Make a Rape Report, Go to Jail
August 4, 2010 3:06 PM   Subscribe

In 2004 then 19 year old Sara Reedy was raped at gunpoint. Six months later, she was jailed for false complaint. Today, a federal appeals court reinstated her lawsuit against the police detective who orchestrated her arrest.

Reedy, a convenience store clerk at the time, reported the rape and robbery within minutes, underwent a rape examination, and made consistent statements. As it turned out, she was one of at least 11 victims of Wilbur Cyrus Brown II. But the lead investigator on her case, Detective Frank Evanson, thought from the moment he interviewed her in the hospital that Reedy had fabricated the rape report to conceal her own theft from the convenience store. Three months after the attack, Det. Evanson also became lead investigator on a markedly similar assault, by Brown, and accurately suspected it was by a serial rapist. Nonetheless, half a year after Reedy's rape, Evanson arranged for her arrest on charges of false report, theft, and receipt of stolen property. She spent 5 days in jail and was cleared only shortly before her trial date, when Brown was captured and confessed to the rapes.

Reedy sued for violation of her civil rights. But the trial judge threw out her case by construing all the evidence in favor of Evanson, instead of Reedy, as the legal rules require. Today the appellate court said the judge was wrong and reinstated the case.

Women's groups, who filed an amicus brief in the case, are praising the appellate court decision.

Ironically, Brown's crimes also resulted in the wrongful conviction of another man who was convicted of two of Brown's assaults.
posted by bearwife (73 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Reedy lost the first round of litigation when U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone of the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that the police were entitled to qualified immunity because Reedy's own behavior was not typical of sexual assault victims.

Cercone noted that Reedy never pushed the panic button in the store during the attack and that she had decided to reject any counseling after the attack. "

Oh my fucking god. Seriously. I have never read anything so repugnant.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:11 PM on August 4, 2010 [22 favorites]


Make a Rape Report, Go to Jail

Worst. Monopoly. Square. Ever.

This is one of the most disgustingly screwed up things I've ever read.
posted by phunniemee at 3:16 PM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


I read the first link; does anyone know if Evanson still collects a paycheck as a cop?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:25 PM on August 4, 2010


It's not that evil exists because good folks do nothing, it's that a lot of folks help support and protect the evil that keeps it going.
posted by yeloson at 3:25 PM on August 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


Somehow I don't think we're going to hear much on this from the MRAs and their brethren.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:26 PM on August 4, 2010


I realize that cops are entitled to due process as well (thanks Iron Mouth, forreal, where you been?), and I'm not trying to stir shit. Honest question.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:26 PM on August 4, 2010


Wow. I just read the first link - the Court of Appeals' decision - and just based upon the facts of the case, and not even getting into he-said/she-said, the detective's behavior is as bad as the rapist's.
posted by kanewai at 3:32 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


[Comment removed. Do not start throwing around people's contact information in threads. Period.]
posted by cortex at 3:33 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


does anyone know if Evanson still collects a paycheck as a cop

Per removed comment which also included contact information, yes, he is still listed as employed.

The women's groups think this is about more than one detective, though. They think this case illustrates an ongoing hostility toward reports of sexual assaults.
posted by bearwife at 3:38 PM on August 4, 2010


They think this case illustrates an ongoing hostility toward reports of sexual assaults.

No doubt—just look at the reasoning bitter-girl.com cited, produced by a judge. Don't measure up to some dude's standard of how post-assault women should act? Then you're probably lying! It's simply impossible that anyone would have her own reasons not to go with counseling, or for not pushing a panic button while being assaulted at gunpoint (?!).

There was something similar (not in terms of outrageousness but with respect to policing women's behavior) somewhat recently regarding a woman with a … stillbirth? abortion? something? who didn't feel the remorse societally demanded of a woman in her situation. Since all women should have the same reactions.
posted by kenko at 3:42 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ. I want to throw up. That fucking judge!

I didn't report a rape because I was terrified of this very thing happening.

Thank-you for posting this, though.
posted by bewilderbeast at 3:51 PM on August 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's simply impossible that anyone would have her own reasons not to go with counseling, or for not pushing a panic button while being assaulted at gunpoint (?!).

Ten bucks says she couldn't reach the goddamn panic button because she was BUSY BEING RAPED. So, you know, there's also that.

Kenko, perhaps you are thinking of this?

Utah lawmakers have approved a measure that would allow women to be charged with murder if they commit an "intentional, knowing or reckless act" that causes a miscarriage. Critics fear the measure could target women for all kinds of actions, including staying with an abusive partner.

Yes, that's just the ticket to solving miscarriages! punish women for staying with abusive partners. Sometimes I just have to shake my head and revert to being a snarky bitch because if I let myself take all of this to heart I would spend 99% of the day crying at how fucked up the world is.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:51 PM on August 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


Ms Reedy has been dealing with this for SIX years. I can hardly imagine the strength that would take. I hope she finally gets some justice.
posted by anti social order at 3:56 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here's what the detective is entitled to: a hearing in front of a board should he decide to contest a removal.

