The prosecution against Robert Lipscomb, the former city leader accused of rape, has been dropped, according to a spokesman in the Shelby County District Attorney General’s (SCDAG) office.
Larry Buser, a SCDAG spokesman, said Thursday “prosecution has been declined” in the case and said his office would offer no further statement.
A spokesman in Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s office said “this administration has no involvement with any issue facing Robert Lipscomb and we have no comment.” The spokesman directed questions to the SCDAG’s office or to members of former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s administration.
The accusations against Lipscomb came to light nearly one year ago. He was relived of duty as director of Housing and Community Development (HCD) by then-mayor Wharton on Monday, Aug. 31.
Wharton said in a statement at the time that he and then-Memphis Police Department director Toney Armstrong spoke by phone to an adult male “who made a criminal complaint of a sexual nature” against Lipscomb. According to the story, the accuser would have been a minor at the time of the alleged rape.
Wharton called that first allegation “extremely disturbing.” At last count, nine accusers came forward to Wharton’s office with similar stories about Lipscomb. But Wharton administration officials stopped publicly reporting the number of accusations they were receiving.
At the time of the first allegation, Wharton said he was going to refer the matter to the SCDAG’s office. He did. But Lipscomb was never arrested or even formally charged with anything.
In the month following the allegations, Lipscomb lost his HCD job and he lost his job with the Memphis Housing Authority (MHA). His house was searched by police, he was hounded at home by reporters, and he has remained out of the public eye, in Memphis anyway.
Lipscomb’s attorney Ricky Wilkins said: "I don't expect Mr. Lipscomb to provide any public statements with regard to this matter. As you know, he's a very private man and I'm sure is happy about this announcement so that he can put this issue behind and move on with his life."