Woman says she was raped after being drugged at Fullerton bar

Jessica De Nova Image
Saturday, August 7, 2021
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A woman is demanding justice for her and other women who say they were drugged at a downtown Fullerton bar and raped.

FULLERTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Samantha Velasquez is demanding justice for her and other women who say they were drugged at a downtown Fullerton bar and raped.

"I remember waking up at the parking structure near the metro station, and I realized I had nothing on me," she said. "I didn't have my phone, so I couldn't call anyone. I didn't have any of my belongings."

Velasquez says she was on the ground, her leggings torn.

After walking home, her search for answers began. Her mother convinced her to go to police.

Velasquez was upset as she shared the results of her rape kit exam.

"They did see that there was blunt force trauma, and I do have cuts around that area," Velasquez said. "They found bruising all over my body."

Velasquez was at JP23 Urban Kitchen & Bar last Sunday night.

She says she met up with two people, one of them her friend. She danced and drank with others throughout the night.

Her friends left. The last thing she remembers is a man buying her and two other women drinks.

"All I know is that that was my third drink, and three drinks does not get me completely blacked out," Velasquez said.

Velasquez thinks that's when she was drugged.

Eyewitness News went to JP23. The owner allowed Eyewitness News to watch the surveillance video from that night, but not record.

What Velasquez says is seen in the video. But there is a man toward the end of the night, Velasquez says she doesn't remember.

He buys her another drink. Her body language changes shortly after.

Just after 1:30 a.m. Monday, the recording shows Velasquez leaving the bar stumbling, holding hands with this man.

A few minutes later outside, two men and a few other women join them. That's the last we see of the group.

Velasquez says the messages she has received after speaking out are nonstop - many of them from other women sharing similar stories.

"I definitely want to tell people to be careful about this place because, like I said, I'm assuming this is not the first time that this has happened," she said.

A spokesperson with the Fullerton Police Department told Eyewitness News:

"...to our knowledge, we don't have a problem with women being drugged at this business and raped ... This case is of concern to us and we are investigating."

"The Fullerton Police Department is aware of the concerns surrounding an alleged sexual assault in the downtown Fullerton area," FPD also stated in a social media post Thursday. "Detectives have actively been investigating the incident since the report was received earlier this week."

In a statement, the owner of the bar says in part:

"We are trying to help the PD with all our resources to help apprehend this criminal and cowardly act. We handed a copy of all the tapes to the Fullerton PD of the night of the incident.

... we sympathize with the victim, with a staff that's a majority of women, we do not condone this type of violence."

Eyewitness News filed a public records request with police to see how many times they've received reports of similar crimes at the bar over the last couple of years. Eyewitness News is waiting to hear back.