Alleged sexual assault prompts safety concerns at local park

- On weekdays you can almost always hear kids playing at Independence Park tucked in between an elementary school and a pre-school in Charlotte's Elizabeth community.

It's in this park police say a man saw Ivan Dawkins sexually assaulting two young girls, ages 7 and 9, Sunday night. The man immediately called 911 and Dawkins was arrested.

The two girls, apparently the children of Dawkins’ girlfriend, were left in his care that night.

August Evans says she's not surprised by where the alleged incident happened.

“This park is not as safe as people may think it is,” said Evans.

Even though Dawkins knew the children, Evans says she still worries about her own safety and that of children because she says the park is a bit secluded.        

“It's kinda scary in the summertime when there's no one else out here,” she said.

Last year she says she saw a man trying to kidnap a young boy on the playground.

“I got up and I said ‘Hey! Hey!’ and I tried to point at the teachers like look over there where that kids at, and the guy saw the commotion I was making and he literally took off he took off and ran,” said Evans.

Dawkins' aunts tell Fox 46 Charlotte the young girls in his care were his girlfriend's children, and they don't believe he did anything to them.

Whatever did or didn't happen here Evans says it's important for adults to speak up if they see anything for children who can't.

“Kinda keep an eye out, don't feel bad about being invasive or staring because you never know what you're seeing.” 

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