Monday, October 24, 2016

Police seeking public’s help in Silver Lake sexual assault

Silver Lake rape victim and suspect shown in surveillance camera video.

Police are looking for witnesses who might have seen a man who is believed to have sexually assaulted a woman in Silver Lake last month as she walked home early one morning. The man who allegedly assaulted the woman is in custody but the police are seeking additional witnesses who may have seen the suspect and victim near Silver Lake reservoirs on the morning of  April 20.  The woman who was walking home at about 6 a.m. when she  encountered the man near Sunset Boulevard and Benton Way.  “She was befriended by a male suspect who walked with her, then took her to a garage/carport area and sexually assaulted.”

The victim tried to flee after the attack but the man followed her until a passerby asked if the woman was okay.  The man then fled. Officers with the Northeast Division will be out on Friday morning on the north end of  Silver Lake reservoirs, where they believe a jogger may have seen the suspect and victim on Silver Lake Boulevard, said Officer Al Polehonki with the LAPD Northeast Division.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Northeast Sex Crimes Detectives immediately at (323) 344-5742.

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  1. I’m confused. Why are they arm in arm, if he just befriended her? Are they a couple?

  2. I’ve got to call potential bogus on this one too. Is he carrying a coffee and a newspaper?

    So he got up at 5:30am for his morning cup of Starbuck’s joe and the AM periodical, started walking home and just randomly met a woman that he was comfortable enough to put his arm around and walk in broad daylight with and then he decided to rape her a carport?

    • You should be his lawyer

    • Maybe she had been out overnight drinking and was feeling friendly and less on guard. You may not know this, Bento, but alcohol tends to impair judgement and inhibitions. Maybe she’s too trusting. Maybe he’s a scumbag predator who saw easy prey. That’s what they do. Without knowing more facts or context, I think it would be ignorant to call her story into question because the alleged rapist had a coffee.

      • I’m glad you’re using the operative word: Maybe.

        Maybe they actually know one another. Or maybe she was impaired from a long night of drinking, got overly friendly and put herself in a position she shouldn’t have and when she realized what she was doing she freaked. And the “scumbag predator”, as you call him, went from someone feeling lucky to get some unexpected, liquored-up early morning booty to someone accused of something that could tarnish a reputation and ruin a life permanently.

        Or is it easier for you, much like it is for the police, to just see a “scumbag predator” whe you see someone looking vaguely chicano and homeboy? Would you have a little more doubt if he was a tall, skinny white guy with an emo haircut and skinny jeans?

        Maybe it’s YOU who needs to wait on more facts and context before you start name-calling and assuming guilt on someone.

        • Kudos to you, you said it all, never assume the obvious!

        • I didn’t call anyone anything. If he committed this crime then that’s what he is. I don’t presume to know any facts about this case. That’s why I used “maybe” and “alleged.” His ethnicity is of no concern to me, and I wouldn’t see him differently if he were wearing tight jeans and had a bad haircut. “Scumbags” come in all shapes and sizes. For community safety, it’s a good idea to investigate violent crime allegations from all sides and make judgements after being equipped with as many FACTS as possible.

          • Actually, you did. You made sure to refer to him as a “scumbag predator”, even without knowing any sort of facts in this case. If we’re going to do that, should we alledge her as maybe a filthy liar as well? Or is this the whole “guilty until proven innocent” assumption that goes on with people of color?

            And who are the “they” that you’re referring to? Latinos? Men in general?

            And you’re absolutely right about community safety being a priority and obtaining facts. But you’re hypocritical when you talk about making judgements AFTER obtaining facts since you’ve already made your judgement NOW based on the fact that you consider it “ignorant” for me to call her story into question even though there are ZERO facts known right now, just one person’s accusation.

        • TypicalLA Hater

          Why do you say he looks “homeboy” when he clearly looks like a white supremicist with that shaved head?

