Residents look to city to clean ditch after sexual attack

MOBILE, Ala. – One week after a teenager reported she was sexually assaulted while taking a shortcut home from school, residents in the Toulminville neighborhood are looking to city to clean out the ditch.  They’re hoping it will happen this week.

Etta Paige has lived in this Toulminville neighborhood for 44 years. She said she was heartbroken when she heard a teenager girl had been assaulted last week.

“It just hurt my heart, it really did.  I was really sad about it,” Paige said.

Paige said she’s taken the same shortcut the teenager used many times herself. Over the years the cut through has become overgrown with bushes and debris.   Neighbors say they’ve tried  to get the city to clean out the ditch.

“We’ve been trying for about 20 years.  When we moved here they told us it was the city’s property. Reporter: and they would clean it up? They were cleaning it up. Reporter: But they stopped and you don’t know why? We don’t know why one time they said they didn’t have it in the budget,” another neighbor said.

In a written response to our report last week the city referred to the neglected area as unacceptable.  People who live in the area are hoping that means the city will be out here soon to clean out the ditch.

“It would be a good help to the children to help keep them safe if they decide to come through the cut.  It would be a good idea for the children,” Paige said.

Police arrested 26 year old Jermaine Young Friday.  He’s charged with first degree rape.  Police say he matches the composite drawing based on the teenagers description of the suspect.  But Young maintains his innocence.

Paige said whether police have the right suspect or not, people in the community still need to be careful.

“We still need to pay attention and watch out for one another. And the kids need to travel in groups or in pairs and not come through any shortcut by themselves,” she said.

Fox Ten News will follow up with the city Monday to find out its plans for the ditch.

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