GALVESTON - Here's another one of those stories "for the the books".
A woman reported to Galveston Police she was standing on a street corner in the early morning near the entrance to the University of Texas Medical Branch when she was jerked off the corner by a six foot tall black man, wisked away in his car, taken to a strange place and raped. Then he dumped her out and disappeared, never to be seen again.
Four days later she decided it would probably be good to report the incident to police, so she called Galveston Police. Galvston Police kept the report out of reach of the media and unsurprisingly did not issue a press release so that other potential victims would be warned there was a rapist on the streets.
The UTMB posted a blip on it's website but did not send out an email to it's student body alerting them to this monster.
It was not ever posted on the UTMB Police Department's website on the page entitled Crime Alerts. In fact the last post to that page was in August, 2009. Equally the Galvston Police Department's website where crime incidents were once posted has not been updated since April of this year.
In a story published Saturday the local Galveston newspaper reported that "the incident prompted police to caution those who walk alone near the University of Texas's campus in Galveston where he sexually assault her and released her". However, that caution was made only after the reporter contacted the police spokesman about the story.
The paper also reported the spokesman was loss for an explanation about the four day delay in the victim reporting the incident to police. The spokesman also didn’t know where the sexual assault happened, whether it was outdoors, in a car or in a house or building and he declined to discuss it any further saying the investigation remained ongoing.
State law provides that police are not required to reveal to the public any details of a criminal case in which the investigation is still underway. Thus, the term "investigation is still ongoing" is a familiar term to reporters because it is the fall-back reason given when police either don't want to reveal information, have no information to reveal, or use the term when caught off guard by a reporter who knows more about the case that he does.
Then after the reporter got hold of the story, UTMB campus police decided it would issue a warning too, saying people should walk in pairs and report suspicious persons to them.
So what the entire things boils down to is a woman reports to police she was abducted and raped but after waiting four days later to do it. The police and the university seem to have little interest in it because it was kept under wraps from the media and the public was not warned through the media of a dangerous rapists being on the streets of Galveston.
If, in fact, it was an unfounded report, there would be no useful purpose in the police splashing it all over the media, for the police are aware of how the media can make a firecracker into an atom bomb It may be a non-story that became a story only after a reporter got hold of it.
These kind of cases are not strange to police. Some women report phony rapes to them for some of the most outlandish reasons and police have a second sense for them usually.
This case looks like one of those cases. But it finally go out and gave us something to write about in the paper and on the web.