UPDATED: Tuscaloosa police officer investigated for sexual misconduct

A Tuscaloosa police officer has been accused of raping a woman he picked up in his patrol car from the side of the highway Sunday night. The Tuscaloosa Police Department held a press conference at their headquarters at 11 a.m. Wednesday to address the allegations surrounding the officer.

On March 27, a Tuscaloosa police officer on duty offered assistance to a woman walking along the side of Highway 216, said police chief Steve Anderson.

The 42-year-old woman claims that the officer sexually assaulted her outside of his patrol car on the side of the road. The officer maintains that he is innocent of the accusations. Anderson said the officer called dispatch before picking up the woman and after dropping her off.

The officer in question has been on the police force for ten years and has never been accused of sexual misconduct before. His identity has not been released.

The police chief said the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues. He has not been charged or arrested.

"We have not been able to prove or disprove this incident at this particular time and it's still under investigation," Anderson said.

A rape kit was done at DCH Medical Center but the results have not come back yet.

Anderson is asking for the public's patience until the investigation is complete and said they are doing everything they can to resolve it.

"Obviously, we want to make the public aware and let them know what's going on. But we want to ensure the public that we have their safety. That's the most important thing for us," Anderson said.

The Tuscaloosa Sheriff's Office, Northport Police Department and Alabama Bureau of Investigation are contributing to the investigation.

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