News in Brief: Police Investigate Alleged Rape

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Police are still looking into a reported "acquaintance rape" of a UC Berkeley student that allegedly occurred last Wednesday.

A young woman told police she was raped by someone she knew in her own apartment after 10:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, Berkeley police Lt. Russell Lopes said. The two were engaged in voluntary drinking and drug use before the reported assault.

"Even if the victim is with the suspect voluntarily, if the actual sex act is forcible, it's a rape," Lopes said. "If it comes down to 'he says, she says,' a medical exam will actually tell you if it was forcible rape."

The woman identified the suspect for police and the investigation is ongoing.

Lopes said that most of the rapes the department handles are acquaintance rapes, where the victim and the suspect either know each other well, or just met one another, such as on a date.

"Very few are actually kidnap or break-in rapes," Lopes said.

From January to August this year, 27 rapes have been reported in Berkeley, Lopes said. Last year there were 22.


Lab Cited for Error

The U.S. Department of Energy has charged the UC's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with violations of nuclear procedure.

In a Preliminary Notice of Violation handed down Sept. 27, the department cited the lab for mismanagement of Authorization Basis, the system of paperwork intrinsic to every nuclear facility.

The lab had noticed the error but had not corrected it in a timely manner, and signatures were lacking from several documents, said lab spokesperson David Schwoegler.

A flammable liquid was also stored in an area not designated for that type of material, he said.

The department fined the lab $82,500, but the lab will not have to pay the fine because the UC, its manager, is a non-profit institution. The 1988 Price-Anderson Amendments Act prohibits fining non-profits or their subcontractors for nuclear safety violations.

In response to the citation, the laboratory commissioned an oversight group to manage paperwork better, Schwoegler said. The flammable material was relocated to the correct place.

The laboratory is one of three managed by the university for the federal government, along with Lawrence Berkeley and Los Alamos national laboratories.



Investigate Alleged Assault

The Berkeley Police Department has four detectives working on an alleged sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl that was reported last week.

The assault occurred Sept. 30, according to the victim, at approximately 4 p.m. in Strawberry Creek Park on Allston Way, said Berkeley police Lt. Russell Lopes.

The girl said a Latino male in his mid-to-late 30s "accosted" and sexually assaulted her, according to Lopes. He was reported to be approximately 6 feet tall, weighing 150-160 pounds and wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt. He was described as having black hair, green eyes and a pointed nose with a scar on it, Lopes said.


Local Art Gets Facelift

One of UC Berkeley's notable pieces of art is undergoing a major makeover.

"The Hawk for Peace," which rests outside of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, will be stripped of paint and refinished in the next few days.

The artwork has been at UC Berkeley since 1969. It was originally titled "Boeing," and later "The Hawk" before assuming its current name.

The paint originally used contained 2 percent lead, so extra precautions will be taken for safe removal. The new paint will be lead-free.

The 23-foot sculpture will be renovated by the same firm responsible for painting the Bay and Benicia bridges.

Policy Draft Available

Berkeley residents can now pick up and comment on the Planning Commission's Draft General Plan, an update to the 1977 plan, which set forth planning and policy goals for the city.

The draft, which came out of a year of public workshops and intense discussions, is available on the city's Web site and at the planning department. The next revision of the plan will come after community members voice their opinions of the draft at public hearings held on Oct. 25 and Nov. 8.

The four main policy goals, set forward by the draft, are to keep the city's "unique character and quality of life," to ensure "decent" housing, living wage jobs and businesses, to protect the local environment and to increase citizen participation in policy decisions.


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