Friday, July 17, 2009

Kansas Attorney Sued After Showing Pictures Of Alleged Rape After Refusing To Prosecute

From Courthouse News:

A county attorney in Kansas violated a girl's privacy by showing around photos of her sexual assault, the teen and her mother claim in Topeka Federal Court. The Anderson County Attorney refused to prosecute the assailant, but showed other parents photos of the sexual assault, and was suspended from practicing law for 6 months for it, the family says.

The parents say their 17-year-old daughter attended an outdoor party in May 2007, where four men or boys forced her to take off her clothes. One of them had sex with her in the bed of a truck, despite her repeated pleas for him to stop, while others took photos of it, according to the complaint.

The girl says that she reported the assault to police, who referred it to County Attorney Frank Campbell. She says Campbell "decided he would not pursue prosecution of the male" involved in the sexual assault, but told a local newspaper that he would share the pictures with parents of the minors at the party.
This combination of actions highlights how often rape victims are treated like criminal offenders who must be punished while rapists are too often treated like overgrown toddlers who at most deserve to be scolded by their parents.

If 4 boys or men are forcing a girl to take off her clothes what follows is not sex, it's rape even if that girl doesn't protest. All 4 of those boys or men were actively involved in the crime and all should have been prosecuted for the sexual assault and since the picture qualified as child porn that would have allowed additional charges.

Campbell's response ignored the rape laws and supported the dangerous idea that girls who drink alcohol deserve to be raped or are asking for it.

The excuse Campbell gave for showing the pictures of this girl's assault is pathetic. Using pictures of a reported rape as if it is evidence of nothing more than underage drinking makes deterring teen drinking more important than deterring and prosecuting rape.

In reality it is Campbell's response which gives boys and men backhanded permission to commit rape under certain conditions. For that offense he should have lost his license to practice law for much longer than six months and he should have been banned from life from working as a prosecutor.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:59 AM   3 comments links to this post


At July 17, 2009 11:59 AM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

Totally agree this was yet another example of male sexual violence against a female being trivialised and deliberately mis-represented as 'sex.' Men or boys forcing a young woman to remove her clothes in order to facilitate rape is never 'sex' and furthermore photographing this sequence of male sexual violence against a young woman is pornography.

The prosecutor should have been prosecuted in addition to the male rapists rather than the prosecutor refusing to pursue this case. It is not surprising dominant myths are so widespread and are always focused on blaming the victim(s) of male sexual violence committed against them.

Consumption of alcohol is not a 'green light' for males to commit rape against the person who has imbibed alcohol but it would appear if a rapist can prove the victim had consumed alcohol prior to him raping her, then no crime occurred.

At July 17, 2009 1:12 PM, OpenID vagabondsaint said...

Even with photo evidence, they refused to prosecute? That attorney should have had his license completely revoked, not just suspended, and I hope they file a civil suit that takes him for everything he's got.

By the way, Ms. Chester, I thanked you in my blog for mentioning it in the CASF, and added your site to my links section. Keep fighting to increase awareness and fairness for rape victims; it's a battle that needs to be fought.


At July 20, 2009 1:46 PM, Anonymous plainjane said...

There have been several recent cases in which teenaged girls have been charged with producing child pornography for willingly photographing themselves and sending the pictures to others. How that constitutes child porn but a guy photographing his buddies raping someone and the freaking prosecutor passing the pictures around doesn't is beyond me.

Marcella, I'm a first-time commenter but a long-time reader, and I just want to say thanks for keeping the spotlight on these blatant injustices. You truly are providing a public service.


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