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225-year rape sentence ends first of 3 trials for Texas man

An average of 89,000 rapes is reported every year in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal officials also believe 60 percent of victims never tell authorities they were raped. What keeps rape victims in Texas and around the country from filing charges?

Medical exams for physical evidence and police questions can feel invasive and impersonal to victim immediately after a sexual assault. However, the sooner a rape is reported, the better chance authorities have of building a case against a defendant.

Another reason victims hesitate is uncertainty. Victims may think rape allegations won’t be taken seriously by investigators or a court. In some cases, victims fear reprisal – most rapes are committed by someone the victims knows – and sharing sexual details before a court. Rape shield laws restrict questions about a victim’s personal sexual history, according to varied state statutes.

A Texas man recently was sentenced to three, concurrent 75-year prison terms for aggravated sexual assault. The 25-year-old allegedly held a young woman hostage in his home and raped her several times in 2009.

The conviction was one of three cases against the man who prosecutors said used online dating services and ads for sex to attract women to the residence. In one case, the defendant reportedly responded to a prostitute’s ad.

The prostitute later told authorities she changed her mind about going through with the $160 deal after she arrived at the defendant’s home. When the woman tried to leave, the 6’4" man apparently barred the door. The woman screamed. That’s when the man allegedly threatened to kill himself and her unless she cooperated.

The word "no" matters in every sexual encounter. Evidence of harm in a criminal or civil case represents an incident or incidents of sexual assault between the defendant and the victim, not a past sexual reputation or intimate relationships with others.

Source: nydailynews.com, "Convicted rapist sentenced to 225 years in prison for Texas attack" Joe Kemp, Sep. 25, 2013

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