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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Woman Raped In Denver Airport Concourse – “Employees Witnessed, Did Nothing”

Sulaiman Kamal | 3:56 AM | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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A 26-year-old Oregon man was arrested and accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger inside Concourse A at Denver International Airport early Tuesday morning. Police said the violent sexual assault happened just after midnight Tuesday. Noel Alexander Bertrand, of Portland, Ore., was arrested just after midnight on a DIA concourse after two airline employees saw him attacking a woman and called police, Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said. Bertrand was booked on suspicion of felony sexual assault and assault. He was held at the Denver jail Tuesday on $10,000 bond.
Denver International Airport
The 22-year-old victim, who is also from Oregon, told 7NEWS reporter Russell Haythorn she was flying to Illinois to interview at a convent. “I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t say anything,” the victim told Haythorn. “He grabbed me and held my neck to the ground. I started to stress out, and I couldn’t breathe very well. I started to tense up and I started to get an asthma attack.” She said she missed her connecting flight at DIA and didn’t have money for a hotel. So she decided just to spend the night at the airport. The woman said she went to Chef Jimmy’s Italian Bistro and Spirits on Concourse A and a man at the bar struck up a conversation.
When the bistro closed, the woman said she took an escalator downstairs to find a seat. The man followed and sat next to her. The woman said the man asked if he could kiss her and she refused. “I sit up and he’s leaned in and he asks, ‘Can I kiss you?’ And when I tell him that’s too forward, before I could finish my statement, he had already pulled me in to kiss him. And he forcefully held me there,” the woman said. “And I’m sitting there with my neck kinked down, and I’m already frantic.” Suddenly, she said, the man grabbed the strings of her hooded sweatshirt and pulled, lifting her off the ground. The man then threw her on the floor, grabbing her head and pounding it on the floor, said the woman, who had a large bruise above her left eye.
“I couldn’t reach anywhere. I couldn’t touch anything and I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “He told me to put myself in a position for him. He pulled my pants down and proceeded to assault me from behind.” The victim said the man tore off her clothing and sexually assaulted her for about 10 minutes on the concourse, which was deserted at that hour.  During the attack, she said two airport janitors passed by, and said nothing. “Another employee walked by, a female, and she looked and she walked away and kept walking. I was just so upset that I couldn’t focus on what was going on. I just kept getting my head thrown down,” she said.
Finally, she said, two airport workers outside the terminal saw the attack through a window and called police. “One of the officers approached him from behind and pulled him off of me. As they were shouting when they were coming over, he wasn’t stopping. They had to pull him off of me,” she said. “He was trying to tell them that we were just having sex. It was a lover’s quarrel,” she said. “A woman getting beaten on the ground is not a lover’s quarrel.” Airport spokeswoman Laura Coale said DIA janitors are contract employees. She said the airport is investigating whether any employees failed to report the attack.

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