December 06, 2005

Is This Justice? A Reprisal

Carla of Preemptive Karma provided an update to my piece Sunday. She noted that the legal statutes I referenced did not prove that the 17-year old was incapable of giving full consent. Indeed, the age difference needs to be at least three years before the state will consider that a case of statutory rape occurred.

Carla will be researching this case more, she's discussed the matter with the defense attorney and notes that although the original case did not have a formal transcript taken, during the appeal, the evidence presented will formally be submitted again.

Here is the comment I left on her post.
I'll be interested in what your research shows.

Unfortunately, I started some of the firestorm when I noted the statute in question and that fact that the statute says someone under the age of 18 is not capable of giving consent. Other information I found about acquaintance sexual assault indicated that the circumstances of the incidence (e.g., whether someone was intoxicated) also obviates their ability to give consent.

It seems to me that the real miscarriage of justice in this case is that fact that Washington County prosecuted her for bringing false charges (only the second time (!!) these charges have been brought forward in Oregon) when it was clear that this was a pretty awful incident already. Why pick her?

The judge said he didn't think the boys story was credible, just more credible than hers (according to the Oregonian). It sounds like he didn't believe their story that she "instigated" it, although he probably did buy the fact that it was consensual. Yet, if she wasn't the instigator, then is seems highly likely that the sheer fact she was alone and surrounded by 3 guys who were bigger than her would have felt coercive to her no matter how much she "went along" with their using her. After all, she was not using them.

So why prosecute her? Was it because she was seen as too easy or a slut? Did "she ask for it"? Were the "boys" so innocent? This must have been a deeply humiliating experience for her - a "boyfriend" (who she thought cared about her) gives her to his friends while he watches. Is that consensual? Or more likely, is it something that has been used to punish women throughout the ages? Women who are being punished are sexually used and given to others. This is how patriarchical societies control their women. It seems to me that she was deeply violated as a human being by this act - she became the receptacle of their distain.

Then on top of that, the state goes after her to teach her one more lesson. And it tells the "boys" that that there is nothing wrong in using gang-sex to put women in their place. What a truly f*kedup outcome from this sad incident.

What action was worse? Accusing 3 men of rape? Or using gang sex to punish a woman for having trusted the "boyfriend"? I still believe that the young woman was badly abused and that there was an injustice done in this case.

Posted by Mary at December 6, 2005 05:51 AM | Law/Justice | Technorati links |

Those boys had best be praying she doesn't have a father such as I, or brothers such as my daughter's. This isn't over yet.

Posted by: Thomas Ware at December 6, 2005 11:01 AM

I don't know the DA's angle here; the evidence isn't all public.

It may be perhaps that there's some aspect where her testimony is obviously false (such as would be if no sex or assault did occur). So, until then, I'll have to wait for the case to play out in the court.

Innocent until proven guilty, and all, and I think it'd be mighty silly of her to tell the police a false story.

On the other hand, I can't imagine the charges being brought up just because she couldn't prove her case. There must be more evidence; as there'd need to be to prove the case.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, of course.

Either way, it's pretty bizarre.

Posted by: Crissa at December 6, 2005 05:37 PM

Oh, I don't put much weight in a single judge's ruling, either - they can be pretty random.

It doesn't sound like the judge met the qualifications for the charge he convicted her of.

Posted by: Crissa at December 6, 2005 05:40 PM

And while I'm busy putting my foot in my mouth; I'm actually from the area. It usually takes two judges to get justice there... It did for me as well when I made a petition. The judge just went off and did as he would, not following state law or policy.

Second judge wiped it right off the record and approved my petition, and cancelled my appearance in court.

I'd really like to see the court records on the case - every report I've read so far keeps saying the charges were brought before the court by a different party.

Posted by: Crissa at December 6, 2005 05:43 PM

I don't mean to clog your blog, but here is a very interesting and informative link that sheds light on the effects of the patriot act on internet public spaces.

Do you really know what goes on behind the scenes on eBay? Check this link out to see Controversial rare Ebay document

"The University of Michigan School of Art & Design presents a school wide group
exhibition using ebay as venue. Undergraduate, graduate students and faculty submitted
proposals for artworks in which the entire ebay listing (item for sale, descriptive text
and placement within chosen categories) is the work. Works presented in the show exploit,
redefine or underscore ebay’s potential in the exchange of ideas, objects and commerce.

The artists chosen for the show received instructions for the day and time to post their
listing in a 7-day online auction. The first of the 25 auctions begins on December 1st
2005 and the last auction ends on January 1st, 2006. This 31-day event of staggered
auctions can be viewed simultaneously here at"

Posted by: dick arbutus at December 6, 2005 09:25 PM

Why not replace the statutory rape law with a law to forbid multiple partners from using one individual on a single occasion? That individual is always a victim and intimidation/intoxication are generally a factor.

Posted by: eperson at December 7, 2005 08:33 AM

>>That individual is always a victim and intimidation/intoxication are generally a factor.>>

Dude. See craigslist for why this would be a bad idea, okay?

Posted by: piny at December 7, 2005 06:05 PM

I have found many judges not to be too smart and very conservative and throwbacks to decades ago. Many are politicians more than judges.

This is not to say there are not many good judges out there but a conservative law and order politician has an easier time getting elected as a judge than a liberal or a moderate.

The case seems an obvious miscarriage of justice.

Posted by: Gary Denton at December 10, 2005 10:02 PM