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-   -   Lack of trust in women is still a huge problem (a very sad rape story) (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=778454)

iiandyiiii 12-17-2015 08:08 AM

Lack of trust in women is still a huge problem (a very sad rape story)
 
Here is the link to the story. It is quite long -- here is how I would sum it up:

A teenage girl who had a rough and troubled early life was assaulted in her home. She reports it to the police. In their interviews with her, the cops go after things they think are discrepancies, and pick at her story relentlessly, and since she's not terribly confident and probably still in shock, she starts to worry she actually might have dreamt it. She recants the story, and the police end up prosecuting her for wasting their time. She agrees to a plea deal and has to pay a fine and probation.

In what appears at first to be an unrelated case in another state, cops find and arrest a serial rapist. This rapist kept trophies in his home, including underwear and photos of his victims -- and one of the photos is of the girl in the previous paragraph, who had recanted her story and been prosecuted.

The first cops recognize their mistake, and tell the woman what happened, and she sues them and gets a modest ($150K seems modest for that sort of hell to me) judgment.

I can't help wondering how common this is -- how often do police officers treat victims (especially women victims, and even more especially disadvantaged and troubled woman victims) like perpetrators? How often are actual rapes dismissed by police because the victim isn't terribly confident, or is in shock, or doesn't have a perfect memory, or has a troubled past? For every incident like this that is eventually "corrected" (as much as such a blunder can possibly be), how many are not?

Uggh.

Shodan 12-17-2015 09:28 AM

Prosecuting her for filing a false report seems a little harsh. OTOH she told her ex-boyfriend that she called him on the phone by typing with her toes, which seems like a funny detail to be wrong about.

It turns out, apparently, that even though this was not a credible witness, she was telling the truth about being raped, and not telling the truth about dreaming it.

If it went down the way the article says it did, then it is a terrible thing. Sometimes crazy people are telling the truth. They obviously shouldn't be prosecuted for it, but how is this a "huge problem"? She said she was raped. From the description in the article, it doesn't appear that the police slighted on the investigation. They didn't find any evidence, because apparently there wasn't any evidence to find. Her story had at least one unusual discrepancy, and when they confronted her about it, she recanted her story (apparently, falsely). No doubt that is because she came from the unstable background you mention, instead of being because she was lying in order to get a better apartment. But how are the police supposed to know that?

Prosecuting her was clearly a miscarriage of justice. Is $150K enough to make up for it? I dunno - how much would be appropriate? I don't see any bad faith on the part of the police.

It's one of those "it sux but what can you do?" situations. Excrement occurs, and it is not always someone else's fault.

Regards,
Shodan

puddleglum 12-17-2015 09:38 AM

Sadly rape is the serious crime that goes most unreported and the crime with the most false reports. Police must find a way to separate the false reports from the real ones because resources that go into investigating false reports mean real rapes may stay unsolved longer.
The woman in question was 18 and had developed a close bond with her former foster mother. It was the foster mother who called in to the police with her suspicions that the woman was making it up. This, combined with her strange affect, likely due to her awful childhood is what made the police suspicious. Her story was not consistent and she confessed to making up the whole thing after not much pressure.
The assailant was a serial rapist who raped a number of other women, all of whom were believed. The story of this young lady was awful at every turn, but it does not indicate a systemic problem absent other evidence.

iiandyiiii 12-17-2015 09:45 AM

From the article, Sgt. Mason had this to say after everything: "It wasn’t her job to try to convince me. In hindsight, it was my job to get to the bottom of it — and I didn’t."

I don't think this kind of mistake needs "bad faith" to be a serious problem -- cops might legitimately doubt her story due to a variety of reasons, including her demeanor, her past, anonymous accusations, and the like... and if they do, then in my view that's very problematic. It also sounds like they interrogated the victim (after having doubts) -- sex crime specialists recommend that victims not be interrogated or threatened with a lie detector test. When she recanted her first recantation, police threatened her in several ways (from my reading). That doesn't seem right to me, if the account is true -- police officers should absolutely not threaten people who claim they have been victimized in any way, in my opinion.

As to "shit happens, what can you do"? You can not prosecute folks like this; not threaten them; and discipline officers (including perhaps suspensions and firings) who do threaten victims.

EDIT: This is in response to Shodan.

