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Crisis Services Rape Program Reaches Out

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A local organization that assists rape victims says it is unsettling to learn that the bike path rapist is still terrorizing woman 20 years later. Crisis Services reaches out to the community as the issue of rape remains in the headlines.

Jessica Pirro is associate director of Crisis Services. The organization offers the only rape crisis center in Erie County. Pirro says return of the bike path rapist is unfortunate, but it could finally lead law enforcement to the suspect.

Investigators say DNA in the murder of Clarence woman Joan Diver is connected to the 1990 rape and murder of UB student Linda Yalem and and several other cases in the last 20 years -- all linked to the bike path rapist. Pirro says if rape victims are willing to share information it could assist law enforcement

Crisis Services says its advocate program provides assistance to over 500 people each year that report sexual assault. Pirro says the Buffalo area ranks third for the most reported forcible rapes statewide.

Pirro says the bike path rape cases are unusual because three of the victims were murdered, although investigators say Diver was not sexually assaulted.

Crisis Services says for those impacted by the bike path rapist, or who never came forward, the organization has help available, 24-hours a day, to respond to their needs.

Meanwhile, investigators released a new telephone tip line for possible leads to the bike path rapist. The number is 1-877-277-1990.