Beaufort News

Former Beaufort police officer charged in sexual assault

Matthew Rausch
Matthew Rausch Beaufort County Detention Center

A former Beaufort police officer was arrested Saturday in connection with a sexual assault that occurred at his home the night before, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Matthew Rausch, 43, of Grays Hill was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, according to the jail log. Rausch was fired from the Beaufort Police Department in 2011 after the department began investigating him for "truthfulness issues" and he refused to cooperate, according to the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy.

On Friday evening, Rausch was arguing with a 30-year-old woman when the dispute escalated and he allegedly "hog-tied" the victim with tape and threatened to kill her, Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.

Shortly after Rausch cut the victim free, he sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill himself if she reported the incident to law enforcement, McIntosh said. The woman waited until Rausch departed the next morning to contact the Sheriff's Office, McIntosh said.

Rausch, who was arrested without incident at his home Saturday, is being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center without bond.

Rausch joined the Beaufort Police Department in 2008, according to the Criminal Justice Academy. A department Facebook post shows he was honored in 2009 as the Beaufort Exchange Club's Officer of the Year.

In 2010, Rausch and another officer were investigating vandalism at a Beaufort apartment complex when a Georgia man opened fire on them with a semi-automatic pistol and then led them on a chase. Though both officers fired shots at the suspect, the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office ruled the man killed himself, clearing both officers after a months-long investigation.

Attempts Tuesday to reach Police Chief Matt Clancy were unsuccessful. Deputy Chief Dale McDorman did not comment on his arrest and said he could not recall why Rausch left the department. Additional information on his firing was not available from the Criminal Justice Academy.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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