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Rape victim was working as escort, Clearwater police say

CLEARWATER — A woman who said she was raped and robbed by an unknown assailant at Plumb Elementary School early Monday is an escort who had arranged a meeting with the suspect, police said Thursday.

Despite inconsistencies in the woman's statements, detectives believe a crime occurred and are actively looking for the man accused of attacking her, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Beth Watts.

"At this point they have established that they do believe she is a victim, and they are working to identify the suspect," Watts said.

But police want to get the word out that the crime does not appear to be a random act.

On Monday, a day before Pinellas County's school year started, police said they would have an increased presence near the school for an undetermined length of time as they investigated the incident.

The 31-year-old woman told investigators Monday that she was near the school around 3:30 a.m. looking for a friend's house when a man approached her and threatened her, then took her to a parking lot at the school and sexually battered her. Afterward, the man stole the woman's purse and ran off.

Since then, detectives say they have learned the woman had escort service ads on at least two websites.

Police say she had arranged to meet the man in the park across from the school at 1920 Lakeview Road. Once in the area, the man and woman "moved onto school property, where the victim claims she was sexually battered and robbed," according to a news release.

Video from the school did not capture an image that could help identify the suspect.

He is described by police as a 17- to 18-year-old black man, 5 feet 6, and 170 pounds. He was wearing a purple and orange ball cap, a purple and orange jersey, black shorts and black Nike shoes, police said.

Anyone with information can call the Clearwater Police Department at (727) 562-4420, or remain anonymous and text a tip to 847411. Anonymous tips also can be submitted to the department's website at clearwaterpolice.org.

Rape victim was working as escort, Clearwater police say 08/26/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:04pm]

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