Last weekend there were three reported sex assaults in Mesa County, one of the victims was nearly killed during the attack. This has 11 News take a look at how many sex assaults the Mesa County sees in a year and how to prevent them.
In 2008 Mesa County has seen more than 300 victims of sex assaults. Carmen Hickman with the counseling and education center has helped some of those victims with their recovery, she says "because they need assistance as a victim and getting their life back together and realizing they are a victim."
One victim of an attack was almost killed police say she was attacked by 68–year–old William Rydell.. He raped her and then tried to kill her; she is his ex-girlfriend. Heather Benjamin with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office says that "typically when we talk about sex offenses whether its children or adults, they usually know their attacker."
Another instance from over the weekend includes 46–year old Maria Kennedy. Court documents tell us that Kennedy made three young girls touch her sexually, she's being charged with sex assault by a person in a position of trust. This instance didn't but Benjamin says many sexual assaults involving children include text messages or Internet contact, she says "monitor, monitor, monitor what your kids are doing, know who they're with and when they're going to be home."
Benjamin also advises parents to keep an eye on those who have a lot of contact with your children, she says it's common for offenders to build relationships and trust with kids before they assault them. Shari Zen, director of Western Slope Center for Children says the center served 320 victims of sex assault in 2007, all children. Zen says, "it's unimaginable, it's horrible what people would do to because they're vulnerable."
Alcohol, both Benjamin and Hickman say makes adults vulnerable to sexual attacks. They say alcohol and drugs play a major role in the majority of sexual assault cases they handle. Benjamin says watch how much you consume, don't go home with strangers or put yourself in a bad position. She also says that taking self defense classes may help if you are attacked and to always get out of a dangerous situation quickly and alter authorities.
If you need to get in touch with a counselor you can call the CEC at 243–9539.