AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin Water employee is accused of raping and robbing a woman while on the clock June 3, according to an Austin Police Department arrest affidavit.
Corie Darian Cornist Jr., 31, faces charges of second-degree sexual assault and second-degree robbery by assault.
Police responded to an area in southeast Austin on Cedargrove Drive for an urgent welfare check call. When officers arrived, the victim was found bleeding from a “bad leg and hip injury,” and was taken to the hospital for treatment.
The affidavit said that while in the neighborhood gathering evidence and surveillance video from neighbors, a responding officer was approached by Cornist, who identified himself as a City of Austin employee. While Cornist and the officer discussed what happened, he said he picked the victim up from a place on Pleasant Valley Road and then dropped her off because she “began acting strangely.”
The victim told police that a man in a large white truck pulled over near a store at Interstate 35 and Ben White Boulevard and asked if she needed a ride. According to the affidavit, the sexual assault occurred after she entered the vehicle.
The victim described the sexual assault to police while she was still in the hospital.
When the victim got out of the truck, the affidavit said Cornist pushed her into a bush and took her phone as she was trying to call someone to tell them what happened.
The victim tried to reach in a window to get her phone, but Cornist rolled the victim’s hands up in the window and started to drive off, dragging the victim. Eventually, her hands got loose from the window and she was run over by Cornist, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, Cornist told APD officers that he knew the victim was being pulled by the truck.
The affidavit said Cornist drove off in a marked Austin Water truck and returned the vehicle to Austin Water’s Webberville Road facility, before returning to the scene in his personal car and speaking with police.
Cornist was on-duty when the alleged assault occurred, the affidavit said. He clocked into work shortly before 7 a.m. that morning, and the GPS unit in the work truck showed Cornist was in the area where the sexual assault occurred, the affidavit said.
KXAN reached out to Austin Water about the incident Sunday, and it provided this statement:
“Austin Water is aware of the criminal investigation regarding Corie D. Cornist, who was taken into police custody on Friday,” the utility said in a statement. “Mr. Cornist will be placed on leave immediately. As a fair chance employer, the City will take the appropriate steps pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Cornist is represented by attorney Kurt Hopke, according to the Travis County Criminal Court docket. Cornist is in Travis County Jail and is being held on $150,000 bond.
KXAN reached out to Hopke for comment.