Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

A year later, lesbian rape victim reflects on attack

Through her attorney, a lesbian who was allegedly gang raped in Richmond last December said today that she hasn’t been able to overcome her fear since the incident, but she’s happy to be alive.

In a phone conversation, Gloria Allred, the attorney for the woman who’s known to the public as Jane Doe, provided her client’s answers to questions the paper had e-mailed to Allred.

imagesAllred (pictured, left) said that she believes the B.A.R. is the first and only media outlet to have comments from the woman on the anniversary of the attack.

The first anniversary of the incident will be Sunday, December 13.

“I cannot overcome my fear,” Allred said on behalf of the woman, who’s 29. “I am especially afraid of the dark. Now with daylight savings time it gets darker early. I’m afraid that I’m going to run into someone bad.”

As the date approaches, the woman feels “afraid, emotional, sad.”

“I cry, but I am also happy to be alive, that the anniversary is not of my death,” the woman said through Allred. “My feelings are contradictory, happy and sad. Happy to be alive. Sad that this happened to me.”

The December 13, 2008 incident started around 9:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Visalia Avenue in Richmond’s Belding-Woods neighborhood. After getting out of her car, the woman was sexually assaulted and then forced back into her car after the suspects noticed someone approaching, according to police.

She was driven seven blocks to the 1300 block of Burbeck Avenue, where she was repeatedly sexually assaulted near an apartment complex, police reported.

During the assault, the attackers allegedly taunted the victim for being a lesbian. They also took her wallet before driving off in her car, which had a rainbow sticker on it, according to Richmond Police spokesman Lieutenant Mark Gagan, who also said that the victim was an out lesbian.

The woman, who was left naked, sought help from a nearby resident, who called police, according to media reports.

She was taken to a hospital and treated for her injuries, which Gagan previously told the B.A.R. included a serious injury that resulted from being struck with a blunt object. The woman was examined using a rape kit. Her car was recovered the next day in Richmond, police said

Four suspects were arrested about two weeks after the incident. Humberto Hernandez Salvador, 32; Josue Gonzalez, 22; and Darrell Albert Hodges, 16, pleaded not guilty earlier this year to felony charges that include kidnapping; carjacking; forcible rape; and forcible oral copulation.

A fourth suspect, Robert James Ortiz, 16, is set to enter a plea on January 7 on similar charges, according to court documents.

Salvador has pleaded not guilty to additional enhancements of committing a hate crime and being armed with a firearm or deadly weapon, according to the charging documents.

All of the suspects are in custody.

The preliminary hearing, which is typically when a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial, is set for January 14 in Martinez. Allred told the B.A.R. in an e-mail that the woman would be at the hearing if she’s required to testify.

Through Allred, the woman asked that the public speak out when they witness a crime.

“I want the community to say something if they see anything. Do not stay quiet. You could be stopping something from happening or saving someone. Don’t be afraid to speak out. You don’t have to give your name when you make a report. … The incident with that young girl; I’m glad someone called.”

The comment referred to the October gang rape of a teenage girl outside a Richmond high school. According to media reports, several people witnessed the attack long before anyone reported it.

The woman and her partner are still together and have an 11-year-old daughter.

“I don’t know what I would have done without her,” the woman said of her partner, through Allred. “She has given me the strength to go on with my life.”

Allred said that she’s not disclosing the woman’s name or any details about her, such as where she lives.

Allred also said that the woman wouldn’t comment on what she hopes happens to the suspects, but the attorney provided her own response: “I hope that there is justice in this case.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 10, 2009 @ 4:31 pm PST
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