John Mace 12-17-2015 09:48 AM

But iiandyiiifi, you've come here with one story and then told us this is a "huge problem". It may very well be, but don't you think you need to present some sort of data to prove that?

iiandyiiii 12-17-2015 09:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puddleglum (Post 18946047)
Sadly rape is the serious crime that goes most unreported and the crime with the most false reports. Police must find a way to separate the false reports from the real ones because resources that go into investigating false reports mean real rapes may stay unsolved longer.
The woman in question was 18 and had developed a close bond with her former foster mother. It was the foster mother who called in to the police with her suspicions that the woman was making it up. This, combined with her strange affect, likely due to her awful childhood is what made the police suspicious. Her story was not consistent and she confessed to making up the whole thing after not much pressure.
The assailant was a serial rapist who raped a number of other women, all of whom were believed. The story of this young lady was awful at every turn, but it does not indicate a systemic problem absent other evidence.

I think it often goes unreported because of incidents like this -- women are afraid they will be threatened, pressured to recant, attacked in their communities, or even prosecuted for wasting police's time.

iiandyiiii 12-17-2015 09:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Mace (Post 18946084)
But iiandyiiifi, you've come here with one story and then told us this is a "huge problem". It may very well be, but don't you think you need to present some sort of data to prove that?

There are statistics about unreported rapes, rapists going free, and related things, but that's not really what I'm trying to discuss. Forgive me if my title was misleading -- I wasn't sure what to call it. I want to discuss the phenomenon, which I believe might be way too common, of law enforcement not trusting women as much as they should when it comes to sexual assault. This is hard to quantify, since statistics on unreported rapes, recanted rape reports, and the like, are a lot harder to find then simple crime rates and the like, and even if we had all such statistics, it's even harder to quantify trust. Based on reports like this one, and statistics on unreported rapes like from RAINN (which have to be estimated to some degree), and other reports from women, I think it's highly likely that mistrust of reporters of rape and sexual assault occurs too frequently in law enforcement.

Shodan 12-17-2015 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 18946076)
From the article, Sgt. Mason had this to say after everything: "It wasn’t her job to try to convince me. In hindsight, it was my job to get to the bottom of it — and I didn’t."

In hindsight, sure.
Quote:

I don't think this kind of mistake needs "bad faith" to be a serious problem -- cops might legitimately doubt her story due to a variety of reasons, including her demeanor, her past, anonymous accusations, and the like... and if they do, then in my view that's very problematic.
And the fact that her story had discrepancies, and the person closest to her thought she might be making it up, and that they couldn't find any evidence, and the fact that she changed her story from "it really happened" to "maybe I dreamed it". What else do you think the police should use to evaluate if the story is true, or not?
Quote:

It also sounds like they interrogated the victim (after having doubts) -- sex crime specialists recommend that victims not be interrogated or threatened with a lie detector test. When she recanted her first recantation, police threatened her in several ways (from my reading). That doesn't seem right to me, if the account is true -- police officers should absolutely not threaten people who claim they have been victimized in any way, in my opinion.
It depends on what you mean by "threatened" and "interrogated".

The police started off investigating the story. They found some (to their mind) significant problems with the story. Both the women who raised the victim doubted her story, and one contacted the police to tell them so. Her foster mother said she had a history of attention-seeking behavior. That's not unusual - lots of traumatized teens do. But "maybe she made this up" is not IMO an unreasonable question to ask yourself, and if she starts saying "maybe I dreamed it" when you broach the subject and then write out a statement that says it never happened.

Also, according to your cite, the victim is the one who requested the lie detector test -
Quote:

Marie said she really had been raped — and began to cry, saying she was having visions of the man on top of her. She wanted to take a lie detector test. Rittgarn told Marie that if she took the test and failed, she would be booked into jail. What’s more, he would recommend that Project Ladder pull her housing assistance.
The police didn't threaten her with a lie detector test - she requested it, and they threatened her with what would happen if she failed it.
Quote:

As to "shit happens, what can you do"? You can not prosecute folks like this; not threaten them; and discipline officers (including perhaps suspensions and firings) who do threaten victims.
I would agree with the "not prosecuting" part. Disciplining the officers? For what, for asking her if it really happened after they had reason to disbelieve her, and after investigating it as if it did happen and finding almost nothing?

Like I said, this sux, and the police were apparently wrong to doubt her. But doubt was not, AFAICT, an unreasonable or uncaring response.

Regards,
Shodan

iiandyiiii 12-17-2015 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 18946296)
In hindsight, sure.
And the fact that her story had discrepancies, and the person closest to her thought she might be making it up, and that they couldn't find any evidence, and the fact that she changed her story from "it really happened" to "maybe I dreamed it". What else do you think the police should use to evaluate if the story is true, or not?
It depends on what you mean by "threatened" and "interrogated".

