Monday, December 1, 2014

Make the Prosecutor's Decision

A girl meets a boy on Facebook through a mutual "friend." She thinks he's pretty cute so she decides to send him a message. He accepts the friendship and invites her over to his house. Welcome to teenage dating in 2014.

You're already thinking to yourself that this kind of story can only have a romantic ending, right?

The girl goes to the boy's house in the middle of the day. She knows she's meeting up to have sex with the boy. It's just the way things go where she grew up. She goes in the house and her and the boy partake in the agreed upon acts. But this is where it starts to go wrong.

The boy's friends are all in the room and they decide to have sex with the girl too. She protests, after all she did not sign up for this, but the boys do it anyway.

The girl calls the police once the hours long ordeal is over. She wants the boys arrested and charged with rape. The boys are all interviewed and claim she consented to the group sex. It was why she came over.

Essentially we are left with her testimony versus the boys statements. She admits to consensual sex with the first boy, but says it quickly became nonconsensual and it definitely was not consensual with the other boys. If we can prove the charges, it is definitely rape. The police call me as a prosecutor and ask, "What should we do?"

These are the types of situations we face every day. Can we prosecute this case? Should we prosecute this case? Check back on Wednesday for a view into how we decide what to do and how to do it.


  1. Do you have the Facebook messages?

    I'd think that, all else being equal, you do have probable cause and that it's a question for the fact-finder. In reality, she's going to testify one way and the boys will testify another. Assuming no contradictions among the boys, or flipping of one against the others, a judge should find there's not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while who knows what a jury would do.

  2. I'd be curious as to the corresponding evidence that corroborates her story: the facebook messages suggesting it was just one boy that would be there would help corroborate her story and get you past reasonable doubt. The issue is going to be instead of a he said, she said, you have a they said, she said. I'd be interested to know if the police executed search warrants for any of these boys' phones looking for pictures/video of the encounter.

    If there are facebook records, those are going to be a pain to be authenticated. At least in our state, we have to fly someone in from facebook in order get it in as evidence.

    If you don't have anything that corroborates that story it sounds like a loser to sustain at trial...

  3. An all too common occurrence, it seems. I hope you can prosecute, I fear you cannot. I am not in any way close to being a lawyer, so here goes: the boy she agreed to have sex with is not charged with rape. The others are. The lead boy, however, is charged with...hmm, unlawful imprisonment? accessory to a crime? Facilitating a rape (is there even such a thing?)? If the facts are as you say, i.e., she did not sign up for this, then nail 'em to the wall.

    Once again, I say, "I don't envy you." What a tough job.