PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The KDKA Investigators have uncovered two disturbing cases of sexual assault that involve women with special needs.
A woman with Down syndrome said she was sexually assaulted on an ACCESS bus on the way to a volunteer job.
In Pleasant Hills, detectives are investigating allegations made that another woman, who is severely handicapped and can’t speak, was sexually assaulted at an adult daycare center.
The Pittsburgh case focuses on First Transit and three possible suspects – all drivers. The woman with Down syndrome told investigators: “Van man kissed me. Van man touched me.”
She also made more graphic allegations. Investigators are concerned, considering her disability, she may have difficulty identifying a suspect.
“These are victims whether they’re disabled, vulnerable children or adults, that cannot be qualified to testify many times,” Joan Mills, from A Child’s Place at Mercy, said. “There are times they are though.”
In Pleasant Hills there’s another investigation at an adult daycare – allegations investigators describe as disturbing.
A severely handicapped woman afraid to be touched with physical signs that indicate a possible sexual assault.
Because these allegations come from a woman who cannot speak, police will rely on possible physical evidence or a possible witness.
“They have to be qualified to be able to testify,” Mills said. “And can you imagine them being cross-examined on a witness stand?”
However, police have had success in getting some of the disabled victims testify and help them through the horror of the incident.
“In the end it may never be solved and all the family can do is protect their family member from any future assault, but then you have other people at risk,” Mills said.
There is no comment from First Transit.
The owners of the Step By Step Adult Daycare Center also had no comment.