The Austin Chronicle

Questions Unanswered: Incident No. 2181834

By Jordan Smith, October 12, 2001, News

Austin Police Department Commander Duane McNeill says his officers handled the investigation of Virginia Glore's rape allegations in an exemplary fashion. Yet a thorough reading of the department's own incident report (Incident report No. 002181834), which chronicles the case as it moved through the department, tells a different story. Contrary to McNeill's assertions that the case is actively being investigated, the final entry in the report, Feb. 20, 2001, made by Detective Rick Shirley, indicates that the investigation is "suspended until further leads develop."

Yet the report raises several questions that appear to require answers, most importantly: (1) Why were the incidents following Virginia Glore and Charlotte Hughes' departure from Sixth Street not fully investigated?; (2) Why did the APD accept the story of an escaped convict concerning what happened that night over the statements of the two women and other witnesses?; (3) Why did the APD violate its own stated policy in refusing a rape and toxicological test to a woman who had requested it because she believed she had been drugged and raped?

The report's entries begin on Aug. 5, 2000 -- the day Glore visited South Austin Hospital seeking a rape exam and toxicological screen -- and end on Feb. 20, the day Detective Shirley notes that DNA collected from Glore's underwear does not match DNA the state has on file for registered sex offender Stefan Feige, one of two suspects Charlotte Hughes described to police as the men who approached the women in the Aquarium bar.

During the intervening period, 12 APD officers -- spanning divisions from Victim's Services to Internal Affairs -- were in some way involved in working the case. Throughout the report concerning the incidents of Aug. 4, 2000, key elements that might have led to further leads appear to have gone unnoticed or uninvestigated. The biggest holes are in the report of Detective Tim Kresta. It appears that Kresta did more legwork on the case than any other officer, but his account of the investigation leaves several unexplored questions.

Kresta notes that officer Forshee -- who arrested Glore on Aug. 4 -- told him that a maintenance man from the Live Oak Inn (located a half-block north of the accident site) told Forshee he had seen the women at the Live Oak shortly before the crash. It is unclear whether or not Forshee pursued this lead, because there are no notes from Forshee in the incident report. But on Aug. 17, Kresta interviewed the maintenance man, Duane Scott, who told him that "at about the time the sun was going down," a slender white woman came into the motel office asking to rent a room. "She was obviously very intoxicated," Scott told Kresta. According to Scott, the woman was told no rooms were available, and she returned to her car where another woman was seated in the passenger seat. "Scott stated that at that time there was nobody with the two women," Kresta wrote.

Scott then told Kresta that the following day he was talking with two white men who were renting room 202, who told Scott that they had "met the two girls who had been in the wreck" the evening before, on Sixth Street, and that they had driven the women to the motel because they were "too drunk to drive." Scott said he had been with the motel manager (referred to as "Nora") on the evening of Aug. 4, and Nora had been present when the woman tried to rent a room. There are no notes indicating Kresta tried to confirm Scott's account with the motel manager.

From Aug. 4-7, Chris Turnock and Stefan Feige (both of whom Hughes had described to police) were registered at the Live Oak Inn (room 202). Kresta interviewed Turnock at Houston's Harris County Jail, and his story conflicts with Scott's statement. Turnock confirmed that he and Feige met Glore and Hughes on Sixth Street, and that they drove the women to the Live Oak Inn because, he told Kresta, "He was concerned on how intoxicated they were." He also told the detective that the motel manager came into the parking lot and told the men they had to get the two women under control. Turnock said Glore was running around the parking lot pulling up her shirt while Hughes slumped against the side of the car. According to the police report, no one pursued the discrepancies between the accounts of Scott and Turnock. Apparently, the APD accepted Turnock's statements as accurate, and Feige, who Turnock said was with him at the motel, has never been questioned because he remains at large.

The APD incident report also recounts how it came to pass that Glore was repeatedly denied the rape-kit exam and toxicological screens. Commander McNeill told the Chronicle it is APD policy to administer a rape exam any time an allegation of rape or sexual assault is made. "If someone has been the victim of a rape, we have a rape exam conducted," McNeill said. "That's what we should stand by. ... That's the procedure we use." But the incident notes made by sex crimes Detective Beth Young appear to contradict McNeill. "Part of my job is to use my experience and discretion in authorizing or denying rape exams," Young wrote. "In this particular situation, I did not authorize a rape exam. ... There were no facts or circumstances to give rise to a suspicion that a sexual assault had been committed against the reportee."

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