Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fascinating false rape trial exposes some of the problems encountered by the falsely accused

Read the news report, below, of a false rape trial in progress. According to the prosecutor, former police officer Natalie Passalick and Heath Merry, whom she accused of rape, had been in an intimate relationship from December 2008 to April 2009. In April 2009, Passalick complained to her boss that she had been sexually assaulted. According to the prosecutor, she made the complaint because her husband had confronted her about her relationship with Mr. Merry.

Ms. Passalick, nevertheless, claimed she was raped and gave a statement to police. The statement taker, Detective Leading Senior Constable Jacinta Ford, testified that Ms. Passalick told her shortly after the statement was signed that her husband was demanding she sign the statement, and she did not really want to.

Two interesting points:

First, the rape accuser's defense counsel says the accuser was raped, but that the police investigation ''amounted to a collection of pre-judgmental dinosaurs thinking that a victim of sexual misconduct must act or not act in a particular way."

The attorney's accusation may, or may not, be correct, but if the prosecutor's version of what happened is supported by the evidence, it's not. In that case, the false accuser's attorney would be using the lofty language of rape victimhood to justify a false claim. That lofty language includes accusing persons who doubt the veracity of a rape claim of "victim blaming," and of insisting that male police officers who disbelieve the claim are acting out of undeserved male privilege, etc. If, indeed, this woman is convicted for making a false rape claim, it would not be the first time we've seen a false accuser hide behind the language of rape victimhood. Remember the false accuser who, after she was arrested, had the audacity to proclaim, "That's why women don't report rape." See here.

Second, the defense attorney made it clear to the jurors that he was going to put the accused lover on trial: he said a ''very big issue'' in the trial would be Mr Merry himself. Specifically, the 12 jurors would have to determine whether he was ''a truthful, credible or reliable witness or a self-serving evasive, manipulative, adulterous liar."

Remember when rape victims used to say that in rape trials, they, themselves, were put on trial?  That was before the rape shield laws and other evidentiary protections for rape accusers that largely shielded them from being branded sluts. Well, here's a newsflash: a man who was falsely accused of rape has no similar evidentiary protections when his false accuser is on trial. There is nothing similar to the rape shield laws to protect his reputation. The entirety of his slutty past is fair game as defense counsel tries to paint him as a rapist. 

Here is the news story:

Former policewoman on trial over rape claim

A FORMER policewoman concocted a story that a colleague had raped her after her husband found out about their affair, a court has heard.

But counsel for Natalie Irene Passalick says the rape did occur, and the internal police investigations led by ''dinosaurs'' from the Ethical Standards Department were compromised by police preconceptions.

Passalick, 29, is on trial in the County Court on one count of making a false report.

Prosecutor Bob Johnson told the jury in his opening address that Passalick and Heath Merry, whom she accused of rape, had been in an intimate relationship from December 2008 to April 2009.

He said they had met at the Footscray police station in 2007 when they were both posted there, and where Passalick met her then-future second husband, Mark Passalick.

Mr Johnson said contact between Mr Merry and Passalick had subsided until late 2008 but resumed into an amorous relationship shortly after they met again while working at Oaks Day.

In April 2009, Passalick complained to her boss at the Ballarat communications centre that she had been raped, but did not immediately divulge the name of the man she was accusing. Mr Johnson said this occurred because Mr Passalick had confronted his wife about a series of emails sent between Mr Merry and Passalick.

Defence counsel Geoffrey Steward said the complaint was true but the ESD investigation ''amounted to a collection of pre-judgmental dinosaurs thinking that a victim of sexual misconduct must act or not act in a particular way''.

Mr Steward said a ''very big issue'' in the trial would be Mr Merry, and told the 12 jurors that they would have to determine whether he was ''a truthful, credible or reliable witness or a self-serving evasive, manipulative, adulterous liar''.

Mr Steward said the prosecution's classification of the relationship between Mr Merry and Passalick, which he said had occurred for four months in 2007, was wrong because after Passalick met her future husband, she told Mr Merry that their relationship was over.

He said because Passalick's allegation was one of digital rape, investigators did not take it seriously.

In her statement of complaint to ESD, Passalick said Mr Merry had come to her Yarraville house late on January 4, 2009, to see her, because she was serving a secondment in Maryborough at the time, and, because she would not initially allow him inside, asked her to masturbate where he could watch her through the window.

She said Mr Merry persisted in asking to enter the house, where he eventually penetrated her against her will.

The statement taker, Detective Leading Senior Constable Jacinta Ford, testified that Passalick told her shortly after the statement was signed that her husband was demanding she sign the statement, and she did not really want to.

The trial before Judge Liz Gaynor continues.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/former-policewoman-on-trial-over-rape-claim-20120207-1r5j8.html