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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Toronto police officer fights Texan rapist

RAPE - At the centre of this story is "Ann Doe", age 33, a mother of two from the GTA... She was brutally raped while visiting Houston, Texas on a business trip in July 2008. It changed her life irreversibly.

But what really stings is how when she tried to get justice they all ignored her.

She went to the Houston police.

She went to the Durham police here in Canada.

She went to her local MP.

None of them helped her.

In steps Toronto Constable Shari MacKay.

MacKay and the Toronto police have nothing to do with the case, but MacKay believes strongly in truth and justice. (You go girl!)

MacKay wrote dozens of letters to officials in Houston, everyone from the chief of police to the mayor, and she pushed investigators to reopen the case. MacKay even made approx. 7 trips to Houston.

In October 2010, the rapist John Frangias was convicted of rape and sentenced to 8 years at the Texas State Penitentiary.

MacKay has since won the International Association of Women Police’s Mary Jo Blahowski Leadership Award for 2011.

“Shari saved me,” says Ann Doe simply, without any fanfare. “She took the case under her wings, she went way above and beyond.”

“She [Ann Doe] had no other advocate, there was no one else to look after her,” says MacKay. “What happened was horrific … I wanted to see him convicted for what he did.”

What the rapist John Frangias did is etched in Ann Doe’s memory.

Doe, who ran a consulting business with offices in Toronto and other cities, was in Houston for a conference in July 2008. The Lancaster Hotel was overbooked despite her reservations so she went to the Athens Hotel Suites.

After four days there and on the last night, a Thursday, she was walking down the hall to her room. It was approx. 11 PM when she opened the door to her room and someone shoved her in from behind.

She recognized the man who had been at the front desk, John Frangias, as her assailant. (John Frangias was the manager of the hotel.)

John Frangias grabbed her by the hair, pulled it hard and started groping her breasts.

Then he raped her. The rape lasted approx. 15 minutes, the worst 15 minutes of Ann Doe's life.

Reliving the memory is still hellish. “It takes you right back to those moments. I can feel it, hear it, taste it, smell it … when I talk about it,” says Ann Doe, her voice cracking. “When he left, I was numb,” says Doe. “Like a zombie, I got into the shower and scrubbed every inch of my body to get the stench off.”

Ann Doe's flight back to Toronto was early next morning and initially she tried to forget anything had ever happened. But when Doe landed back in Toronto she confided in a best friend what had happened and they persuaded her to go to the police.

She did, the same day.

Durham police sent her to the hospital where it was established that she had been violently raped. Confirmed evidence of it. Within days, she gave video testimony and everything was passed on to investigators in Houston.

Then the investigation stopped. Houston police were apparently doing nothing.

Meanwhile Doe stopped travelling and she rarely left the house. She was a mental wreck.

Eventually Doe bumped into Shari MacKay. Their kids went to the same daycare together. Their kids wanted a play date and sometime in February 2009, MacKay brought her kids to Doe’s home.

Their children became friends, so did the two women. But it still took another couple of months for Ann Doe to confide in MacKay. “I just wanted an insight into how investigations work,” says Doe. She was concerned why the case was going so slow and there was no response from the Houston police.

When MacKay heard her story, she instantly knew what had happened. Houston police weren't taking the rape incident seriously. A hotel manager rapist was raping tourists (possibly more than 1) and getting away with it. The local police weren't even given the case the time of day.

The next day, MacKay called up the investigators in Houston and was shocked to hear that they hadn’t even gone to the scene and had classified the complaint as “he said, she said. It blew my mind,” says MacKay.

“I was also politely told it wasn’t my jurisdiction.”

So yeah. Houston police are apparently patriarchal bastards who don't take rape seriously.

But MacKay wasn’t about to give up. She wrote dozens of letters to the chief of police, the mayor, the District Attorney’s office. The investigation started again and Doe was asked to come down to Houston. MacKay accompanied her.

“Shari was like a pit bull,” says Doe. “She wouldn’t let go.”

(Again, you go girl!!!)

“Houston cops resisted her … she didn’t let it deter her. I wish we had more police officers like Shari here,” says Alexis Bruegger, assistant DA in Houston.

“He [Frangias] was horrible,” says MacKay. “He had an elaborate story … that [Doe] was impaired and had fallen outside the hotel. The jury didn’t believe him.”

Eventually justice was served to John Frangias, 8 years at the Texas State Penitentiary.

That is simply proof that truth, justice and karma always win in the end.

We KNOW there are rapists out there who have yet to be caught, but they're living in rotting shells of a life. Karma catches up to everyone eventually.

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