Police investigative protocol under scrutiny after Robert Lipscomb sex scandal

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Police protocol has come under scrutiny after a 26-year-old man said he went to Memphis Police five years ago with a sexual assault complaint against one of Memphis' top city officials, Robert Lipscomb.

The man, who was 16 when it happened, told police about the sex act he said he was forced to perform on Lipscomb.

Police took the information, but the case went nowhere after a sex crimes investigator said he couldn't find the teen to follow up on his claim. Nothing happened until a week ago.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong told WREG they are looking into it.

"We took an oath to investigate crimes and bring those findings to the attorney general's office, and that's what we are going to do in this instance," Armstrong said.

WREG asked what the procedure was for handling such a complaint against a top city official, but MPD has not yet replied.

We also took that question to former Police Director Larry Godwin, who headed the MPD during the 2010 sex claim.

He sent us a statement saying he doesn't remember any complaints against Robert Lipscomb, but any such complaint against a City of Memphis employee would have gone through the Inspectional Services Bureau, or Internal Affairs. That's the same department that handles complaints against police officers.

What no one could tell us was whether the 2010 sex claim ever got from the sex crime investigator over to IAB. Also, what chain was supposed to be followed in City Hall so that the claim got to the Mayor's Office?

We tried to ask Mayor A C Wharton about that Wednesday at a news conference, but he left, refusing to stop for our questions. His staff said he was busy.

But that didn't mean people at City Hall weren't talking about it.

City Chief Administrative officer Jack Sammons said they acted as soon as they got wind of this latest accusation.

"It was a cold call into our office. We take these kinds of things very seriously," Sammons said.

It left plenty of questions as to why a man Robert Lipscomb said he had been in contact with until this past February could not be found by Memphis Police for 10 years.

MPD's web page lists the Security Squad as the agency that investigates complaints of criminal misconduct against city employees.

We are still trying to learn if they ever handled the 2010 complaint.


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