For the alleged victim in the 2005 rape case that Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck decided not to prosecute in 2006, his refusal seemed to reflect what she calls “stereotypes” based on her personal history and her behavior on the night of the alleged assault.
“I represented something he didn’t like,” said the victim, who didn’t wish to be identified, in an interview with the Colorado Independent Saturday. “I don’t know why. I was a full-time student, I worked full-time, I was doing tons of volunteer work.
“We all have these stereotypes, but we have to be able to look past them in order to deal with the individual. In a position like DA, you have to be able to do that, and he couldn’t do it,” she said.
Specifically, she is talking about his reference, in a private meeting, to an abortion she says she never had, as well as his references to her drinking on the night in question, and his repeated references to the fact she had invited the suspect into her home.
Neither Buck nor his campaign have returned calls and emails requesting comment for this story.
“We still have a tremendous bias toward women (in date-rape type cases),” said Barbara Paradiso, director of the Program and Center on Domestic Violence at CU Denver. “We don’t want to admit that there is an element in society that has so little control. Even women often think they have done something wrong in cases like this.”
Paradiso said she had been following the victim’s case in the media but had no first-hand knowledge of the case.
“It feels safer to say I must have done something, because that gives you some control. To admit that there is a certain set of men who just seem to have no control is much scarier. We encourage men in this society to be sexually aggressive, and this is what we get,” she said.
The case is being cited as an example of Buck’s weakness on women’s issues in his U.S. Senate race against incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet.
As reported Tuesday, the suspect in the case acknowledged to the victim, in a telephone call monitored and recorded by police, that she pushed him away that 2005 night, and he said he knew his conduct amounted to rape.
Even so, Buck told the victim in a private meeting in 2006, which she recorded, that he thought she had invited the victim to her apartment because she wanted to have sex with him.
The victim says that’s false. She said she didn’t want to be home alone in the “throwing-up drunk” condition she was in that night. “I was speed-dialing. I went through my whole list and [the suspect] was the first one to answer,” she said.
The police report also states that she said she called the suspect repeatedly that evening. She says they got that wrong as well. “He called me repeatedly. I only called him once.”
Although she says she invited him up, she says when he called back she tried to convince the suspect not to come.
During the victim’s meeting with Buck, Buck referred to the fact that she had invited the suspect to her apartment, saying, “It would appear to me and it appears to others that you invited him over to have sex with him.”
“So, you’re telling me that previous sexual relations is enough to provide consent; you’re telling me that because I called him and invited him up, that I invited him up for sex?” she asks.
“I’m telling you that’s what circumstances suggest to people, including myself, who have looked at it. Although you never said the word ‘yes,’ the appearance is of consent.” Buck said.
Buck later told the media that the facts in the case were “pitiful,” referring to the victim and suspect having known each other, the two having been lovers, and the victim having invited the suspect to her apartment on the night of the alleged assault.
The victim says she consulted three attorneys, all of them experienced with sex-crime cases, and they all told her she had a much better case than the suspect would have had.
The suspect’s own statements to the police investigating the case also seem to confirm that the sex was not consensual, and that he knew that at the time.
“He stated … that maybe once or twice the victim said no. He stated that he thought the victim did say no. He stated he does recall her rolling away and saying no,” the report states.
The suspect also said that at one point he left the bed because she had pushed him away and told him no. But he came back.
“He stated after he had intercourse with the victim and climaxed that he pulled out. He stated when he did so, the victim was barely conscious and that’s when he realized he had done something wrong,” the report states.
Asked to describe the victim’s state of consciousness, the suspect said in the police report, “The victim was laying there and her eyes would open and then close. He stated they were open only a short time and then would close again.”
All of the suspect’s quotes were written by the investigating officer as his account of the conversation.
“If a person is too intoxicated to legally consent, then it doesn’t even matter if she said yes, it is still a sexual assault under the law,” said Janine D’Anniballe of Moving to End Sexual Assault, in Boulder. She did not speak about the specifics of the victim’s case.
“A woman always has the right to say no, regardless of her history with a man,” she said.
The victim says she went to the police, and then the DA because she felt she had a duty to do so. “One of the crisis counselors I met with said, (after reading the police report) ‘He’s an offender. He’ll do it again if he gets the chance.’ That’s one of the reasons I pushed the cae. I didn’t want that on my conscience.”
“He (the suspect) admitted he did it, and they gave him a pass, said, ‘Thanks for coming in,'” the victim says.
“Buck told me that something morally wrong happened, but that it wasn’t legally wrong. I read him the statute (Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-402), which says it is sexual assault if the victim is physically helpless or intoxicated,” the victim said.
The statute reads in part that a sexual assault has occurred if “the person knows that the victim is incapable of appraising what the perpetrator is doing.”