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Former Winchester, Tennessee, police officer charged with mulitple counts of sexual assault

May 5—A former police officer in Winchester, Tennessee, has been arrested on a grand jury indictment charging him with multiple sexual assaults.

Tristan Xavier Delacruz, 28, is charged with six counts of rape, six counts of sexual battery, two counts of domestic assault, one count of false imprisonment, two counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault in multiple incidents of sexual assault that happened in March 2020, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Susan Niland said in a statement.

The indictment was issued Monday and Delacruz was arrested Tuesday in neighboring Lincoln County, Tennessee, with assistance from the sheriff’s office there, according to Niland.

The alleged victims are four adult females. The allegations arise from separate incidents that occurred in Franklin County involving the four women and Delacruz, 12th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Steve Blount said Wednesday. Delacruz faces a May 14 arraignment on those charges in Franklin County Criminal Court. He has no attorney on record, according to court officials.

Delacruz also has unrelated cases from 2020 pending in Franklin County General Sessions Court, Blount said.

Court records show Delacruz has charges in one court case of three counts of domestic assault, two counts of interference with an emergency call, harassment, false imprisonment, theft between $1,000 and $2,500 and two counts of vandalism stemming from incidents on March 14, 2020, Oct. 17, 2020, and Oct. 26, 2020. He also faces a charge in a second pending General Sessions Court case of aggravated assault stemming from an incident on Nov. 1, 2020, records show.

Blount said one alleged victim in the pending cases in General Sessions Court is also an alleged victim in the unrelated grand jury indictment that led to Delacruz’s arrest Tuesday on sexual assault charges, Blount said. His sessions court cases are set for a hearing May 20.

Officials said Delacruz is being held in a neighboring county jail.

Winchester police Chief Richard Lewis said Wednesday that Delacruz was terminated around the end of October 2020. He had been an officer with the Winchester department for about a year and a half, Lewis said.

“From talking with the D.A.’s office, we have no indication that any of this occurred while he was on duty,” Lewis said of the allegations.

Delacruz also is connected to another police incident occurring in 2020 that drew headlines last June when he was among officers involved in a drowning that began as a chase out of neighboring Decherd and eventually led to the death of 24-year-old pursuit suspect Johnny Alexander “J.J.” Baldwin.

On June 4, 2020, Baldwin led Decherd police officers on a chase into the neighboring town of Winchester after they tried to stop him for a traffic violation. Baldwin drove onto a dead-end road, jumped out of his vehicle, fled into some nearby trees and then ended up in a tributary of Tims Ford Lake called Boiling Fork Creek, police said.

Delacruz was among the officers at the scene on the creek that night and was shown on body camera footage as he stood on the bank apparently undecided whether to help Baldwin, who was struggling to stay afloat, while a fellow officer, Sgt. James Cody Bishop, repeatedly told him not to. Baldwin, about 10 feet from the shoreline in water over his head, slipped beneath the surface and drowned as officers watched.

That incident resulted in a federal lawsuit filed by Baldwin’s family against Bishop and the city of Winchester that is still pending in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, court records show. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

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