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Court Rules Severely Disabled Woman Wasn't Raped Because She Didn't 'Bite, Kick or Scratch' Her Assailant

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, americans, crime, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, government, law, police, politics, religion, rights, society, violence, women )

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In a 4-3 ruling Tuesday afternoon, the Connecticut State Supreme Court overturned the sexual assault conviction of a man who had sex with a woman who "has severe cerebral palsy, has the intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old and-->

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 1:20 pm
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In a 4-3 ruling Tuesday afternoon, the Connecticut State Supreme Court overturned the sexual assault conviction of a man who had sex with a woman who “has severe cerebral palsy, has the intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old and cannot verbally communicate.” The Court held that, because Connecticut statutes define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as “unconscious or for any other reason. . . physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act,” the defendant could not be convicted if there was any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent. Since the victim in this case was capable of “biting, kicking, scratching, screeching, groaning or gesturing,” the Court ruled that that victim could have communicated lack of consent despite her serious mental deficiencies:

When we consider this evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict, and in a manner that is consistent with the state’s theory of guilt at trial, we, like the Appellate Court, ‘are not persuaded that the state produced any credible evidence that the [victim] was either unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent to sexual intercourse at the time of the alleged sexual assault.’

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), lack of physical resistance is not evidence of consent , as “many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent.” RAINN also notes that lack of consent is implicit “if you were under the statutory age of consent, or if you had a mental defect” as the victim did in this case.

Anna Doroghazi, director of public policy and communication at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, worried that the Court’s interpretation of the law ignored these concerns: “By implying that the victim in this case should have bitten or kicked her assailant, this ruling effectively holds people with disabilities to a higher standard than the rest of the population when it comes to proving lack of consent in sexual assault cases. Failing to bite an assailant is not the same thing as consenting to sexual activity.” An amicus brief filed by the Connecticut advocates for disabled persons argued that this higher standard “discourag[ed] the prosecution of crimes against persons with disabilities” even though “persons with a disability had an age-adjusted rate of rape or sexual assault that was more than twice the rate for persons without a disability.”

Think Progress / By Zack Beauchamp | Alternet |

Kelly Rogers (303)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 1:26 pm
Could you imagine if Akin were elected. This victim would probably be put in jail for making a false arrest on the PERPETRATOR. I think of animals if this were to come to pass and he is elected.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 1:34 pm

I don't know about any one else, but I for one am sick of these nit-picking twits attempting to re-write the laws on rape. Rape is a crime of violence, a woman (in rare cases a man) need not fight back, police often advise that one has a greater chance of survival by NOT fighting back. Now we have states and even those in Congress that want to pretend that are two types of rape - legitimate rape and what? Her clothes were provocative? Her attitude was interpreted as sexual? There is no excuse for this ruling, these judges need a severe reprimand for their actions and owe this woman, whether or not she comprehends it, a deep apology.

As women we know and understand the fear of rape, we do not need a man deciding about whether or not we fight back, scream for help or try to hide away from the attacker. For those still wondering:


1. the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.

2. any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

3. statutory rape.

4. an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside.

5. Archaic . the act of seizing and carrying off by force.

verb (used with object)
6. to force to have sexual intercourse.

7. to plunder (a place); despoil.

8. to seize, take, or carry off by force.


noun U.S. Law .
sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of consent, which age varies in different states.

j A (282)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 1:36 pm
And many states would find this victim met the definition for it to be statutory rape (protection of the vulnerable to coercion is the foundation for such laws) where ability to object should never have even been a factor on whether or not it was rape.

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 5:11 pm
Noted. You got it 100% right, Kit--sorry I can't send you a green star yet.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 5:27 pm

Jim P (3257)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 5:41 pm
"The Court held that, because Connecticut statutes define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as “unconscious or for any other reason. . . physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act,” the defendant could not be convicted if there was any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent."

What about the date-rape drugs that are used such as Ropenol, roofies which also make women incapable of speaking, kicking, biting out to defend herself.

The court in Connecticut is in error. For those "Justices" who voted to let the rapist free should be castrated immediately. 

Ty, Kit.

Jenny Dooley (830)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 6:11 pm
Thank you Kit. This is horrific!

Vallee R (280)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 6:18 pm
Kit - I worked with CP individuals for 2 summers - they are wonderful - but this boils my blood! And being from CT = I am not surprised!

