CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) – Cedar Rapids police have announced four arrests were made after a woman reported being harassed while on a walk on a public trail on October 26.
After the report of the harassment, the victim in the case, 46-year-old April Mead, rallied the community for a solidarity walk on that same trail. Around 75 people turned out that night for support.
According to a release from the department, four male juveniles were arrested in connection. However, due to confidentiality laws in cases that involve juveniles, their identities are not being made public.
Police did include their ages. Arrested in this case was a 12-year-old, 13-year-old and two 14-year-olds. All were charged with harassment.
(ORIGINAL STORY) Eastern Iowans were in support mode to walk the same trail where a woman reported having to hide in a ditch after she was sexually harassed.
An estimated 75 people turned out to the Prairie Park Fishery Train in Cedar Rapids on Friday night for a solidarity walk for April Meads.
Mead said around 5 p.m, one week earlier on Oct. 26, she was walking along the trail when she said she came across four teenage boys.
“They were just saying ridiculous things initially but they stuck with me but they kept saying things that were more startling and going beyond annoying,” Mead said.
She said the rhetoric began to escalate and for the first time in her life, she said she was afraid to be on a trail alone.
“They began describing what they wanted me to do and what they were going to do to me and it was beyond just normal harassment, it was sexual harassment and you don’t want to stick around to see if someone’s going to follow through with those threats,” she said.
Fearful, Mead said she called the police and the teens ran off. Still, all she could do was think about getting to safety she said. When she got out of sight of the boys she slid down a ditch to hide.
“It was down a pretty steep embankment,” Mead said. “It was scary. They were hollering for me so I knew they hadn’t gone away.”
Mead said she crawled out of the ditch ten minutes later just as police had arrived but the teens were gone. Cedar Rapids police confirm they got a 9-1-1 call on Friday to the trail and are currently investigating what happened.
“We feel that this is not right and it’s not fair so as a community we’re coming together on this issue,” Mona McCalley-Whitters said.
McCalley-Whitters and others came together to set up a support booth for the walk. She said they had discussed creating a grassroots group for women to feel safe. Mead’s encounter prompted them to take action.
“We want to unify so we’re not afraid that we have our personal safety and our emotional safety,” she said. “So, that we can go out at night and take a walk or in the daytime and we don’t have to be looking over our shoulder and be afraid.”
Since the violent murders of Mollie Tibbetts and Celia Barquin Arozamena, safety has been on the minds of a lot of women.
“I’m out here to show support of women and victims of sexual assault and victims of physical assault and violence too,” Hannah Steenblock said.
“It’s sad to me too because my friends now feel like, when they’re outside, that they need to walk around with a knife or mase and I just don’t feel like that’s okay,” she said.
Mead said the large turnout showed that the community cares about safety. She said the more people can talk about experiences like hers, the better everyone can work together to make places safer for everyone.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Cedar Rapids police have arrested four juveniles who harassed a woman on a local walking trail in an October incident.
Officials said Tuesday that a 12-year-old, 13-year-old, and two 14-year-old males were arrested for harassment after April Mead, 46, of Cedar Rapids, reported the incident at the Prairie Park Fishery trail system on Oct. 26. Names were not released due to confidentiality laws with regards to juvenile offenders.
As reported by KCRG-TV9, Mead said four young teens, on bikes, started following and threatening assault. She called the police and then looked for a place to hide.
Police suggested walkers take various safety precautions, such as keeping track of where you are, carrying a cell phone, keeping volume low when wearing headphones to increase awareness, and reporting any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.