The police started off investigating the story. They found some (to their mind) significant problems with the story. Both the women who raised the victim doubted her story, and one contacted the police to tell them so. Her foster mother said she had a history of attention-seeking behavior. That's not unusual - lots of traumatized teens do. But "maybe she made this up" is not IMO an unreasonable question to ask yourself, and if she starts saying "maybe I dreamed it" when you broach the subject and then write out a statement that says it never happened.

Also, according to your cite, the victim is the one who requested the lie detector test -
The police didn't threaten her with a lie detector test - she requested it, and they threatened her with what would happen if she failed it.
I would agree with the "not prosecuting" part. Disciplining the officers? For what, for asking her if it really happened after they had reason to disbelieve her, and after investigating it as if it did happen and finding almost nothing?

Like I said, this sux, and the police were apparently wrong to doubt her. But doubt was not, AFAICT, an unreasonable or uncaring response.

Regards,
Shodan

I believe the threats were unreasonable and uncaring -- that's what the officers should have been disciplined for, IMO (though it was years later, which makes it even more difficult). IMO, she was treated as a perp and not a victim once the cops had some doubts, and I don't think that's right. That she requested the lie detector doesn't make it right that the officers threatened her if she failed it -- they shouldn't have threatened her at all, in any way whatsoever.

CarnalK 12-17-2015 11:59 AM

Thing is, even if they were jerks about it they did her a favour to dissuade her from doing a lie detector test. As your article mentions they are particularly unreliable in rape cases let alone with a woman as unstable as this.

dracoi 12-17-2015 12:10 PM

I don't know that the police here followed a very different investigative procedure than for many crimes.

If you report a kidnapping, they'll wait 24 hours before pursuing it at all. Then their first questions will be along the lines of "Are you sure? Your kid didn't just wander off to the mall? You didn't just forget that your ex had custody this weekend?" If the kidnap victim never shows up and/or there are substantial inconsistencies, it's virtually certain they'll consider how the evidence fits you as a murderer of your own child. Most of the time they'll even be right to do this in a kidnapping case.

So I'm not sure that rape is necessarily seen differently by law enforcement, it's just that rape 1) is generally private with no witnesses, 2) has a lot of overlap with consensual behavior, 3) may not leave objective evidence behind.

Also keep in mind that police questioning is slanted toward what the prosecution will need. If the victim is also the only witness and has trouble keeping her story straight, then taking this to court would be a colossal waste of time regardless of whether it happened or not. Charging her with a false report was not appropriate, but testing the consistency of her story is a proper part of what police do.

Ludovic 12-17-2015 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dracoi (Post 18946464)
If you report a kidnapping, they'll wait 24 hours before pursuing it at all.

I am not sure this is true, especially in the case of pre-adolescent children.

CarnalK 12-17-2015 04:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ludovic (Post 18947193)
I am not sure this is true, especially in the case of pre-adolescent children.

I am sure he was thinking of a missing person report. If you report some guy got grabbed and tossed in a van I seriously doubt they give it 24 hours before investigating.

the_diego 12-17-2015 05:15 PM

Looks more like a procedural muddle than a basic mistrust in females. I'm trying to see in the story whether or not the girl was accompanies by legal counsel during her talks with the police. Looks like she had but didn't sound effective.

Quartz 12-17-2015 05:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 18946017)
Prosecuting her for filing a false report seems a little harsh.

I disagree. Rape is one of the very worst crimes, but to be falsely accused of it is terrible. There are women who make up stories of rape, and the consequences can be devastating - including suicide - on the accused. So prosecuting someone who makes a false allegation is absolutely something that should be done. Remember though, that presumption of innocence still applies, and that the allegation has to be proved to have been false. Not "We can find no evidence of rape, so no rape happened."

iiandyiiii 12-17-2015 05:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 18947355)
I disagree. Rape is one of the very worst crimes, but to be falsely accused of it is terrible. There are women who make up stories of rape, and the consequences can be devastating - including suicide - on the accused. So prosecuting someone who makes a false allegation is absolutely something that should be done. Remember though, that presumption of innocence still applies, and that the allegation has to be proved to have been false. Not "We can find no evidence of rape, so no rape happened."

So you think they did the right thing in prosecuting this woman?

Lamia 12-17-2015 08:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 18945821)
I can't help wondering how common this is -- how often do police officers treat victims (especially women victims, and even more especially disadvantaged and troubled woman victims) like perpetrators? How often are actual rapes dismissed by police because the victim isn't terribly confident, or is in shock, or doesn't have a perfect memory, or has a troubled past? For every incident like this that is eventually "corrected" (as much as such a blunder can possibly be), how many are not?

