Why A Single Rape Case Can Be Difficult to Crack


Two weeks after a Brighton, Ma., woman led police to the door of her alleged rapist, he remained free on the streets – and allegedly raped again. Despite the help of the first victim, who submitted to a medical exam and identified where he lived, Boston police said they lacked enough evidence to arrest the man, reports the Boston Globe. They knocked on his door, but left when he did not answer. The fact police allowed him to remain free left the victim of the second rape bewildered and alarmed. “I don’t know what kind of proof they needed,” she said. “Maybe they thought, that with her evidence, they couldn’t get him and I had to be hurt so that something could happen.”

The case has shaken some residents living in the Allston and Brighton area, a district that has seen the number of rapes and attempted rapes double from 13 to 26 between January and Sept. 28, compared with the same time period last year. Police and victim advocates said the case underscores the difficulty of investigating and prosecuting rape cases, which often involves one person’s word against the other’s. Even when there is DNA evidence or positive identification of the attacker, the defense can simply say that the sex was consensual or make the case that the victim is not credible. Sometimes, they said, it is only a second attack that can provide the evidence of a pattern and the possibility of a conviction.


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