MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A former Memphis police lieutenant accused of a sex crime involving a teenager accepted a plea deal and will likely avoid any time behind bars.
Days before his trial, Jeffrey Jones took an Alford plea to a lesser charge of statutory rape.
He was facing two counts of rape and a sexual battery by an authority figure charge. The indictment from 2019 stated he “sexually penetrated” and “intentionally engaged in sexual contact” with a teenage girl.
WREG Investigators sat down with the teen’s mother.
“Encouraged by her friends to tell me what happened, I immediately called the police and filed a report,” she said.
We are not identifying the mother or her daughter. Jones wasn’t a stranger to them, and it happened around the girl’s 15th birthday.
“She is going to live with this trauma for the rest of the life,” her mother said.
At the time, Jones was working for the Memphis Police Department. He was a lieutenant with 22 years on the force.
According to his employment file, MPD immediately launched an internal investigation. The mother told internal affairs in one encounter, Jones “placed his hand down her daughter’s pants” and inappropriately touched her.
Records go on to state a “Tracfone/spy camera” was also discovered, and Jones “admitted to having his cell phone placed in an area where it could record footage from in the juvenile’s bedroom without her knowledge.”
Her mother said the camera was pointed at her daughter’s bedroom and “hidden in between some things on top of an armoire.”
Jones was arrested in November 2019, booked and let out of jail eight hours later.
“COVID hit, so things were pushed back in the court system,” the victim’s mother said.
A ‘kick in the teeth’
The case was pushed back three years. In May, days before his trial was set, the Shelby County District Attorney’s office delivered some news: Jones took a plea deal for a lesser charge.
“Words can’t even describe as a mother. It’s basically telling my daughter what happened was insignificant,” she said.
We also found out if the judge signs off June 5, Jones won’t spend any time behind bars either.
He will get a year probation with some stipulations. If he stays out of trouble during that year, he can request to have the statutory rape charge expunged from his record.
“And that’s the kick in the teeth,” the victim’s mother said. “My daughter is going to live with this lifelong trauma that has happened to her, and he gets one year and he can walk away as if it never happened.”
She demanded a meeting with DA Steve Mulroy, but his office told us he was “unavailable” at the time. Instead, they provided a deputy DA and/or associate DA to meet with the family instead. The office also stated, “after thoroughly evaluating the case, our prosecutors did not believe that there would be enough evidence to convict Mr. Jones.”
It’s unclear what happened to the spy camera mentioned in MPD’s records, and we may never know if or when the case is expunged in a year, before any of the evidence becomes public record.
The victim says she was willing and ready to testify.
“How do you move on from something like this?” the victim’s mother asked. “There’s nothing we can do. All we can do is try to move on.”
The DA’s office still believes there’s a red flag when it comes Jones’ trustworthiness. He’s on their Giglio List, a list of officers who’s credibility has been called into question.
Jones was terminated from Memphis Police in 2020, and the department requested his decertification. That means he would not be able to be a law enforcement officer in Tennessee.
We reached out to Jones’ attorney for a comment, but never heard back. Jones told MPD internal affairs it was all a misunderstanding, but again, accepted the plea deal last month.
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