“No one believed me”: how rape cases are dropped

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Later that night, she said, she woke up to the man raping her again while suffocating her in his room at City College in Manhattan, where he was a student. She said she couldn’t remember how she got there from the party and the man was recording it with his cell phone.

When she realized what was going on, she said, she grabbed the phone and ran into the bathroom. She then showed the video to another student, Carlos Colon, who was in the next room. After seeing the video, Mr. Colon got into a fight with the man and was later charged with assault. Mr Colon said in an interview that the woman appeared to be unresponsive in the video.

Shortly after meeting the woman, the man spoke on the phone with one of his fraternity brothers, who recorded the call and forwarded it to The Times. During that call, the student admitted to filming the woman and said that was where he “messed up”. He then told his siblings that he had sex with the woman while she slept, two of them said in interviews.

The woman reported the attack, but during the three-month investigation that followed, she said prosecutors appeared skeptical. They asked her how much she must have drunk, why she hadn’t fought and if she wanted to cheat on her boyfriend, she said.

According to a recording of the conversation, prosecutors told the woman that the intoxication she described did not constitute “physical impotence” under state law and that they could not prove that she had not consented. They never found the video.

In New York City and most other states, a person is considered incapable – and therefore incapable of consenting to sex – if they are intoxicated, but only if the intoxication is unintentional, such as being intoxicated. was caused by a drug surreptitiously dropped into a drink. If the drinking was voluntary, prosecutors have a more difficult path to conviction: they must prove that force was used, that the person was unconscious, or that the victim said or signaled that they did not want to be. sexual relations.

At least 14 states – including California, Arizona, South Carolina, and Maryland – have expanded the definition of disability to include self-poisoning. Mr Vance and women’s groups have called on New York to do the same, but a proposal to do so has been blocked in Albany over fears that such a change would criminalize a joint situation – one in which both partners have been drinking, communication is impaired and memories after the fact are blurred.


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