Earlier this year I heard in the news about how a backlog of old rape kits in Ohio were finally being tested for DNA. There was an interview on Fresh Air with Rachel Dissell, a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who'd investigated the backlog of untested kits. The full interview is here, but here are a couple of quotes about what she learned.

Serial rapists are more common than had been thought:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rachel Dissel
And I think the biggest surprise to all of us nobody - nobody foresaw this - was that 224 serial rapists or potential serial rapists have been identified. And that number, I think, really blew us away. We just didn't think that that was what would come out of this. [...] what we found as these cases have been tested and linked together was that people were committing all different types of these crimes and not being caught, that there were so many chances before to link together these crimes, to prevent other rapes, that were not taken, you know, chances that were really missed opportunities. And so I think that's a big focus now, is trying to figure out what are the lessons from these cases that we can learn so that we don't miss the opportunities to prevent crimes like this.

Serial rapists deliberately prey on women who are unlikely to be believed:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rachel Dissel
And this is what really bothers me - is that when you really looked into these cases, it's the most vulnerable women - you know, the ones who were minorities, who lived in poor neighborhoods, who had mental health problems, who had drug addictions - they were the ones being prayed on.

And nobody in society - not the police - nobody could step back and say these are the most vulnerable victims. And rapists - the serial rapists - they knew, and they benefited from it. You know, they really outsmarted everybody. They knew if they chose the most vulnerable women - the least likely to be believed - that they would never get caught. And I just don't know how that happened. How did we let them outsmart us for all that time?

In the first few days after a rape, victims are often too traumatized to assist with investigation:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rachel Dissel
I think that one of the things that people really underestimated before was the amount of support that a victim or survivor of rape really needs so that they can go forward with a process like this. You know, in the past, when you talked to detectives that would work on cases before, they were completely overwhelmed. There's always very few detectives in the sex crimes unit, sometimes, you know, 11, 12, 13 of them handling hundreds of rape cases a year. And these victims had gone through a trauma. And the marching orders that these detectives had was to try to contact the victims once or twice, and if they didn't call back, then they would close the case.

And what were - what we hear from a lot of the victims was that, you know, in those first, initial days after they reported a sexual assault, they were just going through so much. They had so many emotions. They didn't know what they should do. They were traumatized. They didn't really have any support. So someone calling and just saying, you need to come downtown for an interview, that just was not going to work for them.

Sadly, all this means that even a well-intentioned cop may handle a rape investigation badly due to mistaken beliefs about both rapists and rape victims, lack of resources, and the fact that most rapists are trying not to get caught and may be intentionally targeting victims who'll seem unreliable.

ToughLife 12-18-2015 08:31 AM

Quote:

Lack of trust in women is still a huge problem
yeah,right

Shodan 12-18-2015 09:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 18947355)
I disagree. Rape is one of the very worst crimes, but to be falsely accused of it is terrible. There are women who make up stories of rape, and the consequences can be devastating - including suicide - on the accused. So prosecuting someone who makes a false allegation is absolutely something that should be done. Remember though, that presumption of innocence still applies, and that the allegation has to be proved to have been false. Not "We can find no evidence of rape, so no rape happened."

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but AFAICT this woman didn't falsely accuse anyone in particular - the police just thought she had made up the story of being raped.

But maybe that is something to consider when deciding when to prosecute someone for filing a false police report of rape - does she falsely (perhaps maliciously) accuse someone in particular, or just make up a story? I can see prosecuting if she accuses her ex-boyfriend of rape and it turns out he was in Cleveland at the time, but just "I was raped/maybe I dreamed it/it didn't happen" probably not. Even if the police spent a lot of time investigating what they believed to be a false report - because in this case it appears they were wrong to think so, and because of iiandyiii says about not discouraging women from reporting rape. Even if it never gets proven one way or the other.

Lamia - were these mostly stranger rapes that the reporter was talking about?

Regards,
Shodan

puzzlegal 12-18-2015 09:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 18948554)
...AFAICT this woman didn't falsely accuse anyone in particular - the police just thought she had made up the story of being raped.

But maybe that is something to consider when deciding when to prosecute someone for filing a false police report of rape - does she falsely (perhaps maliciously) accuse someone in particular, or just make up a story?...