Not sure if he's been disciplined.

Let me also say that it takes a lot to get over a properly asserted qualified immunity defense. However a falsified affdavit leading to a false arrest, as is alleged here, will do it. The doctrine is designed to protect from both situations where no mistake was made, to situations where honest mistakes were made.

The allegations of a falsified affdavit would not be protected.

I'd expect a quick settlement.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:57 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's virtually impossible to get justice when it comes to police or prosecutorial misconduct, unfortunately.
posted by Justinian at 3:57 PM on August 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


Congratulations, when you sign consent for a blood draw as part of a rape kit, the appellate court says that the blood cannot be screened for drug use without your explicit consent, and that the results of that test cannot be used to prosecute you.

Which is as it fucking well should be. Every victim of sexual assault needs to know that evidence from her (or his) rape kit will be used against her assailant, not against her.

Evanson should be fired, and I hope Reedy collects handsomely against this police department. Then everyone will know exactly where she got the deposit for her fucking trailer rent. Goddamn.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:07 PM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


From the rape itself, to the shameful treatment of Sara Reedy, to Ted Dubbs' wrongful imprisonment for five years (plus the one more the ADA let him have even after Brown confessed), down to the note the real rapist left his mother, on the outside of the envelope containing his confession:

"MOM Please Do Not open Ever is (sic) Less I'm Dead Then call The STATE Police Ask for Det. Cronin give This To Him only if I'm Dead Please it very important."

it just seems like a huge failure of everything, all around.

.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:08 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reedy, a convenience store clerk at the time, reported the rape and robbery within minutes, underwent a rape examination, and made consistent statements.

Just a quick comment about the wording of the phrase "underwent a rape examination." I first read this as if there was evidence of rape, which was then ignored. But according to my reading of the opinion, Reedy underwent a rape examination but no evidence was collected:

"After speaking with Evanson, Reedy provided another full and consistent description of the assault to Mary Beth Farah, the nurse who was treating her and who administered the rape kit. According to Farah’s notes from the conversation, Reedy told her that none of the assailant’s semen had gotten onto her face and that, during the few minutes she was forced to wait in the back room while her assailant escaped, she gargled with water twice and washed her hands with soap. She also told Farah that Evanson had called her a liar. In sum, by the time the night of the assault was over, Reedy had provided separate, detailed, and consistent accounts of the incident to Mascellino, Farah, and Evanson, and had been accused by Evanson of being
a liar and a thief. "

I just wanted to point this out, because part of the spirit of the ruling is to remove all inculpatory inferences made during the processing of rape cases. So, when you say "underwent a rape examination" and leave it hanging like that, it sounds like what you might be saying is, "underwent a rape examination that did not produce evidence, but she underwent the examination, so therefore she must have been raped." Which to me is as baseless a factual determination as, say, "she didn't accept counseling and therefore she could not have been raped." Just a nitpick; suffice to say, I am very happy with the ruling.
posted by phaedon at 4:15 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I started to read the brief and I'm not sure whether I can make it through after this:

Reedy later said that, after hearing her description of the attack, Evanson asked her how many times she did “dope” each day. He then called her a liar and repeatedly accused her of stealing the money from the store. ... When Reedy began to cry under this hostile questioning, Evanson told her not to bother, “because [your] tears aren’t going to save [you] now.”

God, I wish they'd give this fine upholder of the law the CHAIR for that alone. Where the hell did they find someone that evil, and why does he still have a job exactly?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:17 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you can't make it through that judgement (and I certainly wouldn't blame you, it gets pretty appalling), let me just call your attention to my personal favorite part:

When Evanson was asked in his deposition, “[w]hat information
would you have needed to link the Reedy rape and the
Landmark rape?”, he responded that the “only things that could
have linked” the two incidents in his mind would have been a
confession from the assailant or a DNA match.33 (Id. at 219, p.
520.)

Regardless of the credibility of that claimed level of
cluelessness,
the record indicates that Evanson eventually did
recognize the connection between the two attacks.


Is there anything better than judges getting sassy in official court documents? There might not be.

There's a lot that went wrong here. Hopefully Reedy can now receive the justice and consideration she richly deserves.
posted by Errant at 4:21 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


We've got so far to go.

Bewilderbeast, I'm so sorry.
posted by NoraReed at 4:23 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Phaedon, I have worked in the sexual assault field for awhile. Reports within minutes of an attack, accompanied by the willingness to submit to an intimate examination by (medical) strangers are not exactly hallmarks of false accusers.
posted by bearwife at 4:25 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Somehow I don't think we're going to hear much on this from the MRAs and their brethren.

Sure, much like WRAs don't bring up the Duke Lacrosse case, but both sides should pay attention to both. The message is that police and prosecutors need to do a much better job to search out the truth instead of trying to persecute either side of the equation.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:46 PM on August 4, 2010


It's a sad statement about the current state of civil rights law that it takes a 77-page single-spaced opinion (issued almost four years after suit was filed) to inform this woman that she will be able to bring her case to trial some time in the future.

