Suspect in rape case arrested but questions remain

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – Now that a 17-year old is in custody for reportedly raping an elderly man, many people are asking why police did not warn the public that the attack was an actual rape and not just an assault.

Monday evening, Chattanooga police released a statement about an elderly man being assaulted on West Mississippi Avenue while running. Police even warned runners to be on the lookout for anything suspicious but they withheld the fact that the assault was actually a rape and that the rapist was still at large.

"Yes I think that would have been very helpful to know," said one runner who wished not to be identified.

"I certainly would have wanted to know there’s a rapist loose in the neighborhood because most of the time I’m running or walking and I have headphones on and I’m not paying attention to what’s going on around me," said Lani Skyles who is also a runner.

It wasn’t until a another news agency reported the man was raped that police came clean about the actual nature of the crime and that confirmation came the following day.

"Everybody needs to be well informed and have facts shared with what the police know would help us as a society," said a third runner who wished not to be identified.

"I think it would have been most helpful to have the most information upfront so we know and so we can be aware. Not oh there was a little incident and someone got attacked but really like there is a rapist on the lose."

Runners told WDEF the word "assault" has little impact but the word "rape" not only captures their full attention, it also keeps them on high alert.

"Many different forms of assault but a rape, you know exactly what has happened and of course that is something you would want to know," said Skyles.

Now that a suspect is in custody, police have yet to explain how a grown man was sexually assaulted in a public place that is normally frequented by other runners and motorist.

The teenager is now facing one count of aggravated rape.

Another news agency is reporting the identity of the suspect in custody but WDEF does not name minors who are arrested until it is confirmed that a minor will be charged as an adult.

Categories: Crime, Local News

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