Atlanta police officer arrested, accused of raping Acworth woman

Atlanta police Officer Lionel Dely, 32, was arrested Friday on a charge of rape. (Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff's Office)

Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff's Office

Atlanta police Officer Lionel Dely, 32, was arrested Friday on a charge of rape. (Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff's Office)

An Atlanta police officer has been arrested in Cherokee County on a charge of rape, authorities said Monday.

Lionel Joseph Dely, 32, of Marietta, is accused of raping a woman in her Acworth apartment, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. The woman told investigators the alleged rape happened Jan. 31 shortly after meeting Dely, who identified himself as an Atlanta police officer who was conducting an investigation. She reported the incident two days later.

Investigators confirmed Dely is an Atlanta officer, and evidence was collected that supported the rape accusation, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. The Atlanta Police Department was made aware of the investigation Feb. 3 and immediately relieved Dely from active duty, Atlanta police spokesperson Sgt. John Chafee said in a statement.

Dely turned himself in Friday night at the Cherokee Adult Detention Center, where he is being held without bond. On Monday, when Chafee said his department learned of the charges, the decision was made to suspend him without pay.

“The officer was not on official business when this incident occurred,” Chafee said, deferring any further information to the Cherokee sheriff’s office. “The Atlanta Police Department is cooperating with investigators and will continue to do so.”

According to the warrant for Dely’s arrest, the woman told him no and that she was not comfortable. The officer, who was hired by Atlanta police in April 2015 and completed candidate training in 2016, has no disciplinary history, according to APD and the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.

An emergency hearing to determine the future of Dely’s employment has been scheduled, Chafee said.

The department is required to give employees five days of notice to respond to an emergency hearing with the chief, according to the disciplinary process. The chief will determine punishment during the hearing, which could include termination.

Dely is also scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 25, according to online court records.

Dely is the latest in a string of metro Atlanta law enforcement officers facing criminal charges.

Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said a federal grand jury indicted former Cobb County Deputy Peter Bilardello and accused him of distributing child pornography while working in the sex offender unit. Bilardello, 51, resigned following his August arrest and said he is ready to defend himself in court in a statement released through his attorney.

On Feb. 6, DeKalb County Deputy Derrick Gardner was arrested on various charges, including sex trafficking, rape and molestation, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported previously. Gardner, 34, was fired the following day. DeKalb police also charged Gardner with first-degree cruelty to children, enticing a child for indecent purposes and aggravated sexual battery. All of the charges are felonies.

In late January, another Cobb deputy was arrested and fired after he was accused of taking controlled substances into the county’s jail. Dyimond Johnson, 30, is facing four felony charges, including crossing guard lines with a controlled substance and violation of oath of office, Cobb sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Jeremy Blake said.

— Staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.