CLEVELAND — One of two women who accused Cleveland police officer of rape is sharing her story publicly for the first time.
Typically, 3News does not reveal the identities of alleged victims of sex crimes. However, the accuser, Ashley Spencer, is choosing to come forward with a message to other women.
“The evening began like a normal date would begin,” Spencer said.
In October 2019, Spencer was living at the Flats East Bank. Spencer said she decided to dive into dating, using the dating app Tinder as a means to find her match.
“I had used dating apps before in the past and everything was fine,” Spencer said.
Spencer said she met Cleveland police officer, Matther Piter, and agreed to go out on a date with him. Spencer told 3News she felt comfortable going and allowing him to pick her up from her apartment because he was a police officer.
“I thought that going out with [an officer] would be fine and turns out it just wasn't okay,” Spencer said.
Describing how the night unfolded, Spencer said dinner and drinks was one stop that evening, at the Si Senior restaurant in Kamm's Corner.
“At dinner, it was noticeable that he was trying to get me to drink more,” Spencer said.
According to Spencer, they ordered an Uber that would help take them to and from the restaurant, and to Piter's home in the West Park neighborhood.
“That’s when things took a turn for the worst,” Spencer said. “The unexplainable happened that no girl wants to go through. When I would say 'No,' he just repeatedly still did what he wanted to do.”
Piter was arrested six days later and charged with rape.
In May, a second woman came forward after hearing about Spencer's case, accusing Piter of raping her in 2017, prosecutors say.
Piter was suspended without pay and awaits trial.
In a statement to 3News, Piter’s attorney, Henry Hilow, said "This is not about victim blaming. Her identity has never been published. My client's name has been published and, he maintains his innocence. However, his reputation has been severely damaged."
“I’m sorry, it's just really hard to talk about this,” Spencer told 3News during an interview.
While it’s emotional for Spencer, she said she chose to use her experience to educate and advocate about safety and dating apps.
“Young women and young adults, they're really need to be careful with how they meet these people,” Spencer said. “I, unfortunately, learned the hard way.”
A portion of the statement from Hilow stated that he echoed Spencer's warning to others about safety and dating apps.
Piter's arraignment for all of the rape charges he's facing is set for June 29.