Lawsuit claims ex-DeKalb cop sexually assaulted woman at county park

Darren Dye-Harriel

Darren Dye-Harriel

A former DeKalb County police officer is being sued by a woman alleging the officer sexually assaulted her at a Stone Mountain park.

The lawsuit comes nearly two years after Darren Dye-Harriel pleaded guilty to making false statements and violating the oath of office in connection with the Dec. 23, 2015 incident.

The former officer was initially accused of sexual assault, kidnapping and sodomy, but those charges were dropped as part of a plea deal when prosecutors could not prove he sexually assaulted the woman. But Dye-Harriel's guilty plea did acknowledge he had sex while on duty and lied about it, district attorney officials said at the time.

According to the lawsuit filed Friday in DeKalb County State Court, Dye-Harriel and another officer were called to break up an argument at O'Riley's Food and Spirits on Covington Highway in Decatur. After defusing the situation, Dye-Harriel noticed the victim may have been drunk, then forced her in the back of his patrol car and told her two friends he was giving her a ride home, the lawsuit alleges. The suit states the victim had a designated driver at the scene, but does not indicate who that person was.

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Instead of taking the victim home, Dye-Harriell allegedly took her to Hairston Park, put on a “white outfit resembling medical surgeon protective gear to hide genetic evidence” and raped her. According to the lawsuit, the former officer cleaned up after the sexual assault and drove the victim to her Stone Mountain home.

Soon after, the victim called police and reported the crime, according to the lawsuit. Dye-Harriell was arrested hours later. He was sentenced to five years, with the first to be served in prison. In addition to prison, Dye-Harriel was ordered to surrender his law enforcement certification, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and undergo a psychosexual evaluation. He was also fined $1,000 and ordered to serve 80 hours of community service.

DeKalb County is also named in the suit, which alleges the county is “vicariously liable” for the sexual assault since Dye-Harriel was employed by the county. A spokesman for the county said Thursday it does not comment on pending litigation. Efforts to reach Dye-Harriel were unsuccessful.

The victim is asking for a jury trial and punitive damages.

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In other news:

A DeKalb County middle school student is injured and another is in custody after a stabbing on campus The incident happened Wednesday morning at Stephenson Middle School in Stone Mountain The injured student was taken to a hospital, but the child’s condition was unknown The mother of the 13-year-old girl accused of stabbing the student told her daughter has autism The incident is under investigation