        • TypicalLA Hater

          Or maybe the shaved head person is the victim…perhaps she is undergoing cancer treatment and shaved her head. And the man on the left is a cross dresser, or just a fan from the 80’s hair metal days that does steroids which caused man boobs and carries a European carryall…after all, one should never assume anything when it comes to “homeboys” because “homeboys” have been a pillar of strength and moral decency in Los Angeles while the skinny jean clad hipsters are the ones tagging up the neighborhood and killing rival hipster gang members out of the windows of their mini coopers.

      • So you’re saying she was asking for it. Yeah.

    • DJ Bento Box looks at the coffee cup and newspaper and puts the exact trust in those “props” that the suspect hoped his victim would.

      • And Will Campbell looks at a photo of a homeboy walking with someone arm in arm, with a coffee and newspaper and assumes the worst just because someone makes an accusation.

        There sure seems to be a lot of immediate judgement and underlying racism going on here without knowing all (or really pretty much any) facts.

        • You’re absolutely right, DJ Bento Box. Apologies. I strive to be the last guy to jump to conclusions about a suspect’s guilt, and I did just that in offering a what I meant to be a hypothetical alternative to your characterization.

          • Why don’t you two get a room already.

          • TypicalLA Hater

            Why not make assumptions about another stupid “homeboy”? Isn’t that what being a homeboy stands for…crime, drugs, violence, etc.? Am I missing something here or did the LA homies change their tune after the last Dodgers beating? Are the poor little homies being misunderstood now they are for peace, love, and philanthropy?

        • We all know that you, “DJ Bento” are far above petty stereotyping. Why, for example, I’ve never heard you judge anyone or anything on first impressions. Someone as morally evolved as you would never judge or have ill feelings towards a person who dresses or looks different to what you deem acceptable…say someone wearing SKINNY JEANS, for example.

        • TypicalLA Hater

          DJ Bento Box, your just a used-up old douchebag from my grandmothers trash can. Keep fighting the good fight for the LA homies…homie.

        • DJ, how could you NOT assume he’s guilty? I mean look at him!

  3. Sometimes the rapist is a friend first! Some fathers rape their own daughters, some teachers rape their own students! The predators are not ALWAYS strangers. Maybe they met before or just saw each other a lot in passing and she’s just too trusting!

  4. Plus it looks like she has a bit of a height advantage and could beat him down

  5. I quess that’s why they need witnesses

  6. “Befriended?” I wish people, especially people like cops, would think about word choice a bit more.

  7. Sorry, but I have to agree with those having doubts about this “rape.” And I find it scary that people automatically believe the accuser, not the accused.

    I don’t know what is true here, but I definitely would not automatically believe the accuser — there has to be something to back up the accusation, and I see nothing of that in this story. I don’t think the police should have automatically believed her either, should have gotten some actual evidence before locking him up instead of only now trying to find some, according to this story. I’d hate to think I could be in jail today simply because some woman claims a rape that might or might not have happened and points at me, and no more evidence than that! Gee, that makes me afraid to go out my door. And this is a month later that they are trying to come up with evidence — this isn’t even current. Has this guy been in jail all this time, and they don’t even have much of any evidence — there is no suggestion of it in this story?!

    Unfortunately, it is entirely far too common to have false allegations of rape, and even convictions on little more than the accuser’s identification of the suspect. And that is proven by all the rape convicts now having DNA exonerate them.

    This is entirely too close and friendly a photo to presume a rape by a stranger. And gee, to start alleging a planned attack complete with “props” to fool the victim — that is sick thinking, extremely biased — no wonder we have so many false convictions.

    I also will note problems just in this story. It says they were at Benton Way and Sunset, but somehow police are looking around the reservoirs for witnesses — why, since Benton Way and Sunset isn’t even near the reservoirs?! We need a LOT better reporting than that.

    • Hi. I am trying to get more info about the circumstances of this case.

    • Despite Paul’s derisive opinion of my “sick thinking” in offering an alternative to DJ Bento Box’s characterization of the suspect, I agree with him that the facts of this case need bearing out, and I do want to apologize for the bias found in that first comment. For what it’s worth I’m one of the seemingly dwindling number of people who will trumpet a person’s innocence until proven guilty regardless of the amount of circumstantial evidence to the contrary. I say let the detectives detect and let the evidence or lack thereof determine whether or not charges are filed.

