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Archive for Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Attorney general says 13 rapes in Lawrence, Manhattan may be connected

The Kansas attorney general think that thirteen rapes in two communities over the last eight years could be related.

March 11, 2009, 11:06 a.m. Updated March 12, 2009, 12:00 a.m.

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Sexual assaults in Lawrence, which Attorney General Steve Six said may be connected to seven rapes and an attempted rape in Manhattan that date back to 2000:

  • On July 14, 2004, an unidentified man entered an apartment in the 3800 block of Clinton Parkway and raped a Kansas University student, who was between 20 and 25 years old, who was sleeping.
  • On Dec. 29, 2004, two women, ages 19 and 20, were raped inside an apartment at Highpointe Apartments, 2001 W. Sixth St.
  • On June 13, 2006, an unidentified man entered a home in the 1900 block of Stewart Avenue and raped a 21-year-old woman.
  • On March 22, 2008, an unidentified man entered an apartment at Lorimar Townhomes, 3801 Clinton Parkway, and sexually assaulted a 20-year-old KU student.
  • On Dec. 1, 2008, a 19-year-old KU student was raped in her home just south of Holcom Park.

Sexual Assaults in Lawrence: Not an uncommon crime

In the past five years, more than 450 adult sexual assaults have been reported in Lawrence. There's a rape in Lawrence every four days. Each case represents an instance where someone’s life has been irrevocably changed. LJWorld.com, the Lawrence Journal-World and 6News are taking a deeper look at what those numbers really mean.

Multiple rapes in Lawrence and Manhattan may be connected, the state’s top law enforcement official announced Wednesday.

Law enforcement officials believe five rapes in Lawrence, as well as seven rapes and an attempted rape in Manhattan, home of Kansas State University, have significant similarities.

“There are some characteristics about the 13 cases that leads us to coordinate efforts and see what we can do: the age of the victims, the location of the rapes, in off-campus housing, the fact that they occurred during breaks in the school session. Those types of things have led us to work on this in a joint effort,” Kansas Attorney General Steve Six said.

Lawrence and Riley County law enforcement are working to solve 12 rapes and an attempted rape that occurred between 2000 and 2008 in the two university communities.

Six said he’s working with police in both communities to identify the rapist.

“The local police departments have done a tremendous amount of work on this, and they have really carried the ball,” he said. “They have reached out now to other agencies to try to bring even more resources to the effort.”

Next week’s spring break prompted authorities to make the announcement, said Riley County Police Capt. Tim Hegarty. All of the rapes in Lawrence and a majority of the rapes in Manhattan have occurred while students were on a break from school.

“We felt together … that this would be a good time to generate some discussion,” Hegarty said.

Lawrence police have connected five rapes in Lawrence, involving six victims, which date back to 2004 and have occurred between about 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. — during periods when Kansas University students are on some type of a break from school.

In the most recent attack, which occurred Dec. 1, 2008, the day students returned from Thanksgiving break, a 19-year-old KU student was attacked by an unidentified male suspect who entered her home with a handgun about 2 a.m., police said.

The next day, more than a dozen Lawrence officers and detectives searched grassy areas along the Kansas Highway 10 bypass and the area of 27th Street and Wakarusa Drive in southwest Lawrence looking for evidence.

In all of the cases, the suspect is described as a white man between 25 and 40 years old, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, with a slim build, police said. Six said in all of the attacks, the suspect has had his face covered in some way, “making a more specific description difficult.” Police said the suspect has been armed during the lengthy sexual attacks, sometimes with a gun.

Police haven’t always said how the attacker gets into the homes. In at least one of the earlier cases, entry to the home was through an unlocked door.

Lawrence police said their investigation into the rapes has been a top priority, but spokespeople said they had no comment after the attorney general’s announcement on Wednesday. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation also is aiding in the investigation, Six said.

Riley County police also have been investigating eight rapes and assaults, beginning in 2000, that they said could be related. Until the attorney general’s announcement, the possible connection between the rapes in the two communities had been sketchy.

