputy Director of Public Safety, Mary Dulacki.
“The evidence presented is that Officer Sheppard made an unfounded sexual assault claim against the complainant seemingly to avoid or limit his financial obligations,” Dulacki wrote.
Sheppard could not be reached for comment, and the document does not identify his lawyer.
A Denver police spokesman said the department had no comment on the case.
The eight-page termination letter said Sheppard fathered a child, who was born in October 2017, and in April 2018 he reported to police that he had been sexually assaulted, and that the one-time encounter with the woman had led to the pregnancy.
Sheppard said he had been on a medical leave from the police department and on prescribed medications when the woman had “entered his house while he was incapacitated and was able to get him aroused,” the letter said.
However, a day after reporting the alleged rape, Sheppard said under oath at a child support court hearing that he was the father but he made no mention of being assaulted, the report said.
At a subsequent child support hearing in July 2018, Sheppard told the woman’s lawyer: “I feel that your client has raped me,” the report quoted him as saying.
The woman then complained to the police department’s internal affairs division, and her lawyer gave investigators a series of text messages between the couple, showing that the pair had an ongoing intimate relationship.
The firing order, dated Sept. 16, was first reported by the Denver Post newspaper, which obtained the letter through an open records request.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges against Sheppard, said Andrea Webber, records administrator for the department of public safety.
Reporting by Keith Coffman; editing by Bill Tarrant and Sandra Maler