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I'm not sure what to make of this

 
 
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 05:25 pm
My newspaper had a very small article in it today about a girl who, when she was 15, lied and said her father had raped her. She was mad because her parents were getting divorced.

Her father had served 9 years in prison before the girl felt guilty enough to tell the truth. He was released immediately.

They have decided not to prosecute the girl for the lies because "they don't want to discourage other girls from reporting rape".

I could maybe understand it if her father had said "I forgive her. Please don't prosecute her." or something like that but to not prosecute her because they don't want to send that message seems really strange to me. If this girl committed a crime it seems like she should be held accountable.

How in the world would this discourage other girls from reporting rape?

Also, what crime would they have considered prosecuting her for? Lying under oath? Wrongful imprisonment? Something else?
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 05:34 pm
@boomerang,
Slander maybe?

I agree it's weird that she not be punished in any way for that.

I wonder if the reason given is not the actual reason, or not all of the actual reason. If she was under the influence of a therapist, for example.
Ceili
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 06:07 pm
@boomerang,
I believe this is so wrong. It's not as if she lied and immediately recanted. No. She lied and kept lying, repeatedly and forced an innocent man to waste his life for nine long years, tarnished his good name. She should face the basic crime of lying under oath, at the very least. She's despicable.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 06:08 pm
@sozobe,
Slander?

Maybe.

I don't really know.

I doubt at 13 that she really understood what kind of repercussions her lie would have.

Maybe that's part of the reason -- that she was a minor at the time of her crime.

I feel really sorry for her dad.
Irishk
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 06:12 pm
@boomerang,
Oof - she may not face punishment in the justice system, but she'll have to live with what she did to her father for the rest of her life...and suffer the consequences.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 06:13 pm
@Ceili,
I agree.

I read the article this morning and it's been nagging at me all day.

It's good that she finally came clean, though. He had another 6 years to serve.

And I know this is a horrible thought and completely unfounded but I can't help but wonder how her mother might have influenced her accusations and testimony. Bitter divorces can be awful things.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 06:16 pm
I wonder how it got beyond the he-said, she-said stage.

Men don't go to prison for just being accused. There MUST have been some collaborating evidence (rape kit, exam, witnesses, additional evidence??)

Methinks he DID do it and she is getting him out early by re-canting the story.

boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 06:25 pm
@PUNKEY,
But wouldn't that same evidence kept him in jail even if she recanted.

I think they must not have had much evidence when they convicted him. Based on the article in the paper they just let him out.
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 06:30 pm
@boomerang,
I was thinking the same thing. If the mother was involved she should be held responsible as well.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:04 pm
I can't find the article in our paper online but here is a similar, but shorter, version:

Quote:
LONGVIEW, Wash. -- The Cowlitz County prosecutor says she won't charge a Longview woman who admitted she lied when she said her father raped her -- sending him to prison for more than nine years.

Prosecutor Sue Baur says charging Cassandra Kennedy might discourage girls from reporting sexual assaults.

Now 23 years old, Cassandra Kennedy says guilt prompted her to tell police in January that she lied as an 11-year-old in 2001 in Kalama.

The Daily News reports her father, Thomas Edward Kennedy, denied the allegation but was convicted by a jury and sentenced in 2002 to more than 15 years in prison.

Now 43, Thomas Kennedy was released last week and all charges against him were dismissed.

Cassandra Kennedy says she lied because she was disappointed in her father after her parents divorced.
Rockhead
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:13 pm
@boomerang,
slander is a civil offense. her father would have to sue her.

making a false police report, and perjury would be criminal charges...
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:21 pm
@Rockhead,
I'll bet your right. Those sound like appropriate charges.

Honestly, I don't know if it's appropriate to charge the girl but the reason they give for it is really creepy.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:30 pm
I was just wondering how much the state spent trying this guy and keeping him locked up for 9 years.

Maybe making her repay that would have been a good idea......
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:32 pm
@boomerang,
I'm guessing that her being 11 at the time has something to do with it.

and exposing the state to a lawsuit if an irregularity in the trial can focus blame on the prosecution for not seeing past it...
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:36 pm
@Rockhead,
You're probably right.

I just don't like their reason.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:39 pm
@Irishk,
Irishk wrote:

Oof - she may not face punishment in the justice system, but she'll have to live with what she did to her father for the rest of her life...and suffer the consequences.

