Rape Victim Misses Trial, Is Put In Jail


Confronting one’s alleged rapist is difficult under any circumstances, and even more difficult for the victim if she is just a teen.  But should a girl be sent to juvenile detention for refusing to show up in court to testify?  That’s the question surrounding a California case being debated, where law enforcement officials have detained a 17-year-old girl who has twice missed court appearances where she was needed to testify against her attacker.

According to the New York Times, the girl, who was 16 years old at the time, was abducted from a light rail stop and raped.  Prosecutors say her testimony is necessary to keep her attacker, who has been accused in other cases and has an extensive criminal history, off the street.  To get her to testify and to not keep deserting foster care, they’ve placed her in a juvenile detention center until she shows in court.

Needless to say, her lawyer isn’t happy.  “She’s afraid of confronting her rapist, and she doesn’t want to testify…By imprisoning her it’s just punitive, punishing her for not wanting to testify…She’s being bullied because she doesn’t want to do what the D.A. wants her to do. She’s having a horrible time in there. She’s in a place where they put criminals.”

Law enforcement claim that since she is a key witness, it’s necessary for the “greater good.”  But he has been accused of a different attack, and the prosecutor says that DNA from the attacker was found on the victim.  Does she really need to be there to testify against him, too?  Especially if she is so reluctant to do so that she has run away twice?

When is “public good” greater than protecting a young woman who is obviously terrified of her attacker?


Photo by Olek Remesz (wiki-pl: Orem, commons: Orem), via Wikimedia Commons


cathy mcmartin
caylin selene4 years ago

Is that the same as saying suck it up! R U FFFNNN KIDDING ME!? How about you soften up, It's women like you who make me sick! Of course you'll stand up for the creep and the system!! Toughen up, seriously!! Sounds like that's what you had to do and it dose not make it right!

cathy mcmartin
caylin selene4 years ago

The judge should be put in jail for the abuse of a minor!!!!!!! Or removed from the bench, period!!!!!

cathy mcmartin
caylin selene4 years ago

This is all about a conviction!!!!! That's all they care about!

cathy mcmartin
caylin selene4 years ago

Kevin A @.... 23 yrs on the force and you have had 4 lie, That dose'nt really say much for the statistics on this case because i know that there were more than 4 cases like this that you have had to deal with in your 23 yr career! She is a minor, so statutory rape would be a good reason to keep her safe and not raped AGAIN by the system!!! I'm sure it is hard to deal with situations like this. But 4 lied out of 23 yrs, ya think she might be telling the truth?! YEP!

Angela Verdenius
Angela Verdenius4 years ago

If the girl doesn't want to testify, or is too frightened to, can't she withdraw the complaint? is there another way to testify without being in the same room, say via video or somehing? I have to say, if she keeps missing the court case, there doesn't seem any point in going on with the trail. I can see why the police get so frustrated.

Josha N.
Josha N.4 years ago

This is just outrageous! Someone tell those guys it's not okay to put a victim, and a sixteen year old one at that, in jail.

Past Member
Past Member 4 years ago

Is everyone sure she doesn't want to testify for the stated reasons?

What if she lied or even had consensual sex?

Gill A.
Gill A.4 years ago

I'm pretty sure that here in the UK, some young victims can sit in an adjacent room to the courtroom and give their testimony by video link. They then don't have to face their attacker and everyone in the court. Do they not do that in the U.S?

Kevin A.
Kevin A.4 years ago

Many do not understand the court system. Law requires that the accused be able to confront their accuser. If that can't happen, neither can the trial. (The only exception is for young child victims.)

DNA could prove sexual contact, but unless it’s a statutory rape case, there has to be direct testimony as to the lack of consent.

Expensive hours go into these investigations, which the taxpayers foot the bill for. Each time they schedule a trial and the victim doesn’t show up, the bill to the taxpayers goes up.

In a 23 year police career, I had four cases that I know of wherein false accusations were made. These were cases where there was proof that the alleged events did not occur. In each of these, when confronted by the evidence, the women explained why they made their false reports. It does not happen often, but does happen. The question then would be, would a false accuser risk a perjury charge?

This hopefully explains why the accuser needs to show up for court.

I do not know the investigative details of this particular case, but not showing up does not do anything for the credibility of the victim.

Julie Evans
Julie Evans4 years ago

The girl was tossed in jail to testify, because she had skipped out on two subpoena's. Had she showed up in court, she wouldn't have gotten thrown in jail. The Judge wanted the rapist off the street as well. This is a bit discouraging, because I know the girl feared for her safety by not showing up. I think cases like this, security for the victim should be heightened. After all, have you seen the size of that guy? I hope they come to a better solution for the victims in rape cases so that women don't fear reporting crimes like this, thinking they will go to jail.