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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Two Similar Brattleboro Sexual Assault Cases Being Investigated


The Brattleboro Police Department put out this press release today:

"In the last three months, the Brattleboro Police Department has opened investigations into two sexual assault complaints which share some similar characteristics. Those characteristics include:

Occurring in residential areas of town (although not in the same neighborhood)

Early morning hours

Adult females who live alone

Assault took place in the victim’s residence

Assailant was unknown to the victim

The Criminal Investigation Division has a detective who is specially trained and assigned to investigate sexual crimes in town. These two cases they have been prioritized and additional resources have been assigned to the investigation. The CID is actively investigating and pursuing all available leads. Anyone with information related to these or other incidents, reported or unreported, is urged to do one of the following:

Call the Brattleboro Police 802-257-7950

Call the Brattleboro Police anonymous tip line 802-251-8188

Call the Crime Hotline 800-533-TIPS

Email the Brattleboro Police bpd@sover.net

The rate of reporting sexual crimes in Brattleboro this year has been consistent with years prior. There has not been an increase in these incidents being reported to police. However, due to the similarities described above, BPD has decided to issue this release. Additional information will be released as appropriate for public safety and investigatory needs.

The public is reminded to keep general safety practices in mind such as securing your residences and vehicles, and being aware of your surroundings. "

»

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 #

How did the criminal gain entry?

Unless there is a compelling reason not to release this information, it could help people to protect themselves if we knew how the criminal gained entrance to the homes. Did someone ring the bell, and then speak unclearly when asked who is there until the victim opened the door to hear them better? Or was a door or window unlocked? Did he use tools to force entry and if so was there any vulnerability that could have been eliminated with better planning?

Without knowing more specifically if there are better ways to protect oneself, the general warning "keep general safety practices in mind such as securing your residences and vehicles, and being aware of your surroundings" is not terribly helpful.

Why not a least include a link to a webpage with information about best practices or securing your residence and vehicles and protecting yourself from crime?

 
 #

How did the criminal gain entry

I completely agree with prior comments that having more information about how entry to home occurred, time,, and anything else would educate and empower the public and women at risk.

 
 #

Maybe those details are part

Maybe those details are part of the investigation and are being withheld for a reason; maybe there's something unique about the details of the assaults that would help identify the person responsible. I'm not sure why you feel it's the responsibility of ibrattleboro to come up with information that perhaps the police haven't divulged.
I'm not sure we can expect this site to be the main source of information for crimes committed.
If you need more information you could probably contact the police and see how much they're willing to tell you.
Or, you know, post a link to information about staying safe..

 
 #

It was a reasonable question, asked in a responsible manner

KAlden's objection to my comment surprised me. The comment that I made here is identical to the comment which I posted on the Brattleboro Police Department website. In no way did I assert that: "it's the responsibility of ibrattleboro to come up with information that perhaps the police haven't divulged." 

IBrattleboro is the forum, the vehicle by which we express ourselves: My comment was directed not at iBrattleboro but toward the BPD. The Department posted their press release on their website and on ibrattleboro. Each site invites comments. It only makes sense, therefore, for me to make my comment on both sites.

KAlden's admonition that: "Maybe those details are part of the investigation and are being withheld for a reason,” is gratuitous since the very first phrase in my comment is: "Unless there is a compelling reason not to release this information...."  Given the history that KAlden shared in her Common's, Voices article this week; her negative reaction against a request for more open discussion with the police department about a matter of public safety is hard to understand.

Nearly two decades before KAlden's arrival in Brattleboro, the Brattleboro Reformer gained national recognition for it crusade against stigmatization of rape victims, which in a front-page editorial, the Reformer decried as, “The Scarlet Letter.” The Reformer’s investigation began by questioning a police press report about a rape, which was less than forthcoming. Managing Editor Norman Runnion became “really, really upset” by what he perceived to be the use of code words which fudge reality.

A cover story in the July 2, 1988 issue of Editor & Publisher (trade publication of the U.S. newspaper industry) quoted Runnion as saying: “I asked Tego [reporter Theresa M. Maggio] to ask the police department about their policy. I felt very strongly that we should investigate the question of how the police department handled reports of rape.”  

