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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gary Steven Atkinson, S.F. Man, Charged With Kidnapping and Raping Severely Autistic Teen

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 8:27 AM

click to enlarge Gary Atkinson
  • Gary Atkinson

A San Francisco man arrested earlier this week on suspicion of attacking a 16-year-old autistic girl who walked away from her Oakland group home was charged with kidnapping her, holding her in his home, and raping her repeatedly before she managed to escape.

Gary Steven Atkinson, 36, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of kidnapping, three counts of rape of an incompetent person, three counts of lewd acts upon a child, and one count of an attempted lewd act upon a child, CBS reports.

"This is by far one of the most sickening cases I've seen in my career -- to take advantage of someone of this stature," Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said at a news conference.

On Nov. 27, the girl walked off from the Fred Finch Youth Center at 3800 Coolidge Ave. in East Oakland; staff members at the center followed her on foot and by car, but lost sight of her near the Fruitvale BART station.

The victim, who has the mental capacity of a 9-to-12-year-old, was reported missing for two days until she was spotted on a bus in San Francisco. She had been badly beaten and sexually assaulted, according to police. Oakland Police arrested Atkinson three days later after identifying him as a suspect with surveillance footage taken at a subway station. His last known address is a public housing unit on Eddy Street; however, police have not yet confirmed if that's where he took the girl or how she escaped.

click to enlarge Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan
  • Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan

Atkinson has a string of robbery, assault and petty theft convictions, including assault with a deadly weapon in San Joaquin County, according to press reports.

After the arrest, the girl's father, Jesse White, told the Chronicle that the arrest gave him some relief. "I'm glad they got this guy," he said. "I'm just furious. I just want him put away for a long time."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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