The suspect in the Manhattan rapes is described as in his late 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches and weighing 200 to 220 pounds, Riley County police have said. The most recent attack occurred at 4 a.m. Aug. 7, 2007.

With many of the attacks occurring when school was not in session, law enforcement officials are asking Kansans to be cautious during next week’s spring break.

“We’re encouraging Kansans to take extra safety precautions and report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement immediately,” Six said. “We are very concerned for women. We want them to be extra vigilant.”

Hegarty said police in Riley County would take special measures next week to thwart another attack. Lawrence police wouldn’t comment about any proactive measures they plan to take.

Comments

beawolf 5 years, 9 months ago

Most women do not see the rapist until it's too late. If you attempt to use the gun and fail, you will most likely be killed. Or, you kill someone accidentally from increased paranoia. You are much more likely to avoid rape by learning hand to hand fighting techniques that will allow you to strike quickly, disable the attacker and flee.

mom_of_three 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree with beawolf. You can't rely only on a gun to protect yourself in case of a sexual attack, especially since rapists don't have it tattooed on their foreheads for easy identity. Kelsey's army has self defense courses from time to time, and are excellent. My three learned some very important techniques.

liveyourlife07 5 years, 9 months ago

This man has struck fear into the lives way too many women in Lawrence and Manhattan. After the attack in November, my roommates and I were afraid to be in our home alone. Since then, we always make sure there were at least two of us in the house at night. I have friends who live alone that keep knives or some sort of weapon by their bedside. It is such a horrible feeling to have to worry about something like this.

Bossa_Nova 5 years, 9 months ago

if someone rapes my wife or daughter i definitely won't be using a handgun to kill him

Bossa_Nova 5 years, 9 months ago

beowulf does indeed make a good point.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

Learn Street Karate......

Unfortunately it seems serious self defense classes for females might need to be mandated as a credit course on campus. 13 rapes is a lot but many many more seem to occur.

Females need to learn effective ways and means of disabling predators so they can get the hell away.

G_E 5 years, 9 months ago

The thing I never understood about the Dec. 1 attack was why police were searching at 27th and Wakarusa when the rape occurred at 27th and Crestline (my neighborhood).

Please be safe out there, women and men alike. Lock your doors, even when you're home. Be attentive to your surroundings. Keep an eye out for unfamiliar/suspicious people or vehicles in your neighborhood. Talk to your neighbors and get to know them.

liveyourlife07 5 years, 9 months ago

I just don't think a gun is the answer. I guess you never know exactly how you will react until you are faced with that situation, which, trust me, I NEVER want to be faced with that situation. In the meantime, my roommates and I continue to be cautious and I will continue to keep the hammer and mace at my bedside.

I would also have to agree with merrill about the self defense classes. Why not take a class like that instead of a waste of time elective?

alove27 5 years, 9 months ago

I think the best thing to do is be prepared and it is very scary that this is happening here in Lawrence, KS. Make sure to lock your doors ladies and watch your rear view mirrors when your coming home. If someone follows you home don't go home. Even if they pass when you pull in, he is waiting until you are inside is what is sounds like. Check all rooms to make sure no one is there and call a friend and talk to them for a little while when you get home. This guy is probably watching for girls coming home from the bar by themselves and waiting until they are vulnerable. Watch your back and don't think "Oh I'm just being silly" because your better safe than sorry girls.

spammer89 5 years, 9 months ago

We have the world best alarm system money can buy, a 130 pound German Shepard house dog that if a mouse farts he barks like no other. Wakes me up sometimes usually for nothing but better than the alternative.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

This person seems like stalking comes easy and may have training. Seems like has breaking and entering skills ...quietly.

I would think if law enforcement had a serious lead this would not be headlines. Where's the FBI when you need them?

Confrontation 5 years, 9 months ago

I'll go ahead and say it. Topeka. It's in the middle. A short trip to either Manhattan or Lawrence. Convenient for a Topekan criminal. Wherever he's from, I hope they catch him and torture him to death.

