A rape survivor – who has criticized Gabby Petito, Utah Police Officer Eric Pratt for how he handled her own case – says she sobbed as she watched him with Gabby’s domestic just days before her murder quarrel had been dealt with.
Jerika Peterson, 21, spoke to The US Sun this week about how disgusted she was at the way Officer Pratt, now a wrongful death defendant, handled her complaint.
She was attacked in September 2016 at the age of 15 by a male friend in Salina, where Pratt used to work, and although she vowed to seek justice, her attacker was never arrested.
Jerika suffered a brutal attack when she was sodomized by the drunk 18-year-old, leaving with injuries after trying to fight him off.
Despite text messages showing she fled the scene followed by an apology for his behavior, Jerika’s rapist was only ever interviewed – and began showing up at events she attended.
She said Pratt was never able to receive a non-contact order when she was coping with her trauma, and her ordeal was back at the forefront of her mind when Pratt made the news in 2021.
According to his LinkedIn account, from January 2014 to September 2017, Pratt worked for Salina PD, which is 158 miles from Moab.
He left Salina after reports that he was having an affair with a woman who has since accused him of threatening her with a crowbar, and Jerika feels he shouldn’t be an officer.
She says she broke down in tears when she saw bodycam footage of a distraught Gabby, 22, being pulled over in Moab with her fiancé Brian Laundrie, 23.
Pratt eventually called her the “primary aggressor” after she admitted hitting her partner, and an independent review found the officers involved made mistakes.
Speaking about her ordeal after reporting her rape, Jerika told The US Sun: “Almost five years to the day [the attack happened]my rapist shot himself.
“I don’t know why he killed himself but I guess his guilt was so bad he couldn’t live with it, it was a really tough situation for me. I don’t know how to feel about it.
“In between all that and all the Gabby stuff, I actually went to psychiatry, got in touch with a psychiatrist and got help. I had a nervous breakdown.
“I was fired from my job when I found out about my attacker. My mother took me to the behavioral medicine department. I was only there one day but was set up.
“It just brought up a lot of past trauma. When I saw the bodycam footage, I just burst into tears because I could feel their pain.
“Then finding out what happened to her and that Pratt let someone slip through the cracks again. It was just disgusting.
“I felt like he was on my side throughout my fall, but looking back on it now, it’s like nothing was ever done. And after he left the department, nothing was ever done about it.”
Jerika says she suffered from night terrors and PTSD from the attack and his death, which she is processing with the help of a psychiatrist.
“I woke up one day scared that my abuser hadn’t killed himself and was living in the apartment next door,” she admitted.”
Jerika, who is now healthier and happier, claimed Pratt was on her case for more than a year before quitting the job, and in retrospect she feels her case was swept under the rug.
She previously revealed that her mother took her to the hospital after her attack as she had cuts and bruises and a sprained jaw, explaining: “I was on mashed potatoes and smoothies. It came from me screaming and clenching my jaw.”
The US Sun reached out to the Moab and Salina police departments, but both declined to comment on their case.
Jerika says she hopes Petito’s family gets some justice after Brian shot himself, and they are now going through the courts with several lawsuits, including the $50 million wrongful death penalty lawsuit against Moab PD.
When asked why she decided to speak out now amid the lawsuit against Pratt, she said, “I had to do this, for Gabby and myself. It means so much to me to feel like I have people on my side. It was a long journey .
“I could never have brought this up without Gabby, she gave me the power I didn’t know I had. To me, getting justice for Gabby and her family is justice for all victims. “
Jerika’s comments come as Petito family attorney Brian Stewart filed an amended complaint this week, claiming Pratt “knew that Brian Laundrie was a mental and emotional threat to her,” but decided only to keep her for the night to separate.
The lawsuit, first filed by attorney Brian Stewart seven months ago, alleges the department made a series of negligent errors during an Aug. 12, 2021 encounter with Gabby and her soon-to-be-killer boyfriend Brian.
That day, the department had been alerted to a possible domestic dispute between the couple near a supermarket, with a witness calling 911 and saying a man was seen hitting his girlfriend.
The new filing reads: “Officer Pratt has since stated that he believed at the time of the stoppage that Brian was emotionally and mentally abusing Gabby, that Gabby had not actually assaulted Brian, and that Brian had used physical force on Gabby by hitting her face grabbed, leaving a cut on her face.
“The negligence of the defendants and the willful misconduct of Officer Pratt deprived Gabby of her safety and ultimately her life.”
Pratt, Moab PD and other defendants have yet to formally respond to the lawsuit.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7522629/gabby-petito-utah-moab-video-rape-survivor/ The rape survivor “sobbed as she saw Gabby Petito Utah’s bodycam video” after the same cop “did nothing” before her own breakdown