Woman Reports Rape At I-77 Rest Stop

April 14, 2004
Compiled from press reports by NewsNet5.com, WKYC.com, and the Akron Beacon Journal.

BATH TOWNSHIP -- A 27-year-old woman told police that she was attacked and raped at a rest stop along I-77 early Tuesday morning.

The rest area off I-77 northbound in Bath Township near Ghent Road reopened after officials collected evidence.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the alleged assault happened just after midnight. The woman said she was heading home from a friend's house when she stopped to use the bathroom. She said a man walked in and assaulted her.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

The woman was able to drive somewhere else and get help.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Rick Zwayer says "We don't have a whole lot to go on right now as far as the suspect goes.''

State troopers routinely patrol Ohio's rest stops and say this facility has a good safety record.

"I really can't recall in recent years in problems of this kind happen in this facility," said Lt. George Maier of the Highway Patrol.

"We go in the rest areas pretty frequently to check on the patrons as well as to check vehicle registrations to make sure people are valid that are driving in and driving out,'' Zwayer said.

The woman, who is from Mayfield Heights, was taken to Hillcrest Hospital, treated and released.

She says she did not know her attacker. No description of the man has been released.

Concerned drivers are reconsidering their own travel habits after hearing of the assault.

"I travel alone a lot with my kids, and don't think much about it, maybe I should," said Tina Ahrat.

"I won't come in unless I see another woman. [It's] very unsafe, it's sad, [the] world is getting crazy," said Diane Marchinko. "They always have the telephone by the women's rest room and [there is] always a guy on that phone, you just don't know."


If the Ohio State Highway Patrol has information on "safety records" at rest stops, as this story implies, the Ohio public deserves to see this information.

Ohio's new concealed carry law restricts concealed handgun license (CHL)-holders from carrying concealed inside publicly-owned buildings, such as this rest stop. However, the law does NOT restrict open carry in these places.

Unfortunately, however, until Ohio's Right to Carry law is fixed, and as the following email from the Ohio Attorney General notes, potential victims will be forced to make the choice between self-protection and the potential for false arrest by the anti-self-defense OSHP:

    While it is legal for a person to carry a weapon openly some law enforcement agencies have said such actions may prompt an arrest for inducing panic, a misdemeanor.

    It is impossible to say if any particular officer will cause problems for any particular person at any particular time, but carrying openly in a rest area – while within the bounds of law – may still result in difficulties.

    Mark Gribben
    Director of Constituent Services
    Office of Attorney General Jim Petro

According to the 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey, 93% of violent crimes against innocent citizens last year were carried out without the criminal use of a firearm. 96% of rapes and 75% of robberies were committed by criminals without firearms.

For all rapes, woman who resisted with a gun were 2.5 times more likely to escape without injury than those who did not resist, and 4 times more likely to escape uninjured than those who resisted with any means other than a gun.” (Southwick, Journal of Criminal Justice, 2000)

So why is the anti-gunners' answer to violence is to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to obtain firearms, or the right to bear them for self-defense?

If she truly wanted to prevent these women from being victimized, self-proclaimed crime prevention maven Toby Hoover would be fighting for the right to choose armed self-defense, instead of suing to take away women's right to self-protection. Shame on her.

Related Story:
Columbus Dispatch: Rape report highlights ‘epidemic’
One in seven Ohio women has been raped sometime in her life, a national report says.

That equates to 635,000 women but doesn’t tell the entire story. Children and men are victims, too.

Holding up the report — an attempt by the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center to quantify the impact of rape — victims advocates yesterday called for more money and attention.

Staci Kitchen, executive director of the Ohio Coalition on Sexual Assault.

"We must do more to prevent sexual violence," she said, adding that she hopes lawmakers and other state leaders will be persuaded by the sobering estimate.

NOTE: They were persuaded by this evidence on January 7, 2004, when they passed Amended Substitute House Bill 12 by an overwhelming margin.

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