Nashville DA spokesman resigns after releasing rape report

Ken Whitehouse, a past political operative and reporter, has resigned his position as spokesman for Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk after being criticized by Nashville’s police chief for releasing a police report on a pending rape investigation.

From The Tennessean:

A letter released by the prosecutor’s office and signed by Whitehouse says the spokesman resigned because he “violated user agreements between this office and other law enforcement agencies regarding access to data. I seriously regret the incident that occurred on December 16, 2016.”

On that day, according to a public memo from Police Chief Steve Anderson, Whitehouse logged in to the police department’s internal records system and released a report, which identified the name of a suspect and victim in a pending rape case reported at Bridgestone Arena, to WSMV Channel 4.

Anderson suggested Whitehouse should be fired, and assured the public his staff would never release the name of a sexual assault victim. Such information is public record, but law enforcement agencies often do not release it, citing their efforts to shield victims from repercussions for coming forward. WSMV responded to the chief, noting the information was public and the victim spoke willingly to the television station’s reporter.

Further, from WSMV:

Police spokesman Don Aaron said last week the police department had shared the results of an audit with the District Attorney’s office regarding Whitehouse’s search history, prompted by the Dec. 16 incident.

The audit, performed by Metro Police’s IT department, looked at what Whitehouse had accessed in the police database, according to Aaron.

 Aaron said the police department wanted to know what other material Whitehouse had accessed after the rape report.

The audit found Whitehouse searched numerous people using his log-in to the police database. Some of the names include Jeremy Durham, a lawmaker who was expelled from the state House of Representatives; Will Pinkston, a member of the Metro Nashville School Board; and Steve McNair, the Tennessee Titans football player who was murdered in 2009.

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