In this issue:
Sexual Assault News
Promising Practices: From the Desk of the Training Director
Rape Victim is Vindicated After Nine Years of Doubt by Police
One night in September 1997 an intruder wielding a knife raped and sodomized Patty after breaking into her home in Madison, Wisconsin. Nine years later, the assailant is finally in jail. But for years police refused to believe Patty, who was 38-years old at the time of the attack and visually impaired with macular degeneration.
It took police three full days to assign a detective to Patty’s case. Once the investigation got underway, police became suspicious of her report because of “…observations, discrepancies, inconsistencies and changing of the story” which led the detective to believe that Patty was making a false allegation. Six weeks after the assault police intimidated the victim into recanting by creating a ruse – essentially lying to the victim. In February 1998, they proceeded to file a criminal complaint against Patty for making a false report.
According to Joanne Archambault, Executive Director of End Violence Against Women International, “it is not unusual for sexual assault victims to make statements that are incomplete, inconsistent, or even untrue out of trauma, disorganization and other factors unique to sexual assault.” In the Promising Practices article, Archambault and co-author Dr. Kim Lonsway explain the mindset of the victim during that critical period as well as measures which law enforcement can take to address them.
The investigation into Patty’s case finally got jump-started when her defense attorney noticed that some evidence had never been tested, including the bedding. Although semen was identified, there was no match at the time. The person Patty thought might have been the suspect was excluded. In 2001 a match was made to that of Joseph Bong who was serving an 18-year sentence for armed robbery and false imprisonment. But that hardly made up for Patty’s ordeal over the previous nine years. [read more]
Police Arrest Male-on-Male Serial Rape Suspect
For ten months a rapist stalked and terrorized young men in the Baytown area of Houston, with an attack every 30 to 60 days. Disguised with a face mask, he targeted young men in their twenties who were still living at home. A break in the case came in December when one of the victims somehow tied 19 year-old Keith Chester Hill, to the crime, according to the Associated Press. Hill apparently provided DNA voluntarily, which matched with semen left at one of the crime scenes. [read more]
California Sentencing Law Struck Down by U.S. Supreme Court
In a recent decision, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a major blow to California’s Determinate Sentencing Law which gives judges discretion in sentencing. The 6-3 Supreme Court ruling in Cunningham v. California stated that jurors, not judges, must decide on aggravating factors that could increase sentences for criminal defendants. The high Court’s decision could reduce the 16-year sentence of John Cunningham, a former Richmond police officer who was convicted of sexually abusing his 10-year-old son by four years. But it also has wider implications for law enforcement in California. Legal experts believe the ruling may prompt a flood of appeals from past convictions, and it has already had an impact on cases currently making their way through the state’s judicial system, according to the Sacramento Bee. [read more]
Juarez Murders Prompt Anti-Violence Law in Mexico
As many as 400 women have been murdered over the past 15 years in the town of Juarez, Mexico, located across the border from El Paso, Texas and home to one of the country’s most powerful drug cartels. But most of the deaths are still unsolved, due to botched or even non-existent investigations. The Mexican government has finally responded to the violence with a sweeping new law, according to Women’s enews. [read more]
On-Line Sexual Assault Training Institute Launches Successfully
Nearly 200 professionals have already enrolled in the On-Line Training Institute (OLTI) since it launched one month ago. The enrollees are from 41 states and half of them are law enforcement. EVAW International developed the state-of-the-art training tool, which is intended for law enforcement as well as other professionals involved in the criminal justice and community response to sexual assault. Ann Burdges, a former police officer and current executive director of a free-standing sexual assault center, welcomed the new program. “I am so appreciative of this great information that benefits numerous aspects of response to persons victimized by crimes of sexual violence,” said Burdges, who heads up the Gwinnett Sexual Assault Center & Children’s Advocacy Center in Duluth, Georgia. [read more]
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New Technology Can Help Enforce Protection Orders
Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) is most commonly used in recovering stolen autos and tracking down outstanding warrants. But law enforcement can also use the emerging technology in enforcing protection orders for victims of domestic violence and stalking. [read more]
Bush Budget Falls Short in Funding Violence Against Women Initiatives
President Bush’s 2008 budget proposal provides only 54% of authorized funding levels for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence programs, according to an alert from Stop Family Violence. In addition, a provision in the budget would shift funding control of certain anti-violence programs from the legislative to the executive branch, according to Truth Out. Many advocates are concerned because it would give the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women rather than Congress the discretion over how to spend federal dollars earmarked to combat domestic violence and sexual assault. [read more]
California Considers Repealing Statute of Limitations for Serious Sex Offenses
Speaker pro Tempore Sally Lieber (D-San Jose) has introduced legislation (Assembly Bill 261) to eliminate the statute of limitations for serious sexual offenses, including rape, according to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), which is sponsoring the bill. [read more]
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National DNA Database to be Expanded
Federal officials will soon begin collecting DNA from most people they arrest or simply detain including illegal immigrants, according to The New York Times. The action was authorized by an obscure provision in the Violence Against Women Act of of 2005. The Justice Department is reportedly in the process of writing the rules to support the move. The new samples are expected to compound the workload of the FBI Laboratory, adding an additional 250,000 to 1 million samples a year. Currently the FBI Lab receives 96,000 new DNA samples a year and already has a backlog of 150,000 DNA samples from convicted criminals.
