North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

April 9, 2013

Police investigate rape from four years ago

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

FULTONDALE — Fultondale Police are investigating a report of strong-arm rape that reportedly occurred four years ago.

The victim, age 14 at the time, said she was raped in a wooded area behind the 100 Oaks mobile home park off Decatur Highway in April 2009, according to the official police report. Sgt. D.P. Smith said the area, located behind a swimming pool, is frequented by juveniles.

“This report could have been delayed by several circumstances. She’s now an adult at age 18, so she could make the decision [to report the crime] herself,” Smith said.

Police were scheduled to interview the victim on Tuesday at a facility in an undisclosed location that is designed to be a less-intimidating atmosphere that the typical police interrogation room.

Little is known by police about a suspect. But if he was under age at the time, it’s hard to tell whether he will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

“Depending on how close to the cutoff age the perpetrator was [when the crime was committed], it depends on the district attorney’s office and how they will pursue this,” Smith said. “Sometimes they will send it back to family court, or it could be set up for a criminal or even civil case.”

Investigators will have to deal with the long time span that has elapsed since the incident.

“The time frame definitely hinders the investigation, because witnesses or friends that people have confided in may have moved on,” Smith said. “It makes it more difficult, but it can be overcome. Sometimes people withhold coming forward for various reasons, and then pressing forward helps them to move on with life. Sometimes they will repress memories.”

The victim is not being identified, but Smith said she is from the local area.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Fultondale Police Department at 849-5456.