Tell Marion Police Chief to Suspend Officers Who Threatened Rape Victim

Tell Marion Police Chief to Suspend Officers Who Threatened Rape Victim

November 9, 2010
Petition to
Marion Chief of Police Willie Smith and
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This petition had 6,246 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Alex DiBranco

"Though I didn’t agree or consent to it (it) was not rape." Does that sentence make sense to you? It shouldn't. If you don't agree or consent to sexual intercourse, that's called rape. But a South Carolina rape survivor reports that she was forced to write this statement by Marion police after being assaulted by one of their own.

The victim had been in a car accident earlier that day, so when the responding officer showed up at her door, she did what any normal person would do: she let him in. That's when he raped her. When her boyfriend called the police to report the assault, the responding officers, Lt. Farmer Blue and Lt. Betty Gause, treated her like a criminal, reading her Miranda rights and threatening to have her arrested if she didn't recant her charge. They told her she could land in jail for five years otherwise and wouldn't it be hard to be away from her four-year-old daughter for that long.

Refusing to say she had given consent, the victim was nonetheless pressured into writing that the incident was not rape, resulting in the nonsensical sentence quoted above. The written statement seems to make it clear that the Marion police officers were looking to protect one of their own, and figured coercing the victim into denying the assault was rape, even when she continued to insist that the act was nonconsensual, would be enough to get him off.

Tyrone Reed, the officer accused of rape, is on unpaid leave during the investigation into the assault. But the responding officers who intimidated the victim into given them a written statement denying the rape are also guilty of a gross act of police misconduct, and should also be suspended without pay while an investigation looks into their response. Instead, ironically, Blue was the officer providing information to a South Carolina newspaper about Reed's status.

Authorities admit that Blue and Gause did not follow department protocol, which says that Marion police should not be involved with an incident regarding one of their own, and that the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) should have been called immediately.

Blue and Gause were also quoted by the victim as telling her that she didn't "look like a rape victim," and "you don't have a case because rape victims be balled up in a corner or scared to talk." Lisa Hyatt of the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault, who actually knows what she's talking about, says that they have worked with the victim since the attack and that she shows classic post-traumatic symptoms associate with a rape.

Please tell Marion Chief of Police Willie Smith to immediately suspend Officers Blue and Gause pending the results of an investigation into their inappropriate and unlawful treatment of a women reporting a rape.

Photo credit: davidsonscott15

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