Sunday, September 21, 2008

After DNA Evidence IDs Suspect More Issues Raised

From the Pocono Record:

The victim was raped by two males, one of whom since has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to state prison. She gave a description of the other suspect, whose name she did not know, and a semen sample was collected from her underwear, but no one was arrested at that time. [...]

When Pagan was arrested in a separate case prior to July 31, CODIS matched his DNA sample to the DNA in the semen sample taken from the rape victim's underwear in 2004. "That's all the Commonwealth used to charge him with the rape," defense attorney William Sayer said. "The victim never identified Mr. Pagan as one of the two who raped her. After he was arrested, she even contacted the District Attorney's Office and told them he wasn't one of the two."

Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski declined to comment on whether or not the victim ever contacted the D.A.'s Office.

"We didn't charge Mr. Pagan based on just the DNA match," Rakaczewski said. "He fit the description given by the victim of one of the two suspects. She denied recognizing him as someone she had consensual sex with.

"We're concerned that outside forces, whom I'm not going to identify, are trying to influence the case and get the victim to say Mr. Pagan is not one of the two who raped her," he said. "That's all I can say at this time."

That sounds like there may be possible witness intimidation in this case which is far too common. If anyone is trying to force this rape victim into making a statement which would endanger this case that person should be charged with witness tampering or witness intimidation even if that pressure isn't accompanied by overt threats.

Sometimes threats against rape victims or witnesses in rape trials are empty threats, but rape victims have been murdered. Witnesses in rape trials have been the subject of murder plots to keep them from testifying.

Victims who have lied in a way which makes it harder for the police to find the assailant or assailants often do so out of fear, but when these types of lies come to light many people seem to not consider that possibility and instead use that lie as proof that those who report rape are inherently untrustworthy and shouldn't be considered crime victims unless they prove themselves 100% trustworthy.

Here's case where the victim was hospitalized:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have not identified the 22-year-old woman, and say they are still searching for three men. But the woman now says she was hanging out with one of the men and was raped by two of his friends, police said.

“Based on the information obtained to this point we are continuing to investigate a sexual assault,” Deputy Chief David Graham said.

The woman reported Sept. 5 that three Hispanic men forced her into a green pickup on East Boulevard, then took her to an open area nearby and raped her. She was hospitalized with injuries but disappeared before detectives could interview her further.

Note that the woman was hospitalized with injuries which contradict any claims people are likely to make that she couldn't have been raped. The hospitalized woman gave a false name since there were outstanding warrants for her arrest.

The severity of this crime isn't diminished because the victim was afraid of fully cooperating with the police. Despite this woman needing to be hospitalized I'm sure there will be some people who want this victim -- and only this victim -- to be charged with a crime.

If that happens it will encourage rapists and will do nothing to protect men from false allegations of rape. That's an outcome that too many people find acceptable. In the comments on this story Lucky79 wrote:

She is ridiculous this story sounds like a woman who was trying to cheat on her husband but ended up getting more than what she asked for, she then had to go to the hospital for her injuries but once the police got there she knew she had warrants and needed to get out of there before being arrested. Thanks lady for making it hard for real victims out there.

What Lucky79 has described is a double rape -- since getting more than you asked for sexually is rape -- which in this case caused physical injuries, but she's not a real victim. That means that Lucky79 approves of rape under these circumstances. He's far from being alone in that situational approval of rape.

According to that standard if a man is trying to cheat on his wife and is subsequently raped by 2 men after he willingly gets in the woman's truck and goes to another location then he's not a real rape victim. If he is hospitalized due to his injuries that is irrelevant. He simply got more than he was asking for and is making it hard for men who are real crime victims.

Fortunately, the police in this case are working to determine the truth of what happened to this woman, including who attacked her, and are looking out for public safety.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:07 AM   0 comments links to this post


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