    • Paul —
      It sounds like we have more than just her word against his in this case. According to the police account of what happened, after the “alleged” assault, the victim tried to flee, the suspect followed the victim until a passerby saw her (and presumably him in pursuit) and asked her if everything was OK. Then, the suspect ran away. Hmmm. Now this suspect is in custody. So, here, we have at least one witness who saw the victim and the accused at a very close time to the alleged incident. (Although, did not actually witness the incident.)

      I say, the police are just looking for *more* evidence to convict. So, yes, he may still be NOT guilty, and we should not assume that he is guilty, since we are all presumed to be innocent, but I got a tell you, the facts, as reported, sound really, really bad for this guy.

  8. This story does not compute. There is something about this that we do not know.

  9. Seem like a happy couple from the pic.

  10. Lets not jump to conclusions either way. All we know at this point is

    A. The Suspect is accused and is in custody
    B. The Police are looking for additional witnesses
    C. They are using the photo to jog peoples memories
    D. There is a photo of them arm in arm (who really knows why at this point)

    There is really no evidence here pointing to innocence or guilt that could honestly be discerned by what we’ve been told.

    • You are right. And that is not how such news should be reported. AT least point out the holes in the info when you report — and you should be in a position to say that police maybe refused to reveal, or didn’t know, or whatever the case maybe why you don’t have the info. As far as I can tell, the questions were never asked of the police, instead we are just passed a press release.

  11. There’s a persistent belief that rapists attack strangers from the bushes, brandishing knives. This is simply not the case. This scenario, as described, is exactly how rape happens. It doesn’t matter if it happened in morning. It doesn’t matter if they were friendly before the attack. Rapists are opportunists.

    • What makes you think that’s a persistent belief? I think its pretty well known that most victims know their attacker.

  12. Is that LAPD video intro for real? It takes 25 seconds of patriotic music and photos of SWAT teams and helicopters before you get to the announcement, which has the worst color balance I’ve ever seen.

  13. i love reading posts on this website simply because i am a resident of the area and believe its informative to know what happens in my surroundings to either enjoy such events or keep my eyes peeled for my own safety. What i don’t understand is why the comments section ALWAYS has to include insults, fights, name calling amongst each other? After all is that not considered a fight/dispute/argument amongst us residents whom should be united? I understand we all have our own opinion and should as we are individuals but some comments are truly unnecessary and this is the only reason why i refuse to go past the actual article. We all live here so lets be more respectful and work together to make our community a pleasant living. That doesn’t mean we need to think alike but at least i know how to respect my peers. I’m-just-saying. Peace!

  14. Want to throw something out there- I dont know the facts of the case, so Im not That said, there are comments suggesting that this female might have “put herself in the position”- granted- theres something to be said about being preventative about crime- yo, I dont walk the streets in certain areas drunk alone- for instance. That said, just because a girl is drunk, or trusting, or dressing in a certain way doesnt allow a sexual assault to be more OK than if she was a nun strolling the streets at high noon. To make statements that essentially equate to “she was asking for it” is turning the clock back to the same time that kept black folk in the back of the bus. It’s 2012…violence is violence and a good night out, or a short skirt doesnt make it any more acceptable.

    • Thanks for saying this! Yes, it is true that there is a lot we do not know. But, it does *not* matter that she may have been out late; that she may have been drinking; that she met somebody who walked with her (or that she already knew and offered to walk with her) or even that she let him put his arm around her. Or that he offered her coffee to sober up. So what? That doesn’t mean that she wanted to have sex with this guy. If he actually raped her or tried to rape her all those facts don’t really matter, do they? Just because a women is out partying a little too much and accepts a coffee invitation afterwards does NOT mean she wants you to rape her!!!! Get it?

      She probably did not exercise the best judgment that night/morning, very true, but that still does NOT mean it is ok to rape her!!!

      • And again, just because someone makes an allegation of rape doesn’t mean it should be taken as gospel. I think that’s what is really being debated here.

