North Carolina detective fired after sending inappropriate messages to alleged sexual assault victim: Police

'It was pretty easy to interpret that as being inappropriate.'

September 26, 2019, 3:32 PM

A North Carolina detective was fired after he was accused of sending inappropriate messages to an alleged victim of sexual assault whose case he had investigated, officials said Wednesday.

Paul G. Matrafailo III, 33, is accused of reaching out to the woman on Instagram in March after he worked on her case eight months before, according to the Fayetteville Police Department in his dismissal letter.

Matrafailo "began a conversation with her which she felt was inappropriate," the letter, which was obtained by ABC News, reads.

He then allegedly made a second attempt to contact her later that month.

"Although detectives sometimes follow-up with victims, you had not spoken with this victim since shortly after her trial and she had never provided you with her social media contact information," according to the dismissal letter, which was signed by the police chief.

Matrafailo was fired from the Fayetteville Police Department in May after an investigation was opened into his conduct.

Matrafailo could not be reached by ABC News for comment. He told the Fayetteville Observer, which first reported the story, "I don’t have anything to say regarding that."

Erin Scanlon told ABC News she first met Matrafailo in September 2016 when he was assigned as the investigator in her rape case. Scanlon's trial began in June 2018 -- her alleged assailant was not convicted -- and Matrafailo sent her Instagram messages in March 2019 via Instagram, though she never gave him her username, she said.

It started with “how are you :) long time no talk," according to Scanlon.

Scanlon responded by asking if she knew him.

"Erin, its Matrafailo. FPD," he said, according to Scanlon.

She said she eventually stopped responding to his messages but he continued to send them.

PHOTO: A Fayetteville Police cruiser, March 24, 2009, in Fayetteville, N.C.
A Fayetteville Police cruiser, March 24, 2009, in Fayetteville, N.C.
Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP

At one point, he allegedly messaged her about an Amazon wish list she had linked in her Instagram that included a range of items, like books, shoes and lingerie.

"Some interesting things on there ha," Matrafailo said with a winky face, according to Scanlon.

"It was pretty easy to interpret that as being inappropriate," Scanlon said.

She reported him to police after that. Scanlon said she’s grateful the department took the action they did.

"I feel like being a girl especially, I really need to watch out and not just brush off creepy comments or inappropriate comments … even from authorities," she said. "I’m glad he was fired because he shouldn’t be working there."

He is not being charged with a crime, according to the Fayetteville Observer. Calls to Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West were not immediately returned.

Matrafailo had been employed with the city of Fayetteville since July 2009. Two other instances involving alcohol substance abuse put Matrafailo on administrative leave in May 2018.

Matrafailo was placed back on duty in January after having completed the mandated requirements.