“U.S. Set to Begin a Vast Expansion of DNA Sampling,” New York Times, February 5, 2007.
Victim Service Providers Invited to Participate in DNA Study
The National Center for Victims of Crime is conducting a survey on victim service providers' knowledge, questions, and concerns about the use of DNA as evidence in criminal cases. The results of the survey will be used to inform a series of free educational materials on DNA evidence for victims, victim service providers, and law enforcement. The survey takes approximately ten minutes, and the deadline to participate is Wednesday, March 14, 2007.
From the Desk of the Training Director
Incomplete, Inconsistent, and Untrue Statements Made by Victims:
Understanding the causes and overcoming the challenges
By Joanne Archambault, SATI Training Director and Founder of EVAW International and Dr. Kim Lonsway, EVAW International Director of Research
One of the fundamental challenges to the credibility of sexual assault victims is that many – if not most – make statements to the law enforcement investigator or others that are incomplete, inconsistent, or just plain untrue. There are a number of reasons for this. In this Promising Practices article, we explore the causes of such problems with victim statements and identify ways to overcome the challenges that they pose for a sexual assault investigation. [read more]
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On-Line Training Institute for Sexual Assault Investigations
Click here for more information
International Conference on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Stalking
Presented by EVAW International
April 16-18, 2007
Deadline for special room rate: March 14
Join fellow law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, victim advocates, judges, parole and probation officers, rape crisis workers, medical personnel, faith community members, educators and others in this three-day conference highlighting promising practices and emerging issues in sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking. As always, it will be a full agenda with the most up-to-date information presented by some of the top experts in the country. Visit EVAW International for a complete agenda, speaker biographies and registration information.
More Upcoming Conferences/Training
National Trainer Development Program on Violence Against Women
March 20-22, 2007
Conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, this program is intended for law enforcement trainers in the field of violence against women. It offers participants an opportunity to interact with the nation’s top trainers on violence against women, explore the most effective methods for training law enforcement personnel, and obtain resources on the most current and effective investigative and crime response trends. Click here for more information.
IAFN Regional Symposium/SANE-A Review Course
March 23, 2007
Las Vegas, NV
International GHB & Chemical Drug Conference – Note date change
Conducted by Project GHB
March 23-25, 2007
Jeanne Clery Act Regional Training Seminars Conducted by Security on Campus in partnership with the US Department of Justice
March 28-30, 2007
San Diego, California
April 18-20, 2007
Get Equipped: Tools for Helping Teens Avoid Coercive, Exploitive, and Unhealthy Relationships
April 30, 2007 (Manassas, VA)
May 2, 2007 (Richmond, VA)
Sexual Assault Examiners Training
May 7-11, 2007
Intended for nurses as well as law enforcement and advocates
Contact Diana Faugno at email@example.com for more information.
International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) 15th Annual Scientific Assembly
"Imagine A World Without Violence"
October 17th - 21st 2007
Salt Lake City, UT
Best Practices for Coping With Vicarious Trauma
Join Guest Host Barbara Rubel on March 14, 2007, at 2 p.m. ET, for an OVC Web Forum discussion on vicarious trauma and its effects in the workplace. Ms. Rubel is a bereavement specialist, author, and consultant. She has provided wellness training on compassion fatigue, stress management, and burnout prevention. (OVC).
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