The groundwork for this craziness started with a seemingly innocuous decision in the United States Supreme Court in 1982, and has flourished as a result of dozens of heartbreaking cases from that court. Not feeling terrible enough yet? Read the facts of Castle Rock v. Gonzales
posted by ferdydurke at 4:53 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not feeling terrible enough yet? Read the facts of Castle Rock v. Gonzales

I wish I hadn't read that. That was just appalling. Even worse than abusers managing to use Ohio's anti same sex marriage ruling to get away with abuse.

The case is being watched nationally because of the precedent that could be set if the domestic violence charges are thrown out. Forte's lawyer argues his client cannot be charged with the felony because domestic violence charges should be reserved for married couples under the state's law defining marriage...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:00 PM on August 4, 2010


when you say "underwent a rape examination" and leave it hanging like that, it sounds like what you might be saying is, "underwent a rape examination that did not produce evidence, but she underwent the examination, so therefore she must have been raped." Which to me is as baseless a factual determination as, say, "she didn't accept counseling and therefore she could not have been raped." Just a nitpick

Not only do I not see this factual aspect of the case the way you do, Phaedon, for the reasons I gave above at comment 22, let me point out how the appellate court decision put it -- they said Reedy

subjected herself to a rape kit examination

posted by bearwife at 5:19 PM on August 4, 2010


bearwife, I think you're missing my point, and you present the evidence as being clear-cut, when it is not.

Reedy walked into the hospital eyes dilated, slurring her words, lying about not having taken any drugs, testing positive for marijuana and diazepam, no evidence from a rape kit (having washed her hands and gurgled water prior to the test), did not press the panic button during the attack, and money's missing from the register. To borrow your phrase, it would appear that, to the lead detective, these were not exactly hallmarks of a victim. Of course, you don't mention any of this.

I'm not trying to tell you what happened at the store or at the hospital, since I wasn't there. Reedy washed up before the test. What does that mean? I really don't know. Do you want me to start crossing out possibilities based on anecdotal evidence unrelated to the case? Sorry, I can't.

What I do know is that saying someone "underwent a rape examination" paints a picture to someone unfamiliar with the case that this person was definitely raped. Which, it turns out, is not supported by the results of the examination. Rather, it seems, at least according to the wording in your post and in your response, supported by your impression of people who undergo rape examinations. In the actual opinion, the rape is supported by other factors, such as her issuing consistent statements at the hospital to multiple parties, and an admission from the rapist.

It's interesting that you force this conclusion based on your experience in the field. I'm sure that in some fucked up way, this is what Evanson was doing. Going with his jaded gut. Something about that girl just doesn't ring true. Take one look at a person, make a determination, and then try to fit the pieces of the puzzle to support your argument. Very dangerous game, and I'm glad the appeals court reinstated her claim.
posted by phaedon at 5:42 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Phaedon, I paraphrased the beginning of the appellate court opinion. In more neutral language, I would add. Did you read it? For example, did you read, later in the opinion, about how the detective presented this "evidence" against Reedy to a prosecutor who told him he did not have probable cause? And how the detective went ahead and filed against Reedy anyway, with even less information provided than he gave the prosecutor?

Do you realize how close this woman who was raped and robbed came to being tried on criminal charges?

And as someone with two decades working in this field, can I ask what your expertise is?

But you do present a very good illustration of what women's groups are talking about when they say this case isn't about a detective, but about a more widespread tendency to question rape and sexual assault reports.
posted by bearwife at 5:50 PM on August 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


Because we obviously shouldn't question them?

Phaedon is on the money here. The accusation should be questioned; this is how we protect against this sort of thing being used as a weapon. That being said, the questioning should be held to exactly the same standard as that applied to any other accusation of wronging.

It isn't question or not question, but how to mitigate bias in that questioning.
posted by nonlocal at 6:08 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The abuse of power at virtually every level here is breathtaking.
posted by Leezie at 6:10 PM on August 4, 2010


What I do know is that saying someone "underwent a rape examination" paints a picture to someone unfamiliar with the case that this person was definitely raped. Which, it turns out, is not supported by the results of the examination. Rather, it seems, at least according to the wording in your post and in your response, supported by your impression of people who undergo rape examinations. In the actual opinion, the rape is supported by other factors, such as her issuing consistent statements at the hospital to multiple parties, and an admission from the rapist.

phaedon, are you just arguing semantics?

I don't think that it's confusing to anyone that rape kit examinations are performed following a report but prior to confirmation that someone was indeed raped.
posted by desuetude at 6:21 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


What I do know is that saying someone "underwent a rape examination" paints a picture to someone unfamiliar with the case that this person was definitely raped.

I didn't read it that way. I would have if it said something like "underwent a rape examination and evidence of rape was found," but it didn't, and so I didn't jump to conclusions about the results. And I'm one of those people who finds it all too believable that the police will willingly mishandle, ignore, or misinterpret evidence while intimidating sexual assault survivors, so if anything, I should have been more willing to jump to conclusions.

