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Woman Says She Was Assaulted During Downtown Protest 

click to enlarge A homeless woman says she was assaulted last month at Kanawha Plaza during the Occupy Richmond protest. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • A homeless woman says she was assaulted last month at Kanawha Plaza during the Occupy Richmond protest.

A homeless woman claims she was sexually assaulted at Kanawha Plaza more than two weeks ago during the height of the Occupy Richmond protest. The question is whether another homeless person, or a protestor, is the alleged attacker.

The woman filed a police report at 11 p.m. on Oct. 21, alleging that she was sexually assaulted in the 700 block of East Canal Street.

Style Weekly interviewed the alleged victim at Kanawha Plaza days after the incident. She claimed that while sleeping she was attacked by a man she identified as one of the dozens of protestors sleeping inside the park.

But representatives from Occupy Richmond insist that the alleged perpetrator was instead a member of the transient community. Authorities are investigating, a police spokeswoman says, but no arrest has been made.

The attacker had a tent and was staying at plaza during the protest, but “was not a participating member of the protests,” says Eleanor Cauthen, a member of Occupy Richmond’s safety committee. After news of the allegation filtered through the park, the alleged attacker’s tent was removed. He did not attempt to return to Kanawha, says Cauthen.

Attempts to reach the accuser for clarification were unsuccessful.

Occupy Richmond plans to launch a second occupation this week at Monroe Park near Virginia Commonwealth University.

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