New Program Aims At Eliminating Sexual Predators

, Posted: Sat, July 14 2012 at 6:16 PM, Updated: Sat, July 14 2012 at 10:16 PM

More than 12,000 women in Jackson County are victims of rape and it's a problem nationwide. But a new program in southern Oregon is aimed at bringing more attention to potential sexual predators looking for their next victim at the bar.

At Louie's Restaurant & Bar in downtown Ashland a sign hangs warning customers of the possible dangers of sexual assaults.

But knowing the behaviors of sexual predators is what it's all about.

Susan Moen is the Executive Director for the Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team.

She came up with a program in southern Oregon that would help educate bar staff on suspicious behaviors of sexual predators.

"I saw a conference in Boston, where a group was doing a program training bartenders to look for potential predators," Moen said.

"I thought it was a great idea and brought it here."

Moen says the idea of the program isn't necessarily to stop the predator directly, but instead to shift the predator's focus elsewhere.

Louie's Restaurant and Bar is the first establishment in the state to join the program.

Bar owner Melissa Jensen says she was excited to jump on board.

"We all have sisters, daughters, mothers and girlfriends, and this is an issue effecting all woman and all men and I have a unique oppurtunity to make a diference," Jensen said.

Jensen also says while she, herself, hasn't seen any signs of potential predators at her bar, she says that if the new program helps to save just one life, it's worth it.

Moen also tells NBC 5 that if the program is successful in Southern Oregon it could go statewide.

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