All I gathered from that phrase is that she was willing to have a rape examination done, and the judgments I made based on that information are my own.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:38 PM on August 4, 2010


phaedon, are you just arguing semantics?

I'm beating a horse to death here, but if you read the opinion, you'll see that it is strongly implied that the rape examination was inconclusive. So yes, I suppose it's semantics - why bring up the fact that somebody underwent a rape examination when said examination was inconclusive. Note the wording of the original post (with my minor changes): "reported the rape and robbery within minutes... made consistent statements.. underwent a rape examination..." The last bit is very loaded to me, and maybe only me, especially when you consider the fact that there was no evidence as a result of that exam.

The OP was at one point suggesting that the we could causally link the fact that somebody asked for a rape kit with the fact that she was raped. A "hallmark" of an accuser, as it were. I was pointing out, maybe to the casual reader, that in a court of law, this opinion does not, nor should it, hold. Which is a good thing, this is what the case is really all about - inferences.

So yes, there seems to be some language-based disagreement on what exactly bringing up the rape examination is supposed to mean, and how that fits into the bigger conversation. The bigger conversation being, what types of assumptions cops, social workers, etc. make about what happened in the past based on people's present and future decisions.
posted by phaedon at 6:40 PM on August 4, 2010


I paraphrased the appellate decision in more neutral language, phaedon. As you know well of you read as far as the first paragraph. And I gather from your silence re my question that you in fact have no background dealing with sexual assault.

Signed

The OP
posted by bearwife at 7:06 PM on August 4, 2010


You paraphrased poorly.
posted by phaedon at 7:25 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Phaedon is on the money here. The accusation should be questioned; this is how we protect against this sort of thing being used as a weapon. That being said, the questioning should be held to exactly the same standard as that applied to any other accusation of wronging.

Now that the rapist has confessed and been sent to prison can we please stop questioning?
posted by hydropsyche at 7:28 PM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


So yes, I suppose it's semantics - why bring up the fact that somebody underwent a rape examination when said examination was inconclusive. Note the wording of the original post (with my minor changes): "reported the rape and robbery within minutes... made consistent statements.. underwent a rape examination..." The last bit is very loaded to me, and maybe only me, especially when you consider the fact that there was no evidence as a result of that exam.

I can't imagine for the life of me why "underwent a rape examination" is so much more loaded than any other bit of information regarding the series of events. A rape kit is a standard part of a rape investigation. Would it be "very loaded" to note other investigative procedures, like fingerprint dusting, if they were inconclusive?

The OP was at one point suggesting that the we could causally link the fact that somebody asked for a rape kit with the fact that she was raped. A "hallmark" of an accuser, as it were. I was pointing out, maybe to the casual reader, that in a court of law, this opinion does not, nor should it, hold. Which is a good thing, this is what the case is really all about - inferences.

The police don't use behavioral patterns as part of their investigation? But regardless, the OP is not on trial here. We are capable of understanding that not every word spoken and opinion given about a case is admissible in a court of law as "proof."
posted by desuetude at 7:29 PM on August 4, 2010


Also, since I'm starting to see some red here, let me ask why we should all begin by doubting a rape report? This was not a he said she said case -- it was a cooperative victim who was disbelieved, arrested and charged. It is bizarre, to put it mildly, to suspect someone of stealing from their employer, calling to testily report a robbery and throwing in a rape claim, going to the hospital, enduring a very intrusive exam, providing a whole series of consistent and detailed statements, and including their parents in on all these repeated detailed lies to officers. What about the fact that she smoked dope a few days earlier or took a pill earlier to calm down made her less credible?

If people on this thread seriously think everyone who reports any crime should be disbelieved from the get go like this, I hope for your sake that you and those you love are never robbed, assaulted or otherwise victimized. It would just be too bad if no fortuitous confession saved you or those you care about from being locked up for your "falsehoods."
posted by bearwife at 7:32 PM on August 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


So yes, I suppose it's semantics - why bring up the fact that somebody underwent a rape examination when said examination was inconclusive.

Bringing up the exam signifies that one was done and is itself significant, as it means that there is an extra layer or lack thereof of evidence to consider.

Certainly if no exam was completed, it would have affected the details and context of this case, and possibly have been cited as a reason not to believe Reedy's statements.
posted by questionsandanchors at 7:32 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't like violence but if I ever meet Evanston I will gladly punch him in his fucking face. He deserves to be beaten every day for the rest of his life. This is why I'm not a judge .
posted by nestor_makhno at 7:33 PM on August 4, 2010


bearwife, as someone with experience in the field, would you please explain what would happen in terms of evidence-gathering/administering a rape kit when -- to paraphrase from the documents linked above -- the victim was forced to:

* take off her shirt
* fellate the rapist, and -- per his direct orders, swallow the "evidence"
* insert her finger into his anus

I -- basing what little I know on years of, you know, watching Law and Order SVU -- think to myself "ok, would they bother swabbing her vagina if, according to her own testimony, the above happened?" And if not, what would they do? They're not exactly dusting for fingerprints on her areolae, correct?

