Demand Justice for Woman Who Was Fined for Reporting Her Rape
  • Petitioned Steve Jensen

This petition was delivered to:

Lynnwood Police Chief
Steve Jensen
Commander of Patrol
Steve Rider

Demand Justice for Woman Who Was Fined for Reporting Her Rape

    1. Petition by

      Ms. Magazine

  1.  
  2.   
May 2011

Victory

Almost immediately after launching the petition, with the pressure of 500 swift signatures, Ms. received a response from the Lynnwood Commander of Police, Steve Rider.

Rider expressed remorse and has reminded his department of “the importance of conducting these types of cases professionally, thoroughly and with a great deal of sensitivity for the victims." Training for all officers and detectives by the county Special Assault Unit is planned.

While there is no way to undo the wrong that was done to the woman at the heart of this case, police were quick to admit their mistakes, accept responsibility, and make efforts to make sure they don't wind up in the same situation again. Ms. will keep an eye on the police department to see that it makes good on its promises.

In 2008, an 18-year-old woman in Washington state reported to police that she had been sexually assaulted. But they didn’t believe her, so they charged her with false reporting, and she pleaded guilty under a deal that included a fine of $500. The charge remains on her record. Three years later, Marc O'Leary, the man who raped her, was arrested in Colorado after raping at least two other women--and police found a photo of the Washington victim among his belongings.

Lynnwood police have refunded the $500 fine to the victim, and say they are working on getting the false reporting conviction removed from her record. But that's not enough to rectify the grave injustice that was done to the Washington victim, nor to be sure it won't happen again.

Ask the Lynnwood police department to take action to correct this injustice, starting with a public apology to the victim. Furthermore, to ensure that another rape survivor isn't dismissed again, ask the department to revise its policy on rape charges. Specifically, suggest that the department partner with anti-sexual assault organizations in the community to:
(1) provide a trained victim's advocate to help any woman who reports a rape
(2) mandate a sexual assault training for all officers to ensure they understand how to talk with victims—and that not all victims tell their stories in the same way.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Victory! Police Shape Up After Fining Rape Victim $500

      Back in 2008, an 18-year-old Washington state woman was raped. She bravely reported her attack to the police. But they only then further traumatized the teenage woman when they accused her lying and charged her with false reporting. Except recent...

    2. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • MIchelle Spilecki SCHENECTADY, NY
      • over 3 years ago

      The so-called officers responsible for this travesty should be fired.

      And the requested apology to the victim should be made national.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lane Ruesch MORRISVILLE, NC
      • over 3 years ago

      It's hard enough to come forward and talk about being raped, but to be not only dismissed, but charged? That's absolutely reprehensible. We should be able to trust the authorities, especially when a crime has been committed against us. We should never have to worry that we might end up the ones who are found guilty. You NEED to change your policies.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Janice Redinger FORT WORTH, TN
      • over 3 years ago

      That is a ridiculous mess the the police should be sued over. A very highly publicized suit over these issues will stop this abuse against women by public "defenders."

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • CrystaL O'Brien RUMFORD, RI
      • over 3 years ago

      It is better to be wrong and believe someone who may be lying, than to be wrong by treating a rape victim this way.

      To think that other rapes may have been prevented if this woman was believed is sad and disgusts me.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • christina schaefer BUENA PARK, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      I can't even imagined being raped, yet alone being raped again by the people meant to help you and protect you. It should be mandatory to (1) provide a trained victim's advocate to help any woman who reports a rape

      (2) mandate a sexual assault training for all officers to ensure they understand how to talk with victims—and that not all victims tell their stories in the same way.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.