ALTON — Alton police are denying claims being circulated on social media that officers refused medical treatment last week to a woman who was sexually assaulted and beaten, holding her in jail instead.
“Even without a complaint having been filed, the administration has looked into this case and there is no evidence that would support the allegations currently circulating on social media,” which Pfc. Emily Hejna, public information officer at the Alton Police Department, posted on APD’s Facebook page late Wednesday afternoon.
The incident happened late April 24, with police still trying to determine number of attackers and where the alleged sexual assault and beating occurred. Hejna said police encourage anyone with information about this incident to contact the Alton Police Department Detective’s Bureau at 618-463-3505 ext. 234.
“Our focus is on finding the offenders, we are asking for information on this incident and we are following every lead we get,” she said.
The victim reportedly is 28 years old and was treated at a St. Louis hospital. The woman’s mother posted an online petition at change.org is requesting APD, “Arrest all three people that attacked and beat my daughter, and the police officer that gave her a ticket and took her to jail to be held accountable, also.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, some 1,954 people had signed the petition, with many also posting comments.
An email that the victim’s sister sent The Telegraph says, besides being sexually assaulted, she “has a broken eye socket, broken nose, broken ribs, bruised pelvis and bleeding of the brain” and received 25 stitches on her face. They claim police had taken the woman to jail handcuffed, “and shackled her while she’s bleeding and waited for my mother to pick her up. They went to my mother’s house and told her they had my sister. My mother heard the cops say ‘It’s about time, she got what she deserved.’ My mom picked up my sister from the police station and took her to the hospital.”
Hejna said administrators checked into the allegation about the officer’s comments and determined it is not true, but did not conduct an official, internal affairs investigation. Also, police said they did take the woman to an Alton hospital, but she refused treatment.
Hejna’s posting contradicts the family’s version of events:
“Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, we cannot share all of the details of this case, however below are the facts we can share without compromising later prosecution:
“The officers responded to an anonymous report of a female running up and down the street yelling. When they located the female in question in the middle of the roadway, they immediately recognized that she was intoxicated and injured. The officers called for an ambulance and she was transported to a local hospital for treatment. While at the hospital, the female was extremely uncooperative with hospital staff and refused all treatment that was offered to her,” Hejna’s posting says.
“The female attempted to walk away from the hospital by herself. The officers recognized that the female was in no condition to leave by herself, so they took her into custody for her safety until they could contact a family member. Once the female’s mother was located, the female finally agreed to medical treatment and she was taken to a different hospital.”
Hejna said the woman was cited with intoxicated pedestrian after she walked out of the hospital. Hejna said she was not charged with indecent exposure for not wearing a shirt, which the attackers reportedly had removed during the sexual assault.
“Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, and out of respect for the victim and victim’s family, we are not able to comment further on this incident,” Hejna said.
The woman’s sister did not respond to an email request for her to call a reporter.
Linda N. Weller may be reached at 618-463-2559 or on Twitter @Linda_Weller.