A Cincinnati woman was jailed for contempt of court when she failed to show up to testify against a man she accused of raping her.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker charged the North Fairmount woman with contempt of court Friday, saying he wanted to send a message: Not showing up for court - even if fearful of retaliation, as the woman claimed - makes the justice system useless.Considering the social stigma that follows even the accusation of rape, I think it's critically important that the legal system work to protect alleged perpetrators from false, or frivolous, complaints. Rape is a very serious crime that carries more negative connotations even than murder; it's difficult to prove and difficult to disprove, and I suspect that wrongful rape convictions far outnumber wrongful murder convictions.
The woman said she was dragged into woods near her home and raped by a stranger in July.
Michael Lindsey, 25, of North Fairmount, was charged, but when the woman failed to show up for three hearings, Dinkelacker dropped the charges. Lindsey's attorney says his client is innocent.
Prosecutors and police will talk to the woman about the case after her release from jail.
"It is up to the victim; this is not a case we can prove beyond reasonable doubt without her testimony, which is typically true in rape cases," Allen said.
The "reasonable doubt" standard is often hard to make when it comes to rape, even when all parties involved know that the man in guilty. Prosecutors are often left with little more than evidence of arguably-consensual sex, and a he-said she-said story; in certain circumstances, it may be obvious that the accused is guilty, and prosecutors may spin insubstantial evidence to a sympathetic jury to get a conviction that isn't justified by the law.
On the flip side, when a man is cleared of rape charges, there's always the suspicion that he was let off on a technicality, and his reputation is irreparably tarnished.
In such a climate, it makes a lot of sense for men and women to choose their acquaintances, friends, and romantic relationships very carefully. As I've mentioned before, I work with children at my church, and I'm doubly careful to be very conscious of who I allow myself be alone with.
(Also via Drudge.)