Center: Reporting rape not easy
January 15, 2008 - 12:12AM

Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach said she had been sexually assaulted by Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean.

But at least at one point since the reported assault, the two were thought to have had a "friendly" relationship, and that is why he was not thought to be a flight risk in the investigation of her disappearance and, now, presumed killing, law enforcement officials have said.

Laurean, 21, is the key suspect in the death of Lauterbach, 20, and eight months pregnant.

An assault victim's continuing a relationship with the person who assaulted her is rare, Onslow Women's Center Executive Director Donald Shreve said.

"From the clients that we see that we have assisted in years past, for the most part that would be very uncommon," Shreve said. "In all the cases we've had in the past, (having a friendly relationship) is usually not the case. In cases of domestic violence, that is one of the common occurrences with victims of domestic violence."

From 2005-2007, the Onslow Women's Center handled 302 rape cases, according to sexual assault counselor Jennifer Hendrickson.

In 2005, there were 130 rapes, 26 of which had military affiliation. Of the 26, 12 victims were military and 14 accused abusers were military. The center had 101 rape cases in 2006, with 21 cases having a military victim and 21 cases having a military accused abuser. Last year, it had 76 rape cases, with 16 cases having a military abuser and 14 having a military victim, she said.

It is sometimes hard for a woman who has been raped or sexually assaulted to come forward and say what has happened to her, Shreve said. But they need to know, he added, that there is help available.

"It's usually very hard for them to step forward to let someone know because they feel ashamed, they're embarrassed." he said. "We would like, especially during what has just happened recently (to Lauterbach), to encourage victims to come forward. We have court advocates, we have trained counselors ... that can sit down with the victim and listen to their story, whether it's a man or a woman."

Upon receiving a call from a sexual assault or rape victim, Shreve said the staff at the center first asks three questions: Are you safe? Have you reported this to the property authorities? Have you been to the emergency room?

"When a rape victim comes forward and she hasn't reported it yet, we would encourage the rape victim to report it to law enforcement as soon as possible, because it's so important that evidence can be collected early," Shreve said.

Shreve said the center has free and confidential services available to sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. The Onslow County Women's Center has trained counselors at the center and has advocates who are trained to respond to calls from the hospital that there is a rape survivor, Shreve said.

"We just want the community to know that if they need our services, we're here and available to assist them," Shreve said. "Our services are here for victims."

And those services may help prevent what happened to Lauterbach.

"It's certainly a shame for this young woman and child to end up this way," Shreve said.

For more information about the services offered at the Onslow County Women's Shelter, visit call 910-347-4000.

Contact Jacksonville and Onslow County reporter Amanda Hickey at or 910-219-8463. You can also visit to comment on this report.