Dragon-Con has the reputation for being an no holds barred exploration of fantasy and cosplay. It draws a lot of lookie-loos, as well, and there have been reports of harassment incidents for some time. Now, sadly, there is a report of a sexual assault that took place Sunday night. The victim has been drinking and felt unwell; a man in a FBI hat led her away and the assault took place near the mall. The victim quickly reported the incident to police—and a friend had snapped a photo of the man, who called himself Gary from Marietta, seen above. A $2000 reward is being offered for information leading to his apprehension.
“I hate it for her and I hate that I’m not surprised that it happened,” attendee Allison Lane said.
Police have been flooded with tips on the man’s identity so far.
Channel 2’s Matt Johnson talked to a police lieutenant who tells him the suspect needs to be formally identified by the victim before they can go any further in identifying him and making an arrest.
Dragon-Con official would not comment on this specific incident but released a statement:
Dragon Con is proud to offer a safe and inclusive convention for its members that is free of harassment or assault of any kind. We work with the Atlanta Police Department all year to develop and install procedures to prevent issues such as these. If and when they occur (we) insure they are handled by the appropriate authorities. APD is on site throughout the convention.
According to at least one social media site, the man in the photo has been ID’d by multiple people who know him. Even with DragonCon’s wild reputation, the fan community has reacted swiftly to condemn the alleged perpetrator; this kind of incident is a violation of the inclusive, participatory nature of the con experience.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.