The iconic campus of the University of Virginia and this city’s idyllic downtown mall are separated by only a mile or two. But at night some people say they are worlds apart.
U.Va. sophomore Hannah Graham, who disappeared Sept. 13, was last seen walking from a bar in the eight-block pedestrian expanse of shops, bars and restaurants.
Jesse Matthew has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection with the case.
Some of the people who live and work in the downtown mall area say they are saddened but not surprised by the incident.
Candace Richards, 29, grew up in Charlottesville, where she tends bar at the Red Pump Kitchen on the outdoor mall. She says she has been assaulted “at least three times” in the eight years she has worked in the area.
“It’s never been safe down here late at night,” Richards says. “People think that because the campus is so safe and secure, it’s safe everywhere in Charlottesville. It’s just not.”
Richards says she was attacked just weeks before Graham’s disappearance. She was walking with friends, but fell behind while looking at her phone. Suddenly a man ripped at her shirt and threatened her with violent sexual expletives. Read More