Police: UGA student raped in bar

A 20-year-old University of Georgia student told police she was raped in an Athens bar early Tuesday morning.

Police met with the woman at Athens Regional Medical Center, where she had been taken by her roommate. She said she was raped in a women's restroom at Bourbon Street, a bar in downtown Athens, sometime between midnight and 3 a.m.

The woman admitted she had been drinking and could not recall many details, Athens-Clarke police told the Athens Banner-Herald. But "we are working it as a very legitimate complaint," Capt. Clarence Holeman told the newspaper.

Her roommate took her to the hospital because she was having vaginal discomfort that was "not consistent with her having consensual sex with anybody," Holeman told the newspaper.

University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said the involvement of alcohol in rape cases is common in Athens.

"I am by no means blaming the victim for what happened to her, but we find that people who want to do bad things look for an easy way in," Williamson said. "Heavy alcohol consumption impairs your decision-making and makes you vulnerable to those people."

Detectives are interviewing employees and customers as part of the investigation, the Banner-Herald reported.

AJC phone messages to Bourbon Street were not immediately returned.

Williamson also said in incidents such as this, police avoid arresting victims for alcohol-related offenses. The victim, who was underage, was not cited for underage drinking.

"We try not to do that to people who have been victimized," Williamson said. "We just want to serve them and help them get the help they need."

According to The Red & Black, UGA's student newspaper, the incident at Bourbon Street marks the eighth rape reported by a female younger than 21. The victims were not necessarily all UGA students.

The Red & Black also reported the victim knew the attacker in four of the previous seven incidents.

Williamson said the numbers are not uncommon.

"We go through this every beginning of fall," Williamson said. "It's not unique to Athens or UGA, it happens all over the country. In most cases on college campuses, the victim knows the individual."

The offender involved in the other three incidents were not known by victims, , The Red & Black reported.

A ninth incident of attempted rape was filed on July 19 by a 49-year-old woman who said she fought off two men on July 18 when they tried to rape her in their vehicle. Eric Preston Hancock, 35, and Dougless Mitchell Ryan, 26, were arrested and charged with criminal attempt to commit rape, false imprisonment and simple battery, The Red & Black reported.

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