Former Atlanta police officer gets 50-year sentence for rape conviction

3 other victims came forward to testify against disgraced officer, DA says

Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff's Office

A former Atlanta police officer who was labeled a serial rapist by Cherokee County prosecutors during his trial was found guilty on multiple charges and sentenced to 50 years in prison, according to court records.

Lionel Dely, 33, of Marietta, who was indicted in May, was found guilty of raping a woman in her Acworth home earlier this year. Dely used his position as a police officer to intimidate the victim and coerce her into letting the assault go unreported, Cherokee District Attorney Shannon Wallace said.

According to Wallace, the victim ran a massage business out of her home and Dely contacted her about being a new client. During the Jan. 31 appointment, Dely showed the victim his badge about halfway through the massage and said he was conducting an investigation before assaulting her.

Because Dely was an officer, the victim feared repercussions if she reported the incident, Wallace said. A friend eventually convinced her to call 911 a few days later, and an investigation was opened.

Investigators found that Dely had sexually assaulted three other victims outside of Cherokee, Wallace said. Though Dely was not charged in those cases, the three victims testified against him at trial.

Police previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Dely was not working on official business at the time of the assault. He turned himself in Feb. 11, after the victim reported the rape, and was immediately fired.

“The defendant’s conduct in this case was predatory, calculated and deliberate. He used his law enforcement badge, a symbol of protection and safety, to exploit and violate multiple women undetected,” Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Katie Gropper said.

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I am free and Lionel Dely is not,” one of the victims, who was not publicly identified, said in a statement.

“Your badge is supposed to be used to serve and protect,” Judge Tony Baker said, “but you used it to abuse and prey on these women.”

Dely was convicted Oct. 20 by a Cherokee jury on one count each of rape and violation of oath by a public officer, court documents show. On Wednesday, he was handed a 50-year sentence followed by life on probation.