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UPDATE: Channel 3 is finding out why it took nearly three years for an accused rapist to be arrested in Chattanooga.
Court documents said 69-year-old Walter Callahan raped a woman who is non-verbal in 2015.
Court records said the rape happened in July of 2015 at a home in Chattanooga. It wouldn’t be until Tuesday that Callahan would be placed behind bars.
Victim advocates said the process can be slow and frustrating.
Court records show the victim’s mother allowed her cousin to sleep on the couch. She later found him in her daughter’s room where he was rushing to put his clothes back on.
“When you have individuals that have mental health issues or they’re developmentally delayed, a lot of times they don’t have the understanding of what consent is,” Regina McDevitt, COO for the Partnership for Families, Children, and Adults said.
The Partnership helps victims of sexual assault. McDevitt said the criminal justice process can be sluggish.
“To go from the assault, to services, to the district attorney’s office, to the courtroom, that takes a lot of time to build that case,” McDevitt said.
Court records said the victim was taken to a rape crisis center where a rape kit was completed.
Chattanooga police sent that kit to the TBI in October of 2015 and again in late 2016. Both came back inconclusive.
Police said an investigator recently spoke with an assistant district attorney about the case. That person said there was now enough circumstantial evidence to move forward and take out charges.
“I have a voice to say how can we make this better and that’s where your community partners come into play,” McDevitt said.
Court records said Callahan refused to give a statement to police. He’s expected to be in court next month.
RESOURCES FOR VICTIMS
Chattanooga police can be reached at (423) 698-2525 or 911 in case of emergency.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, contacting The Partnership’s Crisis Hotline (423) 755-2700 is also an option.
A Chattanooga man was taken into custody Tuesday for a 2015 sexual assault.
According to the arrest affidavit, 69-year-old Walter R Callahan raped a mentally ill woman.
The officer said the woman’s mother had allowed Callahan to sleep on her couch.
The mother found Callahan in her daughter’s room later that evening when she went to check on her.
She said Callahan was also in the room hurriedly putting his pants back on. She added that Williams said to her, “I just touched her! I wasn’t messing with her.”
The girl’s mother took her daughter to a Rape Crisis center where a Rape Kit was completed.
The TBI reported that they were able to find DNA, but could not confirm who it belonged to.
Callahan has refused to give a statement.
Police were able to find probable cause that Callahan was the responsible party.
He was taken by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to the Hamilton County Jail.
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