Assault victim determined to STOP domestic and sexual violence

When she was just 12 years old, Maegan Stepp was abducted by a man who held her at knifepoint and threatened her with rape.

Five years ago (at the age of 12), Maegan Stepp was abducted and threatened with rape. Here she holds the Citizens Award for Valor, presented by Coon Rapids Police Department in recognition of her “heroic actions that led to the arrest and conviction” of the perpetrator. Photo by Sue Austreng

Five years ago (at the age of 12), Maegan Stepp was abducted and threatened with rape. Here she holds the Citizens Award for Valor, presented by Coon Rapids Police Department in recognition of her “heroic actions that led to the arrest and conviction” of the perpetrator. Photo by Sue Austreng

It was a springtime school day and Maegan was just walking down her Coon Rapids street, heading for the bus stop when she heard a truck slow down behind her.

The man driving the truck asked for directions and when Maegan said she didn’t know the street he asked about, he pulled her into the truck and forced her to the floor, covering her mouth and telling her to “shut up or I will kill you.”

He drove around the neighborhood streets, telling Maegan he was going to rape her.

When she said she wouldn’t let him, he pulled his pants down and then threatened her with a knife, saying, “If you tell anyone, I’ll find you and kill you.”

“He finally stopped and pushed me out of the truck. I was laying on the ground – bleeding – about a half-mile from my house. Someone (driving down the street) saw me, stopped and brought me home,” Maegan said.

Redpear Salon helps to STOP

Domestic and Sexual Violence
Redpear Salon, located at 12085 Hanson Blvd., Coon Rapids, is hosting a day-long cut-athon April 9, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Alexandra House shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Folks stopping by the salon that day can also pre-register for the April 15 STOP Domestic and Sexual Violence walk-athon taking place at Coon Rapids High School.
Pre-registration is $13; registration the day of the event is $15. The walk-athon begins at noon.


Her mom called 911 and Maegan was taken to the hospital and examined before police officers interviewed her and put together a case against the man who abducted her.

“The cops found him and he got 14 and a half years in prison,” Maegan said.

What Maegan got was a life-changing experience, one that has opened her eyes to the needs of sexual assault victims.

And one that has given her a passion to help others.

“I couldn’t believe it – some of my friends said it was my fault. Even my counselor said I must have done something (to make it happen). I didn’t know who I could talk to, who would understand,” Maegan said.

“It was like she wore a scarlet letter her last year at (the middle school she attended),” said Maegan’s mom, Miki Otterness.

“She was bullied in eighth grade because of what happened.

“Now she wants to help others who’ve been through what she has.”

One way Maegan, who is now a junior at Coon Rapids High School, is helping others is by serving as chairperson for the school’s annual STOP Domestic and Sexual Violence Walkathon, which takes place at noon Sunday, April 15 on the high school track.

Money raised from the walk, organized by the CRHS chapter of FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Inc.), benefits the Alexandra House shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

“I just want to do something for people who have been through what I have … let them know they are not alone, they can get through it, they can grow and become stronger,” Maegan said.

The Coon Rapids Police Department recognized Maegan’s courage and strength and awarded her the Citizens Award for Valor in honor of her “heroic actions that led to the arrest and conviction of a dangerous suspect.”

Maegan’s mom, Miki Otterness, owner of Redpear Salon, Coon Rapids, is also doing something to help victims of domestic and sexual violence. On April 9 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Redpear Salon stylists are donating their time, working for free during a day-long cut-athon event at the salon.

“We’re giving 100 percent of that day’s proceeds to the Alexandra House,” Miki said.

And so, with Maegan serving as STOP walk chairperson, her mom serving as director of Redpear’s cut-athon, and her stepdad and her five brothers and sisters with her all the way, this is one family determined to put an end to domestic and sexual violence.

“God has a plan. There are always things happening – sometimes things that are painful and awful and ugly – but God has a plan and this is part of the plan,” her mother said.

“Maegan’s an amazing girl that I’m so proud of. She’s got a fighting spirit and God’s using that.”

To register for the STOP Domestic and Sexual Violence Walkathon, stop by CRHS before April 15 for early registration ($13) or register at 11 a.m. the day of the event ($15).

Sue Austreng is at
sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com


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