I agree. Falsely accusing a particular person of rape is a serious crime, and there are certainly cases where it should be prosecuted. Making up a story, or maybe having dreamed it and confusing a dream with reality, should not generally be prosecuted. It's rather bizarre and disconcerting that the police prosecuted this woman.

iiandyiiii 12-18-2015 11:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 18948554)
I don't necessarily disagree with you, but AFAICT this woman didn't falsely accuse anyone in particular - the police just thought she had made up the story of being raped.

But maybe that is something to consider when deciding when to prosecute someone for filing a false police report of rape - does she falsely (perhaps maliciously) accuse someone in particular, or just make up a story? I can see prosecuting if she accuses her ex-boyfriend of rape and it turns out he was in Cleveland at the time, but just "I was raped/maybe I dreamed it/it didn't happen" probably not. Even if the police spent a lot of time investigating what they believed to be a false report - because in this case it appears they were wrong to think so, and because of iiandyiii says about not discouraging women from reporting rape. Even if it never gets proven one way or the other.

Lamia - were these mostly stranger rapes that the reporter was talking about?

Regards,
Shodan

I think I mostly agree with this, though I'd still be worried about any chance of dissuading women from reporting rapes when they know (or suspect they know) who raped them, out of fear of prosecution (or just disbelief, ridicule, etc.) for false accusations.

I believe that it was totally wrong and inappropriate for these officers to use threats in any way towards someone who claimed to be raped, and if this happens in other cases, it should stop and those who threaten should be disciplined.

MrDibble 12-19-2015 08:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puddleglum (Post 18946047)
Sadly rape is [...] the crime with the most false reports.

Cite?

Velocity 12-19-2015 06:55 PM

I'm sure we can all agree on two things:

(1) Rape is bad,
(2) False accusations of rape are also bad.


Unfortunately, any justice system that cracks down on false accusations of rape will probably also deny some rape victims justice in the process. And any justice system that tries to get a higher conviction rate for rape will probably also get some innocent people wrongfully convicted in the process. It requires extreme precision to convict the guilty and acquit the innocent.

iiandyiiii 12-19-2015 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velocity (Post 18952175)
I'm sure we can all agree on two things:

(1) Rape is bad,
(2) False accusations of rape are also bad.


Unfortunately, any justice system that cracks down on false accusations of rape will probably also deny some rape victims justice in the process. And any justice system that tries to get a higher conviction rate for rape will probably also get some innocent people wrongfully convicted in the process. It requires extreme precision to convict the guilty and acquit the innocent.

Yes. That doesn't mean that bad practices shouldn't be highlighted and corrected. Do you think that there's a chance that the woman in my linked story was mistreated, and the officers involved should have been disciplined, and threats should never be used against people claiming to be victims of sexual violence? Or would you rather just say that it's difficult to get it perfect?

TCMF-2L 12-21-2015 10:09 AM

Is this story a representative example of systemic mistrust of female rape victims by the police? Indeed is there any evidence male rape victims are automatically afforded more credibility?

Here is a brief account of an equally troubled UK woman:

In ten years, since the age of 13, she has reported at least eleven rapes. All the accusations are believed to be false. The last few have seen her in court, found guilty but she continued to make the accusations until eventually she was jailed. She is typically identifying specific men as rapists because she wants to hurt them.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...in-decade.html

Is that story definitive proof woman are believed too much? Or are both these women's stories outliers?

TCMF-2L

puddleglum 12-21-2015 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrDibble (Post 18951030)
Cite?

Most crimes have a false report rate of 2%. A Department of Justice report in 1997 found a false report rate for rape of 8%. A british study done by the home office found 8% and a study by the group "Making a difference" found a 7% rate in the US.

clairobscur 12-21-2015 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 18952189)
Yes. That doesn't mean that bad practices shouldn't be highlighted and corrected. Do you think that there's a chance that the woman in my linked story was mistreated, and the officers involved should have been disciplined, and threats should never be used against people claiming to be victims of sexual violence? Or would you rather just say that it's difficult to get it perfect?

What about alleged victims of other crimes? Would you argue that they should be granted the same treatment, and if not why? What about a man bringing charges of a false rape accusation against the alleged victim? Should he be always trusted and never pushed or threatened, either?

Is there *never* a case when women reporting a rape should be distrusted? If there are such cases in your opinion, that should be the threshold? At which point should the police be allowed to not be so nice with the alleged victim?

Is there *ever* a case when the woman should be prosecuted for a false rape report (and presumably in this case, she would be threteaned with prosecution first)?

