A judge in Georgia threw out a rape conviction and ordered a new trial, because in his assessment, the victim (a woman with Down syndrome) didn't 'behave like a victim.'
William Jeffrey Dumas was convicted of repeatedly raping the 24-year-old victim on Oct. 18, 2010. However, Appeals Court Judge Christopher McFadden overturned that conviction and his reasons will likely cause your skin to boil. Via Salon:
"At no time prior to her outcry … did [the victim] behave like a victim," [McFadden] wrote in the order. "Nor did [William Jeffrey] Dumas behave like someone who had recently perpetrated a series of violent crimes against her. … It requires more than that bald argument to satisfy this court that it should ignore the fact that, until the outcry, neither of them showed any fear, guilt or inclination to retreat to a place of safety."
McFadden also wrote that the victim, who has Down syndrome, did not exhibit "visible distress" when she reported the rape.
OK, I will let the outrage settle in before we move on to the rest of the story.
If you're horrified by this don't worry, you're not alone. Prosecutor Scott Ballard said he felt "disgust" when he heard the news. " It was very hard for her to testify the first time because she didn't want to even be in the same room where he was again," he said of the challenges of retrying the case.
"I had to go visit [the victim] and tell her that even though a jury had convicted her assailant of the crime, the judge was giving the guy a new trial," Ballard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Her parents were, as you can image, outraged."
The Fayette County prosecutor's office has since attempted to have McFadden removed from the case, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
The motion [to recuse McFadden] noted that trial testimony established that Dumas' semen was found on the bed on which the woman slept the night of the alleged attack and that a doctor who examined the woman had made findings that were consistent she had been forcibly raped.
On Feb. 5, McFadden denied the prosecution's motion and said he would remain on the case. Ballard said he is now appealing that decision to the same appeals court on which McFadden sits.
"I just hope we can get some justice," Ballard said.
Image via Shutterstock.