Rape Cases Still A Tough Sell For Many Juries

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A California college student who says her boyfriend assaulted her cannot accept a district attorney’s decision not to prosecute, says the Los Angeles Times. “It’s frustrating to hear someone say, ‘I know he raped you, but we can’t prove it,’ ” said the woman. “I felt like he was getting away with it.” Rape experts say her experience is typical for sexual assault victims who must endure both the crime and the notion that a jury might not believe them. In May, a jury issued not-guilty verdicts on some charges and deadlocked on others against three high school students accused of raping a UCLA freshman. In June, jurors in Orange County could not decide whether three teenagers sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl who was allegedly knocked out by drugs and alcohol.

“For 35 years, we have been tinkering with the law, we have been training law enforcement, we have been training judges and … prosecutors,” said Mary Koss, professor of public health at the University of Arizona and co-author of the book “No Safe Haven: Male Violence Against Women at Home, at Work and in the Community.” “But we can’t demonstrate that that has had an impact on how many rapes are reported, how many get investigated, how many get prosecuted and how many result in trials that have guilty verdicts,” she added. In 2002, about half of all rapes in the nation went unreported, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Only 58% of those cases prosecuted ended in a conviction. Prosecutor Nancy O’Malley of Alameda County said, “With some prospective jurors, you’re dealing with a different dynamic. We have to continually reinforce the idea that this is not about sex; it’s a crime of violence, power and control.”

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-onthelaw23jul23,1,7314845.story?coll=la-headlines-california

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