Kalamazoo Community Healing Center weighs in on assault case

Jamal Johnson is arraigned on unlawful imprisonment and assault charges.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Jamal Johnson is being held in the Kalamazoo County jail on charges of assault and unlawful imprisonment in connection to an attack at Lakeview Park in Portage.

Portage police say it happened on June 27. The 21-year-old Portage man was riding his bike when a jogger says Johnson grabbed her and forced her to the ground. When she she screamed, she says he took off.

Sally Reames, the CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Healing Centers, said traumatic experiences like this can be difficult for victims to overcome.

"These are no longer things that we can sweep under the carpet and just say, well that happened so it's over. It's not over, it will stay with the victim, most likely for the rest of their life," she said.

Johnson was convicted of a similar incident in 2015 when he attacked a woman on the Bicentennial Trail. Reames says such incidents can be unsettling for victims long after the assault.

"It is to be expected that fear will rule your heart for a while. That is why we say come in for counseling and ask for help," said Reames.

Despite the challenges victims who survive assault go through, Reames says professionals can help victims ease their pain.

"It's not our job to sit in judgment of the perpetrator. What we need to do is work with the victim. That is what we are there for," she said.

Johnson's is due back in court on August 2.

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