After reporting the attack to police, Gorman, a 25-year-old photographer, blogged about it, describing the man’s orange shirt, mountain bike and dark hat. He laughed through the whole thing, said Gorman, whose account of “walking while female” immediately went viral.
Nearly a week later, the jerk who assaulted her is still out there, looking for his next victim.
Police, who sent five patrol cars to the scene when Gorman called for help, are working the case, but have nothing new to report.
“We’re not taking this lightly,” 3rd District Cmdr. George Kucik said. These are tough cases to solve, he said, because they happen in an instant, and there is usually little evidence to go on.
“A lot of times in these cases, if you catch him, you catch him right away, like if an officer happens to be right there or someone just grabs him,” Kucik said.
But there are leads that can be followed. The manager at the Carlyle Hotel, where security cameras may have caught the attack on the sidewalk, said police haven’t asked him for any footage yet.
Some people have expressed doubt that Gorman could have been attacked from a passing bike.
But not one reader, whose girlfriend also was assaulted by a bicyclist.
“Pervs have not only the audacity but a lot of skill and accuracy with repeated offense,” wrote this man, who chased his girlfriend’s attacker down, yanked him off the bike and was surprised to see that he was about 14 years old.
“I would not question the mechanics of how Liz Gorman’s [attacker] did it,” he said in an e-mail.
It obviously wasn’t the first time the guy had done this. And, unless he’s stopped, it probably won’t be the last time.
Still, far worse crimes occur every day in the city than what happened to Gorman, as she herself concedes.
But that’s exactly the kind of attitude that got D.C. police in trouble with Human Rights Watch, which is finishing a 16-month investigation that says the department is insensitive and inefficient when it comes to adult sexual assaults.
“Our research indicates that a serious number of sexual assault cases are not being documented,” Sara Darehshori, senior counsel for Human Rights Watch, wrote in a May 30 letter to D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.
The study showed that often the number of reports at local hospitals is higher than the number of police reports. That means not all victims who come to the hospital are interviewed by police, and plenty of the folks who don’t go to a hospital are blown off.
Lanier lashed back, saying the research was flawed and giving the organization a list of ways in which the department is improving on this front.
But even when sexual assault investigations get the full-court press, they aren’t easy to solve.