Man arrested, charged with raping mentally disabled woman

Published: Mar. 16, 2015 at 9:15 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 15, 2015 at 9:15 PM EDT
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Tony Byers (Source: Gaston County Jail)
Tony Byers (Source: Gaston County Jail)

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - A Kings Mountain man is behind bars after he turned himself in to police in Gastonia on charges that he raped a mentally disabled woman.

According to arrest warrants, 63-year-old Tony Byers is accused of raping the woman "who was at the time mentally disabled."

Byers was arrested Monday afternoon just before 3 p.m. and was booked in the Gaston County jail around 3:30 p.m.

He was charged with two counts of second-degree rape and is being held on a $100,000 bond.

According to police records, the alleged rapes were reported January 28. They reportedly happened on January 23 and 24.

Byers was a driver for ACCESS at the time of the accusations, and resigned just one week after the allegations were made, on February 2. The company says they hired Byers on April 28, 2014.

ACCESS is the transportation "clearinghouse" for the Gaston County human service agencies.

"Our heart goes out to the victim involved in this incident and her family," ACCESS officials said in a statement Tuesday. "We do not have any information on the current investigation into Mr. Byers' charges, as that is a law enforcement matter and we are confident they will fully investigate this incident."

ACCESS Transportation Coordinator Cheree Wilson added, "We take the safety of our citizens very seriously. We are constantly reviewing our policies and procedures and looking for training opportunities for staff to ensure we do everything we can to protect the safety of our passengers, drivers, and local citizens while providing reliable and affordable transportation services to the community."

Investigators have not said if Byers' position as a driver is connected to the alleged incidents.

Byers was also recently inducted to the Gaston County Sports Hall of Fame and is the all-time leading scorer from Bessemer City High School basketball.

The warrants were issued March 11, which was Byer's 63rd birthday.

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