Joyful Heart in the News

Despite DNA, the Rapist Got Away

May 19, 2015
The New York Times
Nicholas Kristof

ROBBINS, Ill. — NATASHA, 14, had just gotten off the school bus after ninth-grade basketball practice one evening and was walking home on a quiet street beside a creek. When she heard footsteps behind her, she thought it was one of her classmates.

Instead, it was a man who grabbed her and threw her over a fence into a wooded area beside the creek. He beat her, stripped her and raped her, she says, and then dragged her into the creek and plunged her head under the water.

A couple of times, he pulled her head up to see if she was still breathing. So she says that the next time she pretended to be dead. He kicked her body further into the stream and then left.

Natasha says she waited and, when she was sure he had gone, waded back to shore and ran home. Her family rushed her to the hospital, where she endured hours of humiliating scrutiny as nurses collected a rape kit: DNA, hairs, fibers, anything that could be found on her body. The police took a statement from Natasha and picked up the rape kit from the hospital.

Then they did nothing. For years.

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