Gadsden Police handling increase in rape cases - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Gadsden Police handling increase in rape cases

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Gadsden Police are trying to track down suspects in a growing number of rapes. Several may have happened at East Alabama night clubs and bars. As victims begin to come forward... More reports are coming in. Investigators are starting new patrols and  looking for the community's help.

"These are the first reports we have had in awhile," Captain Regina May, Gadsden Police said.

What started with two reports began to multiply.

"A couple of victims have come forward and told us their drinks were spiked at some local nightclubs and they were incapacitated," May said. "When they woke up, they realized what had happened."

Investigators believe the offenders poisoned their victim's alcoholic drinks with date rape mixtures making the case even more difficult to crack.

"A lot of times, by the time they realize something has happened to them, they have bathed, and cleaned up the crime scene and washed their clothes," May said.

Officers say the assailants use medication powders like Valium or Zanex and combined with alcohol the effects are extreme.

"Within 10-20 minutes,  a woman can become completely incapacitated," May said. "But in a bar setting, it just looks like she is intoxicated."

"Second Chance"  is working with sexual assault victims across several Northeast Alabama counties. It offers counseling, clothing, and side by side mentors. So far this year, it's had 38 crisis calls, 14 forensic exams and 74 follow ups.

"That's a big caseload," Susan Shipman, Director, Second Chance said. "That's a lot of work. That's a lot of victims."

Helping these women isn't just a job for Susan...

"I am a survivor of domestic and sexual assault and a majority of our staff are," Shipman said. "We do something that matters to women personally."

"Unless it's happened to you, you don't know exactly how it feels for her," she said. 

If you have any information about the cases, contact Gadsden Police.