Dolores Carr, district attorney in California’s Santa Clara County, seems an unlikely protest target for advocates of sexual assault victims, says the San Francisco Chronicle. She was the first deputy prosecutor in the state to specialize in pursuing sex offenders who failed to register with local authorities. She trained sexual assault investigators, served on the board of a shelter for battered women and advised staffers at a San Jose rape crisis center.
Yet within five months of taking office as the county’s chief prosecutor, she became just such a target — the result of her decision not to file rape charges after a 17-year-old girl said she was sexually assaulted at a party attended by members of a college baseball team. The case gripped the community and led to the athletic suspension of eight players for violating the team code of conduct. “I feel the helplessness,” said Carr, 53. “But the bottom line is it’s not about what we believe happened or think happened. It’s about what we can prove happened.” Carr generally has strong backing from law enforcement. Besides being married to a police lieutenant, she gained officer support by opposing a push to have grand jury proceedings in officer-involved shootings open to the public.