Alert Lents dad nabs daughter’s accused rapist

Neighbors say this heinous event was yet another criminal episode along the I-205 Multi-use Path and the Springwater Trail …

The I-205 Multi-use Path runs along the east side of this part of the Lents neighborhood, just a couple blocks from where it intersects with the Springwater Trail.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The reputation of the I-205 Multi-use Path and Springwater Trail – neighbors say it should be renamed the “Eastside Crime Corridor” – continued to be tarnished on an otherwise quiet Sunday evening, October 27, in the Lents neighborhood.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers rolled out to the area a block away from the I-205 Multi-use Path, near SE 87th Avenue and SE Harney Street, after getting word that a 14-year-old girl had reportedly been sexually assaulted.

Near this intersection, a man, out of jail for only two days, reportedly raped a young girl.

“Officers learned that the victim was walking home, when the suspect grabbed her and pulled her into the side yard of a home,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

“He then sexually assaulted her. The suspect let the victim go and she ran home and told her parents,” Simpson added.

Neighbors saw the suspected assailant head east to the I-205 Multi-use Path, or north on SE 89th Avenue, which connects with the Path under the freeway, at SE 92nd Avenue.

This is the area where some neighbors say they believe the sexual assault occurred.

Before the police officers arrived, the victim’s father headed out, trying to spot the man he believed had just sexually assaulted his daughter.

He didn’t have to go far. “The father saw him at SE 90th Avenue and Flavel Street,” Simpson said. “The victim positively identified the man as the suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Sawsulien S. Bohannan.”

What Simpson didn’t say is that SE 90th Avenue does not intersect with SE Flavel Street – it is, however, where the Springwater Trail crosses the road.

Neighbors say that “sketchy-looking guys” often cut from the I-205 Multi-use Path to the Springwater Trail along unpaved streets, such as SE 87th Avenue.

“Our little neighborhood is wedged in, between SE 82nd Avenue and I-205,” said neighbor Reba McGivney. “The Springwater Trail is to our west, and the [I-205 Multi-use] Path is to the east.

“Every day, we see ‘sketchy-looking guys’ walk through [our area] on Harney on Clatsop street; sometimes they cut through on SE 87th or 88th Avenues,” McGivney told East Portland News. “Those streets are narrow, and aren’t paved. I see them ducking into yards all the time. They steal whatever isn’t nailed down.”

Shown the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) booking photo of sexual assault suspect Bohannan on the day after his arrest, McGivney cried out. “Him? Oh, my lord! I saw him riding a bike through here on Saturday. He gave me a bad, bad look. I’ve always been worried something like this was going to happen – and now it has!”

On the evening of his arrest, Bohannan was processed in the MCDC on charges of on charges of Rape in the First Degree, Sex Abuse in the First Degree, and Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the First Degree, at 10:53 p.m.

At his arraignment on the following afternoon, Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor David Hannon presented the court a probable cause affidavit for the case.

The affidavit presented graphic details of how, according to the victim, Bohannan rode his bicycle up to her, dragged her into a muddy side yard, and pinned her against a fence, while he groped, fondled, and sexually assaulted her.

Apparently the victim’s ringing cell phone was what got Bohannan to release her.

He pled “not guilty”; 21-year-old Sawsulien S. Bohannan will face three felony charges in connection with the sexual assault of a Lents girl.

According to media reports, Bohannan told detectives he thought it was a “consensual encounter”, and that he assumed the victim was older. Other reports indicate he’s been arrested (but not always convicted) on 19 occasions, on charges including drug possession and auto theft.

Currently Bohannan is lodged in MCDC on the three arresting felony charges, in lieu of $750,000 bail.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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