        No one is saying that someone “deserves” to be raped because she may or may not have made some poor decisions. That would be ridiculous. The issue that I and others on here have is that just because someone uses the word rape, the accused is immediately branded and is considered guilty until some sort of innocence is proven. And even then, there are always muttering that he “got off”, “the system is broken/against women”, etc…

        It’s an allegation that never really goes away, even in the case of innocence. Imagine if someone, anyone around you could accuse you of something that as soon as it’s uttered, even if you’re completely innocent, attaches itself to you and you’re assumed guilty and dirty.

        Words are weapons and people are far too easy to believe.

        • Well said. And I note, this pretty well applies to most all sex offenses.

        • Innocent until proven guilty. He is the “accused.” It’s a high burden for the victim because it will be her word against his word. And in that event, where all you have is one person’s word against another person’s word, you know who wins? The accused. The accused will NOT be convicted unless you have some corroborating evidence that will support her (95% of the time it’s a woman, or if not a woman, a child) word against his. So, most of time, the accused will not be convicted. So, I don’t buy this thing about how stigmatizing it is. Ask any prosecutor and they will tell you how *hard* it is to prosecute sexual offenses, for all the reasons stated above, ….

          • And, by the way, we do know that according to the police account of what happened, after the “alleged” assault, the victim tried to flee, the suspect followed the victim until a passerby saw her and asked if everything was OK. Then, the suspect ran away. Hmmm. Now this suspect is in custody.

            I say, the police are just looking for *more* evidence to convict. So, yes, he may still be NOT guilty, but I got a tell you, the facts, as reported, sound really, really bad for this guy.

  15. “The Gift of Fear,” by Gavin de Becker is a book that outlines how our intuition/fear is more powerful than our intellectual evaluation of a situation. He outlines the tactics used by rapists and murderers to initiate contact and establish trust with their victims. Worth a read, especially for city dwellers.

  16. Ok, am I really reading an outpouring of sympathy for a man who raped a woman? Read this sentence:

    “The victim tried to flee after the attack but the man followed her until a passerby asked if the woman was okay. The man then fled.”

    Yes, give him a trial. But spare me the speeches and rhetoric about the rights of the accused. My heart goes out to the victim – the woman – and I hope she is doing ok. This crime is so disturbing, as are these posts.

  17. My gratitude to Jesus for putting this story out on the Eastsider. We at the LAPD are restrained in the info we release to the public: the DA has filed charges, and this case is going to a prelim hearing soon and possibly a jury trial later. While we cannot contaminate a jury with too many evidentiary details, we are reaching out to hopefully identify eyewitnesses who saw the victim & suspect early on Friday, April 20, on Silver Lake Blvd. between Sunset and the reservoir.

    Paul asks some good questions. The victim walked home along Sunset Blvd. east towards Silver Lake Blvd. Suspect “assists” victim home (sorry, can’t divulge more than that) until, well, he pulls her to the side and attacks her. After, as she flees toward home, he follows her until a jogger runs up and checks on her.

    We don’t have a lot of rapes in Silver Lake. SLO Al Polehonki has worked the area for years, and he tirelessly assisted the investigation by walking miles of pavement, checking video cameras along the way for footage of our victim and suspect. We reviewed hours of videos and developed a Crime Alert with still shots from the videos. We also showed video clips to numerous officers who work that area. Our break came on May 16, when Burglary detectives performed probation checks on motels along Sunset. One of the accompanying uniformed officers recognized the suspect from the video, detained him, and contacted our Sexual Assault detectives.

    The victim is a Silver Lake community member, one of your neighbors. She is going to go through hell in court. I feel for her. But her “worst day” is behind her. She will heal–physically first, psychologically over time.

    Officer Scheerer
    Northeast War Room

    • Thank you for this additional insight Officer Scheerer. With informative responses such as this as well as Northeast’s utilization of social media outlets such as YouTube to strengthen contact with the community, I hope other divisions (I’m looking at you Rampart) follow its lead in becoming as proactive and interactive in their communications.

