Posted: October 11, 2013 4:37:40 PM PDT
On September 28, 2013 a 22-year-old female reported that she was sexually assaulted while walking home from downtown Bellingham. On October 11, 2013 the woman withdrew this allegation.
The many hours of investigation by detectives and the outpouring of support from community members are indicative of the seriousness and emotional nature of this crime. “We know there are many members of our community who never come forward to report and who have never received support services,” said Bellingham Police Department Deputy Chief Flo Simon. In fact, FBI statistics estimate that only 60% of sexual assaults are ever reported.
“Regardless of any details in this particular incident, the fact remains that sexual assault is a serious crime that happens far too frequently,” said Karen Burke, executive director of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS) of Whatcom County. The FBI estimates that one in six women and one in 33 men are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetimes. “We encourage everyone to show compassion and to support neighbors, family and friends who are survivors.” Anyone who needs support services can reach a DVSAS advocacy counselor 24 hours a day at (360)715-1563. Students of Western Washington University can also call CASAS (Crime And Sexual Assault Services) for support at 650-3700.
False reports of sexual assault are uncommon and are typically the result of personal and emotional problems, rather than vengeful motives. “We will continue to investigate each complaint that we receive and having someone withdraw their claim will not deter us,” said Deputy Chief Flo Simon.
Lieutenant Rick Sucee 360-778-1696