CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Elaine Wagner and her daughter, Stephanie, have a lot in common.
“We both love ‘Criminal Minds,’ ” Elaine Wagner said. “We both bite our nails. We are very open with each other about everything. We also share something else in common. We’re both survivors of very high-profile sexual assault crimes.”
In 1985, Elaine was one of the first reported victims of a serial rapist in Morgantown who later became known as the Sunnyside Rapist. Eighteen years later, Stephanie Wagner was sexually assaulted, at age 11, at the Target in Southridge.
The mother and daughter have never come forward in public about their experiences, but National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, coinciding with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, felt like the right time.
They appeared Monday afternoon at an event hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia at the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse, in Charleston, because they wanted to raise awareness of an often underreported and misunderstood crime…