GRANDVIEW, Mo. — Parents living near Meadowmere Park in Grandview are on edge after police shared news of a man allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the park on Thursday.
“Horrible, gut-wrenching, eyeopening,” said Keyone St. John, concerned parent.
St. John along with fellow neighbors is still comprehending what happened in their backyard.
“Just more in shock and a whole lot of head scratching, really," St. John said. "Not a lot of words, just a lot of heaving breathing, heavy sighing, lot of head shaking."
Grandview police report the teen girl was lured into a wooded area and then sexually assaulted by the man who had asked her to assist
him in locating his lost dog.
This situation is one St. John says he tries to talk to his kids and loved ones about in an effort to protect them.
“It’s still people out here using anything they can to get close to children. Whether it’s just a smile, a meal, or some candy, it’s still the stuff we heard 20 years ago, it’s still going on today,” St. John said.
In an effort to prevent similar incidents, Anthony Gutierrez, MMA and jiujitsu expert from Blue Springs, teaches students ways to defend themselves.
“It’s not about the heroic finishing them off and beating them up, but it’s the mentality and the agenda to follow and to stay busy to keep the attackers from getting you to wilt or submit,” said Gutierrez, owner of Sharkbaits MMA and Jiu Jitsu Academy.
If possible, Gutierrez says it's helpful to focus on one limb, like grabbing a leg, to throw off an attacker's balance and create opportunity. When an attacker is on top, he suggests "trying to do whatever you can put them to sleep or get an armband and hyperextend the elbow."
Even for those not interested in jiujitsu, Gutierrez stresses the importance for men and women of all ages and sizes to know basic ways to protect themselves in any compromising situation.
“It will guarantee your ability to stay busy and to make these weak-minded people who attack and prey on people like that, it’ll give them the option to let you go and run away because you aren’t submitting and you’re resilient,” Gutierrez said.