San Jose

South Bay Woman Says She Was Raped By Homeless Man

A South Bay woman who was helping a homeless man in her area says he raped her in his shelter.

The woman asked NBC Bay Area to conceal her identity. NBC Bay Area also is not naming the suspect because he was not facing charges at the time of this report.

"I was so scared for my life," the woman said. "I thought I was going to die. I was terrified."

The woman from San Martin tells NBC Bay Area she was raped by a homeless man she had been helping for months.

The woman and her husband first found out about the homeless man in the rural community through the Nextdoor social network, and decided to help him by bringing him food, toiletries and even a heater.

"Most of my encounters with him have been with my husband," she said. "Because I feel comfortable with him now, I started to do stuff on my own, so I thought I was safe to go over there."

It had just gotten dark Wednesday when the woman said she drover to Llagas Avenue in San Martin to drop off groceries and dinner to the man's tent.

"I walked in and then as soon as I put the stuff down, and I turned around to leave, he just grabbed me and attacked me," she said.

The woman said she reported the attack to police as soon as she got home and came to San Jose to get the appropriate medical exams.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said deputies arrested the homeless man that same evening and booked him into jail on charges of sexual assault and false imprisonment.

But he's not in custody, the District Attorney's Office said the homeless man is not facing any charges at the moment. The case is still under investigation.

"I feel betrayed by the legal system," the woman said.

The woman claims the DA told her the attacker will not be prosecuted because of something called the "Mayberry Defense."

"If he believed that his victim was giving consent and if that belief is reasonable and made in good faith, then that becomes a complete defense," NBC Bay Area Legal Analyst Dean Johnson said.

The woman argues she did not fight back or resist during the rape because she was afraid her attacker would become more violent and even kill her.

Now, she is hoping law enforcement can keep him away from San Martin and that he will either get help or sent to jail.

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