How strange that now, 29 years later, the question of how the police department in Brattleboro handles reports of rape is once again at hand. And how really, really disturbing that questioning the police would be considered taboo.

 
 #

Nearly two decades before I

Nearly two decades before I moved to Brattleboro I worked extensively with rape survivors and the police in my Boston Ma. community. I know all too well how difficult it is to apprehend those who commit these crimes and how vital it is that some of the details sometimes be kept from the public to assist in arresting the responsible. My response when I read the above post was that the information provided was all that was currently available -either from lack of more information or the need to not make some details public. If a rapist uses a particular method to enter a house and then he reads about it on a local site do you imagine that he would then continue to use that same mode of entry? I'm guessing no. The tone of your original comment seemed to be that because the police department had not offered the amount of information that you deemed satisfactory then they were somehow not doing all they could to find and catch the person or persons responsible. And,while I guess that could be true I'm going to assume that the police actually want the attacks to stop so are doing all they can to make that happen. There are very few reports of sexual attacks in any city or town that contain anything more than basic information. The reports are generally made public in the earlier stages of the investigation and there is often not a lot of information to give. Unless you know for sure that the Brattleboro police have a hidden agenda in not preventing further attacks I'm going to continue to believe that they are doing all they can to solve the crimes.
The piece that I wrote that appeared in the Commons this week has absolutely nothing to do with my response to your post here. I greatly resent you using my personal history and my words to question whether I think the police should be more forthcoming with information. I had no "negative reaction" to a request for more open discussion with the police. I had a negative reaction to your comment that was, in my opinion, not a "request' for more open dialog but an accusation that somehow the wording of the report translated into a lax police response.
The personal history that I shared in the Commons has no bearing on my comments here- they are,in fact, two totally different situations. You used the Commons article to attempt to put words in my mouth - which is something that you seem to attempt more often than not on this site. For you to use the personal history of a 7 year old to make your point that I think the police should not be questioned about how they do their job is despicable and I resent it.
For the record, I think that all people in positions of power should be held accountable for how they handle sensitive situations and the rights of human beings. I especially think they should be held accountable for their responses in cases of sexual assault. I have no reason to think the BPD is not taking their responsibilities seriously.
I know that you view yourself as the moral sheriff of everyone who uses ibrattleboro. You frequently object to people's words; their perceived tone of "voice"; you judge whether their comments reach your level of fairness. You assume that you know what people mean by their words even though they have written something very different than your assumption.
I do not need you to put words in my mouth or to assign my intent on any comment I make here or in any other forum. I'm more than capable of saying exactly what I mean and with clarity so that there should be no confusion about what I said.
I don't need your help with speaking my mind.I've been doing it quite successfully for my entire life. You might want to consider the fact that you used a traumatic event in a 7 year old's life to make your dubious point in your reply here. That says a lot about you.

 
 #

Think about it

I re-read my original post, and still cannot see how KAlden could see it as an allegation that the police have a "hidden agenda in not preventing further attacks." In fact my comment was intended as helpful suggestion.

The press release advises the public, "to keep general safety practices in mind such as securing your residences and vehicles," but does not say what those "general safety practices" are. My request that the police provide specific information information about how best to secure your dwelling, in no way implies that the police should disclose information which would help the criminal or compromise the investigation.

 
 #

In the world that we live in

In the world that we live in I feel that it is a reasonable expectation of the police department to assume the majority of people know what " general safety practices" are.

 
 #

In the world that we live in...

a surprising number of people will open the door to a stranger.

When I was 18 years old, I had a job selling magazine subscriptions, door-to-door. We were taught a technique to use when someone answered the doorbell by asking from behind a locked door: "Who's there?" This ploy, much more often than not, would induce the person to open their door. (Fortunately, with us, all that left them vulnerable to was hearing a sales pitch.)

Common sense might seem to support the notion that people do not need specific warnings. Reality says otherwise.