BLaT 5 years, 9 months ago

concealed carry, hand to hand fighting classes, and a big dog = safest person in town. The key to not being a victim is being prepared and well trained. The days of this stuff "not" happening in our little town are so far and gone. Anyone not doing the very basics to protect their own well being is just asking to be a target. And for god's sakes..... lock your doors and windows at night....

Omegatron 5 years, 9 months ago

Looks like all the rapes have a common theme. He breaks in, with a weapon, early in the morning when his victims are likely to have already gone to bed and are asleep.

A gun is pretty much unless in that scenario, because by the time the girl's going to notice him he more then likely will already be on top of her.

So it all starts at the points of entry. If those are secure, then that scenario is not likely to play out. If he can't get in easily, his plans are likely to be ruined.

If he has to force his way in, that give you the advantage as he's likely to make alot of noise doing so.

Also recommend locks on all the internal doors with items in those rooms that can assist you in defending yourself. More importantly items that will make alot of noise and wake up the neighbors (like an annoying horn or party noise maker).

The fear of getting caught will likely force him to run away.

Jersey_Girl 5 years, 9 months ago

The self-defense courses can come in handy when you're not at home with your gun/knife/weapon handy and your faithful guard dog close by. For instance, a mugging or a date/aquaitence rape (yes, I know I can't spell).

misseve 5 years, 9 months ago

What is really sad is the Sheriffs office is wasting manpower hunting down people with failure to appears on civil cases and things similar than TRYING to solve the rape cases that they OBVIOUSLY know are related. As everyone has stated be careful, be aware and for heavens sake lets hope we aren't needing to have law enforcement solve another crime. I am sorry am I being to hard on our "small town" police force?

cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 9 months ago

"I am sorry am I being to hard on our “small town” police force?"

Yes.

We could just let everyone out of the county jail, too. Then all those corrections officers would be free to pursue this (one) criminal!

G_E 5 years, 9 months ago

Hey now, give the Lawrence police some credit. After the Dec. 1 attack in my neighborhood, there were officers and detectives canvassing the area, going door-to-door asking people questions, etc. They checked back with us a few times over the next couple weeks that followed, even though it was clear to both us and them that they really had no leads whatsoever.

These kinds of things are difficult to solve, and it's not made easier by the fact that the eyewitness testimonies are unreliable - and understandably so, as I don't imagine I'd be able to recall exact details of a person while I'm being assaulted.

jayhawk10 5 years, 9 months ago

enter my home and you'll take 2 in the chest and 1 in the head

sally87 5 years, 9 months ago

A gun is a danger to more than just the rapist. It is a VERY unsafe way of protecting yourself. If you would like a better option just carry pepper spray. It has the potential to distract long enough for you to get away. A gun is just too over the top when there are safer options.

sally87 5 years, 9 months ago

edjayhawk, That still happens! I had the same scenario happen at a final four party we threw last year. He literally walked in and sat down. We of course ended up making him leave but it was clear that he meant no harm.

jaywalker 5 years, 9 months ago

Here's hoping if there is another victim they're able to 'mark' him in some way, severe scratches on face, anything that would be difficult to hide.

And all who read this rack your brains and come up with a scenario or suspects that would have free time during school breaks, and might have reason to move back and forth between the cities. Chances are this guy is doing recon on targets ahead of time, so either a home locale like Topeka would make sense or frequent travel between burgs as part of job. Could be someone who works at a university. Ladies, pick up some basic krav maga training. Used to have it at Robinson, bet KU has some self-defense classes. Carry mace to door, give friends a time frame for returned safe call, travel with friend if possible, dial 911 on cell and hold open with finger on send as you walk to door...anything you can think of.

jayhawk10 5 years, 9 months ago

"A gun is a danger to more than just the rapist. It is a VERY unsafe way of protecting yourself"

im guessing you dont go shooting very often... cops carry guns all the time and the guns dont bite

misseve 5 years, 9 months ago

cthulhu_4_president (Anonymous) says…

“I am sorry am I being to hard on our “small town” police force?” –— Yes.

