A 21-year-old woman told police Saturday that a man grabbed her off Howard Avenue and raped her behind a building during the Gasparilla festivities. But officers investigating the case arrested her after learning she had an outstanding warrant from her teenage years for failure to pay restitution. Story on TBO.com
The situation surrounding the arrest of the female reporting the sexual assault raises a number of issues. Certainly I can understand the outrage of some, but let’s not overlook the complete situation.
There is always this assumption that the “victim” has to be telling the truth. Some recent high profile cases are showing otherwise, and we need to remember that this is, at this point, an alleged crime. I know that’s not a popular position to take, but it is true.Ã‚Â In addition, this “victim” left known victims in her wake, having been given due process, found guilty, and ordered to pay restitution. She apparently did not think it was important to own up to her own crimes. She’s had four years to make restitution, and decided to ignore the authority of the court.
This certainly does not excuse any sexually related crime if it did occur, but this young lady had a long standing obligation to the victims of her crime, which she may have just shrugged off. And now her mother is walking around all incensed by this. “You’ve got to make sure you throw somebody in jail on a four-year-old felony warrant after they’ve been brutally raped?” the mother said. “It was a failure to take the actual dynamics into play.”
So now there’s a new policy in effect that says you can’t arrest someone on outstanding warrants if they’re reporting being a victim of a sex crime.
I know it was a tough call for the officers, but I believe they acted appropriately, and I don’t think it should have a chilling effect on people reporting sex crimes. Perhaps people might consider fulfilling their own obligations after realizing the length of the memory of our court system. If one has a debt to society, and its been paid, one won’t have this situation to worry about.