When Sexual Assault Victims Are Charged With Lying
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: December 4th, 2017
There are many reasons for women to think twice about reporting sexual assault. But one potential consequence looms especially large: They may also be prosecuted. This month, a retired police lieutenant in Memphis, Tenn., Cody Wilkerson, testified, as part of a lawsuit against the city, not only that police detectives sometimes neglected to investigate cases of sexual assault but also that he overheard the head of investigative services in the citys police department say, on his first day in charge: The first thing we need to do is start locking up more victims for false reporting. Its an alarming choice of priorities. In 2015 we wrote an article ... about Marie, an 18-year-old who reported being raped. Instead of interviewing her as a victim, [detectives] interrogated her as a suspect. Under pressure, Marie eventually recanted - and was charged with false reporting, punishable by up to a year in jail. More than two years later, the police in Colorado arrested a serial rapist - and discovered a photograph proving he had raped Marie. Cases like hers can be found around the country. In 1997, a legally blind woman reported being raped at knife point in Madison, Wis. That same year, a pregnant 16-year-old reported being raped in New York City. In 2004, a 19-year-old reported being sexually assaulted at gunpoint in Cranberry Township, Pa. In all three instances, the women were charged with lying. In all three instances, their reports turned out to be true. The men who raped them were later identified and convicted.