By Paul Martino

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A local woman who says she was a victim of sexual assault says she’s angered that powerful men appear to be getting away with sexual assault and not getting prosecuted.

She says her own case wasn’t prosecuted because of a lack of evidence. Even so, she’s urging other victims to come forward.

The woman, who we won’t identify, says she was raped at a home just off Pitt’s campus last September. She went to the police, but the district attorney said there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute. Now, she’s speaking out and calling on other victims to speak out, too.

She’s a recent graduate of Pitt and is pursuing her career, but her life was shattered last September when she says she went to a friend’s apartment off campus and he raped her.

“It’s really sad and disheartening,” the woman said.

She says she called police and was interviewed by the Allegheny County District’s Attorney office, but they wouldn’t charge the alleged attacker.

“I did have convincing evidence. It’s just you can’t have any doubt, and to prove to twelve people that when it’s something you don’t see, there’s not video footage… it’s hard,” she said.

The District Attorney, through a spokesman, acknowledged the case and says: “We have an ethical responsibility not to go forward with a prosecution if we cannot reasonably expect a conviction and that is the case with this set of facts.”

“Anyone who comes forward is serious, but I don’t feel like it’s being viewed that way because it’s so, so hard to prove,” the woman said.

This woman’s fight for justice isn’t over. An investigation continues under Title IX. It’s a civil rights law that prohibits gender discrimination in schools, and they investigate sexual harassment and assault cases. Title IX investigators at Pitt declined to comment on this case.

Meanwhile, the alleged victim says it’s hard for her to watch powerful men, like Al Franken and Roy Moore, be accused of sexual assaults and never be charged.

“It really has given me perspective on what’s going on in the world right now and how sorry I am for other people who go through what I went through and who aren’t getting the justice they deserve,” she said.

She also tells KDKA she fears her alleged attacker will assault other women, and she says it’s not hard for her to understand why many women who accused powerful men took years to come forward. She says it’s extremely difficult to do.

Comments (5)
  1. This is a very interesting article. You should post this to your Facebook and Twitter accounts so more people could see it.

  2. Thank you for standing up. We must believe women always and act accordingly, no matter who the accused is. That is the only way we’ll get an inkling of justice for the millions of women who experience sexual harassment and rape every week, and don’t see justice because there is not enough “evidence.” Nobody is collecting videos and evidence in the middle of a traumatic attack.

  3. Standing with all people who do the hard work of coming forward after assaults and trauma like this. This woman deserves justices. This woman deserves to feel safe. The fear that this perpetrator will assault more woman in our community is real. It’s shameful that the DAs office did not take this case more seriously. Believe people who come forward and share their stories. Believe people who speak out.

  4. Seth Bush says:

    It seems that our system is woefully unprepared to believe and investigate instances of sexual assault and rape like this one. We must do better. What is the DA doing to develop procedures and expertise that would help them actually be helpful in rape cases? Our criminal justice system has all sorts of tools for finding evidence and building a case for other crimes — many much less severe than rape. Why do the decision makers in our criminal justice system consistently fail to even try when it comes to rape? Hint: the men at the top benefit from a broken system — including the leadership at Pitt who don’t want the bad press at a time when other men are being rightfully vilified for their abusive actions.

  5. Karl Zellars says:

    Reporting on this situation is the right thing for KDKA to do and it’s heartening to see my lifelong preferred local news station supporting this woman’s struggle. Men who commit these crimes need to be held accountable and our justice system is not accomplishing that.

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