Saturday, June 27, 2009

Baker County OR Man Convicted Of Rape While Victim Unconscious

From the Baker City Herald:

A Baker County [Oregon] jury deliberated into the evening Thursday before returning to the courtroom to announce their findings of guilty on all three counts against a man accused of raping a young woman he’d supplied with tequila who had passed out in her bed and was incapable of consenting to sex.

Charles Matthew Ferguson, 29, of [...], was convicted of one count each of first-degree rape, second-degree sexual abuse and furnishing alcohol to a minor.
On the most serious charge the jury initially announced they were deadlocked despite the woman's testimony that a lack of consent was clearly understood and despite a text message from Ferguson in which he wrote, "I could have told you nothing happened and you wouldn’t have known.”

I consider that text message to be an admission of guilt which makes me wonder how any juror could view the allegations of rape as not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This victim testified about being a virgin prior to the rape and communicating that she planned to remain a virgin until marriage which is only relevant to the case in that she communicated this to her rapist.

Yet for some jurors this status could have swayed them one way or the other depending on their bias. Some could have seen this as a motivation for her to lie and others might view this as the sole reason to believe her testimony.

I didn't realize that in Oregon someone can be convicted on a 10-2 vote, but that's what happened on the sex crime charges in this case. Here in Minnesota convictions require all members of the jury to vote guilty in order to convict the defendant.

Maybe the problem was that, like many acquaintance rapists, Ferguson told the victim afterwards that he cared about her. His arrogant and mollifying behavior is common from non-stranger rapists but many people view that behavior as mutually exclusive to the crime of rape since that type of rapist doesn't fit their belief in the rapist-as-monster stereotype.

Not surprisingly, the defense attorney trotted out the tired and familiar stereotype about girls and women who report rape committed by someone they know: "Regret is not rape."

Being upset over having been raped isn't merely regretting sex, it is the impact of being raped.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 3:45 PM   0 comments links to this post


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