How Police Wrongly Classified A Baltimore Rape Case As Baseless


The young Baltimore woman gave police a vivid description of her rape: A man snatched her off the street and used a pocketknife to force her into the darkness of a park. The pregnancy test conducted during her medical examination came back positive. Police grew skeptical and confrontational. The details of her story changed with each telling, says the Baltimore Sun. “They started making it seem like I had cheated on my boyfriend, got pregnant and wanted to hide it,” she said recently. “I guess my details weren’t as good as they were the first night.”

The woman stopped cooperating, and police classified the case as “unfounded,” meaning they found the woman’s report to be baseless. But it wasn’t. Last year, Lawrence Mosley, behind bars for another crime, was convicted of raping the woman, who was 19 at the time of the 2000 attack. Not only did the woman testify in court, but DNA evidence from her rape kit – which had been kept and catalogued for nearly a decade even though police didn’t believe her – was central to the trial. The case of Lawrence Mosley and his victims is perhaps the most troubling illustration to date of the way Baltimore police handle some claims of rape and sexual abuse. A Baltimore Sun analysis of federal crime statistics showed that for the past four years, Baltimore has led the nation in the percentage of rape cases that police say are false or baseless. Many victims of sexual abuse say police interrogators ask confrontational questions and challenge their motives and veracity; as a result, many women decide not to cooperate, leading to the cases being shelved.

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