 
 #

Sound Reasoning

SK-B, I back up your points made completely. More information would be helpful literally and also to allay fears. Furthermore, women and other people do need to be reminded how to stay safe in this current time period. Thank you for writing your essays.

 
 #

Thank you, Genie

I appreciate your comment.

 
 #

Without sound cause and judgment

It was the second SK-B comment where we learn the he posted to the BPD website previously. He says “The comment that I made here is identical to the comment which I posted on the Brattleboro Police Department website.” He goes on the say, “It only makes sense, therefore, for me to make my comment on both sites.”

However, KAlden’s comment was in reply to SK-B’s first comment and she could not have known that he previously posted the same to BPD’s webpage. KAlden only learned that from SK-B the following day. In that light, her reply to SK-B was quite reasonable and responsible and in no way an admonition and gratuitous slight against him.

For SK-B to take her reply to be a personal attack where there was none is what is strange here. At no time did KAlden indicate that she was making a personal attack against him, yet he jumped to that conclusion without sound cause and judgment.

But more disturbing is that SK-B accuses KAlden of saying, “that [his] questioning [of] the police would be considered taboo.” She categorically neither said, implied, nor meant anything of the kind. Taboo means to forbid or ban something and that’s not what she was saying.

Mark Twain said (the real one, that is, :~) ), “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”

 
 #

The comments speak for themselves

Including Vidda's, the intent of which is transparent.

 
 #

Yes. The comments absolutely

Yes. The comments absolutely do speak for themselves.
It's interesting how quickly you dismiss any comments that don't agree with your need to be the comment police.
Other commenters have the right to express their opinions and present diverse viewpoints. Even if they are different than yours.
My grandmother used to use a phrase that is quite appropriate in this thread. She used to say people who always looked for a way to find fault with everything; who think their own opinions are more valuable than anyone else's. Nosy Parker. I'm not sure who the original Nosy Parker was but I know who the local one is.

 
 #

Personal insults are contrary to an adult discussion

"I'm not sure who the original Nosy Parker was but I know who the local one is."

Totally inappropriate.

 

 
 #

An insult to whom? Not an

An insult to whom? Not an insult to anyone. Merely an observation.
You would certainly know about inappropriate comments and insults.

 
 #

A fire that doesn’t exist

I’m not surprised but sorry to see no one except KAlden has spoken in favor of the BPD’s handling of this “opened investigations into two sexual assault complaints.” (The key words there being "opened investigations" so it's bit premature to start kicking up sand.)

Despite SK-B’s thirty years history of police press reports about rape, for him to say that “the question of how the police department in Brattleboro handles reports of rape is once again at hand” …well, actually, no it isn’t.

The fact that SK-B (or maybe others) wants more information in no way suggests at all that this community “is once again” questioning how the police “handles reports of rape.” Except, in his own mind, but not the community.

This article sat for two days without comments. Not because of lack of concern. Rather I would suggest that the majority of this community most assuredly has confidence in the BPD.

In SK-B’s comments about KAlden’s childhood experience, both his comment about her experience and the BPD history is immaterial. What happened before Michael Fitzgerald became the chief of the department,is, well, history. This current department under his direction is likely one the best town forces in the nation.

I wouldn’t blame KAlden or the BPD for being a bit miffed at SK-B’s throwing dirt on a fire that doesn’t exist.

 
 #

I wouldn't blame the BPD either...

but I do see why so many people say they are reluctant to post on ibrattleboro.

 
 #

I can’t see your beef

Saying that “so many people say they (the BPD)are reluctant to post on ibrattleboro” tells us nothing. Unless you can actually quantify “so many people” we’re left with an inflammatory and useless statement without substantiating just cause.

Moreover, the BPD has their own website to maintain http://brattleboropolice.org/, in addition to Facebook, as well as press releases when necessary, and posts to iBrattleboro at their discretion.

Where on earth are you going with this? I can’t see your beef.

I do not discourage the community being vigilant about police matters.

Yet, I feel I must ask, have you exhausted your contribution to this post?

 
 #

Bogus issue

Nothing I posted attacked the integrity of the police department. My comment merely suggested that specific safety tips would be helpful.

