In rape crime, suspect's rights take priority

Prosecuting rape is a challenge in nearly every court, but in Erie, Sandusky, Huron and Seneca counties, victims can be left with little assistance and no hope for justice.
Jessica Cuffman
Mar 25, 2013

For at least one Sandusky County rape victim, it was more than a year before she found any sense of justice.

Even after DNA testing confirmed her story — and twice she testified before a grand jury — it was 14 months before her attacker was arrested.

For about two weeks, after police finally arrested Juanito Moreno Jr. on an indictment, she felt safe.

For two weeks, she felt safe leaving her house after a year of trapping herself inside.

Liza, a pseudonym used for this story because the Register does not identify victims of sex crimes, has locked herself back inside again.

Her reprieve didn't last long. On Monday, she attended Moreno's bond reduction hearing at Sandusky County Common Pleas Court, after learning from a friend that he had one scheduled.

A judge reduced Moreno's bond to $25,000, which was then posted by a bond agency.

"I don't understand," Liza told the Register Wednesday. "Nobody told me anything."

Why did it take 14 months to arrest this rape suspect, a registered sex offender? Get Monday's Register for the rest of this story. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy a Register daily at a newsstand near you.

Comments

Tootsiemomma

i think it is deplorable how rape victims are treated !! this guy was already a registered sex offender. give me a break !!! now you see why so many victims don't come forward with their complaints.they are drug thriough the system and raped all over again by the courts which should be helping them. plus they already matched up this guys dna.

Truth or Dare

Way I see it, and have felt for a very long time is that due to the State of Ohio's lax or downright lack of laws when it comes to sexual assault, be it Rape or Molestation, Ohio only perpetuates such violence and has become a haven for such offenders!

wiredmama222

The feds have set such a low bar for housing offenders any more, these guys don't do much time at all. I remember reading somewhere recently that sex crimes are the lesser offenses for time on the scale and they get off easier on length of time to serve therefore they don't go in for long if at all. Crimes against kids do, but not women or men.

grandmasgirl

I agree that if you rape someone, you should pay. However, what I don't agree with is putting a name in the paper until he (or she) has been convicted. I know of someone who was accused of molestation. His girlfriend thought she could get even with him for something. He was found not guilty (no evidence) but his name is still associated with the charge, all because his name was published when he was a suspect. Headlines when he was charged, a little two line sentence on page 6 when he was found not guilty.

BW1's picture
BW1

This article and its comments so far are laboring under a false conception of our criminal justice system, which does not exist to serve victims. Once the crime is committed, society has already failed the victim, and that can't be undone. There is no way to un-rape of un-murder someone. The criminal justice system exists to sanction acts against society and its rules, as a deterrent to such acts - that is how society seeks to safeguard the rights of potential future victims, by imposing a cost on such acts. That is why, criminal cases are titled "The State of Ohio vs. " and not " vs. " That is why, when the prosecution makes a motion, they say "the people move...." It's not about getting "justice" for the victim - justice for the victim involves preventing the crime from happening in the first place.

Given that the government has incredible power in the ability to imprison or execute people, the system is configured to prioritize avoiding abuse of that power. Thomas Jefferson best characterized the motivation for how our system is designed by saying "better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man hang. When someone "gets off on a technicality," that's not a flaw in the system, it's a shortcoming of its application. If these things bother you, then perhaps you should be pusing for more demanding education requirements in law enforcement - if we gave as much priority to arming our police with knowledge as we seem to give to loading them up with military hardware more appropriate to places like Fallujah, perhaps this wouldn't happen so often.

wiredmama222

I don't see how you can say that there is a false conception the criminal justice system is not serving the victim. Is not bringing the perp to justice in itself an act to avenge the rights of the victim?

With the advent and moving forward of forensic science today, the chances of getting the wrong person in a rape case is very remote....just as in this case. This man's DNA was identified. Therefore he IS the person who was the rapist in this case. Therefore putting his name in the paper is not doing him harm. The victim was complaining about the amount of time it took to capture him.

I also do not see how expanding the education of many of our police officers will do more to expedite the apprehension of criminals today. Not with the prolifications of guns on the streets we have now.

Please explain that statement. Thanks.

BW1's picture
BW1

"I don't see how you can say that there is a false conception the criminal justice system is not serving the victim."

I said there is a false condception that the criminal justice system is ABOUT serving the victim. It is not. To be utterly blunt, the victim is just another witness for the prosecution.

"Is not bringing the perp to justice in itself an act to avenge the rights of the victim?"

No, it is not. It's the victim's choice whether to accept that as assuaging her desire for some sort of "vengeance," but that is not the purpose of the process. Making wronged individuals whole is the aim of the CIVIL justice system, where lawsuits proceed. Bringing criminals to justice is about serving SOCIETY - about reinforcing society's ability to protect our rights. Again, no system can un-rape the victim.

The whole "victims' rights" movement is very problematic from an equal protection standpoint. Take two hypothetical murders. Victim A is a married father of three, with a close knit extended family, and lots of friends. Victim B is a recluse with no family or friends. At sentencing time, Victim A's wife, kids, friends and relatives all testify about their loss, and Killer A gets life without parole. No one really misses Victim B, and Killer B gets 15 years with the chance for parole in 8. They committed identical crimes, had identical records, and demonstrated an identical level of remorse, yet had wildly different sentences. Is this equality before the law? More to the point, were the two victims accorded equal protection by the law? Now the entire criminal community knows that killing a recluse only gets one 8 years - maybe the recluses better buy guns and start looking over their shoulders, because when it comes to keeping them from being murdered, they're second class citizens.

"With the advent and moving forward of forensic science today, the chances of getting the wrong person in a rape case is very remote....just as in this case. This man's DNA was identified. Therefore he IS the person who was the rapist in this case."

No, it only establishes that he had sex with her. It says nothing about the critical lack of consent. There are also cases where such DNA has been planted.

"I also do not see how expanding the education of many of our police officers will do more to expedite the apprehension of criminals today."

That's because you don't understand the justice system. Prosecutions fail quite often because of police errors that involve the finer points of law. Apprehending suspects may not require more education, but doing so in a manner that can be reliably expected to result in a conviction does. That's why the FBI likes to hire agents who have a JD.