PD: Sex assaults similar, victims uncooperative

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 29, 2016

HAMILTON, Ohio – The woman who reported a man threatened her with a knife Thursday has seemingly disappeared, and she’s not the first woman to report an attack in Hamilton and then turn uncooperative in recent months, according to police.

Neighbors called 911 when they discovered the screaming, half-naked woman in the Greenwood Cemetery Thursday afternoon. A man in a black pickup truck had held a knife to her throat and demanded oral sex, they told police.

However, the victim hasn’t answered calls from police and the address she gave them leads to an empty hotel room, according to Sgt. Brian Robinson.

Records show that her criminal history includes charges of solicitation and other crimes, so police don’t believe the attack was random, Robinson said.

“We know she came into contact one way or another with the suspect down around Dixie and Belle area,” Robinson said. “What transpired between her coming into contact with him and when she was found up in Greenwood Cemetery is what’s under investigation. [We're] trying to nail down the timeline and the facts.”

It also wasn’t an isolated incident: Since September, there have been five similar attacks, according to police. Records show the victims reported they were attacked Sept. 8, Sept. 10, Dec. 24 and Jan. 15, in addition to Thursday's incident. Each time, a woman reported a sexual assault in a vehicle, and then the woman became uncooperative with police.

In at least four of the cases, the victims said the attacker was armed with a knife. Each woman had been involved in either drug or prostitution activity, they said.

Within hours of the Sept. 10 incident, police records show a 29-year-old man, Matthew Craig Wright, was arrested and charged with robbery, forcible rape and aggravated assault, as well as charges related to the Hamilton Police Department's allegations that he fled from officers when they tried to stop him. But the alleged victim didn’t show up for court, and he could not be prosecuted for the assault, Hamilton police Officer Kristy Collins told the Journal-News.

Police didn’t say if they thought one man was responsible for all the attacks. 

For neighbors who had been shaken by news of the attack, learning that it apparently wasn’t a random act was a partial relief, but they still felt bad for the victim.

“It’s still not right that someone held a knife up to her throat and did that to her,” Bianca Scannavino said. “No one deserves that to happen to them.”