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Sex assaults reported in Jamestown

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - Jamestown police are investigating three reports of suspicious activity in which women were drinking at local bars, passed out and at least two of them had sex without their knowledge.

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - Jamestown police are investigating three reports of suspicious activity in which women were drinking at local bars, passed out and at least two of them had sex without their knowledge.

The third woman became nauseated after drinking and was taken home. She has no memory between 1 and 9 a.m. that day, according to Police Chief Dave Donegan.

The incidents occurred at a minimum of two locations within the past several months, Donegan said, and date rape drugs may have been involved.

Mary Thysell, director of the Safe Shelter in James-town, said people can protect themselves by not letting others handle their drinks - not even when dancing, smoking or using the bathroom.

"You never, ever, ever take a mixed drink from anyone but the bartender," Thysell said.

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Symptoms of date rape drugs - the most common are GHB, rohypnol and ketamine - include nausea, drowsiness, unconsciousness, memory loss, a dreamlike feeling, and sight and breathing problems, Donegan said.

"If you feel like you're getting really drunk really fast, get yourself out of there," said Kali Henke, Sexual Assault Response Team coordinator.

Some sexual assault victims don't realize they've been assaulted until the next morning or later. The victims may be able to tell because some of their clothes are missing, not on or on wrong. Some women feel vaginal soreness, and in some cases, the woman gets pregnant, Henke said.

"Short-term memory loss is associated with almost all of them (the date rape drugs)," she said.

Sometimes those memories come back, Henke said, and sometimes not.

If date rape drugs weren't involved, alcohol can still cause blackouts and memory loss, Donegan said. Even if a victim drank alcohol, she or he is not at fault for being assaulted, he said.

Although three incidents have been reported, it's safe to assume more have occurred, Thysell said. Statistically, about 10 occur for each sexual assault that is reported, she said.

Donegan said to contact police if you or someone you know has been drugged and unknowingly had sexual contact. Date rape drugs can stay in the body for 12 to 72 hours.

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The Jamestown Sun and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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