How The Houston Justice System Failed Rape Victims

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The rape of a woman named Jenny by a man named Keith Edward Hendricks became a national scandal and dominated the Houston District Attorney’s race last year after she filed a federal lawsuit claiming that her jailing to ensure her testimony amounted to being “re-raped.” Prosecutors defended the tactic as necessary to protect Jenny and finally put Hendricks away. Jenny had been raped because the Harris County criminal justice system failed her, and a long line of other women, over and over, reports the Houston Chronicle. Houston police sex crimes investigator Pedro Moreno knew that Hendricks should have been locked up years earlier.

In this case, Moreno, who has filed charges against 30 other repeat offenders, analyzed other rapes in a two-mile area and found that the victims all were homeless women.In many instances, the assailant was friendly at first, usually offering the women drugs, persuading them to go with him. Then he took them to vacant homes, behind bridges or other areas shielded from view. Some victims called him “Slim” or “Chicago Slim.” Moreno entered the names into a database HPD maintained for suspects’ aliases. One of them came back and named Hendricks, a convicted rapist from Indiana. The Chronicle details how Harris County finally managed to convict Hendricks, more than a decade after he’d come to Houston and been accused of several violent rapes. District Attorney Devon Anderson was defeated for re-election, in part over how the case was handled.

 

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