I'm beating a horse to death here, but if you read the opinion, you'll see that it is strongly implied that the rape examination was inconclusive. So yes, I suppose it's semantics - why bring up the fact that somebody underwent a rape examination when said examination was inconclusive.

You want to argue semantics, phaedon, let's go there with the semantics. Using the shorthand, less offensive and generally more sensitive terms "administer a rape kit" or "underwent a rape examination" isn't implying anything. And why bring it up? Because in the victim's opinion, and according to her consistent testimony throughout, she felt she had been raped.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume I have a higher level of education than Ms. Reedy, and yet I have NO IDEA what the procedure would be if this happened to me. What do they swab or fingerprint or check? I don't KNOW. If I were her, I would have probably agreed to an examination if not outright demanded one.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:35 PM on August 4, 2010


Bitter girl, at a minimum she'd give a detailed statement to one or more member of the medical team, undress, provide a blood and head and pubic hair samples. She would also be swabbed in every location the rapist reportedly touched her. Because it is procedure and because sexual assault victims don't always disclose every violation up front, in all likelihood there'd also be a vaginal and anal exam and swabs there too.

Why anyone who had not been victimized is likely to be OK with any sort of hospital exam I don't know. They aren't mandatory.
posted by bearwife at 7:49 PM on August 4, 2010


phaedon: "Just a quick comment about the wording of the phrase "underwent a rape examination." I first read this as if there was evidence of rape, which was then ignored."

From the PDF: "She reported the crime to the police within minutes, subjected herself to a rape kit examination, and gave detailed and consistent statements to law enforcement officers and hospital staff."

I read "underwent a rape examination" in the post as a less emotional paraphrase of the original. I don't see it as a misleading or unfair paraphrase at all. If you think it is misleading to state that a rape kit exam was administered, without mentioning immediately that no usable evidence was collected, then your beef is with Judge Jordan, not bearwife.
posted by maudlin at 7:52 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank you, bearwife, for clarifying that.

And I agree -- I wouldn't exactly be lining up to get examined if something hadn't actually happened!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:52 PM on August 4, 2010




Also, since I'm starting to see some red here, let me ask why we should all begin by doubting a rape report?


You should not doubt a crime occurred, but the accused is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:55 PM on August 4, 2010


I agree, furiousxgeorge. But no one was accused in this case except the victim.
posted by bearwife at 7:59 PM on August 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


Bringing up the exam signifies that one was done and is itself significant, as it means that there is an extra layer or lack thereof of evidence to consider.

I suppose one does not have to read into it one way or the other; although I maintain, that when brought up in the context of her consistent statements and the fact that the robbery was reported within minutes, bringing up the fact that she requested a rape examination (and tangentially, not mentioning the negative results) is meant to further support the fact that her claim is real even when that particular bit of evidence is fucking inconclusive.

This is only interesting because in this very case, Judge Cercone's assertion that there was probable cause to suspect Reedy was based on her "declining professional counsel.. and the fact that she did not press the panic alarm." In other words, a ridiculous inference. If you don't find the comedy in this, well then, fuck it, I'm not explaining it.

It's like - all I'm trying to point out here is, don't you think that volunteering for a rape kit is an extremely low bar to start suggesting somebody actually got raped? A hallmark! What's your degree in? I have twenty years background in sexual assault! I'm sorry, piss off. And fuck Evanson by the way. I gotta run.
posted by phaedon at 8:01 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge, did you read any of the links? We're not discussing the fact that a rape occurred or did not occur so much as we are discussing a case where law enforcement chose to go after a rape victim on completely unrelated issues. After several years of fighting to clear her name on those charges, the courts are allowing her to go after the pigheaded asshole of an officer who decided that it would be just delightful to accuse her of other crimes for the hell of it and lock her up when they KNEW A RAPIST WITH THE SAME M.O. WAS ACTIVE IN THE AREA. And she was only cleared when they finally did their fucking job and caught the guy!

What's offensive is that the officer who was sworn to protect the community chose to go after a crime victim in a particularly heinous way instead of believing that something bad had happened to her. The word games being played above with rape kits and their results or lack of results or whatever are equally offensive because the rape is not really the issue -- the issue is this police officer did a piss-poor job and took it out on someone who had endured a very traumatic situation.

don't you think that volunteering for a rape kit is an extremely low bar to start suggesting somebody actually got raped?

Do you think a male victim would have been treated similarly? I don't.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:13 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, do run off, phaedon, now that you have repeatedly failed to acknowledge my factual paraphrase of the case decision as well as the illogic of assuming a liar would be glad to take an intrusive personal exam. Good of you to continue to overlook the overall point about the corrosive effect of assuming someone making a sexual assault report is a deceitful thief.

