Rape Survivor Sues After Texas Authorities Jailed Her For A Month


#1

Gee, and people wonder why rape is such an underreported crime.

The anonymous woman was raped in Houston in 2013, according to court documents, and was cooperating with prosecutors when she suffered a breakdown while testifying in December 2015.

She has bipolar disorder and was admitted to a local hospital for mental health treatment when the judge ordered a recess for the holiday break until January 2016.

According to the documents, authorities were scheduled to be on vacation and “did not want the responsibility of having to monitor Jane Doe’s well being or provide victim services to her during the holiday recess.”

The complaint alleges that the district attorney’s office obtained an order from the Harris County sheriff to take the woman into custody so she would not flee before completing her testimony.

The employee booking her into Harris County Jail identified her as a “defendant in a sexual assault case, rather than the victim.” That impacted her treatment from jail staff, as the complaint reads:

“The Harris County Jail psychiatric staff tormented Jane Doe and caused her extreme emotional distress and mental anguish by further defaming her, falsely insisting to her that she was being charged with sexual assault, and refusing to acknowledge her status as an innocent rape victim.”
Doe also suffered beatings from other inmates and from a guard, who then requested assault charges to be filed against her “in an attempt to cover up the brutal abuse,” according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges that the jail failed “to provide Jane Doe’s prescribed medications.”


#2

I don’t think we can generalize and presume this to be the norm for women who are raped.

Lawsuits are the recourse that make authorities be accountable for their abuses of power. Justice being blind does not mean that the justice system is indifferent to what people are going through.
Violence in jails is a real problem that requires a remedy. It is of course not an easy thing to fix, since the reason people end up in jail is because of their violence.
But at the very least, jails being used as warehouses that expose the mentally ill to the violent out of convenience is a practice that is unnacceptable.


#3

Absolutely horrific. She is bi-polar, schizophrenic, had been traumatized by rape and sodomy and suffered a mental breakdown while testifying. Then the District Attorney’s office, which was tasked with helping her, decided to have her arrested and jailed as a suspect in a sexual assault case… just because the DA’s office wanted to go on holiday.

One minor correction to the NPR story: the unauthorized attachment order which was the basis for her arrest came from a judge, not the sheriff’s department. However, according to the lawsuit the Sheriff’s department knew she was the victim in a sexual assault case, and not a material witness. And the lawsuit alleges the Sheriff’s department deliberately processed her as a defendant in that sexual assault, which led to further mistreatment.

Here is a link to the lawsuit:

documentcloud.org/documents/2995934-Rape-victim-suing-county-after-being-jailed


#4

Wow, so I guess if you are a defendant in that jail, they treat you a little different!

Hopefully the entire staff at that jail will be fired and face charges themselves.


#5

But the entire staff isn’t responsible. Sure. some of it is, but we cannot make a sweeping generalization like that.


#6

If they did it to one person, more than likely imo, that is how things are done in general. There might be an exception or two, but this and similar other stories I have heard over the years, abusing authority in jails and prisons is a HUGE problem, but its not something many people are willing to get upset over and fight about, mainly because its inmates, people who have been arrested for something that are the victims.

The Stanford prison experiment was a big wake up call for me. its a documentary about how quickly one can begin to abuse their authority over other people.


#7

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