Police in Newport News say they believe they have arrested the man responsible for two alleged rapes. Now they are inviting the public's help to build an even stronger case. They are asking any other possible victims to come forward to press charges.
Use of such a tactic doesn't likely surprise any readers of this blog. Police are always looking to engage with the public. Access to information is critical to officials being able to do their job and the public is a significant resource in that regard. Firing up public outrage and gaining willing cooperation is often easier if the rallying point is a suspect already charged with sex crimes.
Fighting such allegations and protecting the individual rights of defendants might rub the public's sensibilities the wrong way, but it is critical to maintaining the integrity of our justice system, and why those charged with any crime should be working with an attorney.
According to the Newport News police, the 26-year-old male suspect from Hampton was arrested at his home last Friday. Officials say they have tied him to two assaults that share similar circumstances. What other evidence they have gathered is not clear.
One alleged rape is said to have occurred on New Year's Day at about 10:30 p.m. behind a shopping center. The other is said to have occurred Jan. 19 near a community center. In both cases, the victims said they had connected with the assailant over the Internet, and in each case the assailant reportedly left the victims stranded in a parking lot.
The suspect is said to have been booked on suspicion of rape, sodomy, robbery and two counts of abduction. And, as we've noted, police are hoping to develop other cases against him.
Source: WAVY-TV, "Hampton man charged in two separate sexual assaults," Rachel West, March 10, 2014