"Adults loved to say things like that but kids knew better. We knew darn well it was always better not to get caught."

-- Ralphie Parker
0 Replies
 
mckenzie
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:45 pm
@boomerang,
I presume he didn't plead guilty, so he must have been convicted at trial.

If she testified, she perjured herself, so they could charge her with the offence of perjury. That's about it, I think.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 08:27 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
My newspaper had a very small article in it today about a girl who, when she was 15, lied and said her father had raped her. She was mad because her parents were getting divorced.

Her father had served 9 years in prison before the girl felt guilty enough to tell the truth. He was released immediately.

They have decided not to prosecute the girl for the lies because "they don't want to discourage other girls from reporting rape".

I could maybe understand it if her father had said "I forgive her. Please don't prosecute her." or something like that but to not prosecute her because they don't want to send that message seems really strange to me. If this girl committed a crime it seems like she should be held accountable.

How in the world would this discourage other girls from reporting rape?


I'm not sure what to make of it, either, boomerang.

Apart from anything else, there seems to some confusion here about her age, at the time she reported that her father had raped her.

If she was 15 at the time, she'd now (9 years later) be 24 years old, yes? Those 9 years her father spent in jail would be more than sufficient time for her to feel some remorse for her actions & to make amends, surely? So what took her so long?

As for her father & his forgiveness: I'm wondering, if her initial allegation of rape was indeed completely fabricated, did he make any effort during his jail time to clear his name? It is an unusual person who would quietly accept being locked up for such a long time, knowing he was wrongly accused. I'm also wondering how long his sentence was, initially? It sounds like he was released early after his daughter's confession of lying.

Quote:
They have decided not to prosecute the girl for the lies because "they don't want to discourage other girls from reporting rape".

By "they" do you you mean the local authorities? And her father, too?
I don't know how old (under local law) she would have had to have been at the time to be held accountable for lying, but it seems to me there should be some appropriate consequences.
To say that there won't be any because "they don't want to discourage other girls from reporting rape", is nonsense. A completely different kettle if fish to knowingly lying about being a victim of a rape. If anything, this case could be used against young people's genuine reports of rape or sexual abuse being taken seriously in the future.

Something's not quite right about this story, or the newspaper's account of it, anyway. I agree.
It doesn't ring true to me.

firefly
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 10:35 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
Now 23 years old, Cassandra Kennedy says guilt prompted her to tell police in January that she lied as an 11-year-old in 2001 in Kalama.

She was only 11 at the time she reported it, and would have been only 11 or 12 when she testified against her father at trial.

Her crimes would include filing a false police report and perjury.

Despite the fact that she is now 23, she was only 11 or 12 at the time she committed perjury, and I don't think we should prosecute children of that age for a crime like perjury--they may know they are lying, but they may not fully appreciate how serious that lie is in terms of the consequences. Who would lock up an 11 or 12 year old, for several years, for lying under oath?

And where would they try her now? In Juvenile Court? Since she was only 11 or 12 at the time she committed perjury, I don't believe she can be tried in adult criminal court now, despite her current age.

It's a terrible miscarriage of justice for her father. But, a jury apparently believed her, the defense attorney couldn't shake her story, and her father's conviction at trial was upheld on appeal.

Unfortunately, this happened in one of 23 states that does not compensate someone for wrongful imprisonment. The father could try to sue the state, but I don't think he has much of a case. He has no slander case against the daughter--you can't sue an 11 or 12 year old for slander--and that was her age at the time.

The prosecutor's comments about why they aren't charging her don't make much sense. The real reason is likely the fact she was only 11 or 12 at the time--and legally she has to be regarded and treated as though she is still 11 or 12 in terms of charging and prosecuting and sentencing her, and no prosecutor wants to get involved in that sort of absurd situation that won't wind up really satisfying anyone, or the interests of justice.

If true, it's simply a tragic miscarriage of justice. The only bright spot is that she finally came forward, she cleared her father's name, and she got him out of jail. She'll have to live with what she did to him, and maybe she can find some way of making amends to him.



roger
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 11:12 pm
Anybody consider the possibility her conscience got to bothering her about the time a statute of limitations had been passed?
 

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