We could just let everyone out of the county jail, too. Then all those corrections officers would be free to pursue this (one) criminal!

they already do that... its called work release for the UNEMPLOYED and furlough for those who do not go back to jail.

igby 5 years, 9 months ago

A college grad student or professor who has time on their hands during this slowdown on campuses. He may of went to both schools and may of even knew these women and stalked them without them knowing until it was too late. Six is right, the times of the attacks are crucial to ID'ing the attacker.

JimmyJoeBob 5 years, 9 months ago

We all need to look out for our neighbors. Everyone be more observant and report suspicious people and events to the cops. Everyone will be needed to catch this person.

Omegatron 5 years, 9 months ago

In my opinion. I don't think a gun is going to help out a girl in this situation based on everything I've read so far.

Not much there to get a full understanding of the tactics used.

But there's enough to formulate that this person is probably using stealth and surprise to achieve his objects.

It's likely he's sneaking up to his victims, after they've gone to sleep, and choosing when to strike. He's probably has it timed in his head how long it will take him to restrain his victim.

If he's quick enough, I doubt there'd be time to ready and shoot a gun.

It would be more tactical to know a few moves to dislodge/disable an attacker from a laying down and/or seated position.

It would be more tactical to have a knife and pepper spray within reach so that the attacker can be blinded and/or wounded long enough to get away to another secured room.

In that other room is where it would be better to get a gun and make a stand while calling for assistance. Cause then you will have taken yourself out of a chaotic situation, and placed yourself in a more controlled environment...

But I don't recommend being in that situation in the first place.

Avoid it by locking your doors and windows.

Place obstacles under the windows that would make lots of noise in the event of someone climbing in.

Have something in the track of the windows that would make opening them without first removing that object impossible. Do it right and he doesn't see it, he might make noise the first couple of times he tries to open it.

Get an alarm. Get a dog.

If you live alone and go on vacation, set up something in a certain way, in a certain room, that could be easily disturbed by an intruder, yet not noticed by that intruder. That way you know if someone's been in your place while you where away.

There's alot of simple thing you can do to keep yourself safe.

soldier1 5 years, 9 months ago

A gun is definately the wrong answer. Hand to hand is the way to go: rake/gouge eyes, strike the throat, grab-twist-pull... well, you get the idea. Mace and tasers. The best defense, though, is situational awareness and not being alone. 2fat- a 9mm will not blow off a limb, even with hollow points

jaywalker 5 years, 9 months ago

misseve,

That's a pair of fairly ignorant posts. You're being hard on yourself rather than police, as your takes reflect quite poorly on yourself.

redmoonrising 5 years, 9 months ago

One night my child tapped me on the shoulder from behind when I was sleeping and I came up swinging, almost decking him. I wasn't being restrained. But there was no way I would have had time to grab a gun, even one under a pillow, before I could have been shot by an armed intruder, as this guy seems to be. And if it was my instinct to grab one, my child might have been injured or killed. The thought that you can just blast away without anything bad ever happening to you is naive. No, I'm not a liberal. I don't care if you choose to own guns. The only thing that scares me about your owning them is that you think they are the answer to all things. I honestly don't think if I was woken from a sound sleep by someone who was most likely restraining me or had a gun to my head that my chances would be very good for shooting him.

The police are doing their job with what little information they have. This isn't CSI where the solution can just be written into the script. We all need to do our parts by being aware and taking precautions. Let's just hope that sooner or later this guy slips up and hopefully before many more women have to go through what these 13 have.

Jim Williamson 5 years, 9 months ago

"I tell you what liveyourlife07, once you got a hand gun in your purse you won't be afraid of anyone no more."

Apparently one thing you do fear is an English teacher.

Lynn Wilson-Bruce 5 years, 9 months ago

It's scary for all of us! But we cannot let him take control of us and we can't live in fear. Just be smart and Live by the buddy rule and always have someone with you. I hope they catch the creep SOON!

nixon00 5 years, 9 months ago

There was a similar case in Illinois. A serial rapist that carried a weapon and seemed to know what he was doing when it came to breaking and entering leaving little to no evidence. Turns out he used to be a cop. Also, they caught him when he slipped up and tried to break in a house with a barking dog.

kmat 5 years, 9 months ago

Guns in these situations won't be of help. You'd have to be sitting up, waiting for the guy with it loaded. But here are a couple of things that will help.

