Monday, November 11, 2002

Rape behind Aronoff Center

Two more attacks reported this weekend

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati police investigated two rapes in the city over the weekend.

On Saturday, a 21-year-old Petersburg, Ky., woman was badly beaten and raped at 5:10 p.m. in an alley in the 600 block of Main Street, behind Aronoff Center for the Arts and the Bay Horse CafÈ, Cincinnati police said. A suspect in that attack has been identified but no charges had been filed Sunday as investigators searched for him.

At 1:30 a.m. Sunday, a 26-year-old Springfield Township woman met a male acquaintance in the 8400 block of Vine Street and went with him to Caldwell Nature Preserve in Carthage, Cincinnati police said. But at the park, the woman told police, the man raped her, then tried to strangle her.

"She was not abducted," said Sgt. David Simpson of the Cincinnati Police Personal Crimes Unit. "Everything is sort of sketchy now. We think it's an acquaintance rape."

Both women were treated at University Hospital and released, police said..

Meanwhile, investigators in Warren County's Hamilton Township continue to search for two men in the rape of a woman who was accosted in her open garage Thursday.

And Cincinnati police had no new information Sunday about a home invasion rape and robbery that occurred Nov. 3 in Pleasant Ridge.A 28-year-old Mason man was arrested Saturday near the Hamilton Township subdivision where the double rape was reported last week. He was given a DNA test, and charged with resisting arrest and fleeing and eluding police.But investigators said they do not believe he is one of the rapists because he does not match the victim's descriptions of her attackers.

While serious crime is on the rise in Cincinnati - up 21 percent last year from 2000 - rapes are just slightly up, police statistics show.

Rapes rose 6.5 percent, from 340 to 362, between 2000 and 2001, according to Cincinnati police records. That means a rape occurred on average every 24.2 hours last year, up from every 25.3 hours in 2000.

This year, rapes appear to be on pace with last year's figures. From January to September of this year - the latest statistics available Sunday - 321 rapes were reported in Cincinnati.

"I would not say we are seeing a rise in them," Sgt. Simpson said. "I don't think the numbers are any different than last year."

Since 1996, rapes reported each year in the city have ranged from 315 to 403.

There were 345 reported in 1999, 403 in 1998, 339 in 1997 and 315 in 1996, according to figures posted on the Cincinnati Police Department's Web site.

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