Victim in restaurant sex assault waits for justice | News
Three months after an alleged sexual assault inside a Cross Plains restaurant, the victim spoke exclusively with WISC-TV and said the hope for justice has turned into a waiting game.
Weeks after its summertime grand opening, Cinco De Mayo quickly found a following, but the popularity of Cross Plains' newest restaurant started unraveling in early August.
"The food wasn't quite ready, so I sat down at the bar," said Jane (whose name has been changed for protection) describing the night of Aug. 3.
It was not the first time Jane had ordered take-out from Cinco De Mayo, but she said it would be her last.
"And I was still at the bar waiting (for food), and then they offered me a margarita. So I'm thinking, I'll drink this for about five minutes, and I'll grab my food," Jane said.
Shortly after sipping the drink, Jane said she felt "cloudy in the head."
"And (the restaurant staff) said they had a bed back there if I wanted to lay down for a little while until I felt better," Jane said. "And I'm like, 'You have a bed here?' and (an employee) was like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me show you.'"
Jane said that's when workers led her to the back of the restaurant into a storage closet.
"And then immediately, right away, guy No. 1 raped me," Jane said. "And I don't know how long I was with him. I do remember being jostled around."
A search warrant references five restaurant employees engaging in various sex acts with Jane.
"(The second man was) trying to kiss me, trying to grope me, trying to get me to grope him," Jane said. "I asked each one of them to help me and get me out of there and they all said, 'No.' They did not help."
Jane reported the incident to police three days later. Shortly after, Cinco De Mayo's owner Martin Valencia shared his thoughts with WISC-TV.
"It's a safe restaurant," said Valencia. "All the employees that were working, we're going to get new staff and everything, new people. So people know they're not scared of coming in for what happened."
By September, Cinco De Mayo had closed, and Cross Plains police recommended first-degree sexual assault charges for 23-year-old Alejandro Gonzalez-Carmona, 46 days after the alleged attack.
Jane said, at that point, she hoped to find justice.
But now, nearly three months after the August assault, police said they still cannot find Gonzalez-Carmona.
"I'm finding myself to be very jumpy," Jane said. "I'm scared. I don't know where these people are. I don't know what I have to do to protect myself. I think (the authorities) could have worked a little faster to try to get some of these people. I don't know why they waited so long."
WISC-TV asked the Cross Plains Police Department why. Chief Tom Janssen said his department's recommendation that the district attorney should file a charge should not imply guilt before justice takes its course.
"We can't just run around and follow people and keep track of them because we want to know where they are," Janssen said. "Everybody has the freedom, unless they are charged or incarcerated, to have the liberty to roam around free."
"Their freedom to move, because they are presumed innocent, is still there," said Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, who must now make a decision on filing formal charges in the case. "Obviously, with the amount of cases that are coming in, the amount of cases that we currently have, yes, it will take us longer to get through cases."
This isn't the only Dane County case in legal limbo.
"Currently, we have about 3,000 cases in warrant status." said Ozanne, which means charges have been filed and a warrant has been issued for the defendant.
Out of those 3,000 cases, Ozanne said the whereabouts of some defendants are known. For others, their day in court will take more time.
"And I always talk to victims," Ozanne said. "And when I'm talking to them about the speed of the system, as a whole, I let them know it's not going to be fast enough for them."
"We responded to the report. We feel we responded in a timely manner and appropriately," Janssen said. "And, right now, it is just a matter of locating individuals."
"Now it's up to the DA to do this," Jane said. "But it could be another month; it could be another two months. And these people could move further away."
Jane said her motivation to tell her story is rooted in hopes her story prompts other victims to come forward. She's convinced there may have been more who had fallen prey to what she described as a "premeditated, pre-choreographed attack."
While Cross Plains police have recommended charges against Gonzalez-Carmona, the 23-year-old has yet to be formally charged.
Both the district attorney and the Cross Plains Police Department said there are details they cannot share due to the active nature of this investigation.
Meanwhile, the victim said she's considering legal action against the owners of the now-closed restaurant.