Reward offered, rally planned to support Ocean Springs sexual assault victim

Reward offered, rally planned to support Ocean Springs sexual assault victim

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The employer of the woman who was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted in Ocean Springs last Thursday is offering a $10,000 reward in the case. Six agencies are now assisting Ocean Springs police in the investigation, and they are following dozens of tips and leads. Meanwhile, one group is organizing a community rally for this Thursday, exactly one week after the attack.

"I think it's very shocking! That could be anybody sitting in their homes. You're sitting there doing your job, and someone walks in and does that," said Robin Cooley.

Cooley is still stunned after learning that a woman who worked at the Dominion Apartments on Holcomb Boulevard was severely beaten and sexually assaulted right in her office. Cooley is the organizer of WAVE, which stands for "Women Against Violence Everywhere". The group was formed after another woman was sexually assaulted while walking on the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge back in November.
 "We just have to remember that this is something we just have to continue to be aware of and continue to fight," said Cooley.

WAVE is planning to hold either a candlelight vigil or a walk along Holcomb this Thursday night.

"What we're putting together right now, like we did last time, is a show of support to this victim, to let her know that she is not alone in her community," said Cooley.

Another major mission for WAVE is to raise money to buy security cameras for the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge. The goal is $10,000. The mayor said the city is about to receive what she calls a, "substantial donation", that will bring the group one step closer to that target.

"On Tuesday, September 29, we have our first corporate donation, Charter Bank and also a private foundation," said Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran. "Certainly, we're overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. Certainly, the latest incident gives it a new sense of urgency."

With this latest attack, WAVE is asking the community to come together to help the victim through the healing process.
"She needs to know that there are people that care and it's just not people she knows, we all care," said Cooley.

The victim's dad said his daughter was beaten up so badly, she actually passed out. She is slowly recovering, physically. However, he said the mental scars may take longer to heal. The family is also planning to contribute to the $10,000 reward that's being offered by The Dominion Apartments.

That reward is for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the attack. Police are looking for a white Chevrolet SUV they believe was involved in the crime. Investigators said for now, there is no evidence to show that this latest sexual assault is connected to the November bridge attack, however, they are not ruling out that possibility.

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