FOX News is continuing to ask questions after an attempted rape and assault inside a downtown Mobile parking garage. A family member of the victim tells us she is bruised and shaken up, but is recovering. We’re told she was released from the hospital Tuesday night.
Douglas Dunson is in Metro Jail facing two felony charges for attempted rape and assault. Mobile Police tell us Dunson is homeless, but very well known around downtown Mobile for exposing himself. In fact, he was released from jail for another incident just days before Tuesday’s assault.
Mobile Police say around 9 a.m., Dunson approached a woman getting out of her car inside the RSA Tower parking garage and asked for money. Investigators say that's when he allegedly attacked her.
Employees inside the RSA Tower tell us nobody could hear the victim screaming though the very heavy storms we had that morning. We’re told the victim fought the man off for about half an hour until help arrived. Police believe Dunson fled the scene with his pants down. He was arrested later that night.
According to court documents, Dunson was arrested four times for indecent exposure in the last six months. The documents state the incidents were for his sexual gratification.
Back in December, documents show Dunson was arrested for “jerking his genitals” in front of a business on Dauphin Street. He pleaded guilty and served 27 days in jail.
Records show he was arrested again for indecent exposure on February 18. Then on May 25, he was arrested after “wandering naked” through another parking garage on Government Boulevard. He was released from jail, only to be arrested again on May 31 for exposing himself to a crowd of people walking near the intersection of Dauphin Street and Conception Street. That case was dismissed and Dunson walked out of jail again – just days before Tuesday’s violent attack.
All prior indecent exposure charges are misdemeanors, which means the city handled the cases through municipal court.
"In those cases, the victim did not come down and sign the warrant, and if the warrant it is not signed within 48 hours, then a judge has no choice but to let the defendant out of jail,” said Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich.
Now that Dunson is facing felony charges, DA Rich’s office is handling his prosecution.
"It did send shock waves throughout the downtown community,” said Rich. "He needs to stay in jail. What he did to that victim yesterday is incomprehensible, and I just think he needs to stay in jail."
Rich also shed light on the homelessness problem in downtown Mobile.
"I think one of the things that we as a community are trying to do but need to be certainly more diligent in, helping our homeless population find suitable housing. Our office participates every year in a homeless initiative where we, with a lot of other agencies in Mobile, try to help our homeless get off the streets."
The homeless in Mobile have two options downtown to stay overnight and get help. The Salvation Army on Dauphin Street, which can house almost 30 at a time, and Waterfront (Mobile) Rescue Mission on North Washington Ave, which has more than 100 beds. Both organizations have several programs that help the homeless with a number of issues.
We're told by both that a big chunk of the regulars who used to hang out downtown, have moved somewhere else, especially after '15 Place,' a day shelter, was shut down.
A database tracks the ones who check in and out of those shelters. Dunson, we're told, isn't on it, which means he hasn't stayed at any shelter.
Dunson will be in court Wednesday morning. The DA’s Office is expected to ask for no bond.
We’re told Dunson has a history of substance abuse and mental disability. Rich is hoping he will the get the help he needs in jail.
FOX10 News also reached out to the management of the RSA Tower to ask about the security inside the parking garage. We have confirmed security will be increased, but it's unclear what exact changes will be made.
We've had some major crimes in the community this year, but this one struck a chord with Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. He's now urging the community to stay alert. He tells FOX10 News he is in communication with the company to ensure an incident like this doesn’t happen again. Click here to read his full statement.
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