MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Two men who police say drugged and raped more than two dozen women have been ordered to stand trial in felony court.
While police believe there are at least 25 victims, women who claim they were assaulted by the pair say there are many more.
The men, 34-year-old Joshua Humphrey and 31-year-old Larry Stiff, are accused of assaulting women who they met online, in bars or even at high school events. Police say rape kit DNA tests show the alleged victims were sexually penetrated by one or both of the defendants.
Some victims testified that one of the men would buy them a drink. Later, they woke up unclothed and having been sexually assaulted. At least two of the women reported becoming dizzy and disoriented. Some can vaguely remember being assaulted. Others say they have no memory of what happened.
“It took a long time for me to realize what had happened or let it sink in that it wasn’t my fault,” said one of the victims, speaking with 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday outside the Muskegon County courthouse.
Police affidavits show Humphrey had been prescribed tramadol, a narcotic used to treat pain. Investigators discovered that the prescription had been refilled more than 20 times over a six-month period last year.
So far, both men have been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct for incidents that allegedly happened in March of this year and in 2013. Both face life in prison if convicted.
They appeared in court Tuesday and Wednesday. Both are held on high bonds pending trial. Humphrey is already serving an 180-day sentence in the Ottawa County Jail after pleading guilty to larceny in a building.
Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J Hilson said Wednesday that there is reason to believe there are as many as 25 victims. The women who say they are the victims of the sexual assaults say that number is much higher.
“There’s been over 80 girls that have come forward and that’s not even all of them. That’s not even close to all of them,” said one of a half-dozen women who spoke out.
Some of the women met the men at bars around West Michigan, others online. They tell similar stories of being brought back to the suspect’s home and becoming incapacitated after accepting a drink.
“I trusted this man and look what happened,” one of the alleged victims said, “and there are so many other victims out there.”
In one case, two women claim they were assaulted together.
Another woman said that she was stalked when she was only 15 by one of the men She said he would come to watch her participate in high school athletics.
“I met him once and it just happened. I didn’t know him,” a woman said.
The women say they have formed a support group of sorts, leaning on each other and conversing via social media.
“Having the support of these other girls has helped a lot. And we’re all here for each other,” the women said.
They say they wanted to come forward to let other victims know that they can and should come forward, too.
“I’ve met so many awesome girls who are willing to come forward. It’s not easy,” one person said. “I even contemplated coming forward at all, but after seeing all the support and the difference it’s making, it helped.”
The women say that the victims are from not only Muskegon but also throughout West Michigan and even out of state.
The prosecutor says even if no one else is charged, having information from more victims can still be used to make the case stronger and to show a pattern of behavior.