Yvonne White (229)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 7:57 pm
Has the Connecticut State Supreme Court suddenly become over-run with pedophiles & rapists???? The Disabled woman was also mentally retarded, in Illinois people don't let something like that go... I hope Connecticut taxpayers impeach the whole lot of them & charge them with aiding & abetting rapists & possibly "child endangerment" (since she had the I.Q. of a do these "justices"!).

wendy webber (28)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 1:56 am
Yes, Kit.I second your thoughts and opinion.To say that there is something way wrong with this decision is an understatement.That really blows my being a mandated reporter right out of the water?! So many issues here and they seemed not to address any of them properly. So does this mean that if a 3 yr old is raped (we are assuming that all 3 yr olds develop in all areas is the same) and the victim does not do any of the "approved" behaviors....then they are to blame? (old argument here) or rather the predator assumes no responsibility for their own behavior and another case of child abuse goes unattended???? WOW.....on many fronts the system failed this woman...another victim....again.I too, am sick and tired of the victim always having the magnifying glass on them...first.Prove you're innocent.Who is on trial here?Obviously, the folks who keep trying to send us back into the dark, can afford to because they do not know nor care to empathize with the victim.They are removed from the fabric that we understand and have worked hard to change over these yrs.The oppressed population (if mentally capable etc...)always knows more about the oppressor then the other way around.I hope the good folks in Conn. are working at getting those jokers out of their seats.Sometimes, I feel like I live in an "altered state" when I read about "insanity at its finest" at the highest of levels.I read this article 3 times because I thought I read it too fast the first time, and then i thought maybe I missed some critical info leading toward their conclusion and then I got it. I read it just fine the first time thru.

Rose Becke (141)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 4:37 am

Caroline S (78)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 4:50 am

Craig Pittman (52)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 5:13 am
This decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court is absolutely ludicrous. So by their definition if this sub-human had had sex with a three year old that would not have been considered rape either!!!!
Where is the common sense here?

Past Member (0)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 6:21 am

Emma S (239)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 6:34 am
Words fail... But thanks for flagging this up, Kit.

Anna M (18)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 7:13 am
The judge in this case is, IMO, an ignorant jackass. What a boatload of crap. That rapist belongs behind bars.

NO IFS, ANDS, OR BUTS about it

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 7:33 am

If the 3 year old in question, was aware enough to bite, scratch and maybe kick and scream, then if one reads this decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court, and only then is the crime considered a rape. Which is as most know, is exactly what women have been told not to do. When any man is confronted by a mugger, he is lauded as a being smart for turning over his property, because in doing so he survived. By this Connecticut S C decision we again see a double standard, rape is not rape unless a woman puts her life in jeopardy by fighting with the attacker. Violence against any person is a crime, If prison is meant to be a deterrent, then this court decision just said, violence is only violence when one fights back.

Is it any wonder that people feel a need to be armed? Although this poor woman couldn't have protected herself with any form of self defense, she has neither the mental capacity to understand what was happening, nor the physical ability for self defense

If laws are not meant to protect the public in matters of violence against their person, what purpose do they serve?

Pat B (354)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 8:33 am
Well spoken comments above, I am just lucky that I don't live in Connecticut, as this issue is very close to my heart. BTW...I submit (from the article), ” An amicus brief filed by the Connecticut advocates for disabled persons argued that this higher standard “discourag[ed] the prosecution of crimes against persons with disabilities” even though “persons with a disability had an age-adjusted rate of rape or sexual assault that was more than twice the rate for persons without a disability.” This is NOT good news for disabled living in this state.!!! For the 3 individuals who voted to let this rapist "go off the hook", they all need to be removed from the bench. This does not bode well for victims who are disabled, who can then can be violated at the perpetrator's whim. In Connecticut. This is appalling that this has happened. How very sad. Thank you, Kit for this post.

Sarah G (109)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 8:50 am
This predator and others can now, I suppose, seek out new victims with complete impunity.

Mike M (43)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 9:23 am
That ruling even sounds stupid how could they even stand to admit to such violations of human rights

Past Member (0)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 10:56 am
TU Kit...this is outrageous and unacceptable. I'm on it---this law needs to be changed, and quickly.

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 11:24 am

Think a petition of people outraged by this miscarriage of justice, might just affect the Connecticut Supreme Court?

cindy g (9)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 1:49 pm
Thanks for posting Kit : I for one would be willing to sign a petition for such an indescribable injustice!

Gillian M (218)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 1:56 pm
If the victim is unable to consent then it is rape. If a disabled person is unable to consent, as in this case, it is rape. Saying that the person should have fought when ite is clear that they were unable to is a perversion of the law. The law is there to protect the public regardless of their vulnerability but extra care must be taken to ensure their rights too.

It is not clear if there was an advocate to speak for the disabled person at any time, nor how the investigation was carried out. The law is there for a reason and the lawyers who use nit picking arguments are defeating the point of it, abusing it or merely trying to show off.

Kit, sadly I doubt that the Court are unlikely to take much notice of a petition but it is worth a try as is trying to get media follow up.

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 2:01 pm

I agree, a petition may not help, but Armand and some others here live in the state of Connecticut and might be able to get a petition submitted to local and state news, that should have some affect. This article leaves me feeling helpless - I want to DO something.

