Twisted Justice

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Twisted Justice

In a chilling case of prosecutorial misconduct, in Oregon a 17-year old woman accuses 3 adult men of gang raping her, but since her charges can't be proven she's charged with filing a false report-- and found guilty.

I'm not denying that there are such things as false rape accusations, but in cases where the accuser knows the accused it is often a she-said-he-said problem. In this particular case one of the accused was her boyfriend, he and the other men claimed it was consentual, however she has never recanted her version of events and there doesn't appear to be any clear evidence that it was a false report. Typically the devil is truly in the details, from Shakespeare's Sister.
Let me give you some more information—something that is only a possibility because The American Street’s Kevin Hayden has known the victim nearly her whole life. He attended the trial. He noticed that the prosecutor repeatedly referred to the attackers as “boys,” even though they were grown men and the victim was 17. He noticed that the judge acknowledged he had found inconsistencies in all of their stories, but, inexplicably, decided that the same reasonable doubt that kept prosecutors from pursuing charges against the attackers wasn’t enough to keep him from finding the victim guilty.

He also noted what was, and was not, allowed to be introduced as evidence. Allowed: The 17-year-old victim’s sexual history.
Don't we have something in this country called rape shield laws? WTF?!?!

Regardless of whether or not the rape happened, this ruling is frightening. It sends a message that any woman who accuses a man (or men) of rape or sexual assault must win their case or they risk punishment themselves. As if filing assault charges isn't hard enough, keep in mind that the vast majority of rapes and sexual assaults already go unreported, that 3 out of 4 women know their attackers. Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.

Update:Arnold points out that rape shields only protect the accuser when her attackers are on trial. In this case the 17-year old woman was literally on trial for accusing the 3 men of gang raping her, so the rape shield law does not apply. Which is perverted. (It's so nice to have a lawyer on the team.)

Her guilty conviction is the ultimate punishment for a rape victim-- not only did she not get justice, but her attackers were given a don't-worry-we-know-the-girl-is-a-lying-whore card by the judicial system. It's just so sickening and wrong, wrong, wrong.

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