Rape victim’s clear report credited for quick arrest
An alert tipster and a brave victim are being credited for the quick arrest of a felon who allegedly kidnapped and raped a stranded female motorist in Kalihi.
Police drop kidnap, assault case
Police responded to a report of an alleged kidnapping and sexual assault at the Nuuanu Shopping Plaza yesterday, but the woman who made the accusations later refused to talk to police.
Officers were called to the plaza at about 6 a.m. yesterday, where a woman said a man had kidnapped and sexually assaulted her. Police initially were looking for a man in his 30s who allegedly posed as a plainclothes police officer.
However, the woman who made the accusation later would not talk to officers, and police said they were no longer pursuing an investigation.
Police gave no further information on the case.
Detectives arrested a 45-year-old man at 12:15 p.m. yesterday at 2130 N. School St. in Kalihi, less than a mile from where the woman, 44, said she was raped on Wednesday night.
Police arrested the man on suspicion of two counts of first-degree sexual assault, kidnapping and five counts of third-degree sexual assault. Charges are pending.
At about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the woman's car overheated on Homerule Street. She turned down a man's offer to help. He drove off, but returned soon after, allegedly abducted her and drove her to a nearby back street, Hart Street, where he allegedly raped her, police said. The woman fought the man and escaped. She found help and went to the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, where she was treated and called police.
On Thursday police made a plea for help in finding the rapist. Less than 24 hours later, a tipster called in with information about a man matching the suspect's description, his name, his whereabouts and a description of the car, said Honolulu CrimeStoppers Coordinator Kim Buffett.
Buffett praised the tipster and the public for being alert. "It was awesome," she said.
Buffett said the suspect has 64 prior arrests and nine convictions, including first-degree robbery. None of his prior arrests and convictions were for sex crimes.
Adriana Ramelli, executive director of the Sex Abuse Treatment Center, praised the woman for reporting the alleged crime immediately.
"It took courage for her to be able to tell someone that 'this happened to me,' to talk about being sexually assaulted," she said.
Sexual offenders typically have a history of committing sex crimes, "but it takes someone reporting it. Therein lies the greatest challenge.
"What you have most times, victims do not report the crimes to police," she said.
Ramelli said it's important to seek treatment for the physical injuries, collection of evidence and crisis counseling that helps with the emotional trauma of a life-threatening experience.
Often victims wonder whether they will be believed, and fear being blamed or judged for what they did, she said.
"Is the public wondering, 'Why didn't she stay in her car and use her cell phone?' " Ramelli said. "Instead we should judge who he is and what he did. And if he did commit this crime, we need to prosecute him."
The woman provided police with a detailed description of her attacker and his car, and police released a sketch Thursday.
"It takes a lot to stay focused like that, go into detail about how he looked and to recall those details," Ramelli said. "She did an excellent job with the description of the car."
"Hopefully, once you get him identified and apprehended and in prison, he's no longer free to commit another crime and to harm the next person," she said.