If you think there are such cases (that is, that at least in some cases, the false accuser should be prosecuted), and given that the police can always be mistaken in one direction or the other, should they be disciplined every time they got it wrong? Should they be disciplined also when they mistakenly believed the alleged victim and gave a difficult time to the innocent accused man? Should they be disciplined every time they were wrong for all crimes reports or only for rape, and why? For instance, should they be disciplined if they didn't believe my elderly mother who states that his neighbours are taping her phone (which is extremely unlikely) and that terrorists stole her checkbook (proven untrue since) and it turns out that indeed neighbours/terrorists victimized her?



In this particular case, besides the fact thay they were factually wrong, what makes you think that they erred so much that they deserve such discipline? What makes it an egrerious fault that requires punishment rather than a human mistake based on reasonably considered facts (troubled "victim", guardians who distrust her, lack of evidence, the "victim" saying that it might be just a dream...) that is unavoidable? What were exactly the "bad practices" in this specific case?

billfish678 12-21-2015 11:39 AM

Women getting the short end of the stick for various unfair reasons when it comes to rape and reporting it? Sure, happens and probably too much.

This case?

Good grief, this sounds like a case the Black Lives Matter movement would choose.

Or in other words, take a real problem and pick almost the anti-poster child version of the problem.

dracoi 12-21-2015 03:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 18947199)
I am sure he was thinking of a missing person report. If you report some guy got grabbed and tossed in a van I seriously doubt they give it 24 hours before investigating.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking of. Most of the parents in my circle of friends assume that no one could ever go missing if they were not kidnapped, and I fell into the same bad habit.

Quartz 12-21-2015 05:29 PM

A local (to me) woman has just been jailed for making a false claim of sexual assault.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBC
Sheriff Richard McFarlane said the impact of such an allegation on Mr Canavan's life was "probably incalculable".

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBC
"But in her head she does not believe she committed this offence."

:eek:

The Other Waldo Pepper 12-21-2015 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 18956676)
A local (to me) woman has just been jailed for making a false claim of sexual assault.

Apparently the police spent days poring over CCTV recordings and thereby managed to, if you will, prove a negative.

Frylock 12-21-2015 06:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puzzlegal (Post 18948650)
Making up a story ... should not generally be prosecuted.

I definitely think prosecution was bizarre in this case, but why is it that making up a story (which I take it is the same as "filing a false police report") shouldn't generally be prosecuted?

Also, btw, are you "Puzz Legal" or "Puzzle Gal"? If I can ask. :)

iiandyiiii 12-21-2015 07:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by clairobscur (Post 18955750)
What about alleged victims of other crimes? Would you argue that they should be granted the same treatment, and if not why? What about a man bringing charges of a false rape accusation against the alleged victim? Should he be always trusted and never pushed or threatened, either?

Is there *never* a case when women reporting a rape should be distrusted? If there are such cases in your opinion, that should be the threshold? At which point should the police be allowed to not be so nice with the alleged victim?

Is there *ever* a case when the woman should be prosecuted for a false rape report (and presumably in this case, she would be threteaned with prosecution first)?

If you think there are such cases (that is, that at least in some cases, the false accuser should be prosecuted), and given that the police can always be mistaken in one direction or the other, should they be disciplined every time they got it wrong? Should they be disciplined also when they mistakenly believed the alleged victim and gave a difficult time to the innocent accused man? Should they be disciplined every time they were wrong for all crimes reports or only for rape, and why? For instance, should they be disciplined if they didn't believe my elderly mother who states that his neighbours are taping her phone (which is extremely unlikely) and that terrorists stole her checkbook (proven untrue since) and it turns out that indeed neighbours/terrorists victimized her?



In this particular case, besides the fact thay they were factually wrong, what makes you think that they erred so much that they deserve such discipline? What makes it an egrerious fault that requires punishment rather than a human mistake based on reasonably considered facts (troubled "victim", guardians who distrust her, lack of evidence, the "victim" saying that it might be just a dream...) that is unavoidable? What were exactly the "bad practices" in this specific case?

Pushed is one thing, but no, I don't believe people who claim to have been victimized should ever be threatened by the police. And in this case I believe the cops who threatened her should have been disciplined. If they have good evidence that a false report was filled maliciously, then it's reasonable to file charges. But there was no such evidence in this case.

They shouldn't always be automatically trusted, but that's different than threats and using adversarial tactics, in my mind - people who say the have been attacked shouldn't be adversaries of law enforcement.

Dangerosa 12-27-2015 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puddleglum (Post 18955696)
Most crimes have a false report rate of 2%. A Department of Justice report in 1997 found a false report rate for rape of 8%. A british study done by the home office found 8% and a study by the group "Making a difference" found a 7% rate in the US.

