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In Suspected Flagler Beach Rape, New Details Point to 2 Attacks and Disturbing Aftermath

| June 21, 2013

The empty lot at South 12th Street and South Central Avenue in Flagler Beach where the suspected rape took place. click on the image for larger view. (c FlaglerLive)

The empty lot at South 12th Street and South Central Avenue in Flagler Beach where the suspected rape took place. click on the image for larger view. (c FlaglerLive)

The woman involved in the suspected rape case that’s shaken Flagler Beach since it unfolded on the south side of town early Friday morning alleges she was attacked twice by James McDevitt in the space of two blocks, the first time in front of a friend of McDevitt’s who urged him to stop. It was only a pastor’s phone call to 911 that alerted authorities of what the pastor thought was a sexual assault in a yard next to his home just after 3 a.m., interrupting the alleged assailant in the act.

That evidence emerges from a more detailed investigative report by Flagler Beach police detective Liz Williams that also sheds light on the disturbing—and apparently broken—system local police must work under when confronted with a rape case and having to have the victim examined by a qualified nurse: the agency contracted to provide that service, the Daytona Beach-based Children’s Advocacy Center, refused to provide a nurse, according to the report, potentially endangering the viability of the evidence. The victim had to be examined in St. Johns County, hours after the alleged attack, forcing the victim to endure hours of unnecessary additional trauma. The service the advocacy center is paid to provided is publicly funded by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Williams’s investigative report traces the victim’s evening back to barbecue with friends in Flagler Beach, following which the victim went with friends to Finn’s, the bar on State Road A1A and State Road 100. Finn’s tends to stay open later than most bars in town, so the woman had left the place at 1:30 or 2 a.m. She had decided to return to the friend’s house where the barbecue had been held earlier. But “she wanted some alone time first and decided to walk on the beach,” the report states. The woman told Williams that it wasn’t uncommon for her to do that. She’s lived in Flagler Beach on and off her whole life, and the beach “is a place where she finds comfort and solace when she is troubled.”

The victim was troubled that evening about an ex-boyfriend. Her friend’s house was on South 16th Street. Rather than take the road, she took to the sands. She spoke with her ex-boyfriend on the phone as she walked, became emotional, cried, and finally walked up the steps to the road only to realize that she’d walked up two blocks shy of her friend’s house. She emerged around South 14th Street. She started to walk on South 14th when she saw a minivan on the side of the road. It was parked in the 100 block of 14th, on the south side of the street. Two men were standing outside the van. One of them approached her and asked if she was OK. She kept walking west.

All of a sudden, the victim claims, “one of the males grabbed her and threw her to the ground,” the report states. “She stated that she initially believed she was going to be robbed but the male was being extremely violent to her and placed her face down in the soft sand of the alleyway on the north side of the block between A1A and Central Avenue. She said that he was holding her face down with such force and she was panicked and trying to breathe but only was able to bring dirt into her mouth and nostrils and no air. She stated that at this point she felt the male was going to kill her. She advised that the male had then taken his pants down and put his penis in her mouth and down her throat. She stated that he then tried to kiss her and she bit his face. She advised that she did this because she felt certain he was going to kill her and she wanted to have evidence on him to help the police identify her murderer. She also said that she was able to slip the strap of her purse over her head in case he killed her she would have identification for the police to know who she was.”

During that initial attack, the woman said to the investigator, she heard the other man yelling at the man who was attacking her, telling him “no,” “stop,” and “she can’t breathe.” The investigation would reveal that the second man was Sebastian Guitierrez, who told police that the van was parked on the side of the road as he and McDevitt were tending to a friend, Darius White, who was passed out drunk. Guitierrez recalled the woman walking by and both he and McDevitt approaching her to ask if she was OK. Guitierrez told the detective that McDevitt “then told him to go away and check on” White. Guitierrez did as he was told, “but then he heard the female scream and went to check and see what was happening,” the report states, “and he saw her lying on the ground.” Guitierrez assumed the woman had fallen. McDevitt was “hovering” over her. Guitierrez assumed McDevitt was helping her up.

