(Memphis) Rape victims are fighting back. For nearly seven weeks, a serial rapist terrorized women at the Abington Apartments in Raleigh.
Now three victims are fighting back with separate lawsuits, but they aren’t suing the suspect.
Each lawsuit names the Parkview Memphis (Abington) Apartments and management agency Multi-South Management Services as defendants and seeks damages in excess of $5 million for not keeping them safe.
According to the lawsuits, the defendants knew, or should have known, the apartment complex and surrounding area had a history of forced entries, burglaries, aggravated assaults and sexual assaults against other young women just days before their assaults.
They also contend the defendants knew an armed rapist had unrestricted access to the complex, meaning the assaults against them were foreseeable, but that the defendants failed to warn residents and didn't implement safety measures to provide reasonable protection.
One of the women describes the day she was raped repeatedly in her apartment as "a terrifying nightmare."
“He pointed the gun at me and told me to 'shut up, don't scream, and get down,'” she said.
She was in her apartment alone when a masked man broke in February 12.
"He took me into my bedroom and he tied my eyes up with the dress that I had slept in the night before. I still had it on my bed. He tied my eyes up very tight and he laid me on the bed,” she said.
He searched her home, then raped her.
“I thought he was going to kill me,” she said.
She had no idea her neighbor was raped days before. She says a detective had to tell her, because the Abington Apartments didn’t.
“They didn't send out letters or anything,” she said.
“After I got raped, I called the apartments and I told them they should check on people in their homes or send a letter because this man is crazy,” she said.
She and her attorney say that never happened.
“If they are aware there is a likelihood that violence may occur, they have a legal duty to provide protection,” attorney Walter Bailey said.
We tried to talk to the apartment manager Wednesday, but were told she wasn't there.
We also called another defendant named in the lawsuit, and they told us to call someone else, but no one answered.
“It does make me angry,” the victim said.
She hopes her lawsuit will call be a call to action for apartment complexes everywhere so others don’t live her nightmare.
Peterson is in jail on $1 million bond, charged with two counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated burglary, evading arrest, and theft of property ($1,000-$10,000).