By REBECCA HAZEN
Dade County Deputy Summer Raley has been added to a lawsuit that plaintiff Christopher Parker, a Dade County native, originally filed in April for malicious prosecution against Cynthia Thurman, a Dade County Sheriff’s Office Investigator.
The lawsuit states, “The two investigating officers, the alleged victim’s sister, and a former co-worker, extorted their positions as state officials to conduct a biased and objectively unreasonable investigation leading to Plaintiff’s arrest – Plaintiff’s arrest would not have occurred if the investigation, initiated and furthered by Defendants, was guided by the evidence, instead of Defendants’ relationship with the alleged victim.”
According to the lawsuit, on June 11, 2018, Parker and his girlfriend, who lived together, Hannah Sharp, engaged in sexual relations. Immediately after, Sharp became upset and locked herself in the bathroom for at least an hour.
Parker was confused and concerned, and called Sharp’s sister, Summer Raley.
Raley convinced Sharp to meet with her. Raley is employed as a deputy for the Dade County Sheriff’s office. Raley called her co-worker Thurman, and told her that Sharp had accused Parker of rape.
Sharp had also worked at the Dade County Sheriff’s Office. The lawsuit states that in addition to being co-workers Thurman was also friends with both Sharp and Raley.
Thurman advised Raley to bring her sister to the Sexual Assault Center, where Thurman interviewed Sharp.
“Ms. Sharp admitted to Officer Thurman she had recently become angry with Mr. Parker and that she decided to end her relationship with Mr. Parker just the day before. Ms. Sharp admits she never objected to Mr. Parker’s actions during the alleged rape(s),” the lawsuit says.
Thurman appeared before the Magistrate Court of Dade County, on June 11, 2018, and applied for a warrant for Parker’s arrest.
The lawsuit states that Thurman did not attempt to contact Parker, visit the scene of the incident, talk to witnesses not present at the Sexual Assault Center, or obtain any additional evidence before applying for a warrant for Parker’s arrest. Parker was arrested on the evening of June 11, 2018.
After his arrest, Parker was interrogated for over two and a half hours by Thurman and Detective Irwin.
According to the lawsuit, Parker maintains that the sexual relations were consensual, and offered multiple times to undergo a polygraph examination.
Parker was confined to the Dade County Jail. He was then transferred to Floyd County Prison, where he was held for eight days.
According to the lawsuit, “On June 22, 2018, a hearing was held in the Superior Court of Dade County in which the presiding judge ordered Mr. Parker to post a bond of $100,000 to be released from custody. As a condition of his release, Mr. Parker was required to submit to electronic ankle monitoring.”
Parker had an ankle monitor from June 22, 2018 to Dec. 27, 2019.
On Oct. 5, 2020, the Dade County District Attorney’s office moved to dismiss Warrant #18-785A due to “insufficient evidence to warrant a reasonable probability of conviction.” The Magistrate Court of Dade County granted the State’s motion on Oct. 20, 2020. The District Attorney’s office never indicted Mr. Parker for this alleged offense.
Christopher K. Rhodes of Rhodes Law, P.C. in Ringgold, is representing Parker.
“[Raley] is the one that started the investigation. We are looking at a potential conflict of interest, looking into her sister’s claims,” Rhodes said.
According to Rhodes, there will eventually be a trial.
“It will take a while. [Raley] is getting served and we will take some testimony in the next few months. There is still a ways until a trial,” Rhodes said.
The Sentinel reached out to both Raley and Thurman for comment, but did not hear back before press time.
For more details about the original lawsuit, read the Sentinel’s article “Lawsuit Filed Against Dade Investigator, on dadecountysentinel.com.