The detective asked Guitierrez if he’d noticed a bite mark on McDevitt’s face at that point. He did. Williams then again inquired of Guitierrez that “if he heard her scream, saw her on the ground and saw a bite mark on [McDevitt]’s face, how he came to the assumption she was being helped.” Guitierrez said he didn’t know. When asked if he’d asked McDevitt to “stop” and told him “no,” Guitierrez said he had, “but that it was only because he thought he should stop trying to ‘help’ the girl and that they should call for someone else to come and help her because she was saying she had seizures and needed help.” Guitierrez said McDevitt then told him to go away and tend to White, which Guitierrez did. The last he saw of McDevitt and the victim was of them walking down the street.

By the time she was able to get up and walk again, the victim told the investigator, she couldn’t tell where the second man—Guitierrez—had gone. She started walking north on South Central and told McDevitt that she was going o her sister’s house. She picked out a door at random, knocked, hoping the homeowner would come to the door and provide help. Nobody did. She kept walking north, and when she attempted to run off to another house, she said “he grabbed her and began to drag her into a vacant lot.” That’s where what would turn out to be the second alleged attack took place. That alleged attack was related in the first police report, completed by an officer-trainee who was riding along with a Flagler Beach police officer that night.

In the lot, the victim says McDevitt ripped her panties off and had his hand around her throat “and was squeezing, and she believes she may have lost consciousness again.”

Pastor Robert Tier, who lives on South Central, could not sleep that night. He went outside to walk his dog. He heard a woman scream, and saw a man put his hand “over the woman’s mouth,” the report states, and “pulling her towards the vacant lot across the street. The pastor went to his house to fetch his cell phone, come back out immediately and call police. By then, the pastor told the detective, he could see the man on top of the woman in the vacant lot motioning back and forth in the ways of a sexual act as the woman yelled “no” repeatedly.

Three squad cars passed by, the pastor recalled. The man didn’t stop until the three cars turned around, came back, and put their spotlights on him. At that point the pastor saw the man get up and try to run away.

The victim also recalls cars going by as her alleged assailant was penetrating her, and that “he rolled her on top of her and told her ‘to go with it’ or he would ‘kill her,’” the investigator’s report states. The victim “stated that when the cars turned out to be police cars and the headlights hit them he got up and ran away.”

McDevitt did not get far. He remains at the Flagler County jail, charged with rape, on $101,000 bond.

For the victim, the ordeal was not over. It would be several hours before she would be examined by a nurse trained in rape crises, after Williams struggled in vain through numerous attempts to get the Children’s Advocacy Center to respond to the case in Flagler Beach. Williams, who has 16 years’ experience and an ample rolodex, was able to circumvent the center’s refusal to provide a nurse by calling on previous resources she had worked with, in St. Johns County, and having the examination conducted there. For most of those hours, the victim had to refrain from cleaning up to much as the dirt in her mouth and nose, to preserve evidence.

The advocacy center’s handling of the request left Flagler Beach police livid.

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27 Responses for “In Suspected Flagler Beach Rape, New Details Point to 2 Attacks and Disturbing Aftermath”

  1. Nancy N. says:

    This is UNACCEPTABLE that a traumatized rape victim was made to wait for investigative services like that due to the refusal of a supposed advocacy agency to respond! The state needs to investigate why the agency is failing to provide the service it is contracted for. PRONTO.

  2. Flaglerdude says:

    This woman keeps changing her story. I believe that McDevitt is completely innocent. None of these stories seem to add up. He said, she said. That’s all this is. How come we can’t receive the woman’s name? We always want to blame the man before we blame the woman. This story is completely fishy.

    • Ogreagain says:

      @ flaglerdude Really think so? with a bite mark on the face and His own buddy saying he saw him over her?

    • Ray Thorne says:

      If your wife, mother or sister were raped would you want their name publicized?

    • Nancy says:

      How did she change her story? If she did, maybe because she was in shock! You obviously have little respect for women, so it wouldn’t bother you if she had been your sister. Sad that, even though there were witnesses, you defend the piece of garbage.

    • This is BS says:

      There’s witnesses saying they heard her say “NO” and “STOP”. I don’t know about anyone else but while engaging in consentual sexual behavior rarely are those two words screamed out together!
      As for the agency supposedly responsible for performing the rape kit, do your job. I’m sure plenty of rapist losers are walking the streets right now because of incompetence like yours. If you don’t want to be woken up at 3 am with a phone call get another job. Why aren’t these victims just taken directly to the hospital when these other people are nowhere to be found?

