Local group speaking out on law enforcement’s response to rapes

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A group dedicated to improving law enforcement’s response to rape is speaking out.

They’re asking for more officers to investigate sex crimes and more transparency.

Unfortunately sexual assault is something WREG has been warning you about after police said a possible serial rapist attacked a woman in East Memphis.

The attack could be connected to a series of robberies and sexual assaults across Memphis dating back to 2014.

Detectives said over the weekend a man broke into a woman’s unit at the Madison at Cypress Lakes Apartments and sexually assaulted her.

They’re not sure he’s connected to other rapes but they wanted to warn the public.

“I don’t want to see more victims go through what I went through,” said Meaghan Ybos.

Ybos’ story is one WREG has followed for years.

In 2003, she was raped by a masked man.

Nine years went by with no follow up.

“In that time my rapist attacked many more women,” she said.

Finally in 2012 her attacker was arrested.

“He’s finally in prison now but we see case after case in the news where there are many more rapists at large,” she said.

Ybos is now the executive director of PERL, which stands for People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws.

Their goal is to stop law enforcement from looking at sex crimes, as she said, “differently” and instead make them a top priority.

In Ybos’ case her rape kit sat on a shelf untested for years.

In 2013, WREG discovered more than 12,000 rape kits in the city of Memphis were never tested or damaged.

Ybos said it’s important women in recent cases to have their kits tested too.

We asked MPD about the possibility of expediting the process.

“We have a development and process in the rape kit strategy as we push it forward to laboratories,” said Deputy Chief Mike Ryall.

PERL has recently met with Mayor Jim Stickland, and said they would like to see a sex crime database created, more transparency when these crimes happen and, with the addition of Police Service Technicians, more trained officers to help investigate sex crimes.

“With these newly freed officers, the mayor adds staff to the sex crime unit,” she said.

Memphis Police said at this point they don’t have any physical evidence connecting the cases, but they wanted to get the word out.

They’re reminding everyone to be vigilant and get to know your neighbors so you can look out for each other.

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