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Two women arrested for sexually assaulting a transgender woman in Raleigh bar restroom

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Amber Harrell (L) and Jessica Fowler (R).

Thomasi McDonald
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Two women face charges after police say they groped a transgender patron in the restroom of a downtown Raleigh bar in December.

Jessica Leann Fowler, 31, and Amber Nicole Harrell, 38, both of Raleigh, have been charged with misdemeanor sexual battery and felony second-degree kidnapping, according to an arrest warrant and records filed with the City County Bureau of Identification.

The incident took place Dec. 9 at Milk Bar in the Glenwood South neighborhood, according to Raleigh police. Someone called 911 just after 2:30 p.m. the next day and said his friend, a transgender woman, encountered two women in the bar’s restroom.

The caller, whose name was not made public, told the dispatcher that the women starting talking to his friend in what appeared to be a friendly conversation until one of them grabbed her genitals and asked if she had a penis, according to the 911 recording made public Tuesday by the Raleigh Police Department.

The other woman started laughing, pulled up her shirt and asked the transgender woman if she wanted to see her breasts, the 911 caller said. One of the women also grabbed the victim’s buttocks, according to the caller.

The victim told the women “a number of times to stop,” the caller said.

Once they left the restroom, at least one of the women continued to grope the victim’s buttocks and stomach, according to the caller, who added that the bartender asked them to stop.

Fowler turned herself in to police Tuesday and was placed in the Wake County jail under a $30,000 bond, a magistrate reported.

Harrell turned herself in over the weekend was released from custody at the Wake County jail Monday morning after posting a $50,000 bail, a magistrate reported.

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