  3. briggid says:

    Why did the Daytona agency refuse to respond? Is that known? Unbelievable…

  4. Wolfman says:

    Until you get rid of the Bars, you are going to continue to have drunks and criminals causing crimes. And be honest, the only ones that would not agree are the ones that own, or work at these dumps !! And the ALCOHOLICS themselves. Major problem in Flagler Beach is ALCOHOL !!!!

  5. CHECK PLEASE says:

    Reading that account made me disgusted. I actually got goosebumps. It must have been terrifying for the poor woman.
    My heart goes out to her and I hope she will get justice.

  6. Tired says:

    This is terrible. The fact that it happened is bad enough, but what this victim had to endure afterward is crazy! I just googled the agency and sent the following response. Please, please, I emplore you all to do the same so this doesn’t become a habit;
    I just read the article on about the woman that was raped in Flagler Beach and your agency refused to send a trained nurse to process the rape kit. For all the good that your agency may do, it’s erased by one horrible moment like this. I hope you’re all ashamed at yourselves and will do what you can to right this wrong and see to it that never again is a rape victim turned away from your servies.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow…….a publicly funded program designed around helping women and children in crisis situations outright refused to help this woman after she had been raped? I say we just ensure that Emergency Room nurses throughout the country be trained in Rape Crisis Examination procedures, and just eliminate these publicly funded programs. After all, it seems they only want to help people when it can provide a huge spotlight for them. If there is no spotlight, they apparently do not care! All this program seems to be is another huge waste of my tax dollars!

  8. pamala zill says:

    My heartfelt prayers to this innocent victim. I grew up here on and off as she. I often convene and commune with the Soul of the Sea at all hours as she. I hope with all my strength she endures

  9. A.S.F. says:

    I am sure that the advocacy center has to be licensed by some agency, either state or federal (if not both.) An investigation should proceed immediately and the appropriate licensing agencies should be informed. My guess is, the agency will respond more quickly if they realize that they could be shut down and their funding could be at stake.

  10. BeachLvr84 says:

    One of the most disgusting things I’ve ever read and to think it happened in the town I live :( It really sent chills down my spine thinking about the times I’ve ridden my bike alone at night (not this late, but still after dark). I hope the victim is able to find some sort of peace with all this… I can’t even begin to imagine what she is going through.

  11. Freddy says:

    The problem with a small police agency is not having clout over other beuracratic agencies. The county sheriff’s department would have had better access.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Freddy, not so: Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Port Orange, Volusia County: they’ve all reported similar issues since the change-over in April.

  12. Nikia says:

    Thank you Detective Williams for being so diligent! It is truly disgraceful that this victim had to remain like that for hours. State money should be witheld for every failure of immediate response. I also wonder if this van had any connection to the dark van trying to pick up children in palm coast.

  13. The Professor says:

    Wow so many senile negative Nancy’s in here. Who cares about your small tax dollars that you contribute. I pay the same tax you do and I have no problem with it. Don’t like it? Move back up north. Oh and saying alcohol is the blame is just like saying cars are the reason for car accidents. Are you going to take away cars? People need to be held accountable for their actions. I feel bad for the woman and kudos to the underpaid understaffed police who are working on this. Now excuse me while I go to work to pay for your social security and Medicare/Medicaid.

  14. Me says:

    I work for a larger PD and we have had them refuse to come out also. Sometimes we have to go over to Seminole County which is almost an hour from our PD

  15. confidential says:

    Why they didn’t call the sheriff? 911 should be for all agencies…as for the pastor that called 911 …without proper response, I would have called the sheriff non emergency number and surely explain the emergency to get real help.

