02 June 2006

Punishing The Victim Story Followup

I noted previously at this blog the case of a fourteen year old Akron girl whom a judge ordered detained, without a hearing, in an adult jail, after she ran away to avoid tesitfying against a twenty year old man who allegedly had sex with her. Twelve days later, aided by a pro bono attorney, an Ohio Court of Appeals panel overturned that ruling and freed her.

Earlier this week, on May 31, 2006, the trial was held. What happened?

First, she showed up in court and testfied:

The teen's former boyfriend, Galo Sanchez-Pesantes, 20, is on trial accused of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Under questioning, she acknowledged lying about her age at times and, at other times, about what happened with Sanchez inside her Norton home. . . .

Prosecutors contend Sanchez knew the girl was 14 when he went to her home Jan. 20, shared alcohol from her mother's supply and then engaged in oral sex with her. Their encounter, prosecutors say, was interrupted by the girl's mother, who accompanied the girl to court Wednesday.

The girl smiled and giggled and mumbled at times during her testimony. She was scolded several times by Common Pleas Judge James Murphy to speak loud enough for jurors to hear. . . .

During cross-examination by defense attorney Karen Brouse, the girl admitted claiming she was 17 or 16 to various people, including Sanchez and on her profile at myspace.com, a Web site where personal ads are posted.

The teen also admitted telling various stories about the January encounter with Sanchez ranging from rape to no sexual contact at all. She testified Wednesday that Sanchez performed oral sex on her. . . .

The girl's attorney, Eddie Sipplen of Akron, said the teen did not run away to avoid testifying. She left home for other reasons and missed the trial, he said.


Then, the jury acquitted the defendant. Jury deliberations were brief, and appeared based on the fact that she stated on the stand that she told many contradictory stories to others about what happened on that day and lied about her age to the defendant and others.

Thus, in the end, the only person punished in the incident was the alleged victim.

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