FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- A KCTV5 News investigation has learned a famed comic book writer has been accused by dozens of women, including some in the Kansas City area, of sexual assault.
Jai Nitz has been the subject of multiple police investigations in both Kansas City and Lawrence, but he’s never been arrested or charged.
Nitz is well known in the comic book industry and is the creator of the character El Diablo featured in the movie “Suicide Squad.”
Some of his alleged victims said law enforcement and prosecutors are failing to do their job and putting other women in danger.
Some of Nitz's alleged victims who spoke with KCTV5 News requested their identity not be revealed because they are afraid of the man they say attacked them.
Just this spring, one of his alleged victims, Hannah Strader, spoke out about what happened, and since then, she’s heard from dozens of others who say the same man sexually assaulted them.
“My number one concern coming forward with this story was finding other girls,” Strader told KCTV5 News.
Strader first met Nitz in a journalism class at the University of Kansas where he was a guest speaker. They met again days later, and Strader thought their connections was one of a student and mentor.
“He just seemed like a likable person when he was reaching out. He seemed to want to talk about my ideas, what I wanted to do, ways he could help me out," she said. "So, he asked me for drinks at a bar on Mass Street in Lawrence.”
Strader said she soon learned Nitz had other intentions. In an online post entitled “Assault Isn’t Always Obvious, Here’s My Story,” Strader detailed the evening with Nitz as it turned into a traumatic night of sexual assault.
She later told her professor about what happened and said KU’s Title IX office informed her Nitz was no longer welcome at KU’s journalism school.
She posted nearly two years after her assault, naming him for the first time publicly, because she knew he was coming to the Planet Comiccon event in Kansas City.
“I feel privileged that I had a, quote unquote, mild experience that I can talk about when so many of the other girls don’t and feel like they can’t,” Strader said.
Within 24 hours of posting, Strader said she heard from ten other women who said Nitz had also sexually assaulted them. She said she’s heard from nearly 30 women now and continues to communicate with a group of 20 women with similar experiences.
KCTV5 News interviewed three of those women who asked to keep their identity private.
One of those women filed a police report with the Kansas City Police Department concerning her assault. That case is now under review by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
The woman in that case said she met Nitz in a Kansas City, Missouri, bar, and while walking to her car to leave, he forced her into his vehicle, drove off, and raped and sodomized her for 45 minutes before leaving her in an empty parking lot.
“In the time during and after, you’re just kind of in survival mode," the woman told KCTV5 News. "If I fight, does it get worse? If I’m going to die, I have to make peace. Toward the end, I had a moment of like, if I’m going to die, this is the moment it’s going to happen."
KCTV5 News also interviewed a woman who said she was raped by Nitz four years ago. Another woman said she was sexually assaulted eight years ago.
“When anybody puts their body or their limbs on you in order to restrain you, it’s terrifying,” she said, adding that she wished she had spoken out sooner.
“I personally don’t feel empowered by this. I feel guilty I hadn’t said something sooner,” she explained. “I think when you’re in a profession or community like comics, and your interaction is with a lot of different people with a lot of them being sometimes younger, female and impressionable, looking to potentially move into a career like that, if you have somebody being predatory, somebody should be taking action within the convention to restrict somebody being predatory.”
Multiple women are now considering taking civil action against Nitz. Attorney Lauren Sierra is representing some of Nitz's alleged victims.
“In these types of situations where it’s someone who has some celebrity status, they are often associated with businesses, well-known companies, comic books and Comic-Con. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of people aware of this behavior, but they for whatever reason look the other way," Sierra told KCTV5 News. "So if we can go forward with a civil case, we’re hoping that we can hold these companies, the universities, etc. accountable, so they will stop facilitating this person to be able to act against these women."
The Jackson County district attorney has declined to file charges against Nitz. In an email to Strader, police in Lawrence outlined to challenges they faced in pursuing the case.
"..I was finally able to speak with Jai. Unfortunately, the contact was over the phone as I tried contacting him in-person at his home but received no answer. He then called me back a couple days later. Long story short, Jai refused to meet with me to discuss the investigation. He pushed for some details and when I told him I would be happy to discuss those details in a meeting, he said he would have his attorney contact me (aka, not going to talk). I told him to please do, but obviously won't hold my breath on for that.
Like previously discussed, I unfortunately won't have probable cause to file charges against Nitz from yours or (other alleged victim's) allegations. If at some point you change your mind about doing a recorded phone call with Nitz, please let me know and we can discuss setting that up...".
Representatives with publisher Dark Horse Comics told KCTV5 News the company had “suspended all professional ties with Nitz in April 2019.”
Dark Horse Comics published Nitz’s comic book, “Astro Hustle,” but cancelled the second issue after learning about allegations of sexual assault against Nitz.
Nitz declined KCTV5 News’ request for an interview.