  16. AMOS says:

    Our Heart Goes Out to The Victim !!! The Young man that is Accused is Presumed Innocent until Proven Guilty.We have Been Here in Flagler Beach for Over 30 Years and Our City is No Longer the Cool little Get away it Used To Be.The Beachside is Overflowing with People 7 Days a Week, So its Apparent We need More Law Enforcement to Be Present !! To Nikia, Detective Williams is a Very Dedicated Officer to Our Community and Always Has Been. To The “Professor” You Speak of “Senile Negative Nancy’s” in Here?, This County has People Living Here from ALL Over The World My Friend, Your “Dont Like it Go Back Up North” is About as “NEGATIVE/LAME” as it Gets, We Agree with You on the rest of Your Comment. To WolfMan, We are Responsible For Our Own Actions, Alcohol, Drugs, Weapons, Animals Etc.The Tiny Little Retirement is Gone, This Place is Overflowing with Stores, Restaurants, Bars and Visitors. Next Time Any of You Are Out Beach Side Take a Look Around, Transients Sleeping on The Beach Tables, Vehicles Blocking Every Beach Walk Entrances All Day Long. So We Would Suggest Our City Commisioners Step Up, and Get Our Police Dept. Some Much Needed Help!!! As for The Agency that Refused to Respond for This Alleged Rape, We are Not Sure What it was For? Taking DNA from the “Victim”, We Do Have a Victim Advocate within the City PD, Just Wondering if Our FD has a Female that Could Have Done What Needed to Be Done? One Last Food for Thought, With So Many People Here Enjoying the Beach From Palm Coast & Bunnell, Why Cant The Sheriffs Dept. Step Up and Assign Some Officers to the Beach Side????? This “ONE” City Officer on “DUTY” is Not Getting It People, The Crimes are Starting to Get Out of Control, Quit the “CUTS” and Get Some “GUTS”, Yes YOU Flagler Beach City Commision!!! This Nonsense Didnt Happen When Chief Robson was Here!!!!

  17. nyy says:

    Professor, Thanks for paying for my SS and Medicare, Keep up the good work!

  18. A.S.F. says:

    I have gone on the Children’s Advocacy Center’s website and read the information posted there. Why has this agency been contracted to provide rape crisis services to adults? They seem to be better suited to dealing with children’s issues (and let’s hope they do a better job in that area than they did on this occasion.) Is there no other agency in the Flagler area that can provide services to adult rape crisis victims? This contract should be reviewed in an emergency session IMMEDIATELY–and the results should be discussed in a forum that is open to the public for their input. It is shocking to learn that this apparently been a problem for some time now.

  19. Dusty says:

    This is unbelievable. I guess because it was 3 a.m. is why the Advocacy Center didn’t send a nurse, which is totally unacceptable. I’m thinking the ER is a better option until this problem is fixed. I can’t believe this stuff happens, what is wrong with these agencies. Detective Williams is a compassionate and caring person and we should all be proud she is a part of the Flagler Beach Police Dept. She helped me in a situation of domestic abuse and I consider her a friend. Thank you Liz for what you do.

  20. AMOS says:

    You are So Right Dusty, Liz Goes Way Beyond Her call of Duty, On City Time and On her Own Time, We Need to Keep Our Police Dept.” INTACT “, Bottom Line !!!!! We are with You A.S.F. on Who Needs to Respond ! Lets Call it a “PRIORITY DISORDER”!!!! If We Remember Correctly, The New City Police Building in Flagler Beach Doesent Even have a Holding Cell area to Secure Someone When Arrested Prior to Transport to The County Jail!!! I think Several people Have Darted Out The back Door During Interigations, How Sad is That for the Officers Working, Especially if The people are Drugged Up and Violent !!!!!! We Should Have a Male and Female Officer on Duty Every Shift, Round the Clock, Extra officer on Weekends as Well and leave to Running of The PD to The “Chief”, Whomever That May Be !!!!! Our Residents Safety Seems to Be Second Hand To Budget Cuts!!! Thank You Flagler Beach PD for What You ALL Do with What Ya Have to Work With !!!!!!

  21. markingthedays says:

    Once again, Liz Williams is a hero.

  22. Sherry Epley says:

    Yes, there are many retired employees in our communities. HOWEVER, WE are the ones who have had payroll deductions all of our working lives. WE are the ones who have paid for our Social Security and Medicare, IN ADVANCE. Why this is being brought up in the context of this very disturbing, very sad story, I do not know. . . but apparently there are many axes that need grinding in our community. Next we will hear that this is all President Obama’s fault.

    Reading the comments here are some times more upsetting than the stories themselves (although, not in this case. . . for me).

    How anyone could say that the fellow is not guilty of rape is beyond belief! His friend heard her screaming and told him to stop. The minister heard her screaming “NO!” Even when both parties are “under the influence”. . . when does “NO” not mean just that? And, adding insult to injury, the victim had to endure hours waiting for the collection of evidence. The fact that not one police department/community leadership has stepped up to fix this on-going problem, and establish a process for quickly and professionally collecting such evidence is outrageous!

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