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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Legal Ramifications

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Author Topic: Legal Ramifications
nmcowgirl87
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I was just doing some paperwork, and came across the name of an acquaintance. I was reminded of a situation she was in several months ago.

Basically, she was raped and become pregnant. She has very strong religious beliefs that abortion is wrong, and at age 27 she is very capable of being a mother. She decided to keep the baby, and delivered a healthy baby girl. The last time I spoke with her, (several months ago) she was in the middle of a court battle with her rapist (a former family friend) because he was suing for visitation rights. The DA never prosecuted her rape case, because the situation came down to a he-said / she-said situation. Her rapist contends that the penetration was consensual, and that they discussed the possibility of pregnancy and she agreed to raise any resulting child with him. Last time I spoke with her, it was looking like the judge was going to actually award the guy visitation. How do ya'll feel about this topic?

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Ride it like you stole it!


Posts: 64 | From: Carlsbad, NM USA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by nmcowgirl87:
How do ya'll feel about this topic?


Sounds to me like a pretty unfortunate situation all around for her. One question though...did she report the rape right away or was there a time lag between the time the incident took place and the time she reported it?

I ask this because I'm familiar with a case where a man and a woman had a falling out after the woman became pregnant, and she slapped a rape charge on him when he petitioned for visitation and custody rights. In that case it was deemed "sour grapes" and no charges were filed...it was a similar he said/she said sort of thing. I'm wondering if the prosecutor in this particular case felt the same way about it when the decision was made not to press charges.

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BruinDan, "Code Four, Baby," PHOM

¡Siendo padrote no es cil!


Posts: 2727 | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
nmcowgirl87
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She went to the police station within two hours after it happened. Her husband is a cop, and he totally supported her. I don't know if professional animosity between the PD and the DA's office may have played a part, but it's possible. My Dad’s a retired cop, and the only reason he got out of the PD was because the DA’s office refused to file charges on very good, solid cases because of personality conflicts with the arresting or investigating officers.

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Ride it like you stole it!


Posts: 64 | From: Carlsbad, NM USA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by nmcowgirl87:
I don't know if professional animosity between the PD and the DA's office may have played a part, but it's possible.

If things happened the way your friend said they did, she went to the police station within two hours, and nothing was done, that is a case of professional negligence. You're talking about a major, major lawsuit. The kind of thing the media would love to get their hands on.

I might suggest to your friend that she seek some legal counsel if she hasn't already. I know all about the nonsensical conflicts between DA's and PD's, I think every agency has had to go through things like that at some point or another. It's all politics. But when politics start getting in the way of your friend having her rape dealt with appropriately, we've got serious problems. The case as you've laid it out here makes absolutely no sense.

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BruinDan, "Code Four, Baby," PHOM

¡Siendo padrote no es cil!


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nmcowgirl87
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quote:
Originally posted by BruinDan:
The case as you've laid it out here makes absolutely no sense.


Tell me about it. But that's unfortunately how things tend to work around here. We're a very small community, and if someone doesn't like you life can be difficult. The entire front page of our newspaper Monday was devoted to a story about two kids that got caught making out at the Sheriff’s Posse dance Saturday. That's how gossipy Carlsbad is!

Anyway, my Dad just reminded me that the investigating agency for her case was actually the State Police. Even though she went to the PD here first, I guess they thought that there might be a conflict of interest with her husband working there so the State Police actually handled all the interviews and stuff.

I just tried to call her to find out how the whole situation turned out, but I got her machine and I didn't want to ask about something that personal in a message.

Anyway, what about women who are raped by a stranger and press charges resulting in a conviction and the perpetrator gets out of jail and wants to see the child? I read about a case like that somewhere, on the east coast I think.

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Ride it like you stole it!


Posts: 64 | From: Carlsbad, NM USA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by nmcowgirl87:
Anyway, what about women who are raped by a stranger and press charges resulting in a conviction and the perpetrator gets out of jail and wants to see the child? I read about a case like that somewhere, on the east coast I think.

At this point, there is not enough case law on the books to have a blanket legal position on that one. It's still on a case by case basis. There was one case on appeal last year about a woman in South Carolina who sued to prevent her rapist from seeing her child, but that one differs because the rapist was in jail and was not actively seeking custody or visitation rights. I'm not aware of any cases out there in which a convicted rapist has sought permission to visit the offspring he has produced. And in my opinion, that defies all logic anyhow.

Even if NMSP handled the investigation (which is odd in and of itself), the facts as your friend has relayed them to you indicate a series of negligent maneuvers that completely defy common sense. First of all, why was no rape kit completed? If she went to the local PD within two hours of the incident, a kit would have to be completed by the handling agency. There would not be time to formally hand over the investigation to NMSP. Considering the fact that they'd have to send out a representative to take the report, you'd be losing time (and therefore evidence) by having the victim sitting on a bench in the police station for hours while someone tried to figure out what was going on. That is unprofessional to the extreme.

Any conflict-of-interest issues would likely have come up after the initial investigation had been completed. Because at that part of the investigation, all that is being done is collection of evidence and factual history. There is no finger-pointing done at that stage, and the prosecution is still a ways away. If they did feel that COI would be a problem, they could hand off the investigation once the initial processing had been completed. This would be little more than a rape kit, statements from the victim, and probably statements from her husband as well if he knew anything about the incident or could provide background.

Additionally, the fact that the NMSP was the handling agency would probably discount a little bit of the worry that the failure to file charges was due to some sort of professional animosity between them and the local DA. Since State Police agencies don't often relegate their cases to one jurisdiction in particular, there often isn't enough of a "case history" to develop such animosity. This is quite opposite to local PD's who have to file their cases with the same court district time after time after time. In the latter cases, it is far easier to develop either cronyism on one side, or animosity on the other. With State Police though, the lack of constant contact seems to weed a bit of that out on both ends.

Either way, this entire event is just so completely above and beyond the realm of mormality that it simply boggles the mind. I'm still surprised there would even be a court battle about visitation rights now, because New Mexico's Family Law Code states that such things aren't to take place until the child is actually born. Some states still have archaic laws like that, from back when states didn't want to spend money talking about children that may not even live to term anyway. I don't know that NM's dates back that far, but who knows. There is so much here that raises eyebrows, I don't even know where to begin.

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BruinDan, "Code Four, Baby," PHOM

¡Siendo padrote no es cil!


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LittleOneUSN
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How do I feel about it?

A little Background first...

I am a child of rape...My mom was raped in the Summer of 1983 while visiting family in San Diego. She found out she was pregnant during her 5th month. A little to late for an abortion. My mom didn't know her rapist.

Even if she did, and he fought for visitation, there's no way in hell I would go see him, let alone talk to him.

I've known since I was very young that I was the offspring of rape. I don't know if its the best idea to tell your child about it at all unless you really want them to know. It hurts alot knowing that you where an unwanted pregnancy and you wern't produced from love.

I do commend my mom for keeping me, I love her to death, I was an only child for the first 12 years of my life. I now have a 7 year old sister.


Posts: 95 | From: Liverpool, NY | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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