Before long, KAlden posted a rant accusing me (among other things) of claiming that the police department has "a hidden agenda in not preventing further attacks." Not only is that false: It is malicious. Subsequent comments by KAlden, later joined by Vidda, escalated the distortions, falsehoods, and personal attacks.

Unfortunately that type of experience is pretty common on ibrattleboro. A number of ibrattleboro users have expressed, both online and offline, their reluctance to post here because to do so often amounts to offering oneself as a target. In fact Lise recently posted a comment discussing this problem from the point of view of a moderator. If Vidda still claims not to understand what I am saying, then I do not understand his inability to understand.

 
 #

Once again twisting words to

Once again twisting words to suit your purpose. I never accused you of claiming that the BPD had a hidden agenda. I said- very clearly- that unless you had knowledge of a hidden agenda then I would assume the police were doing their job. You don't seem to be able to tell the difference between an accusation and someone,s opinion. You readily accuse others- myself included- of attacking you verbally yet you have no qualms about attacking and attempting to diminish and twist others viewpoints.

You're quick to translate other's words to fit your own limited version of propriety and acceptability yet you cry foul when those people respond to your attacks.
I'm done with this conversation- I'm really bored with your comments.

 
 #

KAlden is done with this conversation...

Sometimes, despite best efforts to ignore personal attacks and to engage in an adult discussion, the response is just another barrage of "you" statement. Thank you, KAlden, for illustrating my point. I appreciate your comment.

 
 #

The truth of the matter

Your comments did not merely suggest “specific safety tips would be helpful.” Couched in your so-called helpful tips it is clear to see that not only did you jump the gun on what is stated as an “”opened investigation” but your comments are unquestionably tinged with criticism of the BPD.

Indeed, your very last comment before this is: “…but I do see why so many people say they (the BPD) are reluctant to post on ibrattleboro.”

You too often use imaginary allegations of what “other” iBrattleboro users may or may not say of their “reluctance to post here because to do so often amounts to offering oneself as a target.” Without substantiations, anybody can make those kinds of claims.

You go further and connect Lise’s comment with your supposition that she “recently posted a comment discussing this problem from the point of view of a moderator” to substantiate your allegation that a “number of ibrattleboro users have expressed, both online and offline, their reluctance to post here because, as you claim, to do so often amounts to offering oneself as a target.” Since this allegation you make is obviously targeted only to me, it should be understood that I could claim the exact same thing about you (SK-B). How would anyone know?

In fact, anyone reading my comments on this article certainly would not and likely will not join you in saying that I “escalated the distortions, falsehoods, and personal attacks.” I am a wordsmith, my comprehension and words here are well thought out and cogent with no harshness at anyone, including you. The same is true for the comments KAlden has made.

There is no wholesale loss of readers and participant’s on iBrattleboro. And, this reader sees your too-often references to a “silent many” that you base your claims about me on as insufficient to a fleshed out and viable discussion.

 
 #

Vidda misunderstands?

The self-described "wordsmith," whose "words here are well thought out and cogent" wrote the following:

Indeed, your very last comment before this is: “…but I do see why so many people say they (the BPD) are reluctant to post on ibrattleboro.”

No, "they" does not refer to the BPD. Hard to believe that Vidda actually misunderstood that "they" referred to ibrattleboro participants, particularly in light of my subequent comment. 

 
 #

In light of...

But, this is actually your entire quote:

Submitted by SK-B on October 29, 2017 - 8:03pm. #

I wouldn't blame the BPD either... ...but I do see why so many people say they are reluctant to post on ibrattleboro.

[<v> Being a good writer has always been part of my forte. The best part of knowing that isn't what I think of myself, but what comes from the feedback I've received over many years from friends, family and acquaintances. They were in a fact, and at times still, an important part of the constructive criticism process, something that I wouldn't even think of including you in.]

 
 #

Let's help the wordsmith

Here it is:

 # 

I wouldn't blame the BPD either...

but I do see why so many people say they are reluctant to post on ibrattleboro.

