Fayetteville officer fired after rape victim says he sent her inappropriate messages

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Fayetteville police officer was fired after a rape victim said he sent her inappropriate messages.

Paul Matrafailo’s termination letter said he was fired in May after nearly 10 years on the force.

The victim said Matrafailo was the lead detective in her rape case from 2016.

Months after that case ended, Erin Scanlon said she started getting inappropriate messages from Matrafailo on Instagram.

“It was really frustrating to again be sexualized by a police officer who was supposed to be on my side,” Scanlon said.

She sent us screenshots of the messages showing Matrafailo asking Scanlon how she was doing, and specifically asked about an Amazon wish list Scanlon posted, which included a link to lingerie.

“How did you ever think that was appropriate to say to anyone ever, let alone someone you met because you’re investigating their rape,” Scanlon said.

Scanlon called victim advocate Deanne Gerdes with the Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County to let her know about the messages. Gerdes said she’s never dealt with something like this before.

“It was hard for me to wrap my head around that this was actually happening to one of our victims with one of the detectives we worked with daily,” Gerdes said. “We were one big team, so if it’s hard for me. I can’t imagine for victims to have to go through being re-victimized by their detective. It’s disgusting.”

Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West added: “Very disturbing allegations. I’m aware of the allegations and it’s under investigation at the moment as to whether or not there was any criminal conduct.”

Scanlon said she is speaking up in an effort to help other victims.

“Don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right because you’re the only person who can fully stand up for yourself and the truth will come out eventually,” Scanlon said.

Gerdes said they know of three victims that Matrafailo sent inappropriate messages to — both before and after he was fired.

CBS 17 hasn’t been able to reach him for comment.

Both Gerdes and Scanlon say they are happy with the way the Fayetteville Police Department handled their complaints.

Fayetteville police sent CBS 17 a copy of the termination letter, which detailed another incident where he was investigated for sending inappropriate content, as well as two times when his weapons were seized due to threats he was making against his family and being highly intoxicated.

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