Underage Sexual Assault Victim Faces Jail Time...For Tweeting the Names of Her Attackers (UPDATED)

CrazyCapnMorgan

Is not insane, just crazy >:)
Jan 5, 2011
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Title pretty much says it all.

In the face of all the other threads that have come and gone recently, I had to add another one. Not only because it strikes multiple issues at once, but because it also deals with ones we've mentioned seperately time and again.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/savannah-dietrich-twitter-sexual-assault-louisville-174732753.html

At the meat of this issue, as stated in the article:

A Kentucky girl who was sexually assaulted could face contempt of court charges after she tweeted the names of her juvenile attackers.

Savannah Dietrich, the 17-year-old victim, was frustrated by a plea deal reached late last month by the two boys who assaulted her, and took to Twitter to expose them--violating a court order to keep their names confidential.

Attorneys for the attackers asked a Jefferson District Court judge to hold Dietrich in contempt for lashing out on Twitter. She could face up to 180 days in jail and a $500 fine if convicted. The boys have yet to be sentenced for the August 2011 attack.

"So many of my rights have been taken away by these boys," Dietrich told Louisville's Courier-Journal. "I'm at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it. If they really feel it's necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don't understand justice."

Dietrich was assaulted by the pair after passing out at a party. They later shared photos of the assault with friends.

On June 26, the boys pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism. Terms of their plea agreement were not released.

A hearing for the contempt of court charge is scheduled for July 30. Attorneys for Dietrich want it open to the media, while the boys lawyers want it closed.

Both the Gannett-owned Courier-Journal and Dietrich's attorneys "have filed motions to open the proceedings, arguing she has a First Amendment right to speak about what happened in her case," the newspaper said.

An online petition asking the judge to throw out the charges against Dietrich, launched Saturday, has already accumulated hundreds of signatures.
Part of me finds it sad to believe that this girl, who is a victim of a sexual assault, is going to see potentially more jail time than those who helped cover up sexual assaults, like those at Penn State. Furthermore, even as I pose to myself the scenario that the boys in this case might need protection from others, the fact that they took photos of the assault and distributed them amongst their friends makes me instantaneously lose any sympathy towards their protection.

Your thoughts?

UPDATE: It seems the Contempt of Court charge has been dropped. Related article:

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20120723/NEWS01/307230081/Contempt-motion-withdrawn-sexual-assault-victim-Savannah-Dietrich-who-tweeted-attackers-names%22

Big thanks to QuantumT and Kahunaburger - QuantumT for the posting the article and Kahunaburger for whose posted reply I saw regarding this.
 

spartxn

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Oct 22, 2011
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The two Plead Guilty. How is that "Covering up" unless u r talking about the laywers and Judge, in which case I say, "Welcome to the United States Justice system". :)

P.s. It sucks ass. Also Im surprised she isn't facing more time for "contempt"; not saying she did anything wrong nor am I siding with the two boys.
 

WolfCross

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Jun 12, 2012
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Grim stuff. Though i'm fairly interested to see the result first, as anything i say now is just stating the painfully obvious.
 

Colour Scientist

Troll the Respawn, Jeremy!
Jul 15, 2009
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I'll be shocked if they do actually give her jail time, I honestly don't think they will. She might get the fine though, just to make an example of her for disobeying a court order.

It's so stupid, she should be able to name and shame the people who violated her.
 

Raven's Nest

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Feb 19, 2009
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Though I generally fall in the "don't pick and choose when the law suits you" crowd, this is a pretty sticky situation.

I'm not defending their actions but if the boys were under the legal age to be tried as adults then they do also have rights to anonymity so that their "childhood mistakes" don't ruin their reputation for life...

But, the victim should have waited for the courts to pass sentence before exposing them through social media. I can agree with the contempt of court charges, though I can't see it resulting in jail time in this case. Its also possible the courts would have decided to name and shame the boys anyway, but disrupting the justice system as the girl has done cannot be taken lightly. After all she is using that system to prosecute, it is not up to her to decide the punishment.

I honestly think if she was also above the legal age, she should get a fine. In this case, she should receive a formal caution. Harsh as it sounds, the integrity of a legal system is more important than a single life... There is a reason countries go to civil war over the right to control them.
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
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Heaven forbid we pay attention to evidence like "She knows who did it.".
 

BeeGeenie

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May 30, 2012
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So they plead guilty to a lesser charge... but only on the condition of anonymity. What idiot agreed to that in the first place.
 