 

And if that was not clear, my subsequent comment left no doubt that I was speaking of ibrattleboro participants who have become disgusted with the gratuitous attacks. Truthfully, Vidda, you can do better... can't you?

 

 
 #

All water under the bridge

When you state that, “(KAlden’s) negative reaction against (your) request for more open discussion with the police department about a matter of public safety is hard to understand,” here, is where all can see the negative tinge you have for the BPD by referencing your so-called request “for more open discussion with the police department.” You are entirely suggestive that the BPD has not been forthcoming with us.

As KAlden says, you are “again twisting words to suit your purpose,” as now, when you try to make this discussion about me. But as KAlden clearly indicates, it has been and is all about you. And no amount of twisting will change that.

You tried to paint your so-called suggestions to the BPD as “helpful tips.” We simply saw through you, and I’d like to think the BPD did as well.

I doubt anyone of the 693 readers who have viewed this page so far, or anyone else in this town will ever take your word (tips) about police matters over those of the BPD. I know I certainly won't. When town people really need help, do you think they'll call you?

What's interesting about discussions with you is that this site has a boatload of server memory. By now, this is all water under the bridge.

 
 #

Brattleboro police are quite capable...

of speaking for themselves. I have seen no announcement that Vidda speaks for them.

 
 #

Not a word

Using the phrase, "I’d like to think the BPD did as well" does not constituent a call for a BPD to announce I speak for them.

In any case, there nothing of mine on this page that says or implies that I speak for the Brattleboro police. You try to twist this around and around to anyone but you. It's all about you.

 
 #

More "you" statements

Not helpful.

Vidda has long since taken this topic off track. If he thinks continuation of this discussion has value, it would be best for him to start a new story.

 
 #

Echo

Fill in the blanks.

 
 #

Losing track of the issues

The issue at stake here is women's safety in their homes -- at least that's how it feels to me. If there is someone raping women in their homes, and the assailant gained entry forcibly, then I'd like to know that. At the very least, I'd say vigilance would be a good idea as to keeping doors and windows locked, and keeping entries lit to enter and leave. That's just common sense. As far as the two cases reported in the police report, we can't know more until they tell us.

 
 #

Thank you, Lise

It may seem so obvious as to not need to be said, but it is not wise to open the door without being sure who has knocked or rung the bell.

Yet many people yield to the temptation to open the door, just a crack, when the answer to, "Who's there?" is unclear through the closed door and they are unable to make out who it is through the peephole. We all have a lapse now and then. We need to stay vigilant.

 
 #

“In the police report, we can't know more until they tell us”

I agree with your common sense thoughts and that we can't know all the facts until they are revealed. The press release as it is was a sufficient alert.

Despite this being an open investigation, unfortunately some may feel that the police are "not terribly helpful."

However, in light of the BPD press release indicating the “The rate of reporting sexual crimes in Brattleboro this year has been consistent with years prior. There has not been an increase in these incidents being reported to police,” the earlier somewhat fussy questioning of police procedures in making the information available was not terribly constructive.

This police press release was posted here by cgrotke 8 days ago. I have not yet seen any updates, that I’m aware of. I’m not sure what the police have learned from the supposedly “helpful tips” but I am sure they are quite adequately on top off the investigations.

 
 #

For the record

The statement that: "some may feel that the police are 'not terribly helpful,'" is inaccurate. It is also unhelpful and unnecessary for Vidda to get in one last swipe by restating what he has already stated at length.

What I had actually written was:

"the general warning 'keep general safety practices in mind such as securing your residences and vehicles, and being aware of your surroundings' is not terribly helpful," which I followed with a request for, "a link to a webpage with information about best practices or securing your residence and vehicles and protecting yourself from crime."

Saying that a particular piece of advice in a police press release "is not particularly helpful," is a far cry from saying that the police are not particularly helpul. I suspect that "the wordsmith" actually does understand the difference.

 
 #

Losing track of the issues?

I'd like to think the two women are in good care.

After all, isn't that the real issue here?

 
 #

Losing track of the issues??

I'd like to think the two women are in good care.

After all, isn't that the real issue here?

 

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