Marie picked up the phone and dialed the number the New Orleans police detective gave her 10 days before, on the night she was raped at knifepoint outside a friend’s house. The Associated Press said it was the first of many calls she would make “in an 18-year ordeal of shoddy police work and numbingly slow prosecution to track down and convict her attacker.” “Nothing’s turned up yet,” the detective responded. “Why don’t you go on with your life?” “What about testing the DNA? The rape kit?” she asked. “We can’t. There’s no money for that,” the detective said. The same rapist went on to attack at least six more women, including a 16-year-old raped three months after Marie.
A man named Jimmie Spratt finally was convicted in 2012 of three counts of aggravated rape and sentenced to life in prison without parole at Angola State Penitentiary, where he remains. Marie has become an advocate for rape victims. She speaks on their behalf at meetings reviewing the Justice Department consent decree with the New Orleans Police Department. She wants to make sure rapists don’t get away with their crimes. “What I’d really like to see now,” she said, “is some form of accountability that the reforms are actually resulting in more arrests and convictions.”