    • Good work, LAPD, and thanks Officer Scheerer, for enlightening us with as much info as you can!

      • “Our break came on May 16, when Burglary detectives performed probation checks on motels along Sunset.”

        Can you explain what that is?

        • Northeast and Rampart areas have recently experienced an uptick in burglaries in the greater Silver Lake area. Our detectives visited several motels in the area and checked the registrants, from the sign-in log, for warrants & probation/parole status. Those with search/seizure conditions were searched for evidence or contraband.

          I don’t recall the exact circumstances of the rape suspect’s contact with police. He either walked by while we were there, or he signed in with a false name (that may have had a warrant or search conditions). Regardless, it was an independent, proactive police activity–addressing the burglary series–that led us to him; and a diligent officer recognized him.

  18. The comments on this page represent the worst parts of the internet.

    Why does everything need to be up for public debate? Why does everyone think their opinion needs to be heard about everything they know nothing about? This article is about the police asking for help in an investigation, and is NOT about what every joe blow thinks are inconsistencies in a police report based on minimal evidence OR about anyone’s racial biases OR about how and if women ever deserved to be raped.

    If you know something about this case, please contact the police. If not, why are you getting involved?

    • Cause it’s fun man!

      A little hypocritical (or at least ironic) of you to give an opinion on people giving opinions.

  19. She is not a ‘victim’. She is a ‘survivor’.

  20. Some of the comments to this thread are appallingly ignorant and racist.

  21. Wow, I couldn’t stomach more than 4 or 5 comments. I can’t believe the victim-blaming. I don’t think most people do it intentionally – it’s just pounded into our heads’ since forever that it’s the woman’s sole responsibility to someone comply to every standard of modesty to keep rapists away. Problem is, the only thing that would really help a woman is if she could be male instead – men do get raped, but it’s much, much rarer.
    Honestly, I don’t care if this woman picks up a guy on the street every night. I don’t care if she’s a prostitute. I don’t care if she’s a tweaker, or drunk off her ass, or on multiple substances – this man had NO RIGHT to rape her. Maybe most men don’t have this happen, but I’d think most women have had an experience where a seemingly normal, charming, nice guy suddenly gets creepy or angry or threatening. Remember Ted Bundy?
    It also bothers me how little is ever accomplished regarding rape and other sexual assaults. I’ve never understood why the sentences are often so short. When I read this sort of victim-blaming, an instant judgement of the female derived from a moment in time caught on tape, where you can’t see the expression on the female’s face, it makes me feel that not much has changed in several decades. I can remember in the mid-80’s, sitting in home room, when all females were called to the auditorium. We were all confused, it was very hush-hush, and unexpected. A male police officer stood on the stage and announced that he was going to help us learn how not to be raped. They turned the lights down, and we got to watch an horrific film showing different scenarios. After that, the male officer gave a speech & I clearly remember when he repeated the “biggest tip” is “NEVER fight back”, thinking to myself, “that’s it? that’s my only option?” During his lecture, a girl started screaming hysterically that if she hadn’t fought back, she’d be dead. She was quickly ushered out of the auditorium. Then, this male officer, had the gall to look at the 200 or so females in front of him and say, “That may have worked for her, she got lucky. But, as a law officer I’m telling you girls, DO NOT FIGHT BACK.” I will NEVER forget that – probably where my so-called “feminist” leanings began. Now that I’m older, I realize it should be all the males who are corralled into an auditorium at 14 years old & talked to about how not to rape a woman:
    1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.
    2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.
    3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to rape her.
    4. If you are in an elevator and a woman gets in, don’t rape her.
    5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not rape her.
    6. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or rape her.
    7. Remember, people go to the laundry room to do their laundry. Do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
    8. Use the Buddy System! If it is inconvenient for you to stop yourself from raping women, ask a trusted friend to accompany you at all times.
    9. Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to rape someone, blow the whistle until someone comes to stop you.
    10. Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. When asking a woman out on a date, don’t pretend that you are interested in her as a person; tell her straight up that you expect to be raping her later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the woman may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her.

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