By New Times Staff
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Ray Stern
By New Times Staff
By Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
Montgomery and other officers saw that Levinson's pants were down below her buttocks. That raised the immediate question of why a rapist cop would deliver his partially unclad victim directly to the police station.
Within the hour, Lieutenant Montgomery spoke with FBI agent Hanchak. He told her that Levinson had lost the tooth cap in his presence earlier that evening, and that its disappearance had been the catalyst for a verbal fight and the unhappy end of their date.
Shawn Dirks says he was incredulous when he heard Levinson first make the allegations against him. He says he immediately suspected Levinson had made up the story in an effort to avoid a DUI prosecution.
Dirks' wife says he called her early that morning to say he'd be getting home a little late.
"He said, You're not going to believe this,' then told me what was up," Jill Dirks says. "I kind of thought he was joking, though I knew it was something he wouldn't joke about. I wasn't freaked out or anything. I trusted the Phoenix Police Department to do an adequate investigation."
Investigators have said they were ready to dismiss Lori Levinson's allegations as unfounded in the weeks after February 18.
In the prior five years, Levinson had accused three men -- a work supervisor, an ex-husband and a boyfriend -- of sexually assaulting her. Two months before the Dirks incident, she'd filed a police report accusing a girlfriend's husband of having physically assaulted her. In January 2000, she'd accused police officers of sexually manhandling her outside a Phoenix restaurant.
The first allegation, involving her supervisor, won her a settlement from the company she was working for. All the rest were unsubstantiated.
The best evidence Dirks has going for him is Lori Levinson herself, a woman with a well-documented history of vindictiveness, manipulation, impulsiveness and stormy relationships reminiscent of Glenn Close's twisted character in Fatal Attraction.
Like the Close character, Levinson also is intelligent, and capable of being seductive and charismatic to less discerning members of the opposite sex.
More specifically, her accounts of the night in question are plagued by gross inconsistencies.
But then there's that DNA.
If the DNA was Levinson's, how it got onto Dirks' penis other than direct contact remains uncertain.
Asks Levinson's attorney, Mark Breyer, "Even if you believe the defendant [Dirks] that my client is the boy who cried wolf,' does that mean that the wolf didn't show up this time?"
Breyer concedes that Shawn Dirks "presents very well and seems very sincere, straightforward. He and his wife seem like the all-American couple."
That's a fact. There is nothing in Dirks' known background that points to deviant or criminal behavior.
Shawn Dirks was born in the rural farming town of Luverne, Minnesota. His father was the manager of a farm implement store, his mother a registered nurse. They still live in Luverne.
It was an idyllic upbringing, says Dirks, a naturally quiet man with chiseled, clean-cut features, and a straightforward manner.
A star hurdler, Dirks earned a track scholarship after high school to Dakota Wesleyan University. But after suffering a hip injury during his freshman year, Dirks says he lost his scholarship, quit school and returned to his hometown.
He worked there for a few years, but says he "got sick of hanging out." He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the age of 20.
The military proved to be an excellent fit. After a few stops, the Air Force transferred Dirks in 1997 to Luke Air Force Base in Glendale. He worked for the "Wild Ducks" 309th Fighter Squadron as an avionics troubleshooter on F-16 jets.
In 1997, Dirks' superiors chose him as Airman of the Year for his 400-strong squadron. The following year, he won Luke AFB's award as its Avionics Specialist of the Year.
Dirks was working weekends at a Scottsdale nightspot in early 1998 when he met Jill Wyers, an engaging Valley native two years older than he.
"My line was, You want to see my planes?'" Dirks recalls. "I guess it worked."
Replies Jill, "I always loved those F-16s."
They were married in January 2000. Soon after that, Shawn Dirks had to make a career decision. His next assignment in the Air Force would take him to Korea for a year, without his new wife.
The money and future opportunities were tempting, but in the end, Dirks says, it was an easy call.
"Family first, everything else comes after," he says.
In the spring of 2000, Dirks says, he applied with the Phoenix Police Department. "I always had police work in the back of my mind, so I took the tests for the hell of it, and aced them."
Phoenix hired Dirks in June 2000, and he reported to the police training academy the morning after officially leaving the Air Force.
"I took to it right away," he says. "Actually, it was a lot like the military. Tell me what you want, and I'll do it."
At his graduation months later, Dirks remembers, he told assistant chief Kevin Robinson, "I'm going to give you 20 years."
Dirks trained for months with experienced officers on the 41-beat, a high-density zone in central and south central Phoenix. He says he loved the constant action, and the camaraderie with his new colleagues.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city