For a 16-year-old Salt Lake County girl, the nightmare of rape did not end with the assault against her on March 20.

Law officers say she was also victimized because the Salt Lake County attorney's office refused to prosecute her assailant - a convicted rapist she had positively identified as her attacker.

"Wanna go do some dope?"

To the impetuous 16-year-old, the offer from the strange man outside a Midvale supermarket was too much to pass up. Cindy (not her real name) had heard all the warnings about getting in cars with strangers. Her girlfriend warned her not to go with the man.

But teenagers don't listen to warnings much and, despite the fact Cindy did not use drugs, it sounded like an adventure.

The man drove Cindy to a mobile home in Sandy where he raped and attacked her viciously, striking her repeatedly about the head until she lost consciousness.

The next thing Cindy remembered was being pushed into a car, driven a short distance away and dumped alongside the road. Medical tests later confirmed the rape.

To officers, there was no question she had been attacked. Her face was swollen; hair had been pulled out. She was emotionally distraught.

Cindy was able to provide police a detailed description of her attacker: shoulder-length red hair with a touch of blond and a feathered cut toward the top, pale skin with a reddish tint. He was wearing a necklace and a white T-shirt with a picture of a rock group on the front. He was very clean, as if he had just bathed. She also described his car.

With the detailed description, Sandy police arrested a Utah State Prison parolee, who was recently released from prison after serving time for aggravated sexual assault.

Four days after the assault, Cindy flipped through several police photos of similar looking individuals - a photo spread, as it's called - and without hesitation picked out her assailant.

Police said Cindy's friend, who had warned her not to get into the car, also identified the man from the photo spread.

On two later occasions, Cindy repeated her account of the assault. "She never once changed her story," said Dick Sullivan, supervisor of Intensive Supervision Parole. "It was a rock-solid case. She is a swell kid, a great little witness."

But when Sandy Detective Mark James took the case to the Salt Lake County attorney's office, prosecutors declined to file charges. When parole officer Scott Carver asked Deputy County Attorney Karen Knight-Eagan why, he said she told him that because the girl had accepted an invitation to take drugs she was not a credible witness.

"She said the jury would see a girl wanting to do dope," Carver said. "They wouldn't believe she was raped."

"Since when is that an element of rape?" Sullivan fumed. "It's unfathomable. I couldn't believe they (prosecutors) wouldn't file on it. We have a wonderful stand-up witness and medical evidence to back her up. Why can't the county attorney's office figure it out?"

Salt Lake County Attorney Dave Yocom denied that the refusal to prosecute had anything to do with the victim's acceptance of the invitation to take drugs. Rather, prosecution was refused because hypnosis had been improperly administered to enhance the victim's memory of the crime and the suspect.

"She did not have a recollection of the person or the rape . . . and had to be hypnotized to remember," Yocom said, adding that the privately administered hypnosis was not done according to standards set by the courts.

"We didn't decline it on the basis she did (agreed to do) dope," Yocom said, "but on the fact she was hypnotized. The question was could she, without hypnosis, identify the guy? No she couldn't."

Officers involved in the case first laughed when told of that explanation. Then they got angry.

"That's absolutely wrong," said James. "She was never hypnotized. She already could provide a detailed description. She had already positively identified the suspect. I don't know if she was hypnotized later on after the investigation, but during the investigation, during the time we took it to the Salt Lake County attorney's office, she had not been hypnotized."

James said officers had queried the Salt Lake County attorney's office about using hypnosis to help the victim remember the portion of the rape after she lost consciousness. But prosecutors advised against it, and investigators never brought the subject up again.

"This is the first anyone's ever heard of hypnosis," said Sullivan. "The fact is she identified the guy to a `T' on the night of the offense. Dave Yocom is just looking for excuses and hypnosis is not a very good one.

"It was an open-and-shut case," he added. "There was a witness, there was medical evidence and there was a victim willing to testify.

"What kind of message does that send to inmates at Point of the Mountain? Knock them out before you rape them?" said Intensive Supervision Parole officer Sharon Daurelle, who assisted in the investigation. "And don't think they (inmates) aren't talking about this case at the Point of the Mountain."

Officers involved in the case say the county attorney's office simply didn't want the case, regardless of the evidence.

"They knew he would be going back to prison anyway, and they found it easier to send him back on a parole revocation than it would be to file new charges," said Carver.

"And a 16-year-old girl has to pay the price," added Sullivan. "Whose side are they on anyway? Certainly not the victim."

Parole officers presented the case to the Board of Pardons, who found that the parolee had indeed raped the girl and ordered his parole revoked. During the hearing the man admitted he had relations with the girl, but maintained she consented. There was no question in the minds of any of those at the parole hearing that Cindy had identified the right man.

The man will not be considered for parole for five years.

Cindy, meanwhile, is undergoing psychological counseling.