She had waited in fear since Monday, wondering whether the rapist would make good on his promise to find and kill her and her 3-year-old daughter if she reported him to the police. The fear turned to relief at 5 p.m. yesterday. She said that police had just arrested a man on charges that he had abducted her and her daughter from a Near East Side bus stop on Monday morning, then raped her as she clutched her shaking child to her chest.
She had waited in fear since Monday, wondering whether the rapist would make good on his promise to find and kill her and her 3-year-old daughter if she reported him to the police.
The fear turned to relief at 5 p.m. yesterday.
“It’s the detective,” the woman said, looking down at her ringing phone before answering.
“Oh, thank God,” she said. She smiled. “Thank you so much. Yes. I’m satisfied.”
She said that police had just arrested a man on charges that he had abducted her and her daughter from a Near East Side bus stop on Monday morning, then raped her as she clutched her shaking child to her chest.
Ronald E. Ayers, 34, who is listed in court records as homeless, is charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of rape. He is being held in the Downtown jail and is due in Franklin County Municipal Court this morning.
Sgt. Rich Weiner, a Columbus Police Division spokesman, said officers have evidence that corroborates the woman’s report. Video footage from a COTA bus helped lead them to Ayers.
Police learned of the attack at 7 a.m. Monday, when the woman boarded a COTA bus on N. Ohio Avenue with her daughter and told the driver she had just been raped.
The 27-year-old single mother recounted the incident in an interview with The Dispatch, which does not identify victims of sexual assault:
Each weekday, she leaves her 10-year-old son with a neighbor to await his school bus. Then she and her 3-year-old walk a half-mile to their bus stop. She drops her daughter off at the girl’s grandmother’s house and continues on to her job at a call center.
On Monday, she noticed a disheveled man walking nearby. She recognized him from the neighborhood. When mother and daughter sat down about 6:45 a.m. on a concrete parking block to await the bus, he kept going.
The girl cuddled on her mother’s lap to stay warm. It was still dark, and there was no traffic.
Then the woman felt a jab in her back. A hand covered her mouth. It was the same man, and she thought he was robbing her for drug money and believed that he was holding a gun to her back.
He ordered them to walk behind a nearby vacant gas station, and she realized then that he was not robbing her. He raped her from behind as she cradled her sobbing child.
“I wasn’t letting her go,” she said. “I was just trying to calm her down so he didn’t do nothing crazy.”
Afterward, she said, he waited for her to dress and walked them back to the bus stop. He told her that he would kill them both if they told, and he stuck around until they boarded their bus.
If the woman had been alone, she might have fought, screamed or run. But she said she couldn’t risk that with her child, so she did as she was told.
“It’s hard to explain how you feel being raped,” she said. “I didn’t want him touching me, but he’s touching me. You just feel, like, ashamed.
“You never know in this world,” she said. “This world is crazy.”