Chandler police will not alter their description of the Chandler Rapist despite complaints from a Valley radio station about the department’s use of the word “Hispanic” to describe the attacker.
“I think this is racial profiling,” said Mayra Nieves, vice president of programming for KMYL (1190 AM).
Nieves said Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race -- and many Hispanics are white or black. She said ethnicity should not be used when describing an attacker. Instead she said she would describe the Chandler Rapist as having “dark skin.”
But Chandler police spokesman Sgt. Rick Griner said his department will stand by its description, saying they release the details the victims give them.
“It would be irresponsible on our part to change or alter that,” he said.
Since June 2006, police said the Chandler Rapist has sexually assaulted five girls between the ages of 12 and 14 in the area around Andersen Junior High School. In each case, Griner said the attacker threatens his victims with a weapon and then sexually assaults them.
Police said another incident on Thursday could be the work of the same attacker. An intruder broke into a home in the 1600 block of West Temple Street and attacked a 15-year-old girl about 6 a.m. after her single father went to work.
The girl's two younger siblings were the only other people home at the time of the intrusion. Griner said the girl was not sexually assaulted, but he refused to say if she was touched or fondled.
He said the intruder used the same method of operation when breaking into the girl’s home, but police have not yet determined whether the case is linked to the Chandler Rapist.
Police said they have been interviewing construction workers at nearby Andersen Junior High School because three out of the five confirmed Chandler Rapist sexual assaults have occurred in the school’s attendance area.
Construction worker Juan Mendez said he was questioned for two hours Thursday starting at about 6:15 a.m., shortly after the attack. Mendez said in Spanish that he’s not angry police interrogated him, although he said police treated him with suspicion.
“I feel bad because they treated me like a delinquent,” he said.
Andersen Junior High Principal Jim Anderson said the latest victim does not attend his school because she’s of high school age, but he said the incident happened “very close to our school, within about a half to three-quarters of a mile.”
He said that’s why he continues to send safety tips home with students.
“When you walk to school or a bus stop, walk in groups,” Anderson said. “Don’t go by yourself.”
Griner said this predator does surveillance on his victims, so it’s likely he targets girls at places such as bus stops, schools and after-school activities.
Police describe the Chandler Rapist as Hispanic, 28 to 40 years old, short with a muscular build, dark hair and hazel or brown eyes. In Thursday morning’s home intrusion, the victim told police he was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.