NWGA Scanner | March 21st, 2022

Former Dalton police officer charged with aggravated sexual battery in connection with 2019 on duty incident

According to a civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court in Rome, GA, a now-former City of Dalton Police Department Officer Ethan Wayne Pugh, 30, of Resaca, while on duty, performed a sex act on a female department intern against her will and forced her to perform a sex act on him. Pugh was officially booked into the Whitfield County Jail and charged Tuesday, March 15th, 2022, by the GBI with violation of oath by a public officer, sexual battery, aggravated sexual battery, and public indecency. He was released on $20,000 bond the same day, according to the Whitfield County Jail. The Dalton Police Department said in a statement: “On July 10, 2020, the Dalton Police Department was notified of criminal accusations against an officer. That information was promptly turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. On the same day, the officer offered his resignation from the department, and it was accepted. The Dalton Police Department takes any allegation of misconduct seriously and makes sure they are thoroughly investigated by the proper authority. Any questions regarding this incident should be directed to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.” According to Jane Doe’s complaint and lawsuit, in the summer of 2019, when she was 21, she became an intern at the Dalton Police Department with the goal of becoming the fourth generation of her family in law enforcement and the first woman in her family to serve in law enforcement. She was as an intern from June 3, 2019 to July 11, 2019. Part of her duties as an intern was attending a weekly ride-along with a uniformed patrol officer, spending the day observing that officer on duty. On July 8, she was assigned to ride along with Pugh. She said that while the two were walking towards Pugh’s patrol car, “Pugh purposefully and intentionally grabbed Ms. Doe’s buttocks and did so without warning or consent.” Pugh then later drove them to a secluded and empty lot where he parked the car in which he and Ms. Doe were the only occupants, both seated in the front, and locked the doors of the patrol car. Without warning or consent, Defendant Pugh leaned over and began forcefully kissing Ms. Doe on the mouth and with his tongue. The complaint said that Pugh placed his hand inside her pants and committed a sex act that was “unwanted, uninvited and unwarranted.” After driving them to another secluded spot, the complaint said Pugh then “commanded Ms. Doe in a frightening tone of voice” to perform a sex act on him. According to the complaint, Doe “feared for her safety” because they were alone, and Pugh was armed and “much larger than her.” She complied with his command, “fearing that Defendant Pugh would rape her if she did not.” According to the complaint, Once back at the Police Department, “he threatened Ms. Doe, directing her not to tell anyone what happened because he would get fired, his wife would come after Ms. Doe and no one would believe her if she did report him.” The complaint said that Doe eventually confided her experience with Pugh with the director of a local center for those who have been sexually abused. With that woman’s support, Doe reported Pugh to the police department on July 10, 2020. He resigned that very same day, and the department turned the investigation over to the GBI for further investigation. Because it is a Dalton officer District Attorney Bert Poston removed himself from the case to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Lookout Mountain District Attorney Chris Arnt is handling the case. According to an article on the department’s website, He is a 2009 graduate of Castle View High, Pugh joined the Dalton Police Department in December 2015 after graduating from the Georgia Regional Police Academy in Rome. He is a 2009 graduate of Castle View High School in Castle Rock, Colorado, and attended classes at Colorado Technical University in 2012. He is also an Army veteran, serving from June 2009 until November 2013.