I'd really question the results of that study. From the article in the OP, the rate of unfounded accusations for cities Lynwood's size is 4.3%. Lynwood's was 21.3%. There seems to be a lot of subjectivity in what constitutes a false report. And an 18 year old study is going to be suspect - rape investigations have come a long way in two decades.

SciFiSam 12-27-2015 01:23 PM

Women aren't believed partly because, IMO, people just don't want such terrible things to be true because they could happen to them or their loved ones. It's not an evil impulse. And, as the linked article above states, rapists often choose women who are less likely to be believed.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TCMF-2L (Post 18955505)
Is this story a representative example of systemic mistrust of female rape victims by the police? Indeed is there any evidence male rape victims are automatically afforded more credibility?

Here is a brief account of an equally troubled UK woman:

In ten years, since the age of 13, she has reported at least eleven rapes. All the accusations are believed to be false. The last few have seen her in court, found guilty but she continued to make the accusations until eventually she was jailed. She is typically identifying specific men as rapists because she wants to hurt them.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...in-decade.html

Is that story definitive proof woman are believed too much? Or are both these women's stories outliers?

TCMF-2L

The first woman is the woman in the OP, who really was raped and wasn't believed.

The second woman wasn't raped and wasn't believed. I'm not sure how that's proof women are believed too much - your cite counteracts your claim.

Prosecuting Marie does seem very odd when no individual was falsely accused, no lives ruined by her accusation. It seems like it's for a waste of public resources but then more were spent prosecuting her.

It's very difficult for women - and men, in different ways which deserve different treatment - to report rape; I know there's an internet thing now of it being great to be a victim (not just of rape), because you get sympathy, but there's a reason Marie has hidden her identity; she has kids. As a victim, you are also, automatically, a suspect.

Quartz 12-30-2015 10:26 AM

I wonder how much the trained distrust of police officers comes into it? They're trained to distrust everything until they have evidence.

robert_columbia 12-30-2015 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 18945821)
...How often are actual rapes dismissed by police because the victim isn't terribly confident, or is in shock, or doesn't have a perfect memory, or has a troubled past? For every incident like this that is eventually "corrected" (as much as such a blunder can possibly be), how many are not?...

A major problem with the "Let's find out the real crime rate" type questions is that we don't really have a good way to determine guilt or innocence outside of the criminal court system. If the jury says X, but you say Y, then why should I believe you? A court already ruled on it. Do you think you are smarter than them?

Quote:

Originally Posted by puddleglum (Post 18946047)
Sadly rape is the serious crime that goes most unreported and the crime with the most false reports. Police must find a way to separate the false reports from the real ones because resources that go into investigating false reports mean real rapes may stay unsolved longer....

Another problem is that rape charges are often devastating to defendants, even if they are innocent. A sex crime charge is a social death sentence nowadays. If anyone and everyone can just cry "zomg rape!!1!!1one" and destroy the life of anyone they want to, then we, as a society, have to reign that in somehow.

Shodan 12-31-2015 07:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii
For every incident like this that is eventually "corrected" (as much as such a blunder can possibly be), how many are not?

ISTM that the problem with dealing with accusations of rape, as well as false accusations of rape, is that the maxim is "It is better that a hundred guilty men go free than that one innocent man is punished". Even if it is a hundred guilty rapists.

Regards,
Shodan

iiandyiiii 12-31-2015 08:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 18978267)
ISTM that the problem with dealing with accusations of rape, as well as false accusations of rape, is that the maxim is "It is better that a hundred guilty men go free than that one innocent man is punished". Even if it is a hundred guilty rapists.

Regards,
Shodan

But it wasn't just the perp going free, it was the woman treated so abominably. How many times are rape victims treated so poorly by police?

Shodan 12-31-2015 09:28 AM

I don't know how often it happens. Do you have any figures?

Regards,
Shodan

iiandyiiii 12-31-2015 09:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 18978489)
I don't know how often it happens. Do you have any figures?

Regards,
Shodan

Nope. The only way such numbers could be found, I think, would be a survey of women who have gone to the police for a rape, and that would be a tough survey (plus it would only have one side of the story, albeit the most important side).

