Bernal Dwellings Public Housing (M.N.K)

(correction appended)
An 18-year-old who lives with her mother in Bernal Dwellings public housing said Wednesday that she was raped Tuesday afternoon by a man who arrived to install carpet in the townhouse she shares with her mother.

Bernal Dwellings Public Housing (M.N.K)
Bernal Dwellings public housing. (M.N.K)

In an interview on Wednesday, the young woman said the rape occurred at around 1 p.m. when the man was changing the carpet in her room. Earlier, he had installed carpet in her mother’s room, which is on a different floor.

“The man pushed me to the wall, and raped me. I screamed asking him to stop doing it,” she said.

Three other carpet installers who had accompanied the man to the complex on Cesar Chavez were outside the house at the time of the incident, she said.

When the rape occurred, her mother, who had taken medicine for high blood pressure, was asleep and for reasons that are unclear, the victim feared waking her up. When her mother  woke up at 5:30 p.m. she noticed that something was wrong.

“I ask her what is the matter, why are there tears in your eyes, and she tells me about the rape,” her mother said in the interview on Wednesday. “Oh my God, and then I call the police.”

Sgt. Lyn Tomioka, information officer for the San Francisco Police Department, confirmed there had been a report of sexual assault in the Bernal Dwellings in the past few days.

She said it was “an ongoing investigation” and that the confidentiality box had been checked on the report.

The victim’s mother said she was interviewed by Police Inspector Sidney Laws on Tuesday. Laws, according to the mother, told her police would follow up on the case. The daughter and mother then went to the hospital so that the victim could be examined. The mother said the hospital confirmed that there had been sexual intercourse.

Laws could not be reached for comment and this could not be independently confirmed.

“It would not have happened if I was awake,” her mother said, bursting into tears.

The girl’s mother said the installers told her they had permission from the public housing manager, McCormack Baron Management Services, to change carpet in her home. She could not remember the name of the carpet company and had no receipt for the work performed.

McCormack Property Manager Denise Wilson declined to comment on the case, saying it was “confidential.”

She said the company used “many different vendors” and declined to name the carpet company. Wilson said any housing authority vendor must follow the rules for identifying themselves to residents, but said she was unable to divulge those rules.

“We have very strict policies and procedures,” she said.

Ginale Harris, director of intervention services at the Mission Neighborhood Centers, was contacted by the mother seeking help, and said she would help the victim overcome her shock.

She said post-rape counseling would be given to the girl.

Bernal Dwellings public housing is located between 26th and Cesar Chavez streets at Harrison and Folsom streets.

It was developed by San Francisco Housing Authority and is managed by McCormack.

Angela Kilduff and Julie Johnson contributed to this piece.
Correction An earlier draft incorrectly attributed statements to Ginale Harris, director of intervention services at Mission Neighborhood Centers. Those statements have been deleted. This was our error and we apologize for the mistake. Lydia Chávez, Managing Editor

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