Local News

Victim says Carrboro apartment complex downplays sex assault

Posted March 17, 2014
Updated March 19, 2014

— 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.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Whatev333 Mar 18, 2014

    The assumption that your weapon (pepper spray, knife or gun) will be used against you just because you are woman is pretty crass.

    I consider the fact that not everyone is of the physical ability to beat the perpetrator until he is unrecognizable. I was a child when it happened to me, so that sadly was beyond my ability at that time.

    I would only use pepper spray in an open space, without strong wind blowing. If you look at videos of Marine recruit training, it is possible to beat an attacker after getting a face of pepper spray. I, however, would only use it to get away.

    I carry the pepper spray when I am in remote locations by myself. I do travel in the wilderness quite a bit without anyone else around. So... to each his own.

    I am also not downplaying the devastating effects of sexual violence. Those are real.

    However, Carrboro PD has policies and procedures they MUST follow during investigations or else convictions can be thrown out in court.

  • Brian Jenkins Mar 18, 2014

    Why would the apartment complex say anything? They have apartments to fill and your safety is secondary. Make a huge sign and have a freind walk by the entrance all day Saturday and Sunday. That should work.

  • tceawvzwvpev Mar 18, 2014

    WHATEV333, you describe yourself as a self defense aficionado and practitioner, so I'm surprised you would advocate pepper spray, as most reputable self defense experts state that such defensive "weapons" will likely be used against the victim (or just add fuel to the attacker's fire).

    Also, it's great that you have the time and ability to check the CPD's web page every day or two, but not everyone has that luxury when it's needed.

    And, the concerned citizen who raised this issue about the complex's apparent indifference to the safety of its tenants, didn't put her name all over the newspapers.

  • ncprr1 Mar 18, 2014

    great advice WHATEV333...hopefully women will read it and pay attention.

  • andreanicole686 Mar 18, 2014

    View quoted thread

    It's not a weird article. Of course she has her mind made up. She was attacked and nothing was done. How else would she feel? She then has to deal with not only being attacked bu then the apartment complex saying nothing about it. The other people who live there should know about what happened to her. The police can only do so much as well but it seems like both the complex and police are to blame.

  • Paladin2 Mar 18, 2014

    Bottom Line: Autumn Woods is obviously more interested in keeping the apartments occupied than the safety of its residents as seen by the removal the sign. One would probably wonder what else they may be hiding from its residents.

  • sunshine1040 Mar 18, 2014

    Let people know there has been a predator in your neighborhood so they can maybe help police and also protect themselves. Someone may have seen this and thought it was just a family dispute going on at the time.

  • Whatev333 Mar 17, 2014

    I am not sure what the purpose of the article is. I live in the neighborhood and I knew about it the day after it happened. But, I read the police bulletin which is available to all citizens on the Carrboro Police Department's page. It is public information, and usually available on-line a day or two later.

    That being said, I am a survivor of sexual assault. Here is what I do to keep safe... carry pepper spray. Don't be out in isolated places in the evening alone. LEARN SELF DEFENSE. I do Krav Maga and they teach you to keep fighting until the attacker is disabled. Take responsibility and protect yourself. I don't have a CCW, but if you feel that is wise for you, DO IT!!!

    Personally, if this did happen to me recently I wouldn't want my name all over the newspapers. But, let's be realistic. Learn how to protect yourself!