6 06 2008

Gilroy police arrest alleged rapist of mentally disabled teen

by Chris Bone

5 June 2008

Morgan Hill Times

http://morganhilltimes.com/news/244899-gilroy-police-arrest-alleged-rapist-of-mentally-disabled-teen

Gilroy police arrested Gyasi Terran Thursday afternoon on suspicion of raping a mentally disabled 19-year-old man in a Miller Park bathroom early Wednesday morning, police said.

An anonymous online Gilroy Dispatch reader spotted Terran, 24, outside Togo’s on First Street at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, police said. About 36 hours after the assault, Gilroy Police Department officers arrived at the Contempo Plaza shopping center after they got the tip and arrested Terran without incident, police said, four hours after the Dispatch posted his description and about 90 minutes after police released his mug shot.

Henry Provost, owner of Simply Romance, said Terran has been friends with his son since third grade and that it’s unlikely “Goo” would ever rape another man.

“This is totally out of character. He’s a heterosexual, all the way … I do not believe it’s him,” Provost said. “A customer came in here earlier with a flyer with Goo’s picture on it produced by police, saying they wanted him for this assault, and that’s when I put it all together, thinking, ‘It can’t be. It can’t be.’ Trouble just seems to follow Goo around, and he does stupid things, but nothing violent like this; and he’s never been interested in men.”

A manager at Togo’s, who declined to give her name, said Terran loitered outside the store frequently, annoying staff. But a few doors down at Eagle Ridge Liquors, owner Paul Sandhu described Terran as polite and said he came in frequently to browse the family magazines.

“He was very nice, well behaved and never caused trouble,” Sandhu said.

About 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Terran met the teen at the 7-Eleven on First Street, police said. Police do not know whether the man knew the teen previous to this encounter.

The store’s owner, Van Nguyen, said the victim comes into his store regularly, but the employee who was on duty when the incident took place was unavailable for comment.

“I’ve seen the kid before,” Nguyen said late Wednesday morning. “He comes in here a lot.”

Terran and the teen then walked about two blocks away to the women’s bathroom in the park, 7851 Carmel St., between First and Second streets, across the street from Brownell Middle School. Shortly thereafter, the teen returned to the 7-Eleven and asked the clerk to call 911. On the phone, he told police he had been raped.

The women’s bathroom was unlocked at the time, police said. The locks on both the women’s and men’s doors appeared intact Wednesday afternoon. The city employee in charge of locking and unlocking the doors did not return calls asking why the Miller Park doors were unlocked and whether that was normal.

Police set up a crime scene early Wednesday morning, and just before noon, crime scene tape sat bundled in the metal trash can outside the men’s room. Latex gloves and a DNA swab wrapper were in the metal can outside the women’s bathroom.

Police did not know where the teen lived or the extent of his cognitive abilities and also declined to comment as to why he was out during the middle of the night.

“I will not comment on why the victim was out at this time in the morning. This crime was not the fault of the victim,” wrote Sgt. Jim Gillio in an e-mail.

Police do not believe Terran was involved in any of the stranger rapes that occurred last year, Gillio said. This incident differs from he 2007 rapes because the teen was a male, it did not occur near the levee and the style of approaching the victim was different. It was unclear at press time whether Terran has previous convictions.

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