We will all miss you. Though I for one will be happy not to thread sit due to your "nitpicking" comments.
posted by bearwife at 8:14 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, if they HAD found evidence of semen, etc. from the exam, they still could have doubted whether or not it was truly an assault, or consensual sex. Awesome!

If a guy shows up at the police station, claiming to have been physically assaulted by a stranger on the street, do we start by doubting it happened if there aren't any bruises or blood? And if there are bruises or blood, do we then move on to wondering whether or not the fight was actually consensual? I mean, shit, maybe the dude's an amateur boxer or something! Or maybe it happened during karate class!

The possibilities are endless.

Maybe we shouldn't assume any crimes happen, ever, until someone steps forward to confess.
posted by Ouisch at 8:16 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why you guys assume I wasn't applying innocent until proven guilty to her as well.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:17 PM on August 4, 2010


People do go to ridiculous lengths to fake crimes sometimes. At some point you have to look at the option, but it should clearly always be your last line of investigation, not the first and only.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:20 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please label when you are linking to a PDF. Just crashed my browser.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:28 PM on August 4, 2010


I will echo bearwife's sentiment that it's a difficult process. Rape examination kits are invasive. They must also be performed within 72 hours of the incident, so the victim is usually not in the best frame of mind.

There can be problems with the administering and testing of rape kits. Many nurses are not specially trained to administer the kits (see the FPP on SANEs), so they are reading and following the directions for the first time. While they are usually competent enough to do the kit correctly, they might spend a long time reading, or forget to notify the victim that she can refuse any part of the test, or accidentally break the chain of custody (i.e. the nurse can't hop out for coffee and leave the kit with the victim). There are parts of the examination that need to be administered before the victim has eaten anything. Smart nurses will do this portion first, but an inexperienced nurse might go in the order specified in the manual. Basically, this sometimes means the victim may have to wait an additional couple hours before she can eat anything. Many rape kits are simply never tested because of a lack of resources to administer tests.

I don't know if her undergoing the rape examination kit affects the ruling or whether it should, but the system can be very stacked. This is another reason why victim blaming is despicable.

(There are silver linings. Illinois recently passed a law mandating testing of rape kits. Victims can also choose to undergo the rape examination without committing to pressing charges.)
posted by yaymukund at 10:53 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


the illogic of assuming a liar would be glad to take an intrusive personal exam

Are you retarded? I said earlier I was not there, I can't tell you what happened, but can you get it through your thick skull that it's at least possible - at least possible, do you understand that what means? - that Reedy did commit the crime, came up with the rape story, and volunteered to do the rape kit, but also fabricated the story about her washing her hands and gargling water?

It's crazy, I know, and maybe even offensive to you personally that I suggest this could happen - but it's a possibility. A. Possibility. Yes, fucking unbelievable I know, that a negative on a rape kit might mean that a rape did not occur. Now how can I impress that upon you without sounding misogynistic?

I'm not setting policy here. I'm not even telling you what I think happened in this case. I just disagree with the "factual paraphrase" of your post. Notably, the way you skirt around the results of the test.

Reported the rape and robbery within minutes? Made consistent statements? Underwent a rape examination... that... huh? Where's the qualification there? Oh, yeah the test was inconclusive but the fact that she volunteered for it strongly suggests that she is innocent. Trust me, it's a hallmark. Who are you again?

You're like the reverse-Evanson. You're in a sense guilty of making the same type of assumptions that Evanson made that fateful night at the hospital. He says, oh, she's high and didn't press the alarm - she's guilty. And yet there's no probable cause for her arrest. You say, oh no, she volunteered for the rape kit - so no matter what the test says, she's innocent. And yet the test was totally inconclusive. Your ad hominem attacks towards me, your lousy inquiries into my qualifications, and your frothy emotional appeals notwithstanding, I'll say it again: I just wanted to point this out, because part of the spirit of the ruling is to remove all inculpatory inferences made during the processing of rape cases. Take a deep breath. Relax.
posted by phaedon at 12:24 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you retarded?

I feel a great disturbance in the force.
posted by Justinian at 12:41 AM on August 5, 2010


" hallmarks of false accusers." ... Bearwife, I used to work in the field too, and I've got your back 100% here.

Any crisis worker has dealt with cases where we wondered if it was a false accusation. This case bears NONE of the hallmarks of one. Commonalities I can think of, just based on my experiences ... the accuser:
- Seems to be more concerned with garnering pity from
the counselor, rather than with processing grief;
- is excessively concerned with confidentiality, and secrets (e.g. there are lots of 'promise you won't tell anyone but..." pseudo-confessions
- make rape accusations randomly
- has a personal grudge against the accused

None of this comes into play here. There are no 'hallmarks' that I can recognize, based on 10 years in the field. This just sounds like a misogynist cop taking out his own aggression.
posted by kanewai at 1:16 AM on August 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Are you retarded?

Are you being deliberately offensive and clueless?

