Attack Victim: ‘He’ll Rape Me In Front Of God’

| March 26, 2010

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — As Mountain View police continued their search Thursday night for a man who sexually assaulted an elderly woman as she was praying at a church on Rengsdorff Avenue, KTVU spoke with the brave victim about her horrifying ordeal.

Saint Athanasius Catholic Church has already made some security changes since the Wednesday night incident, but the congregation remained in shock over the attack against a 73-year-old woman in the church chapel.

“[I’m] still in shock,” said the victim, who gave her name as Maria when she spoke with KTVU about the terrifying attack. “[I] never expect something like that.”

On Wednesday night at around 6:15 p.m., Maria was in the church chapel doing what she has done daily for the past 40 years: praying.

She said she noticed a man in a back pew seemingly in prayer, but when she sat down in a front pew, the man suddenly came up and sat next to her.

Then Maria said he attacked her.

“He came and I feel the tongue,” remembered the obviously shaken victim.”He stick his tongue around my face. He wanted to go in my mouth. Then he grabbed my breasts and I pushed him back and said ‘No! No!’”

Maria said she pushed her attacker away and told him she was married. Then she said the man pushed her down on her back on the pew.

“I know what his intention was, so I scream at the top of my lung ‘Help!’” said Maria. “I said if no one helps me, he'll rape me in front of God.”

The scream scared the man off and Maria ran out of the chapel. News of the assault has put fear in some parishioners.

“I was very surprised and in shock,” said congregation member Rosa Mancilla. “It's just unbelievable that somebody would come to the actual chapel and try to assault somebody.”

The church has replaced locks and plans to put up security cameras. There have been troubles at the chapel in the past with transients trying to sleep in the church and in one incident last year when someone stole offertory money.

The main sanctuary is already kept locked with the chapel offered as the alternative for worship.

“People, when the doors of the main church are closed, they would like to pray,” said church pastor Fr. Oscar Tabujara. “So it's kind of difficult to make these decisions, but we want to protect the parishioners.”

Maria said God still protected her because she was not harmed, but people also need to protect themselves.

“Always be alert,” said Maria. “Take nothing for granted — even in the church — because no place is safe.”

The only description of the assailant is a Spanish speaking man, 40-to-45 years old, and about five feet two inches tall. Maria said she doesn't want to prosecute, but as a compassionate catholic, she said her attacker needs help.

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Category: Church Security