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'They invaded me': Man attempts to sexually assault woman in downtown apartment building

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Posted at 3:42 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-18 00:37:27-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Police are looking for a suspect who was caught on camera trying to sexually assault a woman in her own apartment building.

After experiencing such a traumatic situation, WRTV has decided to conceal this woman’s identity.

The incident occurred at the John J. Barton Annex Apartments downtown, at 501 N. East St., which is an Indianapolis Housing Agency property. She was taking the elevator downstairs one night to visit with her son when you see a young man follow behind her.

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“When I was trying to get off the elevator, he just grabbed a hold of my shirt,” the woman said.

She said the man told her he wanted her; she denied him. He then continued to pull on her clothes and touch her, she says. A struggle ensued.

“And that’s what I slapped him across the face and then he slapped me,” she said.

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Thankfully, the woman was able to fight him off enough before others heard and the suspect ran away. But the sheer fear of what happened, she said, sticks with her.

“They invaded me,” she said. “And I don’t bother nobody, I’m a good person. I try to be good to everybody. But I don’t know who to trust anymore.”

An IHA property, the people who live in this building are mostly elderly or disabled.

“I’m like 58 years old. It’s terrifying. I’m very terrified. Every time. It could be any floor,” the woman said. “I don’t feel safe here.”

The IHA executive director, John Hall, says police are investigating. It’s unclear if the suspect was a guest of another tenant or an unauthorized person in the building. They still have not caught him. What happened, Hall says, was unacceptable.

“It’s about awareness,” Hall said. “We want all of our residents to always be aware of their surroundings and in this incident the tenant was aware and she gave a really good fight. But what we’ve done even prior to this incident, we’ve noticed an uptick in incidents, criminal incidents, happening just around our property and in our buildings with security breaches.”

WRTV Investigates searched public records and found at least 11 police reports have been filed so far this year at the John J. Barton Annex Apartments. In 2020, at least 16 reports were filed for a disturbance there, ranging from theft, battery, to incidents involving a weapon. Hall says they have tripled the amount of off-duty police officers to increase security.

“We did submit a grant to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for additional security measures and unfortunately we were not successful. We just got that notification this week,” Hall said. “But regardless of resources, additional resources, not being there, I will use every dollar, every resource that I have within my budget and toolkit to create an opportunity for the property to be successful.”

Hall says he has zero tolerance for what happened to this resident and is working to create a safer environment. If you have any information or recognize the suspect, they ask you call police.

RESOURCES | Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault & Human Trafficking

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