Why are you so fucking fixated on this one part of the original post? What the goddamn hell is wrong with you, that you read a story like this and your reaction is to attack the person who is relaying it for some perceived--and definitely ambiguous--bias in favor of the victim?

What makes it so important that you berate bearwife over a wording issue and stomp your feet about how having a rape examination done is not evidence that she was raped? Why, in the context of this horrible story of a victim of intimidation and psychological torture by the police, is it so fucking important to you that no one think that willingly undergoing an intrusive rape examination makes it more likely that the victim was actually raped?

I mean, seriously? This is the fight you're picking?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:35 AM on August 5, 2010 [25 favorites]


convenience store clerk at the time - statement of fact.
reported the rape and robbery within minutes - statement of fact.
underwent a rape examination - statement of fact.
made consistent statements - statement of fact.
phaedon, why do you think all us other stupid folks cannot read one of those statements without making all sorts of further assumptions? We can understand that undergoing an examination does not mean testing positive. Heck, I bet some of us have even had some type of medical test that has turned out negative ourselves! (And we may or may not have been lying to a doctor about our symptoms.)
Why not latch on to the fact that she was a convenience store clerk? Maybe, for some bizarre reason, that makes us all believe or distrust her story.
Can we agree that the cop's behavior in this case is truly screwed up whether or not she was telling the truth?

Anyway, this derail/argument is so strange and senseless that I'm sorry to contribute to it.
If anyone's outrage meter isn't pinned already:
City rape statistics, investigations draw concern
Policy, to lower the stats.

On a far less serious level, I myself was threatened with arrest after reporting a burglary from my home a few years back. I can't seem to find the news articles from a couple years ago right now, but this has been standard operating procedure in Baltimore for a while now, not just with rape reports.
posted by zoinks at 1:39 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


In fact, the statement that she reported the rape and robbery within minutes is the one that's really wrought with implication, eh? I mean, "within minutes" implies that there was some sort of occurrence for her to be reporting within minutes of! Fucking words, man! They say so much more than they mean!
Okay, I really am out of this fight. So dumb.
posted by zoinks at 1:48 AM on August 5, 2010


Damn.
City rape statistics, investigations draw concern

That should work better...?
posted by zoinks at 1:53 AM on August 5, 2010


None of this comes into play here. There are no 'hallmarks' that I can recognize, based on 10 years in the field.

That was interesting and informative. Thanks kanewai.
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:23 AM on August 5, 2010


I have twenty years background in sexual assault! I'm sorry, piss off.
Are you retarded?
can you get it through your thick skull
posted by phaedon


I have to hand it to you, phaedon, your rhetorical skills are impressive; there is nothing quite so convincing as resorting to OUTRAGE against another poster in order to convince everyone else that your point of view is the correct one. Well played, sir! I shall await your every posting with baited breath.


I myself was threatened with arrest after reporting a burglary from my home a few years back.

What on earth did they threaten to arrest you for?

Rather than follow phaedon down the bizarre path he chose to blaze, I rather go back to this:

Don't measure up to some dude's standard of how post-assault women should act? Then you're probably lying! It's simply impossible that anyone would have her own reasons not to go with counseling, or for not pushing a panic button while being assaulted at gunpoint

It's not just rape, there are all kinds of situations where police officers make snap judgments about how people should act based on past experience or how they guess they themselves would act without any background in psychology. For the most part, the police in this country have given up on empathizing or identifying with the general public and have instead come to view and treat everyone as a criminal.

Why this should be the case in America, I don't know but you only have to compare our police to the police in Canada and Western Europe to see that it doesn't have to be this way. Perhaps it has something to do with The War on Drugs, but I think that has just exacerbated the problem and it isn't the origin. I suspect that it has more to do with the way police culture in major cities like New York and Los Angeles was shaped from the end of the 19th century onward.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:51 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Take a deep breath. Relax.

phaedon, you really, really need to take your own advice on this. I hear you that you're frustrated that people don't seem to be hearing the argument you want to make in the way you want to make it or whatever, but you're being really pushy on a narrow and ugly slice of an ugly situation and you're being a pretty serious jerk about it in the process. Please either ease way the hell off or step away from this conversation entirely, and do a better job in the future if you want to talk about this stuff.
posted by cortex at 6:48 AM on August 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


The result here isn't all phaedon's fault. As far as I can tell, phaedon is pointing out that it's easy for anyone to be guilty of what Det. Evanson is alleged to have done -- make the wrong inferences from a given set of facts based on one's experience, or misogyny or wanting to cut out of the office early to catch a hockey game.

The solution is more facts -- factual facts -- considered as precisely as possible. Thus "she submitted to a rape examination which was inconclusive" would have been better than "she submitted to a rape examination."

It's a small point, but it goes to the heart of Evanson's action.
posted by notyou at 7:49 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


notyou, it doesn't matter if the rape exam produced any physical evidence. It is very, very unusual for a fabricating victim of a claimed sexual assault to undergo one. That's why the appellate court decision said she was "subjected to" a rape kit without mentioning any "results" either. My post tracked the first paragraph of the appellate court opinion, but I used less loaded language.

