Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sex crimes against women with disabilities

Summaries of some of the reports in the news over the past few weeks:

From WRAL, Vass, North Carolina (May 1, 2009) - A 74-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a reported sexual assault of a 40-year-old disabled woman at her home in the Vass area last Wednesday. He faces two charges of felony second-degree rape and two charges of misdemeanor assault on a handicapped person. His first court appearance is set for May 18.

From the Telegram in Fitchburg, Massachusetts (April 30, 2009) - Joshua Whipple, 19, who broke into a 59-year-old disabled woman’s home and sexually assaulted her in February, 2008, was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in state prison today. According to Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers, Mr. Whipple broke into the victim’s home armed with a kitchen knife and with his face covered by a sweatshirt hood into which two eyeholes had been cut. When the victim awoke and discovered him in her kitchen, he pushed her onto the floor, punched her in the face, sexually assaulted her and placed his foot on the side of her face. He also stole her cell phone, about $58 in cash and her television set.

From the Edmonton Sun, (April 24, 2009) - 41-year-old Lyes Kiared, a former DATS driver convicted of raping a developmentally disabled Edmonton woman in her own home, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Friday. Kiared, who had denied committing the rape, claiming that semen found on a sofa pillow was an accidentally spilled fertility sample, was also ordered to provide a DNA sample for the national DNA databank and placed on the national sex offender registry for 20 years. According to court documents, Kiared first met the woman, who has cerebral palsy, in Feb 2006 when he picked her up from an outing with her walking group and took her to her apartment. Three days later, Kiared went to her residence and raped her, after she had buzzed him in, thinking he had come to visit her.

From the Merced Sun Star in Merced, California (April 22) - Jury selection is scheduled to begin this week in the trial of a 23-year-old Daniel Mere Saldana accused of brutally raping a developmentally disabled woman in September, 2004, in Planada. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. According to Deputy District Attorney Matt Martinez, Saldana took the woman, who believed he was a family friend, from her home to an abandoned house and raped her. From the severity of her injuries, it was obvious that she had also been abused. Saldana remains at the Merced County Jail in lieu of $400,050 bail.

From KRNV in Washington, Nevada (April 21, 2009) - Richard Bunch, accused of sexually assaulting a developmentally-disabled 13-year-old girl at the Sparks Marina last year, pleaded guilty Monday to "luring" and "lewdness" with a child. He will formally sentenced in June and faces a life term in prison. Bunch is also charged with luring and sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl in Washington, and raping a female jogger. He will be tried for those crimes after he's sentenced in Nevada.

From the Salt Lake Tribune (April 15) - Kim Paul Hildreth, 28, who was charged in connection with sexually abusing a developmentally disabled woman, made his first appearance in court this week. Hildreth was charged with two counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse. He allegedly abused the woman after he became friends with her and her family through church. According to court records, Hildreth pleaded guilty to third-degree felony unlawful sexual activity with a minor in 2002. He was sentenced to serve up to five years at the Utah State Prison and was released in August 2008, according to the Utah Sex Offender Registry.

From the Standard in Ogden, Utah (April 15, 2009) - Michael James Vantress, 26, has been charged with aggravated sexual assault and burglary after police said he attacked a 35-year-old woman with intellectual and physical disabilities after forcing his way into her home. According to police documents, Vantress followed the woman from the laundry room of her apartment complex to her home sometime before midnight on March 20, whereupon he pushed his way inside, took money from the woman's purse, broke her phone and sexually assaulted her.
The woman, who is described as having limited speech and physical abilities, was not able to get help immediately following the assault.