Rapist not prosecuted because ‘he thought victim was someone else’
In a shocking case, an alleged rapist is walking around free after prosecutors declined to prosecute him when he argued that he thought the victim was someone else.
The case occurred in Davidson Country, Tennesse in the United States. The victim, Amy Dewland, has waived her right to privacy as a victim of sexual assault and wants people to know her story and how badly she has been treated by the criminal justice system.
Dewland reached out to local broadcaster Fox 17 News, saying the decision not to prosecute by the District Attorney’s Office in Davidson County is just as horrible as the rape.
The District Attorney’s Office is arguing that they cannot prove that her rapist “knowingly assaulted her.” Amy alleges that the man crawled into the bed she fell asleep in after a party and sexually assaulted her. She says that the man later claimed he was drunk and thought she was someone else with whom he had a sexual relationship.
“It shouldn’t matter, because the bottom line is, there was no consent given. So it doesn’t matter who he thinks he’s touching, there was still no consent to it,” Dewland said.
Amy also shared emails that she received from the detective who investigated the case in which he informed her of the decision by the District Attorney’s office.
I do have some news, but unfortunately it’s that the DA’s office has declined to pursue prosecution on the case. The explanation that I received is basically this:
“The State believes there is evidence that a sexual encounter occurred between the parties. However, the circumstances surrounding the incident are at issue. Based on the facts above, it appears that Crimmons would testify that he thought he was touching Jessica who he was in a casual sexual relationship with at the time. Further, Jessica would testify that she would not have been uncomfortable with this given their relationship. It seems mistake of fact as a defense could be asserted.
Mistake of fact is a defense to prosecution if such mistake negates the culpable mental state of the charged offense. Based on the totality of the facts and circumstances, the consensus of multiple assistant district attorney’s is that there is NOT sufficient evidence to prosecute for Rape “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Therefore, prosecution is not recommended at this time. Should additional evidence present itself, this matter may be revisited.”
This was the conclusion of the DA’s office. The case will be closed due to this decision. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email me. Thank you.
Detective Richard Hyatt from the Special Victims Unit also made it clear that he did not agree with the decision not to prosecute in a follow-up email.
If I’m understanding it correctly, I believe that their point is that the DA’s office would have to prove that he INTENTIONALLY touched you in this manner to convict, and they believe it’s plausible that he really did think you were the girl that he was dating/sleeping with at the time. I’m glad you can appreciate the fact that it’s not my decision and that I don’t necessarily agree with it, but they are the last word. Let me know if I can help you further in any way.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the DA’s office said they were looking into the case to find out more information.
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