a bird and a bottle

For it be rape, the woman’s got to be “pure”
February 14, 2007, 12:24 pm
Filed under: criminal justice, feminism/s & gender, law, news

Here’s your Valentine’s Day Dose of Patriarchy (TM).

There have been a number of disturbing stories about rape over the last couple of weeks. Add this one to the pile.

A California cop ejaculates on a woman he had stalked and then stopped for a traffic violation — the DNA proves it — and the jury gets him off. Er, lets him off.

The defense attorney painted the woman, who had just left her job as an exotic dancer, as “an overtly sexual person” who “got what she wanted,” and the jury of eleven men and one woman acquitted the cop despite overwhelming evidence. I wish I were kidding.

Here’s what happened:
Lucy was driving home from her shift at Captain Cream Cabaret, an unfortunately named strip club. The cop stopped her on an isolated stretch of highway by the same cop who 4 months earlier stopped her car but let her off without a ticket in exchange for her phone number. He had called and asked her out. She had declined. Since then (or perhaps before), the cop, David Alex Park, had developed a habit of waiting outside Captain Cream and following the women who worked there when they left. In fact, he had run several of the women’s license plates through the DMV system in the weeks before he sexually assaulted Lucy. And Park had been warned by his supervisor to stay away from the women who worked at Captain Cream.

When Park stopped Lucy this night in 2004, Park followed Lucy for 10 minutes after she left Captain Cream, stopped her, and when he found out that Lucy had no license, took out his penis and began to rub it against her, asking her, “What are we going to do about this [her lack of license]?” Lucy claims he also fondled her breasts and vagina until he ejaculated, and then told her to go home. At trial, the prosecutor introduced evidence of a DNA test matching the semen on Lucy’s sweater to Park.

Park called Lucy a few minutes later, she claims to tell her to keep quiet. He says he just wanted to make sure she got home safe.

At this point, I expect that you are scratching your head, wondering how the hell this guy was acquitted of sexual abuse. Here’s how: The jury decided that Lucy had no ability to deny consent since she was, after all, an exotic dancer. As Jill put put it, “everyone knows you can’t rape a whore.” The jury decided that Lucy deserved what she got, and that she had no criminal recourse against the man who stalked her and, using his law enforcement position as leverage, forced himself upon her. This is exactly what I call rape. But a jury of 11 men did not agree. I’m betting that the defense attorney’s cross examination when Lucy took the stand had something to do with that.

Here’s an excerpt from the cross examination, with commentary from an OC Weekly columnist:

It wasn’t a surprise that Stokke [the defense attorney] put the woman and her part-time occupation on trial. In his opening argument, he made it The Good Cop versus The Slutty Stripper. He pointed out that she’d once had a violent fight with a boyfriend in San Diego. He mocked her inability to keep a driver’s license. He accused her of purposefully “weakening” Park so that he became “a man,” not a cop during the traffic stop. He called her a liar angling for easy lawsuit cash. He called her a whore without saying the word.

“You dance around a pole, don’t you?” Stokke asked.

Superior Court Judge William Evans ruled the question irrelevant.

Stokke saw he was scoring points with the jury.

“Do you place a pole between your legs and go up and down?” he asked.

“No,” said Lucy before the judge interrupted.

“You do the dancing to get men to do what you what them to do,” said Stokke. “And the same thing happened out there on that highway [in Laguna Beach]. You wanted [Park] to take some sex!”

Lucy said, “No sir,” the sex wasn’t consensual. Stokke—usually a mellow fellow with a nasally, monotone voice—gripped his fists, stood upright, clenched his jaws and then thundered, “You had a buzz on [that night], didn’t you?”

As if watching a volley in tennis, the heads of the male-dominated jury spun from Stokke back to Lucy, who sat in the witness box. She said no, but it was hopeless. Jurors stared at her without a hint of sympathy.

In his closing argument, Stokke pounced. He called Lucy one of those “girls who have learned the art of the tease, getting what they want . . . they’ve learned to separate men from their money.”

Kamiabipour [the prosecutor] wasn’t amused. “Dancer or not, sexually promiscuous nor not, she had the right not to consent,” she told jurors. “[Park] doesn’t get a freebie just because of who she is . . . He used her like an object.”

In case any question remained that women continue to be blamed for rape, consider this exhibit A.

(hat tip: Maxwell)


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Absolutely f’ing pitiful. We still blame the victim. That cop should be doing time, right now. Ass. And the defense lawyer too. Sheesh, I can’t believe we even ALLOW this defense. Did she consent? No? Guilty. Go directly to jail.

Comment by Denise

further proof that the jury system is overrated and we’re not over some serious sexism.

Comment by professorplum

yeah, i found this article shortly after i read an article in the economist about how japan’s criminal justice system gets convictions in 99% of cases (95% by confession, which seriously calls into question interrogation techniques). they don’t have juries in japan, just a jugde.

and for a second i was feeling proud of our system. and then i saw this…

Comment by maxwell

[…] 6:36 pm Filed under: news, criminal justice, feminism/s & gender Lest there be any doubt that men are often absolved of rape while women victims are blamed, behold this t-shirt (click for larger […]

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