SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — For the first time in 21 years, a South Los Angeles woman spoke out against the man who raped her when she was a child.
In November 1994, an 8-year-old girl was abducted and raped while on her way to school in South Los Angeles.
The very next day, Tauharra, 31, who was 10 at the time, became the serial rapist’s next victim.
She publicly spoke about the horrific memory Thursday but requested that her last name not be revealed.
“I was scared,” said Tauharra. “I felt him watching me.”
According to Tauharra, the rapist grabbed her from behind moments after she sensed his presence.
“When I tried to kick and scream, he put a sharp object to my neck,” she recalled. “I remember looking up and seeing a woman, the neighbor, closing the curtain. I thought for sure this woman would call for help, but she never did.”
Tauharra said her attacker then dragged her through a gate on the side of a church and began to remove his clothing.
Tauharra broke free and ran toward the gate; however, she couldn’t get it to open in time to escape.
“He grabbed me and that’s when he physically hit me,” Tauharra added. “He put the knife to my throat and he said, ‘If you try to run, I will kill you, and I will kill everybody in your family if you try to get away again.’ ”
The suspect then initiated and performed sexual acts, which felt like forever as she was paralyzed in fear, according to Tauharra.
After the attack, Tauharra assisted police to produce a composite drawing of the suspect. About one week later, the suspect was taken into custody.
According to Tauharra, the man who was arrested was the man who raped her. Years later, however, she saw him back in her neighborhood. He lived two blocks away.
Unfortunately, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not have enough evidence to convict the suspect.
The LAPD also explained to Tauharra that the statute of limitation had run out, which prevented them from charging the suspect with the crime even if they could prove he was the rapist.
The investigation took a turn in 2010 when Veteran LAPD Detective Nancy Nelson was able to prove the original suspect was not Tauharra’s rapist through the use of modern DNA testing.
According to Nelson, a stain containing DNA that was left by on Tauharra’s clothing matched to a serial predator, Mark Elliott Jackson, who was currently in prison serving a 21 year sentence for kidnapping a young boy.
Police said Jackson has been linked to at least 10 other crimes against children.
Even with the newly discovered evidence, the District Attorney’s Office couldn’t charge Jackson with rape as the statute of limitations had expired, and he was scheduled to be released in June.
Instead, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jane Creighton offered Jackson a deal — plead guilty to forcible lewd act on a child or face going to trial for torture, which carries a life sentence.
Jackson took the deal and was sentenced to eight years in state prison March 23. Creighton said that with good behavior, he will be released in six years.
Nelson is certain Jackson attacked more children on their way to school from 1994 to his arrest in 1998. Any attack that occurred after November 1994 would convict him to carry a life sentence in prison.
“If they’ve made a police report in the past contact the detective,” said Nelson. “Contact the agency that handled the case and let them know about the story. Let them know about this man.”
Tauharra said she hopes her story will motivate additional victims to come forward.