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Charges dropped against homeless man accused of raping woman in Norwood

A homeless man is charged with raping a woman at his encampment. (WKRC)

UPDATE: Charges against Jerry Beach have been dropped. Investigators could not find the alleged victim after she left the hospital.

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NORWOOD, Ohio (WKRC) - It was an invite to hang out with a man she met on the street. The woman had no place to go--no home--and the man she met earlier this week is Jerry Beach.

Lt. Ron Murphy with the Norwood Police Department said, "It probably sounded like an okay thing to be invited to hang out with somebody. Apparently, there might of been a campfire involved."

The encampment is behind Ross Avenue in Norwood. The woman says she didn't feel well, so Beach let her sleep in his tent. At some point, she says he came in and raped her, despite her screaming and pleading with him to stop.

"She obviously was taken advantage of. I don't think his motives were to just hang out with her. So he probably knew exactly, in my opinion, what his intentions were," said Murphy.

Court documents show that Beach has a history of being charged with sex offenses. Beach is currently in the Hamilton County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

Advocates for the homeless say the majority of people experiencing homelessness are children and women.

Mona Jenkins with the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition said, "The assumption that, well, oh, they can stay with family members. Often women are the victims of domestic violence or sexual assault or rape and unfortunately cannot turn towards their family, and if you can't turn towards the shelter, you're left with no other options."

Jenkins also says often people who turn to strangers like Beach for help may not be able to get immediate help at a shelter.

"It's horrifying and unfortunately it's a reality. A lot of times when we talk about issues of the homeless, we talk about the statistics that there's 40,000 units of subsidized housing that we are short in the city. That our shelters are so full that we're turning away 70 percent of the people that are trying to get assistance," she said.

Advocates for the homeless also point out the problems with victims not having a home address. It may be harder for them to follow through with the court process because they do not have an address to receive the court documents or paperwork mailed. The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition provides people and address in Over-the-Rhine if they do not have a place to receive their mail.

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