• Orlando Victim Service Center responds to record number of sexual assault reports, officials say

    By: Michael Lopardi

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - The Victim Service Center of Central Florida in Orlando said it responded to 15 cases of sexual assault last week, the most in a seven-day period in the 16 years it has operated, officials said.

    Crisis counselor Diana Gomez called the number of reports “unprecedented” and did not know what could be causing the spike.

    “It’s very concerning because it’s definitely a lot higher than what we typically see,” she said. “We do know that more people are coming forward and feel more comfortable reporting to the police.”

    The 15 sexual assault reports involved victims aged 13 to 71, and nearly a third of the perpetrators were strangers, which is more than normal, the Victim Service Center said.

    Sexual assault survivor Rachel Sines was surprised by the number of recent reports and felt for the victims.

    “I know when I went through it, I was in disbelief for a long time,” she said. “The process, as far as getting through the emptions of it, are very raw. Each day does get better. There is light at the end.”

    Next Up: