NORFOLK, Va. — Thirty-year-old Powanzieo Griffin is behind bars tonight after being accused of raping a woman April of 2017.
Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney testified during Griffin’s bond hearing that his DNA is linked to four other rape cases spanning Hampton Roads, including Newport News, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and Chesapeake.
However, his defense attorney Eric Korslund points out Griffin hasn’t been charged with those crimes.
“No other city has charged him with rape, and it makes no sense why they would sit on this and simply not charge him,” said Korslund. “I've never seen that before. He's currently in custody. If they have even probable cause, they would certainly charge him at this stage.”
A victim testified in court Thursday and said she was doing her homework when a man broke in and raped her. According to Korslund, she said she didn’t know Griffin and had never seen him before.
“He has no criminal record, and he maintains that he met this young lady on plentyoffish.com and she invited him over and they had consensual sex,” said Korslund.
Kristen Pine with the Hampton Roads sexual assault crisis center, YWCA, said it’s difficult for victims to come forward and testify about an assault in court.
“When victims report a sexual assault and it goes through the court process, whatever they were doing at the time becomes that conversation in the courts so there's a lot of victim-blaming,” explained Pine.
Pine added testifying is not only traumatizing for victims, but it’s like re-living the sexual assault all over again.
Korslund asserts Griffin isn't a serial rapist and that he is requesting a jury trial to be scheduled at a later date.
Victims of sexual assault can contact YWCA's crisis hotline at 757-251-0144 or chat with a representative online.