Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Police hunt for man raping males

Few clues reported in series of three such attacks that started Aug. 6

By Jane Prendergast
Enquirer staff writer

Cincinnati police are looking for a man they suspect has raped two men and a 14-year-old boy in a case veteran investigators say is the first they can remember in which a rapist attacks males.

Detectives don't have much to go on, beyond the rarity of male rape victims, said Capt. Vince Demasi, investigations commander.

In his 30 years with the department, he said he could not recall a previous similar case until this suspected series started Aug. 6.

The accused rapist wore black gym shoes, Demasi said, but offered no further description.

"The problem is that we don't know for sure that it's the same guy,'' he said. "It's just that the crime is so odd.''

The most recent incident happened about 1:15 a.m. Oct. 15 on Wheeler Street near the University of Cincinnati. That time, a 19-year-old UC student told police a man approached him from behind and asked for cigarettes.

When the student turned around, he said, the suspect pulled a black handgun, forced him into a garage, pulled down his pants and sexually assaulted him.

Barbara Rinto, director of the the UC Womens Center sent a campus-wide e-mail Thursday telling students and faculty that the victim was receiving services after the attack.

The university's Sexual Offense Response Team is responsible for assuring that victims get support from the university and that the campus is notified about sexual assaults.

The first incident happened Aug. 6 in Boldface Park, Sedamsville. In that report, a 14-year-old told police a man with a gun forced him to have sex with him.

The report led Councilwoman Laketa Cole to hold a neighborhoods committee meeting in the park. That hearing drew requests from neighbors for more lighting.

The teenage victim "basically wants to forget about it,'' said Lt. Mike Zwick, supervisor of the department's personal crimes unit, which investigates sex crimes.

Between those two incidents, another man reported being robbed near Boldface Park. That victim did not say he was raped, but police think he is not acknowledging an assault, Zwick said.

The victims "are having a lot of problems with the emotional trauma,'' Demasi said. "It's a violent assault.''

Ann MacDonald, executive director of the Rape Crisis & Abuse Center of Hamilton County, said sexual assault is traumatic for both female and male victims, but that women and men experience different issues in the aftermath of a rape.

"With women, sometimes it's, 'Well, what were you wearing? Why were you walking there late at night?' '' she said. "With males, there are issues like, 'Why couldn't you protect yourself? Or are you gay?' ''

Part of the reason the agency, formerly Women Helping Women, changed its name earlier this year was to reflect that rape happens to men, too.

One in six women will be the victims of attempted or a completed rape in their lifetimes, according to a study by the National Institutes of Justice-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That compares, MacDonald said, to 3 percent of American men being the victim of an attempted or completed rape.

Any rape victims needing help can call the PROTECT hot line, operated by the Rape Crisis & Abuse Center of Hamilton County and the YWCA Battered Womens Shelter. Call: 872-9259


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