Happy Fun Ball 12-31-2015 10:16 AM

I have no data, but I have an anecdote:

I know 2 girls that were raped by a stranger in a park when they were 13 years old. The rapist forced them into his car at gunpoint as they were walking home from a movie theater, took them to the park and violently raped them both including beating them with the butt of his gun. When reported to the police, the officer who dealt with their case questioned them about (among other things) their attire. Asked them if they always dressed like sluts. Asked them if they were in the habit of picking up men at the movie theater. They did not take these 13 year old girls, children really, seriously. They never caught the guy. The girl I knew woke up screaming in the middle of the night almost every night for over a year afterward. She was really messed up by this event, really changed. She was in therapy well into her 20s, was medicated, and I believe that this one event negatively effected her career opportunities and her earning potential for the rest of her life. This was in 1988, so a long time ago, but it has always shocked me that the police would treat a nice girl from a nice family in a nice suburban neighborhood like this. Just fucked up.

DigitalC 12-31-2015 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 18978267)
ISTM that the problem with dealing with accusations of rape, as well as false accusations of rape, is that the maxim is "It is better that a hundred guilty men go free than that one innocent man is punished". Even if it is a hundred guilty rapists.

Regards,
Shodan

I agree with this, and i think prosecuting false accusers is ultimately good for real victims but that same standard has to apply to false rape accusers. Unless you have some rock solid proof that they are lying they shouldn't even be threatened with prosecution.

Uzi 01-01-2016 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 18946076)
....police officers should absolutely not threaten people who claim they have been victimized in any way, in my opinion.

Police shouldn't threaten anyone, victim or accused.

Earl Wilson 01-02-2016 07:12 AM

you do realize that about 60% of rapes are never reported. that's something i would say is more troublesome then those that do and are treated as if they are false.

AK84 01-02-2016 09:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Earl Wilson (Post 18982775)
you do realize that about 60% of rapes are never reported. that's something i would say is more troublesome then those that do and are treated as if they are false.

That is deduced....how?

AK84 01-02-2016 10:39 AM

Upon reading the story; I will say its sad for all concerned (though at least the serial rapist was caught; and her story was shown true). However, I fail to see the reason for outrage here, except for the later chargesheet against the complainant.. The police did investigate the claim; throughly. They identified gaps in evidence. Thats their job. The police would be amiss if they expended scarce funds, time and resources on a case like this. Do you think if it had gone to a Court, let alone to a jury, it would not have been thrown out. She stated that she was unsure whether she actually had been raped, she could name no one; they had no idea who was the perpetrator. I also find it unlikley they would have gotten authorization to use very expenive foresic tools with her so unsure; In real life unlike CSI those things cost a lot of money and take time.

What this shows is a need for greater focus on forsenic evidence collection, a reduction on witness statement and most importantly, proper victims advocates.

iiandyiiii 01-02-2016 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AK84 (Post 18983108)
Upon reading the story; I will say its sad for all concerned (though at least the serial rapist was caught; and her story was shown true). However, I fail to see the reason for outrage here, except for the later chargesheet against the complainant.. The police did investigate the claim; throughly. They identified gaps in evidence. Thats their job. The police would be amiss if they expended scarce funds, time and resources on a case like this. Do you think if it had gone to a Court, let alone to a jury, it would not have been thrown out. She stated that she was unsure whether she actually had been raped, she could name no one; they had no idea who was the perpetrator. I also find it unlikley they would have gotten authorization to use very expenive foresic tools with her so unsure; In real life unlike CSI those things cost a lot of money and take time.

What this shows is a need for greater focus on forsenic evidence collection, a reduction on witness statement and most importantly, proper victims advocates.

Any outrage I feel is less about the failure to successfully find the rapist (until the lucky break later) and much more about the threats against the victim, and that police treated her like an adversary (e.g. like a criminal). I think that 'earns' plenty of reasonable outrage.

If they had treated her with kindness and respect, and not threatened (much less charged!) her, then this wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem, even if they were skeptical of her claims.

Urbanredneck 01-03-2016 03:45 AM

The least they could do is a rape kit. Yes they cost $1500 but our society owes at least that to the victims.

Gary Kumquat 01-03-2016 04:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AK84 (Post 18982940)
That is deduced....how?

Think it's sexual assault as a whole, rather than rape, but there's plenty of sources for such a claim:

Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2008-2012.
https://rainn.org/get-information/st...eporting-rates

"Why Will Only 2 Out of Every 100 Rapists Serve Time?

The majority of sexual assault are not reported to the police (an average of 68% of assaults in the last five years were not reported).1 Those rapists, of course, will never spend a day in prison. But even when the crime is reported, it is unlike to lead to an arrest and prosecution. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 2% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison."

http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5176

"Rape and sexual assault victimizations of students (80%) were more likely than nonstudent victimizations (67%) to go unreported to police."


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