Neighbors help blind sex assault victim

HOLMESBURG - December 3, 2009

Two men robbed and sexually assaulted in her own home. The attack moved people to action, some of whom did not know the victim.

Jessica McCullagh took a day off her EMT job to collect money with friends at Torresdale and Cottman for the woman who was brutally attacked in her home on Sunday.

The 50-year-old victim, who is blind, was forced into her house by two men who robbed and sexually assaulted her.

"I think it's horrible. It's enough to have your house ransacked and another thing, she's assaulted. It's a horrible thing," McCullagh said.

Police suspect the crime was not random, and that the victim was specifically targeted. Detectives traced her steps and are examining surveillance video from businesses along her route that day to see if she was being followed.

Neither Jessica nor the other volunteers know the victim. But they are pained by what happened.

"Why shouldn't help? We need to help people. Look at the way the world is today," said Jim Bell of Roxborough.

Police say the only item with cash value that was stolen was a watch. But, knowing that assault victims are often robbed of their sense of safety, these folks want her to experience the kindness of strangers and know that people care.

"Her dignity is at stake here," said McCullagh. "That should not have happened. She's alone and I want to help her out. Maybe she can get extra Christmas presents or something."

These good Samaritans hope what may seem like a drop in the bucket, $156 dollars all told, goes a long way toward helping a local woman heal.

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