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Former Austin police officer arrested in connection with sexual assault investigation

Dodd was arrested in connection with an alleged sexual assault that occurred in April.
Credit: Austin Police Department
Walter Dodds, 34

AUSTIN, Texas — Former Austin Police Department officer Walter Dodds was arrested Thursday for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman he met while responding to a mental health call in April, according to an affidavit obtained by KVUE. 

Dodds resigned from APD in late August, KVUE has confirmed.

On April 18 at approximately 6:13 p.m., Dodds responded to an attempted suicide call at a home near Dessau Road and East Braker Lane. There, he made contact with a man and a woman and determined the man was a danger to himself. The man was then transported to the hospital for further evaluation. 

The affidavit states that during his interview with the woman, Dodds obtained her cellphone number and told her he would call her to let her know which hospital medics were taking the man to.

At the end of their interaction, which was caught on body cam video, Dodds asked the woman whether she was going to lock the door to her apartment. She said she wasn't, and Dodds warned her about a stranger getting in, according to the affidavit. The affidavit states that a review of Dodds's body cam video confirms he never entered the woman's residence while responding to the call.

RELATED: New details shed light on Austin police investigation into officer's alleged sexual misconduct

Eleven days later, on April 29, the woman called 911 to report a sexual assault by a police officer that occurred on April 18. That afternoon, an officer made contact with the woman, who told the officer she had been receiving inappropriate phone calls from an APD officer, later identified as Dodds, and that he had visited her apartment on the night of the attempted suicide call. 

According to the affidavit, when the woman was asked if she and the officer "had slept together," the woman responded, "I guess you could call it that. I don't feel comfortable with this. I was passed out."

The affidavit includes a call log from the woman's cellphone for April 18. The log shows that Dodds called her five times and texted her once from his work-issued cellphone on the evening of April 18. The woman said the first call started out normal but then the conversation became "inappropriate," according to the affidavit. 

Credit: Austin Police Department
Walter Dodds, 34

The affidavit states the woman said the officer asked if he could come over, and she dodged the question and attempted to change the subject. She said the officer then asked if she would take off his uniform and again asked if he could come over.

That's when the woman ended the call. According to the affidavit, she told investigators she never gave Dodds consent to enter her apartment.

Sometime after the last missed call from Dodds, the woman went to sleep alone in her bedroom after taking at least two shots of vodka. She told investigators she was "super intoxicated," as she had already been drinking early that evening, according to the affidavit. She said she was awoken by Dodds, who was allegedly sexually assaulting her, according to the affidavit.

The woman told investigators she recalled Dodds wearing his full police uniform and believed he was wearing his duty belt. 

RELATED: Austin police officer under investigation for allegation of 'sexual misconduct'

The woman's teen nephew also told investigators he recalled Dodds knocking on the door to the apartment that night wearing his "security uniform" and that he was using his hand to cover the name on the front of his uniform shirt. The nephew said Dodds walked directly into his aunt's bedroom and shut the door before leaving the bedroom a short time later and exiting the apartment.

An officer collected for evidence the sheet Dodds allegedly ejaculated onto during the alleged sexual assault. According to the affidavit, "it is believed that Officer Dodds' DNA was present" on the sheet based on a DNA analysis report.

The woman also further reported that Dodds called her two more times after April 18, on April 25 and April 27, calls that were later confirmed by APD, according to the affidavit. She also reported that on April 26, Dodds drove by her apartment building. 

Back in May, APD said that in addition to the criminal investigation, the department's Internal Affairs Division was conducting an internal investigation into Dodds’s alleged actions. According to the department, Dodds had been an APD officer since December 2017 and patrolled the northeast Austin area. At the time, APD said Dodds had been placed on restricted duty pending the outcome of the investigations.

Dodds is currently being held in the Travis County Jail on a $160,000 bond. According to county records, he is charged with a second-degree felony and a Class A misdemeanor, but the charge descriptions are unavailable.

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