Victim says Carrboro apartment complex downplays sex assault
Posted March 17, 2014
Updated March 19, 2014
Carrboro, N.C. — A Carrboro woman who was sexually assaulted at her apartment complex two weeks ago said Monday that not enough has been done to warn others about the potential for another attack.
The assault occurred March 2 at the Autumn Woods Apartments complex, at 222 Old Fayetteville Road, when the woman was taking out her recycling.
"I felt someone grab me around the stomach and push me toward the back," the woman said Monday.
WRAL News doesn't identify sexual assault victims.
The woman said she was hit in the face and suffered a concussion. She said she couldn't get a good look at her attacker, who ran off when a car drove by in the parking lot.
She said she didn't want to tell her family what happened, but she wanted to make sure other residents knew about the assault so they could protect themselves.
"My first thought once I got back was how do we let people know that this happened," she said. "I don't want everybody to know this happened to me, but I don't want it to happen to anybody else either."
The woman said she asked the Autumn Woods managers to notify residents but was told that it was up to Carrboro police to do.
Capt. Chris Atack said that, as a general rule, the Carrboro Police Department releases only general information in sexual assault cases to protect the victim's identity and maintain the integrity of the investigation. He says officers met with the complex's management the day after the assault.
"We passed on information that was relevant. What they do with that information is a decision that they make," Atack said.
The woman said the complex didn't take any action, so she created and hung up a flier telling residents what happened.
"I came back downstairs shortly after – 15 to 20 minutes – and it was gone," she said of the flier.
The Connor Group, which owns Autumn Woods, issued a statement Monday afternoon defending its response to the assault.
"We value our residents and their safety, which is why we’ve been working with the Carrboro Police Department as it investigates the incident," the statement said. "We will continue to defer to the CPD for all communication regarding the investigation.”
The woman said she's now at a loss as to what else she can do. While it's not the complex's fault that she was attacked, she said, she does hold the managers responsible for keeping quiet about the incident.
"There's known sex offenders everywhere. We can't do everything to stop that, but we can tell people when things happen so they can be prepared," she said. "What I want to happen in the complex is to have a safety meeting. I think that is the most appropriate thing they could do to protect the women there."
After initially offering to move the woman to another building in the Autumn Woods complex, the managers said she could break her lease and leave altogether as long as she provides 30 days' notice.
"I don’t want to be here. I’m scared here," she said.
No arrests have been made in the case, and anyone with information about it is asked to call Carrboro police at 919-918-7415 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.