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Meet Jane Doe

OC's most famous sexual-assault victim breaks her silence on the 10th anniversary of the Haidl gang rape

Unfortunately, the Haidl case didn't educate everyone. Several sexual predators have been caught doping women's cocktails with knockout narcotics, then filming themselves raping and sodomizing their victims. This was precisely the case of 30-year-old Huntington Beach resident James Ernest Bledsoe, who won a 129-year prison sentence earlier this year for assaulting a series of young women he met at area bars.

A couple of the crimes have eerie similarities to the Haidl case. Shortly after the remorseless Haidl, Nachreiner and Spann left prison, three other Southern California men—Michael Clemmons, 19; Luster Lewis, 20; and John Foster, 22—took a heavily intoxicated 18-year-old woman to a Tustin hotel room in 2009 and videotaped their sexual assault. Afterward, these thugs didn't shove foreign objects into their Jane Doe; instead, they urinated on her.

"You would think these people would take a clue," says Schroeder. "We're not going to tolerate that conduct. You can't have sex with someone who can't say, 'No.' Is that so hard to understand?"

Haidl's defense team: The best scumbags money could buy
OC Register pool photo
Haidl's defense team: The best scumbags money could buy
"I’ve taken my life back"
John Gilhooley
"I’ve taken my life back"

* * *

Doe is tall, slender and friendly. Her laugh comes easily, and her mental alertness shows no signs of the old drug addiction. Nowadays, she lives alone with Daisy, the dog she rescued three years ago from an animal shelter preparing to euthanize her.

When she has free time, she exercises; reads biographies, self-help or religious books; and cherishes time with her family. She earns a fulltime paycheck as an assistant at a doctor's office and attends school at night. Next year, she hopes to transfer to a four-year college such as Cal State Fullerton and eventually make counseling a career. She's not presently dating and admits she still hasn't overcome "trust issues" with men. Someday, she hopes to write a book about her experiences.

"There's always ups and downs," she says. "There's not a single day that goes by that I don't think about it."

For example, she experiences flashbacks about the assault when she sees a pool table or a video camera. But the pain started to subside in August 2005, when she entered drug rehab and soon began regular, weekly church attendance. She says she has been sober ever since. "I don't dwell on the things that used to make me cry—like seeing a pool table," Doe says. "I finally came to the point where I realized I was destroying myself and [my attackers] were winning every day I made bad choices that didn't let me grow."

Besides God and her parents, she credits her emergence to Schroeder and Shirley Mangio, a veteran courthouse victim advocate at Community Service Program Inc. "Shirley has really motivated me," says Doe. "The way she was there for me as a mentor, second mother and a best friend made me want to do that for other women."

In March, Doe became a certified victim's advocate and crisis-intervention counselor. She volunteers at least 18 hours per month at Project Sister Family Services in Los Angeles County. Counseling other victims is therapeutic.

"After a sexual assault, women think it's their fault," she explains. "They think they did something wrong. But I tell my victims they had nothing to do with it. Yes, they may have made a poor decision to go somewhere, but the assault was not their fault. There could be a naked prostitute standing on the corner, and that does not give men the right to rape her."

She already knows the central message of her speech at the upcoming victims' march.

"I want to send hope and to inspire other sexual assault victims," she says. "I want women to know that they can go to the depths of hell and still make it out."

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