The question here is why the detective took an immediate stance of doubting a reporting crime victim, not to mention all the information he overlooked or disregarded later on his way to charging her. That she was cooperative enough to take an intrusive exam is just another data point that makes one wonder why the starting attitude was disbelief.
posted by bearwife at 8:40 AM on August 5, 2010


Look. I'm a woman. Every year and sometimes more if warranted for some reason, I subject myself to a gynecological exam. I don't look forward to it. In fact, I hate it. I don't know a single woman who under the best of circumstances with the most gentle nurses or doctors or midwives who says, "Oh, yay! Tomorrow I get to have a speculum open me up and I get a sharp prick and then a swab! What fun! I enjoy being a girl!" Barring holding an unusual fetish, women experience vaginal exams with a tiny bit of dread. It is one of the most unpleasant experiences women subject themselves to with some regularity (because it is necessary for our health).

Now let's magnify this:

A woman is raped. She reports it. She undergoes the rape kit that involves the standard vaginal exams PLUS swabs and invasive exams on other parts of the body. The kit, arguably for many rape victims, is an ADDED trauma to to the trauma of having been raped. So she emotionally and physically traumatized, gets through the rape kit that may take an absurdly long time to get through. Then, after being raped and after going through the rape kit, an asshole detective comes in, listens to the story, and says, "Liar liar, pants on fire!" So not only is she traumatized by the acts of the perpetrator and the evil necessity of the rape kit, the DETECTIVE, a member of the police force who swears to SERVE AND PROTECT his community, treats her as a criminal and accuses her of being a drug addict (and we all know drug addicts don't get raped, by the way)before making a serious investigation into her claims.

Even if she made the rape up as a cover for stealing $600, the detective should not conclude that immediately. It should be investigated to the full power of the police force first. If it were made up, it would come out, but if she isn't, in the meantime there's a rapist out there.

One could argue the detective bears responsibility for the subsequent rape of another woman by not taking the time to do his job when Reedy reported her rape.

The fact that the rape kit didn't provide evidence or was inconclusive is almost irrelevant as Evanson was a dick to her before the results could possibly have been determined.
posted by zizzle at 10:16 AM on August 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


Related. Many reported rape cases dismissed by Baltimore police later found valid. Seems pretty common actually.
posted by jetsetsc at 10:52 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hesitate to post this, and I do not presume to sit in judgment, but those as irritated as I was by phaedon's comments in this thread may perhaps be interested to hear that I read all his questions and what can be viewed of his last 100 answers through his profile page without seeing a trace of the pattern of misogyny I expected.

Instead, I found interesting questions and uniformly rather humblingly excellent answers, full of good information, and good humor, as well as compassion and empathy regardless of gender.
posted by jamjam at 11:56 AM on August 5, 2010


Good to know, jamjam. I will to find some time to do that myself.
posted by bearwife at 12:52 PM on August 5, 2010


but it should clearly always be your last line of investigation, not the first and only.

I completely agree.
posted by Ouisch at 1:06 PM on August 5, 2010


Well my burglary reporting experience seems a bit of a derail, but it does illustrate the policy in Baltimore, and since you asked, Secret Life of Gravy...
Had a laptop stolen out of my apartment and did not even want to report it as I didn't think anything helpful would happen as a result, but my girlfriend at the time insisted. If only I'd known how unhelpful it would really be...
As soon as the officer arrived to take the report I was clearly being regarded with suspicion (or intimidation, really). He kept saying "This doesn't make sense." I didn't understand why having a computer stolen was so hard to believe, but was relieved when he said he was having his supervisor come out to talk with me.
She turned out to be almost openly hostile the moment she walked in the door. I explained that I didn't even have insurance, wasn't making any kind of claim, etc. Why would I be making a false report? This was repeatedly met with "I don't know, and I'm not saying anything, but just letting you know that filing a false report is a crime and if we find out later that this didn't happen you will be charged." This was delivered right in my face, and the tension was such that I felt that I could possibly end up in handcuffs right then if I didn't tread very carefully.
I filed the report and never heard another word from the police.
I was completely baffled, but few weeks later there was a series of news reports about how the Baltimore police had been systematically intimidating citizens who reported crimes, sometimes arresting the victims, in an effort to push stats down. After all, if the official report is not taken, then the crime did not occur, yeah? These are the news stories that I can't find right now. Well, here's one at least.
posted by zoinks at 1:31 PM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Related. Many reported rape cases dismissed by Baltimore police later found valid. Seems pretty common actually.

Right after I moved to Philadelphia, there was a major investigative story that broke regarding the systematic downgrading of sexual assault cases by the Philly PD going back two decades. Then-Commissioner Timoney acknowledged the wrongdoing of the Phily PD, an entire category of cases within the statue of limitations were re-opened, advocacy groups were permitted oversight. Here's a report from the Women's Law Project (PDF.)
posted by desuetude at 5:30 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


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