North Linden Residents Express Concern After Teen Reports Rape

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Frustration continues in the North Linden Community after police say a 13-year-old girl was raped.

Investigators say the girl was near the area of her bus stop when a man forced her behind an abandoned home in the 1400 block of Myrtle Avenue.

Police say afterwards the suspect ran away, and the young girl went to get help at nearby KIPP Journey Academy.

"A young girl in our community felt like KIPP was a safe place to go to when she was in stress, and duress, and we responded to make sure she got access to the supports and help that she needed,” said Hannah Powell, Executive Director of KIPP Journey Academy.

Executive Director Hannah Powell says a principal at the school helped the girl and called police.

“This young lady is not a KIPP student, I don't know where she goes to school - but it doesn't matter,” said Hannah Powell “She is a part of our community and we feel blessed to be a part of this community, and it is just important to us that all of our kids, whether it is a KIPP student or any student, are safe.”

Many people who live in this area say the attack draws attention to an issue, which they say, affects their safety.

“Abandoned properties have been an issue in this neighborhood for a long time,” said Kwojo Ababio, who lives in the community and also serves on the North Linden Area Commission. “I mean if you go down Myrtle Avenue, and walk up and down that block, it's empty. And now, a young 13-year-old has been raped, so there is fear in the community.”

Ababio says he hopes more people will join the fight to do something about abandoned homes in this neighborhood.

“I hope that neighbors want to be neighbors and get back involved. People should be outraged right now.”

Columbus City Schools sent letters home to parents with children in Mifflin Middle School, as well as, 10 other schools in the proximity of where the alleged incident occurred.  

Kipp Journey Academy, which is not a district school, says it also talked about the incident with its students and sent notes home to alert parents.