Police forced Monica Ray to take a polygraph test after a youth gang repeatedly raped and sodomized her. Police tested her to find out if she had consented to the gang rape.
The stabbing death of Carlos Sanchez's young daughter as she slept in a nearby bedroom was never investigated as a murder. Police logged it as a "cold burglary" because the assailant was gone when they got there and they closed the file on the case.Karen Lucas' abusive husband killed their 5-year-old son by forcing the child to drink a pint of alcohol. Police told Lucas that the incident was a "family affair" and deemed the boy's death "accidental ingestion of alcohol" despite her pleas for criminal charges against her husband.
Jerry never got to testify against the men who shot him in the back, condemning him to life in a wheelchair. Jerry got to the courthouse well ahead of his scheduled testimony, but the courthouse had no ramps or elevators for people in wheelchairs. By the time a security guard carried Jerry into the courtroom, the trial was over.
Marlene A. Young, director of the National Organization for Victim Assistance, gets calls every day from the Jerrys, Carloses, Monicas and Karens of the world who were victimized first by crime and then by an insensitive justice system.
Young was the keynote speaker at the annual Utah Crime Victims Conference Thursday. She came to tell Utahns that the victims-rights movement has a long way to go.
The decade behind was a decade of legislation for soldiers in the victims-rights movement, and they spent it lobbying for laws that protect the rights of victims as fiercely as earlier laws protect criminals, she said.
The decade ahead will be one of litigation. If proponents of victims rights want to hold on to the ground they gained during the '80s, they must litigate as relentlessly as they lobbied, Young said.
U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to declare victim-impact statements a constitutional part of a criminal trial sets the tone for the '90s, Young said. Proponents of victims rights will go to court repeatedly in the coming years to fight for their rights.
"I guarantee you that defendants' attorneys will challenge each and every right," she said.
The national media - including the New York Times and NBC - announced the name of the victim in the rape at the Kennedy family's Palm Beach compound. None of the media got the woman's permission to use her name, Young said.
The New York Times went further, calling the woman an "established slut," Young said. The story said the woman frequented bars and picked up men. It implied "that in one sense or another, she was asking for it," Young said.
"That is why I'm asking for a new balance."