▶️ After sexual assault arrest, local groups offer safety tips, victim support

By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Brigham “Briggs” Lazalde was arrested Monday after two women came forward to Bend Police, saying they were drugged and sexually assaulted after meeting Lazalde on a dating app.

Bend Police Lt. Juli McConkey said the two women might not be Lazalde’s only victims.

“We do feel like there are more victims out there who might not feel comfortable calling in or making a report,” McConkey said.

Trish Meyer, Assistant Executive Director of Saving Grace, wants to thanks the women for their bravery in coming forward and wants to offer help to anyone else who may have been assaulted.

Saving Grace is a Bend nonprofit that helps victims of sexual and domestic violence.

“We have a 24-hour help line where we can definitely, with our confidential services, assess how they want to go forward,” Meyer said.

Meyer said it’s important to remember the situation is not the fault of the dating apps or of the women. Lazalde and a larger systemic issue are to blame, she said.

“What happened that this person took consent without it being freely given, and how do we as a community stop that?” Meyer said. “How do we take away their privilege and entitlement, how do we take away access to date rape drugs, how do we hold people accountable?”

“There’s nothing wrong with dating apps,” McConkey said. “A lot of people are on them and it’s a good way to meet people, but there are some safety tips that I’ve shared with a lot of my friends and family.”

McConkey recommends before a first date, you tell a friend where you’re going, drive yourself, go on the date in a public space, Google the person beforehand, guard your drink and trust your gut above all else.

“Not all first dates go great, so be cautious,” McConkey said.

Saving Grace’s hotline can be reached at 541-389-7021.

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