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GARDA SUSPENDED OVER RAPE CLAIM; Ombudsman probe into officer's alleged attack at victim's house.

Byline: EMMA MCMENAMY EXCLUSIVE irishsundaymirror@mgn.ie

A GARDA has been suspended over a claim he raped a woman.

The officer, who is based at a station in the West, will remain off-duty until aninvestigation into the allegation has been completed.

The Irish Sunday Mirror has learned the Garda Ombudsman is investigating a rape claim against this member of the force.

It's alleged the officer, who is in his mid-30s, attacked a woman in January at her home while he was off-duty.

Detectives have taken a statement from the alleged victim.

A spokesman for the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission refused to comment on the incident yesterday.

The first garda to be arrested by body was detained last December.

An officer based in the Midlands and aged in his 20s, was held by the Ombudsman at Loughrea in Co Galway. It was alleged the suspect sexually assaulted a woman when he was off duty. The suspect, a rank-and-file member of the force, was officially relieved of his duties by Garda chief Martin Callinan following his arrest.

It is understood the accused and his alleged victim were known to each other.

While GSOC members have all the powers of gardai, the authority to arrest had not previously been used by its members since it was set up almost six years ago.

GSOC was set up to probe all complaints made against gardai relating to their conduct on and off duty.

It has its own investigators who are effectively civilian detectives.

As well as having the power to arrest gardai, they can conduct searches under warrant, seize evidence and declare an area a crime scene.

Members can also search suspects' homes and confiscate their vehicles.

They have carried out surprise raids on Garda stations and sealed them off from members based there until their searches were completed.

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Internal Garda unit has power to investigate
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 11, 2013
Words:313
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