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Solving the Fort Valley rapes and break-ins | News

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Solving the Fort Valley rapes and break-ins
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With a string of break-ins and rapes in Fort Valley, 13WMAZ wanted to learn more about the profile of a rapist and find out the likelihood that the recent rash of break-ins and rapes in Fort Valley were all committed by the same person.

Gary Rothwell is a former special agent in charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Rothwell says it is unusual to have multiple rapes, especially in a town Fort Valley's size.

"Serial offenders are profiled often in the news, but their actual occurrence is rather rare. When we see something in a small community like this, it becomes much more evident and easier to catch on that there's a serial offender than perhaps in a larger jurisdiction," he said.

Rothwell says most sexual offenders are young as the Fort Valley rapist is thought to be, but older rapists are not unheard of.

He says one possibility being investigated that there is more than one offender is unlikely.

He says true copycat cases are rare and the descriptions of the intruder in all the Fort Valley cases seem consistent.

Here are some stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

According to the CDC, an estimated 78 percent of female rape victims are under 25, and they say about 80 percent of the women knew the person who raped them.

For students, they say about half of the rapes happened at their homes.

Rapes of students were more likely than non-student rapes to go unreported to police.

Gary Rothwell says it's sometimes difficult to strike a balance between releasing more information for public safety and compromising the investigation.

"The investigation is somewhat different than one individual crime and following up and trying to figure out who did it. You have the aspect of the public is or perceives itself to be in jeopardy and there's additional pressures to try and apprehend this person quickly in order to keep other crimes from occurring," Gary Rothwell. "Certainly that would be a factor as to what is released and what is not released because police don't want to give their location away in so far as where they are in the investigation they want to catch this guy."

Now Rothwell is not involved in the Fort Valley cases.

But he says it's critical that victims come forward immediately following the crime to preserve physical evidence.

Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese says the accused rapist is around 5 ft., 8 inches tall with a slender build. In all the break-ins, he wore black clothing and a red bandana over his face. They believe he is in his early to mid-20s.

If you have any information on the rapes and break-ins, you can call the GBI's Perry office at 478-987-4545.


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