Linda W (32)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 2:27 pm

Gillian M (218)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 3:32 pm
Kit, in that case please start a petition and see how far it can go.

The trouble is that we all want to do things for many people on many occasions and usually find our hands are tied. On this occasion we may be able to do something small even if it just signing a petition. Perhaps even find a free law centre that can act for this poor girl in some way and perhaps send the petition there too.

Fred Krohn (34)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 3:47 pm
First, disbar that judge as a pædophile. His estate should be confiscated for the benefit of the rape victim. Second, retry the rapist and if properly convicted, give him a choice between execution by firing squad and becoming a short-pipe eunuch. He doesn't deserve further consideration.

Tom Edgar (56)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 4:44 pm
Those Judges, the title is used grudgingly, should be tried for aiding and abetting a crime, and, even worse, promoting rape in mental institutions in the future. This emphasises the ridiculous American practice of ELECTING Judges and other law officers. You get corruptible people who buy their way into office with the end result of not having in place justice dedicated people but self serving officers who can readily be bribed themselves as they are only there for their own self serving reasons.

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 4:56 pm

What is the alternative, Tom? We have in Texas, judges that are both elected and appointed to office, both can be and are equally corrupt and self serving. Though it must be said that some are also unaffected by public opinion and work only to serve the law. In many cases, the it's the law that must be changed to keep up with changing societal attitudes and awareness.

Jean C (18)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 5:05 pm
This story is disgusting, but unfortunately, it does not surprise me. I live in Connecticut and I can tell you that most of the people in this state are STUPID, SPITEFUL, LOSERS!!! If it wasn't for most of my family living here, I would be long gone. Let's see, I was rear-ended at a stop light by a huge pickup truck that totaled my car. To make a long story, I lost my case in court! My lawyer told me that I looked too good (thin) and that women don't usually win cases like this against men anyways...can you believe this??? Spiteful, stupid jurors! I had to pay for my own medical bills which are now in excess of $5,000.00. By the way, lawyers do make fun of the “stupid” jurors (their words) when they win cases they shouldn’t. I heard many lawyers brag about this in the hallways of the courthouse. An acquaintance of mine, who outright owned his house, lost it to a woman through divorce after only being married for less than two years to her. She was a lawyer and her father was a lawyer – does this spell dirty dealings with the judge or what??? Yep, this is good old CT, probably one of the most corrupt states in the union. And I won’t get into the intelligence level of our governor or my rant will get pulled, but you get the idea.

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 5:13 pm

That's okay Jean, people rant on these threads all the time. What happened in Connecticut is a shame, it seems the worst possible application of the law. Though I didn't know that it was as corrupt as many other states, I guess that makes sense. Sorry to read about your own troubles. I live in a fairly small town, so I do know about dirty dealings.

Jean C (18)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 5:23 pm
Kit - the sad thing about my court case is that the judge actually told the court clerk, who told my lawyer, that "I got screwed" (his words), but he wouldn't do anything about it even with all of our appeals. Our tax dollars hard at work. By now I have learned that the government really doesn't give a crap about anyone. They just throw us enough bones (such as Obamacare, which really does scare me because of all the skewed language) to make us think that they actually care about us. In reality, they just promise us enough to keep us distracted while they rob us blind!

Talya H (10)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 5:50 pm
Disgusting :(

Tom Edgar (56)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 6:02 pm
I'm sad to say Kit that you have no hope of changing the corrupt legal system of the U S A short of starting all over again. There isn't a single country with a perfect legal system, all are open to abuse but the American system, although originally conceived with the idea of having checks and balances to facilitate justice, left it wide open for manipulation by the unscrupulous wealthy. Along with Health and Welfare the legal system is clearly Money oriented. Those with the most will feed the best. Whilst those who have the least will have no feast.

For Jean C. It is said that only one accident is always the fault, with no exceptions, of one person and that is in a "Rear Ender" To find that the Tuck driver was not at fault can only be from, to my mind, corrupt practices.

pam w (139)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 6:03 pm
If he'd raped a comatose woman who couldn't speak or move....would it have been OK?


Tom Edgar (56)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 6:14 pm
P S Kit. September last year I was staying in a small West Texas town and my host, driving home, late at night, was pulled over by an officer for not completely stopping at a "Halt" sign. This Officer was exceedingly polite, and only cited a "Caution". Exceedingly polite? Well I found all Texans like that. Compared to Australians who are much more direct. I think we would be considered blunt and rude by comparison. I enjoyed the stay, my first since 1944/5, when I found Texans just as polite, and pleasant, but politics and religion, then and now in the "Dark Ages"

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 6:16 pm

Well, Pam .... if she reaaallly wanted to stop him, she could have, by I dunno...blinking real fast?

