Monday, June 2, 2008

New law will countenance having rapists on the loose

This Web site has previously discussed the potential harm to innocent men stemming from the new Jane Doe rape kit law: Jane Doe rape kits are dangerous to innocent men. We explained that the law will allow women to collect evidence of rape but will not require her to report it, possibly for years. Thus, the night of the sexual encounter, she will have preserved evidence, but if the man, in fact, did not commit rape, he will have no reason to preserve evidence to prepare an adequate defense. If the woman waits years before pressing charges, she will have left the unsuspecting male at a serious evidentiary disadvantage. His memory will have faded; he may have destroyed evidence showing a consensual relationship (e.g., he probably deleted any voice mails or emails tending to show a consensual relationship); and alibi witnesses will have disappeared or even died. After having sat on the evidence for years, at trial, the woman might paint a vivid picture of a rape; in contrast, if the man is innocent, the most he might be able to honestly say is, "I would never rape a woman, but I have no strong recollection of that night." He may have no recollection whatsoever of where he was on the night in question.; whether he was drinking; whether she was drinking; where they were prior to or after the sexual encounter; what they discussed prior to or after; or with whom they spoke prior to or after. In short, he may recall nothing whatsoever about that night and at trial would be like the warrior of old entering battle stripped of his shield and sword. Is that fair to an innocent man? The question scarcely survives its statement.

But another troubling aspect of the new law is raised by the news report, below. The new law will countenance having a rapist on the loose, and allowing the alleged victim to sit on evidence that could help put him away. In fact the state is paying the hospital for the alleged victim to sit on this evidence. If the state had evidence of an alleged robbery, a burglary, a kidnapping, or any number of other serious crimes, would we be so quick to say we shouldn't use it unless the purported victim wanted it used? See the story below where a woman recounts a violent rape.

Under the common law, it was a felony to fail to report knowledge of a felony to authorities.

Could the hospital collecting and holding the evidence of an alleged rape be violating this Misprision of Felony" law, an offense under United States federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 4:

"Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

Instead of passing laws that allow the purported victim to sit on evidence of this felony, shouldn't we be more concerned about the public's safety? And saying that the law is necessary because some women don't "come forward" is insufficient. The law has done everything possible to make reporting rape less burdensome. The supposed statistics showing reluctance to come forward are posited by the rape counseling industry, which is biased since it has a financial interest in convincing us that far more rapes occur than are reported. The fact is that while some women surely are reluctant to come forward, the new law seems more geared to allowing women who aren't really sure if they were raped to preserve evidence and then later, it is hoped by the sexual assault counseling industry, they will decide that they were raped and press charges. The new law is geared for the so-called "date rape" scenarios that are now ground-zero in the sexual assault counseling industry's quest to label as rapists as many men and boys having sex as possible. We all know that the sexual assault counseling industry classifies certain sexual encounters as "rape" even though women themselves don't classify it as such. If the woman herself didn't know she was "raped," how on earth did her so-called rapist know?

In any event, the new law theoretically will countenance allowing a dangerous felon to be on the loose while the woman decides if she wants to press charges. Instead of elevating a woman's emotions and fears over the public interest in safety, shouldn't we be having a dialogue about why women aren't "coming forward," if indeed that is the case? Certainly enough liars are "coming forward," as shown by the reports on this Web site, so it is difficult to believe that signifcant numbers of women who know they truly were raped are not.

Here is the story:

Jane Doe Rape Kits Require Exam Without A Police Report

Rape is often considered one of the most horrific events someone can go through.

But now new legislation could put more rapists in jail.

Action News reporter Heather Klein explains how.

When a person is raped they should immediately go the hospital to get a full forensic exam.

The problem is they have to decide at that point whether or not to press charges.

Often times they cannot make that decision so the suspected rapist goes free.

"I fought, he had a knife and the entire thing going back and forth and back and forth lasted about two and a half hours," said Taylor Wright.

Taylor Wright was violently raped by her neighbor and after the attack she knew to get to a hospital.

"When they go to the hospital right after an attack you are extremely frazzled, extremely distraught and in shock," explained Taylor.

Taylor underwent a forensic rape exam that included using items like swabs, envelopes and scrapers.

The problem is a lot of hospitals will not administer the exam without a police report because no exam would mean there is no evidence.

"They do not want to have to think about pressing charges, they just want to go home and have it over and put their head under the covers," said Taylor.

Starting January 5th, a federal mandate will require states to do forensic rape exams whether a report is filed or not.

They also must hold the evidence for at least 90 days to allow victims time to decide if they want to press charges.

"This way its really helping that victim to give him or her sometime to think about it, do I really want to press charges," said Louise Torres.

For Taylor, prosecuting her rapist was a big part in helping her heal.

"If I had not prosecuted him, I do not know how I would have emotionally dealt with it," said Taylor.

Another key point to this law is after the evidence is taken its assigned a number, hence the term Jane Doe Rape Kits, that way the victim can stay anonymous until he or she decides what to do.