Fired officer arrested, accused of accessing rape database

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) ā€” A North Carolina police officer who had been fired for harassing rape victims continued to access a police database to obtain information about the women, authorities said.

Paul George Matrafailo, 34, was arrested Monday and charged with illegally accessing government computers, news outlets reported.

Matrafailo was a detective with the Fayetteville Police Department but was fired on May 7 after three women accused him of sending them sexual messages, court documents said.

After being fired, Matrafailo used his password on May 20 to access a database that stored information on rape cases, according to court documents. His information wasn't disabled because of a clerical error, the State Bureau of Investigation said.

One of the victims told news outlets that Matrafailo began texting her when he was assigned to her case. The messages seemed friendly at first, but then turned sexual, she said. The woman said the messages continued after Matrafailo was fired.

ā€œI felt like I was a victim twice,ā€ she told The Fayetteville Observer. ā€œI feel relief knowing that he has been arrested. Iā€™m grateful that authorities took our complaint seriously.ā€

The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West said he learned about the accusations against Matrafailo from an organization called Rape Crisis of Cumberland County. He told the State Bureau of Investigation to begin examining the matter in July.

If convicted, Matrafailo could face one year of prison. The Fayetteville Observer was unable to reach Matrafailo for comment and it's unclear whether Matrafailo has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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