AFD arson investigator charged with sex assault of woman in parking lot

Marcus Reed (Austin Police Department Photo)
Marcus Reed (Austin Police Department Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin Fire Department lieutenant and arson investigator accused of sexually assaulting a woman stopped on an Interstate 35 frontage road has been indicted on four charges of sexual assault and misuse of official information.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore says Marcus Reed, 48, also faces misdemeanor offenses of official oppression and abuse of official capacity for the March 2, 2017 incident.

The DA says Reed turned himself into the Travis County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday and online records show he has since bonded out. An AFD spokesperson says Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr will be suspending Reed without pay starting Thursday.

“Once his case has worked its way through the legal system, I will determine any action that needs to be taken with regard to his employment with AFD,” Kerr wrote. Reed was placed on paid leave after the assault was reported.

On Sept. 1, sixth months after the alleged sexual assault, a woman told police she was raped by Reed after she stopped in the middle of the I-35 frontage road at East St. Elmo Road in southeast Austin after she had an argument with a friend. Reed, who had finished up an investigation in the area, pulled up behind the woman in a work truck with flashing lights, police said.

The woman told investigators she believed Reed was a police officer because of his uniform, utility belt and badge. She told Reed she was nervous because she was trying to follow her pre-trial conditions and “didn’t want to be in trouble.”

Police say Reed then told her to get into his truck and drove her to a shopping center parking lot at 4401 Freidrich Ln., about a block away. He is then accused of sexually assaulting her in the parking lot.

The woman was able to pick out Reed from a photo lineup with 99 percent certainty, according to a police affidavit. Hours after the alleged assault, Reed logged into the Austin Police Department’s secured reporting database and searched the woman’s information, police said.

At the time of the incident, Reed had been with the department for 20 years.

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