In light of Cosby allegations, more sex assaults being reported nationwide

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The New York police commissioner coined the term "The Cosby Effect" in a recent radio interview. He said more women are reporting sexual crimes that have happened in years past, gaining strength to come forward from women who said they were assaulted by Bill Cosby. We found out Houston is seeing an increase in sexual assault reports, too.

Lisa Pool is safe now.

"They came to my apartment one night and asked if I could come over and babysit for them, and I said yes, which led to a night of - a night of nightmares," Pool said. "I was abducted, I was handcuffed, I was taped, I was bound, I was held captive by a knife for hours. Brutal sexual assault. And when I left, I was told that if I told anyone they would claim I was a prostitute."

Pool works for a non-profit in Pasadena, helping fellow sexual assault survivors. She understands why it takes time for some women to report sexual crimes.

"They had me too scared to want to report," Pool said, "so I did not report the night that it happened, I did not go straight to the police."

Pool ended up reporting the crime the next day.

For other women, it takes years.

"This is a very traumatic event that people experience and sometimes they need time to process that trauma before they decide to engage in the criminal justice aspect of it," HPD Captain Dana Hitzman said.

Hitzman tells me the department has seen an increase in women coming forward to report crimes that happened in years past.

The department has seen a 20 percent increase in reported rapes in the last year, going from 804 in 2014 to 990 in 2015. The number of delayed reports increased as well, from 76 to 125.

In a recent interview, the New York police commissioner linked the nationwide increase in reports to the Bill Cosby case.

Pool can understand why victims may feel more comfortable coming forward after watching other women confront a public figure like bill cosby.

She wants victims in Houston to know that they can get through this, just like she did.

"It's not the end," she said.

The Houston police captain said while the statute of limitations varies from state to state, it's never too late to come forward and report a sexual assault. There are several agencies around town that will walk you through the process, including Houston Area Women's Center and The Bridge over Troubled Waters. Of course, you can always report a crime to Crime Stoppers by calling 713-222-TIPS.
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