You can get little alarms you put on your door or windows that go off when either are opened. This guy has gotten through a lot of windows. These alarms are cheap and can be easily installed in a rental unit without having to mess anything up and make a landlord mad.

http://www.mypreciouskid.com/wireless-door-alarm.html

Basic self defense techniques. Use the bottom of your palm and hit them in the nose, pushing upward. If you do it just right, you can shove the cartilidge in their nose into their brain and it can be lethal.

Do anything you can to get to their nuts. Kick, hit, squeeze. It may give you the few seconds you need to get away from their grip.

If they are holding you while you're standing up, go limp. They don't expect it and many times losen their grip. You then fall towards the floor, while using your elbow to hit their nuts.

And if you were attacked, scratch them. Better chance of getting some DNA and best to leave marks on the guy. Even if he is making them shower like I've heard, you could easily keep some of his skin under your nails. I'd rather go down fighting than do nothing at all.

Master Park is who taught me and offers lots of courses. Defenitely worth taking. Plus, it's fun to learn how to flip people.

Jersey_Girl 5 years, 9 months ago

I want to learn how to flip people! And whatever that little move is that pops the thumb out of joint.

misseve 5 years, 9 months ago

jaywalker (Anonymous) says…

misseve,

That's a pair of fairly ignorant posts. You're being hard on yourself rather than police, as your takes reflect quite poorly on yourself.

Really how do you figure that? Just because I commented on the things i KNOW to be true? Did you NOT read the post and see what I wrote and what someone else wrote? Really how did you come to YOUR conclusion? I have no poor reflections on myself... I was a victim of rape and what sucks is that this is NOT being handled like it should. What sucks is that there will more likey than not be more rapes before he is caught, IF he is caught. So if you dont like that I mention extended furloughs from county jail or work release without jobs that is too bad. The residents who live here should be informed. I mean honestly... if they cant do the little things like that.. can they really catch a rapist?

bevy 5 years, 9 months ago

I would like to know how many of these women had been drinking before they went home. Before you attack me, I'm not saying that that makes them "deserve" what happened. Certainly not! But this guy has broken into so many homes - I just wonder why they don't hear him? He's either really good at B&E, or perhaps they are sleeping really soundly from all that spring break partying? In any case, I hope they catch him and remove his detachable parts.

Another safety suggestion - you can buy door alarms fairly cheaply. My ex-husband bought them for his house because his daughter sleepwalks, and he wants to know if she tries to leave the house at night. They make a loud noise and that might be a deterrent - or at least give you a chance to lock your bedroom, pull your gun, aim your pepper spray, call 9-1-1, before he gets to you.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

Have no fear in a male dominated justice system the victims will be painted as the guilty party by defense lawyers.

Omegatron 5 years, 9 months ago

"This one's from Medscape, which is highly reliable, widely respected, and not skewed to the left or the right. If you wish to peruse the citations given in this excerpt, read the article here: "

Broken link. Or requires an account first..

Omegatron 5 years, 9 months ago

"I would like to know how many of these women had been drinking before they went home. Before you attack me, I'm not saying that that makes them “deserve” what happened. Certainly not! But this guy has broken into so many homes - I just wonder why they don't hear him? He's either really good at B&E, or perhaps they are sleeping really soundly from all that spring break partying?"

Not enough information to even begin to speculate why they did not hear the attacker breaking in.

For all we know he could've broken in before they even got home.

Layout of your house also plays a major role in rather you can here someone breaking into your home or not.

If your bedroom is upstairs, you might not here someone breaking into an opposite end downstairs room.

I know in my house I can barely hear my front door doorbell.

Then there are other factors that can't be ruled out. Did they have a fan? How loud is the AC/Heating unit? When he entered did he break the glass or was the window already opened?

List goes on and on.

Sober or drunk, it's very possible to miss hearing someone breaking into a home.

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