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Sketch of alleged Charleston rapist released

By By Erin Beck
Staff writer
Charleston police say this man raped a woman near Appalachian Power Park earlier this week. The suspect is described as a white middle-aged male weighing 200 to 225 pounds. People with any information on his identity can call the police at 304-348-6480.

Police have released a sketch of the man they say raped a woman Tuesday near Appalachian Power Park.

The suspect is a white male over age 45, of medium height and build and weighing 200 to 225 pounds, Charleston police Chief of Detectives Lt. Steve Cooper said Friday. He also has tattoos on his arms.

A Charleston police sketch artist created the image using software, Cooper said.

“We have sat down and did some follow-up interviews with the victim in a more sterile setting, and she has come up with this description and this composite sketch,” he said

Charleston Police Sgt. Tony Hazelett said the woman left the ballpark at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday after watching a West Virginia Power minor-league baseball game. She was walking to her car when she was approached by a man asking for money. The woman told the man she didn’t have any money, but he continued to follow her along Morris Street, Hazelett said.

When the two got near the intersection of Morris and Smith streets, police say, the man grabbed the woman by the hair, pinned her against a building and raped her.

Cooper said that, since the assault, Power Park has beefed up security and police have increased patrols in the area. The police department also has released safety tips, such as advising people to make loud noises if they’re in fear of being attacked.

Cooper also pointed out that being unable to stop an attack doesn’t mean a victim is at fault.

“It’s never the victim’s fault in a sexual assault — ever,” he said. “As an experienced criminal investigator, I know that a traumatic situation like that many times causes a victim to not know how to respond or to freeze up. It’s a very scary and traumatic situation. Some may even be in fear for their lives. There is no simple solution for avoiding being a victim.”

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has any information is asked to contact the Charleston Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, at 304-348-6480.

Reach Erin Beck at erin.beck@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5163 or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.


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