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YWCA victim services director: Slain teen took right steps in reporting sexual assault

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Mujey Dumbuya was preparing to testify against Quinn James, the man she accused of raping her three different times, before she was murdered and Newschannel 3 wanted to know if Dumbuya's story would prevent other sexual assault victims from coming forward to police.

Cathy Brown, director of victim services at the Kalamazoo YWCA, says Dumbuya's story could result in fewer sexual assault survivors seeking prosecution against their attackers, but says each victim's circumstance is different.

At this point, it's unknown who killed Mujey Dumbuya, but we do know she detailed the three occasions Quinn James allegedly raped her when she was 15-years-old.

“The fact that she told her story, that she felt comfortable that somebody over there was helpful so she can tell her story. Just doing that, she's a hero,” Brown said.

Brown says sexual assault survivors usually are fearful of retaliation and re-victimization.

“Telling their story, they may not be safe and may not be the best thing for everybody,” Brown said. “If you feel it's an unsafe thing to do, work with an advocate, sit down and talk to someone at the YWCA.”

James, the person of interest In Dumbuya's death, was arrested in mid-November for allegedly raping Dumbuya. James was released on a $100,000 bond days after his arrest and as part of the condition of his release James was ordered to have no contact with Dumbuya.

“At the end of the day, there's are mere pieces of paper and if someone wants to disregard those court orders. That's where the problems begin,” Randall Levine, a criminal defense attorney based in Kalamazoo, said. “This is not the first time a person scheduled to testify has been murdered.”

Levine isn’t involved in Dumbuya's murder case, but believes the judge proceeded properly in Dumbuya’s sexual assault case against James.

“The judge did the best to set a bond to ensure the safety of the victim. We can't do anything about a rogue defendant who disregards orders of the court,” Levine said.

Do experts believe the justice system failed Dumbuya? Brown says no.

Brown says Dumbuya appeared to do everything right in telling her story to police, but puts the responsibility of what happened solely in the hands of Dumbuya's killer

“It’s always the fault of the person who provided the assault, the person who killed her. That's who needs to be held accountable,” Brown said.

The YWCA is advocating for survivors of sexual abuse to continue to speak out when they feel safe, and on their own terms.

"I want survivors to feel safe in knowing: It's their story. They own it, they can tell it when they want and how they want to," Brown said.

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