Woman says she was raped in the 1980's by man charged in Fun Tan incident

By: Ryan Famuliner Email
By: Ryan Famuliner Email

We have told you about the troubled past of the man facing charges in a hostage incident at Fun Tan in South Bend Saturday night.

Christopher Powell is accused of duct taping the hands and faces of two young women during the robbery.

Court documents show Powell’s past.

He was sentenced to more than 50 years for rape, attempted rape, and criminal confinement in incidents from the 1980's; but only served 16 years.

Now another woman has come forward saying she is also a victim of Powell’s.

Powell never served any time for the incident his accuser told WNDU about Wednesday, and she was hesitant to talk to us on camera, but felt she had to speak out.

She says she was handcuffed and raped by Powell in the 1980's, after they graduated high school together.

We disguised her voice to protect her identity.

The alleged victim says it was a very tough time in her life.

“It's very embarrassing, it's very scary, and you feel like it was your fault for some reason even though it wasn't,” she said.

But she says she and her parents decided to just file a deposition in court, and move on.

“We have regrets, but it was my senior summer going to college, that was hard enough to deal with emotionally, let alone having to come (back to court.)” she said.

She says she was handcuffed and raped by Christopher Powell, who she knew as Shane, a classmate who was active in sports, and even the homecoming king, according to a 1986 class yearbook.

The same man who was charged in last weekend's incident at Fun Tan.

“Once the name popped up, it was kind of like surreal, I couldn't believe it. Very scary very shocking brings up a lot of memories of the past. For my family that I never thought I’d have to deal with again,” she said.

And she was shocked to hear about some of Powell’s past charges, evidenced in court files.

“I think it's pretty important that he wrote a letter himself when he was in jail saying he needed help,” she said.

The same letter also detailed 5 other exploits Powell said he couldn't explain or control, involving young women, held against their will, and some times, rape.

And that leaves many people wondering how Powell was allowed back into society when his sentence was reduced.

“It's very significant, I mean why did that happen, how did that happen so quickly, even with the good credit he's received that doesn't mean his changed medically and emotionally,” she said.

Powell was on work release in the custody of the Ducomb Center in South Bend when the incident at Fun Tan occurred.

The alleged victim also voiced concern that she was not informed
Powell's sentence was reduced, or that he was on work release.

He's back behind bars, facing charges of armed robbery and criminal confinement.

Powell was able to see his family while on work release.

WNDU talked to his father Wednesday. He says saw his son on weekends, and was looking forward to their first Thanksgiving together in 18 years.

He told us he is shocked at what is happening, and thought his son had been making progress--earning numerous bachelor’s degrees in recent years. Now Powell’s father says he worries he or his son may be dead before they see each other outside of prison again.

The alleged victim in this story says she has contacted the county prosecutor's office, and says she will testify in court if she is needed regarding Powell's new charges.

For more on Powell’s past, and the incident at Fun Tan, see our previous stories below.

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