A transient woman, 23,-years-old, who had been sleeping on the back porch of a Pacific Grove church for the past few weeks was sexually assaulted around 4 a.m. Oct. 3. According to Pacific Grove Police Commander John Nyunt, they have information about a transient who may have committed the crime, though nobody has been arrested.
“We got a call about 9:30 a.m. that there was some type of assault that had occurred, and the victim was at Community Hospital,” he said in the report. “About an hour went by, and I was informed by the patrol officer that the victim had been sexually assaulted.”
The victim also told Pacific Grove police officer Meghan Bliss that the attack had occurred at St. Mary’s church on 12th Street, and Nyunt went down to investigate, summoning a forensic technician from the Monterey County Sheriff ’s Office to collect evidence, which they found. Concerned it could compromise his investigation and the ability to track down and arrest the woman’s alleged attacker, Nyunt would reveal few details of the incident, other than to say she appeared to be the victim of sexual assault— which encompasses rape and a number of other violent sex crimes — and had sustained injuries, though they were not severe.
She was given a Sexual Assault Response Team examination at the hospital and released Wednesday night to the church’s senior warden, Bruce Obbink, who found her a motel room for the night and had also taken her to CHOMP that morning. “I was going down to church on Wednesday and saw her walking up the street,” Obbink said Thursday. Knowing she had been spending most nights the past few weeks on the back porch of Edwards Hall at St. Mary’s, he asked if she had been outside all night and then inquired where she was going.
“And she said, ‘I need to go the hospital, because I’ve been raped,’” he said. Nyunt said police are investigating whether the woman was assaulted by one or more individuals. “We have other homeless individuals that congregate there because of charity given by the church,” he said, adding that people involved with those efforts are cooperating with the investigation.
Nyunt wanted to assure residents the attack was “an isolated incident,” and that most complaints involving homeless people involve little more than panhandling and loitering. “We have not had a significant problem with this,” he said.
Obbink said the real problem is a lack of safe places for transient women to stay. As he and other church members attempted during the past few weeks to find somewhere for the 23-year-old homeless woman to sleep, he discovered the possibilities are few and the waiting lists are long.
“Where do homeless women go?” he asked. “They can’t go out and sleep in the park where the guys do — that’s real trouble.”
MSNBC: Pacific Grove Woman Raped Outside Church