Two women sexually assaulted trans woman in North Carolina bathroom, police say

Amber Harrell and Jessica Fowler were charged with second-degree kidnapping and sexual battery for allegedly assaulting a transgender woman at a bar in Raleigh.
By Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — Police in North Carolina say two women sexually assaulted a transgender woman at a Raleigh bar.

News outlets report 38-year-old Amber Harrell and 31-year-old Jessica Fowler are charged with second-degree kidnapping and sexual battery.

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The woman told Raleigh police she was inside the women's bathroom at Milk Bar in December when Harrell and Fowler started verbally abusing her, exposed themselves and started touching her.

The woman says Harrell and Fowler continued to assault her outside the bathroom and ignored her and the bartender’s orders to stop.

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 47 percent of trans people surveyed reported being sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

Harrell and Fowler were released on bond; it’s unclear if they have lawyers.

According to local NBC affiliate WRAL, the two women will have to register as sex offenders if convicted.

Public bathrooms have been a flashpoint in North Carolina since Republican lawmakers in 2016 required transgender people to use rooms matching their birth certificates. The requirement was rescinded last year.

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Brooke Sopelsa contributed.