I remain an optimist, though we do have some deep problems in our system, Tom those are not new problems. The United States is constantly evolving, some times things are better then other times. We fight and squabble, we always have and long as this country is around, I'm betting we will continue to do so. It may take us more time to do the right thing, but in time we get there.

Jennifer Ward (40)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 6:36 pm
I'm too disgusted and sad to comment - all I can say is the judiciarcy has gone completely insane when it comes to crimes against women and children.

Aletta Kraan (146)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 6:39 pm
Horrible , what kind of judge is he ?

Jean C (18)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 8:34 pm
Tom E. - for the record, the rear-ender admitted he hit me and it was his fault. But he stated it was only a "bump" even though my car was totaled and had to be towed from the scene.

Jean C (18)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 8:36 pm
I have found through my own experience that the liars are the ones who win in court.

Stevie A (10)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 10:05 pm
WHAT ARE THE JUDGES NAMES?? Where do they live?? NOW, NARAL, and AAUW are organizations that might be able to "PINK SLIP" the judges. Hearing stories like this over & over, with a few "Pregnant woman imprisoned for Fetal Abuse" etc. make me DETERMINED to SPEAK OUT. My husband gets tired of it, my family has gotten tired of it, but, by Goddess, they KNOW about the issues and they CAN speak to them when they are brought up.


Past Member (0)
Thursday October 4, 2012, 10:51 pm
What in hell

Judy C (97)
Friday October 5, 2012, 5:25 am
This woman had the mentality of a very all child, so she couldn't consent legally as an adult, could she? This is just sickening.. Thanks, Kit.

christina t (22)
Friday October 5, 2012, 5:29 am
One word Unbelievable!

Kit B (276)
Friday October 5, 2012, 6:52 am

Stephanie - a full list of the Connecticut Supreme Court Justices can be found at Wiki or by using Google and accessing the state of Connecticut. This was the Supreme Court Justices that OVER TURNED, a guilty verdict. So it does need to go through the Connecticut legislature to be rescinded , I think that might require a lot of letter writing and calling to the legislature and the office of the Governor.

Julie W (32)
Friday October 5, 2012, 7:24 am
I thought the usual advice was NOT to resist? It was thought to be safer. This is crazy!

Janet B (36)
Friday October 5, 2012, 7:53 am

Past Member (0)
Friday October 5, 2012, 8:28 am
"According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), lack of physical resistance is not evidence of consent , as “many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent.”

So the court is ruling against what the RAINN states to be true. No wonder it's getting harder and harder to trust what the government says or does.

Arielle S (313)
Friday October 5, 2012, 9:51 am
Welcome to the world as the GOP would have it.....

. (7)
Friday October 5, 2012, 10:30 am
Very sick and very wrong, the rapist belongs in jail!

Elizabeth M (65)
Friday October 5, 2012, 11:20 am
This is horific, this is not justice! My deepest feelings are with this young woman...makes me want to cry.
Rape laws won't change until we have mostly female judges, and my own feeling is that the law should be the same in every state.

Anneke Hut (40)
Friday October 5, 2012, 11:21 am
This is disgusting!

marie C (163)
Friday October 5, 2012, 12:27 pm
Oh this makes me so angry This man is either very sick himself or very evil so either way she should not be out on the streets
The judge must have a screw missing also

. (0)
Friday October 5, 2012, 3:40 pm
Senator Atkin on that jury?? Ann

M B (62)
Friday October 5, 2012, 3:50 pm
this shows that we still live under Patriarch rule. No surprise. This really upsets me.

Lynne Buckley (0)
Friday October 5, 2012, 3:52 pm
What an appalling decision. It's sick and disgusting.

marie C (163)
Friday October 5, 2012, 5:15 pm
Sorry I meant HE should not be out on the streets

Edith B (146)
Friday October 5, 2012, 8:44 pm
Thanks, Kit, for posting. These judges plainly have no sense at all and should be removed from the bench. Sadly, this appears to be more of the "war" on women that is being played out in this country.

Diane B (275)
Saturday October 6, 2012, 12:09 am
noted thanks Kit

Kendall H. (0)
Saturday October 6, 2012, 7:04 am
Here is a petition to get the case reheard.

Kit B (276)
Saturday October 6, 2012, 7:28 am

Thank you Kendall - petition is signed and shared.

Isabelle J (81)
Saturday October 6, 2012, 7:37 am
This is horrible !

Gloria H (88)
Saturday October 6, 2012, 8:34 am
what did he think she inflatable woman sex toy? Taser the judge, throw a dress on him and lock him in the same room with the rapist. Maybe by experiencing the terror of what the woman went through would change his mind. I have still more imaginable ideas of what could be done with the rapist himself...but then, St. Peter wouldn't let me in the pearly gates if I wrote them down.
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