UPDATE: Women alleging attack told police they had memory loss while attorney says woman charged was asleep during party


The two women who said they were attacked in Wrightsville Beach on Sunday morning told police they had no memory of events for more than three hours, a source familiar with the incident told Lumina News. Meanwhile, the attorney representing a woman arrested and charged with a misdemeanor said that she was asleep during the incident and did not know the two suspects arrested on felony rape and kidnapping charges or the women who told police they were attacked.

Wrightsville Beach police charged two men with rape, kidnapping, assault and drug possession on Sunday, Nov. 27  after two women sought treatment at the hospital following an early morning party on Causeway Drive where police said they found cocaine.

Genell Stephenson, 33, Harvey Fred Williams, 35, Kermit Austin, 43.

Police arrested Genell Stephenson, 33, Harvey Fred Williams, 35, and Kermit Austin, 43, on felony charges Sunday, Nov. 26 at 5:22 a.m. after receiving a phone call reporting the alleged crime.  Stephenson and Williams were charged with multiple counts of rape, kidnapping, assault and drug possession, while Austin was charged with possession of cocaine.

However, Wilmington attorney James W. McGee Jr. said a fourth person charged during the incident was asleep at the house and was not a witness in the case. Police charged Kathleen Thompson, 37, with resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer.

“She was asleep and woken up by police,” said McGee, who represents Thompson, adding that she did not know the suspects charged with rape or the two women who reported being attacked. “She is not a witness. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

McGee said that Thompson did know Austin.

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the incident said that the women told police that they had no recollection for more than three hours, including getting into the car in Wilmington, with one being forced to drink alcohol upon regaining memory in the car at the Causeway Drive house. The two women eventually got away from the suspects, and were transported to the hospital, the source said. Both Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House and the source said the women did not know the two suspects before the alleged attack.

According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, both Stephenson and Williams were charged with two counts each of second-degree rape, second-degree kidnapping, assault on a female, crimes against nature and interfering in emergency communication, and one count of possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Stephenson was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver.  Police charged Williams with a parole violation.

Online records showed that on Wednesday evening, both men were still in jail, with Williams’ bond set at $1.1 million and Stephenson’s set at $550,000.

Austin was released on Sunday after posting a $1,000 bond.

After police received a call reporting an alleged sexual assault, House said police found the two suspects at a house party on Causeway Drive that had several people in attendance. Police saw cocaine at the party near where the two men were sitting, which also led to drug charges against Austin, who police charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. House said that Austin was renting the house, which is located in the Moorings subdivision.

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