FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A former Fayetteville police officer has been arrested for using a government database to help him send inappropriate messages to rape victims.
“I’m just really glad that it’s going to set an example for other people in positions of authority,” said Erin Scanlon, one of the rape victims.
Scanlon is an Army veteran who first met Paul Matrafailo when he was investigating her rape case against a fellow soldier.
“He always was very helpful and friendly,” Scanlon said.
But that all changed six months after her case ended.
That’s when she says Matrafailo started sending her inappropriate messages on Instagram – at one point even referencing lingerie.
She said she was sickened by his behavior, so she reported it.
After spending nearly 10 years with the Fayetteville Police Department, he was fired in May 2019.
“I’m sure you knew what you did was wrong, so don’t be surprised that you’re now facing the consequences,” Scanlon said.
Matrafailo was arrested Monday on a felony charge of misuse of a state computer.
The arrest report states that after he was fired, there was a “clerical error” which allowed him to use his former credentials to get information on victims of cases that he had investigated, including Scanlon’s.
“I think because he seriously affected a lot of victims’ lives, he needs serious repercussions, so I’m really glad that they actually arrested him.”
Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West says it is thanks to the three victims that came forward in this case that state investigators were able to charge the former officer.
“A rape victim is someone who is really going to need to trust the individuals that are working with them on their case, and for that trust to be broken like the allegations are here, is just tragic and very troubling,” West said. “If they would not have come forward with the help of our local rape crisis (center) we would not have known about these allegations.”
“Just because you enforce the law, doesn’t mean you’re above the law,” Scanlon said.
Matrafailo is now out of jail on bond.
If found guilty he could face felony probation or jail time.
His attorney David Courie sent this statement:
“My firm has been retained to represent Mr. Matrafailo. We have and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation. As the matter is pending, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”
Since these events, Scanlon helped organize the non-profit Combat Sexual Assault.
As the current Ms. North Carolina Universal, she’s using her platform to help prevent others from becoming victims.
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