ZephrC

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Mar 9, 2010
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Holy crap people are weird about sex. Obviously what those boys did was wrong, and maybe their punishment was too lenient. It certainly happens.

Still, this sort of bullshit vigilantism is completely counter-productive in the end. You'd think that people would have realized that rape isn't about sex, it's about power. Well plastering shit all over the news about how unimaginably horrible every bit of inappropriate touching is sure as hell isn't making it any less powerful, is it?

Seriously. I'm not kidding here. That just makes it more appealing to the sorts of people who are willing to do that sort of thing. Sure the ones with half a brain cell don't want their names attached to it, since they'd probably like to get a job at some point, but let's be serious; no criminal ever thinks they're going to be the one to get caught.

I mean, I get that it's absolutely horrible the way rape victims are often shut up. It's disgusting. Still, if it ever becomes public that a person was involved in a crime that's even vaguely related to sex they will never have a decent job again in our society. And maybe if it's a 40 year old rapist that's okay, but a couple high school kids? That's fucked up.

I know this isn't going to be a popular thing to say, but I really believe we need to take away rape's power by making it less of a big deal. We need to understand that it's not okay, yes, but to demonize it more than torture and murder is only giving it more power. It needs to be something that we can talk about without fear of ruining the lives of everyone involved. Not just for the sake of stupid kids, but for the sake of the victims as well. I seriously believe that the way we treat rape victims damages them more than the rape does, and that goes more for the people trying to help than it does for the assholes trying to cover it up or blame the victim.

I realize that kind of goes counter to the original point, but violating court orders isn't the way to enact meaningful change, especially when it's clearly only to the detriment of the other side. I don't blame her for wanting to talk, and certainly don't think she deserves jail time for it, but I think the way she went about things will do more harm than good. We need, as a society, to stop being so goddamned freaked out by sex. It's weird and unhealthy.
 

Keoul

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Apr 4, 2010
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BeeGeenie said:
Hurry young one! change that before you get a low content warning!

OT: When did she post about the incident on twitter? if it was before the guys plead guilty then they have every right to punish her (though admittedly jail time and a large fine is far too harsh, just a fine would do). This is a separate case from the sexual assault, seeing as people are "innocent until proven guilty" she would have been accusing people of actions they haven't "committed". This is why newspapers always say "allegedly", it's to avoid getting sued.

But if she twittered about this AFTER the plea then this is just messed up :S
 

Tekkawarrior

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Aug 17, 2009
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I don't see a problem with them being named. If more people were named for their actions then people would stop doing dumb shit.

Oh no their life is ruined and they'll never get a job. Well fuck em I say they should have thought about that before sexually harassing someone.

ZephrC said:
I disagree with you there friend. Some people like having a control on sex, just because you don't it doesn't mean it's wrong.
 

smithy_2045

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Jan 30, 2008
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What they did may have been despicable, but that doesn't give her the right to publicly name them. Really, really dumb on her part, and probably a significant factor in why she got herself in this situation in the first place. Not trying to justify what the two knobheads did to her, they're scum and deserve significant punishments, but her irresponsible and foolish actions got her in the awful situation in the first place, and she clearly hasn't learned anything about not doing stupid things from this whole ordeal.
 

Rednog

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Nov 3, 2008
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A complete bonehead. Seriously, she might've just given the guys an even better plea deal, if having their names withheld was part of the initial bargain. Any decent lawyer is going to have a field day with something like this.

I think she should get whatever punishment is appropriate, if you want to use the law you don't get to ignore it yourself.
 

Robert632

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May 11, 2009
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So...She deliberately violated a court order, and the response is "That's bullshit, she shouldn't be punished for that!"?

Now, don't get me wrong, that she could go to jail for longer then they might is a bunch of crap, but she still violated a court order and should be charged as such, regardless of her circumstances.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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Raven said:
I'm not defending their actions but if the boys were under the legal age to be tried as adults then they do also have rights to anonymity so that their "childhood mistakes" don't ruin their reputation for life...
I think you'd be hard-pressed to actually find that right anywhere.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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Robert632 said:
So...She deliberately violated a court order, and the response is "That's bullshit, she shouldn't be punished for that!"?

Now, don't get me wrong, that she could go to jail for longer then they might is a bunch of crap, but she still violated a court order and should be charged as such, regardless of her circumstances.
I seriously doubt this court order, which prevents her from even speaking about her own rape, is actually legal and Constitutional.