Oct 3, 2007

Six seconds too late?

The Maryland Court of Appeals heard a case yesterday concerning when consensual sex becomes rape.
Representing the state, Assistant Attorney General Sarah Page Pritzlaff urged the Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court's decision issued last year. She argued that when force is applied, the act qualifies as rape even if there was initial consent.

"It's rape when the woman says, 'I've changed my mind,' and the man continues to use force or threat of force," she told the judges.

"You clearly have the element of force, you have the resistance by the victim," she said, noting that the victim was bleeding. "The victim was quite clear that it was hurting, that she wanted him to stop."

But Assistant Public Defender Michael R. Malloy argued that, under existing common law and according to a 1980 opinion from the high court, if a woman says yes to intercourse initially and then says no, it's not rape.

Funny how actually reading the story as opposed to listening to it on TV alters your thinking. All day yesterday I heard TV reporters and and TV news promos say the women in question agreed to have sex, but told the man to stop after penetration occurred. The TV reports then said that the man continued for "another 5 or 6 seconds," which seemed ludicrous. I pictured an alleged case of date rape by one drunken college student against another and thought "What? She had a timer on the guy?"

The actual case is really pretty grisly:
The case stems from a Dec. 13, 2003, incident in which the victim, an 18-year-old community college student, drove Baby, then 16, and his friend, Michael Wilson, then 15, both high school students, to an isolated elementary school parking lot, according to court documents.

Wilson and Baby groped the victim and made sexual advances on her, according to the state's account of the incident in court filings. At one point, Wilson attempted to force the victim to engage in sex, while Baby held her down. Then Baby left the car and Wilson had intercourse with the woman. Wilson pleaded guilty to second-degree rape and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Baby, according to the court record, then said it was his turn and asked the victim, "[So] are you going to let me hit it?" adding,"I don't want to rape you."

The victim testified that she agreed to sex "as long as he stops when I tell him to." As he began, she told him to stop because he was hurting her, but he kept going for five or 10 seconds, she said.
Clearly, Baby's intent was to rape her. And any nonsense about not wanting to rape her is ridiculous. He already participated in a rape by holding her down for his companion.

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