Fox 4 reported yesterday that an unnamed 19-year-old woman being groped while working at a public pool in Overland Park, and there's something about the way the TV station worked Ali Kemp into the piece that comes off like a gross ploy to pump up a run of the mill assault into something darker. As if they wished the outcome had been worse.
Like the unnamed victim in the Fox 4 story, Kemp was a 19-year-old woman working alone at a public swimming pool in Leawood when she was attacked and killed in 2002. Four years later, Benjamin Appleby was convicted of the homicide.
Overland Park Police Chief John Douglas gave this account of Sunday's alleged incident on his blog, Just the Facts.
The woman was working at a neighborhoods home association pool south of 135th Street. She was alone, preparing the pool when a young man approached her and asked her to check the lost and found. The woman agreed, letting him into the gated area and into the men's and women's bathrooms. After leaving the bathrooms, the man allegedly fondled her. She told the man to leave, which he did, and the woman called her mother and the police.
The suspect is described as a white
male, average build and 5-foot-8-inches tall. He was wearing a long-sleeve white turtleneck
and gray shorts. He also had a square diamond earring in his right ear. He was
driving a black or silver car. If you have information about the alleged groper,
call the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.
If true, it's a creepy incident. And yes, it happened at a pool, but it didn't end with the senseless death of a young girl. Copping a feel isn't murder. Fox 4 would probably say the similarities are enough to justify the comparison, but more than anything, it's about Kemp's case being well publicized.
If a young black woman on the east side is groped -- let's say, even murdered -- you're probably not going to read about the hundreds of other sexual assaults and homicides that took place with similar circumstances in the same zip code over the last few years no matter how closely the crimes match because it's not going to bump the Google pageviews.