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Handling Sex Assaults: A New Challenge For OWS Protesters

At the Occupy wall street protest everything is free--food shelter, clothing. But some women have seen the ugly side of those freedoms. There have been 3 sex assaults since early October including one woman who says she was raped.

The signs are everywhere--one that threatens rapists, another that spells out how a woman was sexually assaulted, another is a make shift wanted poster.

Elektra, who lives upstate, says, "I've seen a lot of people accosted."

Paddy Dore, who works a security detail for the Protestors says, "I don't think it will happen anymore we have a lot more security."

Women we spoke with acknowledge so many tents provide a bad breeding ground for sex attacks, yet some women are afraid talking about the assaults will shine a negative light on the cause of Occupy Wall Street. the group is now trying to beef up security after 3 attacks.

Dore says, "We are building buddy systems, safe space."

On October 8th, this 27 year old homeless man from Connecticut, Dave Park, is accused of pressing himself up against a sleeping new jersey woman and fondling her breasts. It happened in her tent at 4 in the morning. But after pushing him outnof the tent, she didn't report the incident. Until spotting him again 2 days later in the park.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance encouraged everyone to report all crimes to the police for them to be handled and said they have charged 2 men with sex attacks.

The Not In My Backyard approach has been employed by the protestors security force who say they choose to mediate, and if necessary, toss the bad guys out of the park for the rest of New York to deal with.

Dore says, "We only ask the cops to come in when necessary.

Bur Mayor Bloomberg lambasted the Protestors for trying to handle criminal matters on their own, or just push them out of the park, "It really allows the criminal to strike again making all of us less safe."

2 other women were attacked in the last week, a 17 and 18 year old. One says she was raped. A 26 year old trusted kitchen worker, Tony Iketubosin, from Crown Heights Brooklyn was arrested for one the attacks and is a suspect in the other. security forces here says there's tension and mistrust of the police.

Still, a spokesman for the Protestors, Ark Bray says, "They're have been cases where there are violent inappropriate behaviors, and it's been ignored."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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