Capitol Hill rape case wasn't highlighted because victim was a man, cops say
Earlier this month, we told you about a reported sexual assault of a man in Capitol Hill by two still-unknown male assailants.
Big sketches, map below.
Afterward, a reader argued that the case had gotten so much attention because the victim was male, whereas incidents of women being raped in Capitol Hill happen frequently and are seldom reported. But a Denver police spokesman denies that gender was a factor in the department's decision to publicize the crime.
As we've reported, the DPD says the incident took place at around 12:30 a.m. on March 10. The victim was walking near the intersection of East 13th Avenue and North Emerson Street when he was taken to a nearby location by two men, both of whom sexually assaulted him.
Here's a sketch of the first suspect:
The DPD's description of the suspect reads: "A medium-skin-toned black male in his mid-twenties with a small afro. He was about 6'1" to 6'2" tall, weighing 135 to 140 lbs. He had a noticeable scar over his left eye, through his eyebrow. He was wearing a red shirt with no collar with black lettering on the front. He wore a dark-colored hooded sweat jacket, blue or black jeans and black sneakers. He was also wearing a gold watch with a gold sectioned band on his right arm."
This is an illustration of suspect number two:
The DPD description, which references observations by the victim: "A white male in his mid-twenties, with brownish blonde hair in a short buzz cut. He was 6'1" to 6'2" tall with a very muscular build and weighing about 200 lbs. He was wearing a black, shiny windbreaker-type jacket, dark jeans and Nike high-top tennis shoes. He had a tattoo on his right forearm that he described as letters in a language other than English, but not Chinese. The suspect had a silver ring on one of his fingers that looked like a large class ring. He stated that suspect #2 had a deep voice."
Was the crime alert sent out the media organizations like this one in part because a man was sexually assaulted -- a less common offense than if women are the victims? Absolutely not, says Lieutenant Matt Murray, spokesman for the Denver Police Department.
"The decision to send out information to the community is not based on the sex of the victim, or race, or any of those things," Murray says. "The decision is based on the elements of the crime."
The key factor in this instance, Murray goes on, was the fact that the suspects were strangers to the victim -- meaning that the local citizenry needs to know that men fitting the descriptions above are still out there, and could potentially attack more innocent people.
As for the overall number of sexual assaults in Capitol Hill, there have been plenty of them, unfortunately, over the past year.
Continue to see a map of sexual assaults in Capitol Hill and more of our interview with Lieutenant Matt Murray.