New Details Released in Courthouse Rooftop Suicide Attempt

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Last week, things got a bit intense inside the Seattle Weekly newsroom when veteran reporter Nina Shapiro came back with news that a woman was poised on the roof of the King County Courthouse, ready to jump. Soon after, the affair was all over the internet and there were even reports that news helicopters were making it difficult for police to negotiate with the woman. Then reports started coming in that she may have been a victim of sexual assault. But it's not until now that the full scope of the woman's tragic situation was detailed.

According to KING 5 news, the woman was at a hearing in that very courthouse where she was set to be cross examined by Salvadore Aleman Cruz, a man she accuses of raping her as a child.

Because the man was serving as his own lawyer, he was free to question her at the hearing.

But instead of taking the stand, she ran to the roof where she nearly took her own life. Fortunately, she was talked down from the ledge and is said to be doing OK.

The judge in the case, meanwhile, is considering declaring a mistrial.

The case brings to light the difficulties involved when victims of sexual crimes attempt to relive painful memories in front of a jury. It also raises questions about the rights that people accused of crimes have in cross examining those that accuse them.

Just this year, a bill that would have prevented defendants from directly questioning alleged victims of sexual abuse failed in the legislature.

The Daily Weekly reached out to some counselors at the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress for insight into how questioning on the witness stand might affect a victim of sexual assault and how common this woman's reaction might actually be.

We'll update as soon as we hear back.

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