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‘He was attempting to rape me': Long Beach assault victim calls for stronger charges against suspect

A woman who was attacked by a man who exposed himself and pushed her to the ground in Long Beach is calling on the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to re-evaluate misdemeanor charges to heavier consequences for the suspect.

“He should be charged with attempted rape because he was attempting to rape me,” Rebekah Pedersen told NBC4 of the Oct. 20 attack.

Surveillance footage from the assault captured Miguel Avila, 30, approaching Pedersen from behind, exposing himself and lifting her skirt before pressing his groin against her. The brazen, daytime attack was intervened by a bystander who pepper-sprayed Avila, who then took off.

“He looked like he was possessed. It was an ugly sight,” said Dan McIntyre, who was sitting outside a business when he witnessed the attack. McIntyre came to Pedersen’s defense by spraying the suspect with pepper spray.

Avila was arrested shortly after the assault on suspicion of sexual battery. In a statement to NBC4, the district attorney’s office said it will take a closer look at the case.

“We received a correspondence from the Long Beach City Prosecutor sharing his opinion on the matter,” the statement read. “The case was carefully reviewed previously; however, based on additional information, the head deputy of our Sex Crimes Division will review the evidence and interview a witness that was located AFTER our initial decision was made to determine whether any felony charges are provable.”

In response to the statement, Pedersen said

“Now all of sudden, because he is getting push back, Gascon saying, ‘We have new evidence, we have new evidence. Let me relook at this.’ No, you have an election coming up. This should have never had to be relooked at, you don’t need any more evidence than the proof of the video.”

Avila remains behind bars on $7,500 bail.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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