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Police present rape evidence to attorney

Staff writer

The Hillsboro Police Department has presented evidence to Marion County Attorney Susan Robson from a rape that allegedly occurred Dec. 8, 2008, Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning said.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation processed and returned DNA evidence in the case to Hillsboro police, prompting the presentation.

After Robson reviews the evidence, she will decide whether to file charges. If charges are filed, she will then present the evidence to Eighth Judicial District Judge Michael F. Powers who will decide whether to give Hillsboro police an arrest warrant.

Robson said that the decision to file charges should be made by next week.

Resources for victims

Now that police have concluded investigations, victims of six rapes occurring in Hillsboro over the past 13 months must pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. But, victims should not suffer alone; therapists and advocates in Marion County are available to help.

Kansas protects victims by allowing them to have a rape examination without having to report a crime. The evidence can be stored for five years before it is legally useless.

Prairie View Community Mental Health Center offers psychiatric care in Marion County from the Hillsboro office. Kathy Pearce of Prairie View, Newton, works with victims of sexual abuse. She said that often victims suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, which is what she treats first. She uses a variety of methods to treat victims. Most often she sees victims individually but has set up rape survivor support groups in the past.

She will offer pharmaceutical treatments in cases where the victim is not sleeping or eating. In the most severe cases, when victims threaten to harm themselves, Pearce will suggest hospitalization.

“Initially you want to focus on the person feeling safe again,” she said. “The worst thing a person can do is not process those thoughts and feelings.”

Pearce works with victims at a pace they dictate. Sometimes she may stop seeing a patient after three or four sessions; sometimes she may see a patient for six months, have the patient leave, and then treat them again years later.

“You have to move slowly,” she said. “People may not be ready to talk about what happened, but it’s very healthy to talk about it.”

Pearce said that having a positive support group of people is important, but if victims have no one that they can trust, SADVC offers support for victims in Marion County.

Victims can call the Sexual Assault/Domestic Vioilence Center in McPherson at (620) 241-6615 or their hot line (800) 701-3630. Victims can call Prairie View at (620) 947-3200 or (316) 284-6400.

Last modified Feb. 4, 2010

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