There is crime and there is crime.
A 21-year old woman went to Tampa police and reported that she had been raped. They began an investigation, which they immediately stopped and instead arrested her and put her in jail for two days upon learning that she had a juvenile arrest warrant. Most breaks in cases happen within the first 48 hours, and this probably helped the rapist evade capture.
To make matters worse, the victim was denied the second of two doses of a 'morning after pill,' which she only got when local media started reporting on the case. It is still after the time it should have been given so she will have to wait to find out if she is pregnant from the assault.
TAMPA, Florida (AP) -- A college student who told police she had been raped was jailed for two days after officers found an old warrant accusing her of failing to pay restitution for a 2003 theft arrest.
While she was behind bars, a jail worker refused to give her a second dose of the morning-after contraceptive pill because of the worker's religious convictions, the college student's attorney said.
The 21-year-old woman was released Monday only after attorney Vic Moore reported her plight to the local media.
"Shocked. Stunned. Outraged. I don't have words to describe it," Moore said. "She is not a victim of any one person. She is a victim of the system. There's just got to be some humanity involved when it's a victim of rape."
Moore said the young woman was not allowed to take the second emergency contraceptive pill until Monday afternoon, a day late, after reporters called police and jail officials....
She reported the rape Saturday afternoon, and officers took her to a rape crisis center where she was given the first of two doses of the morning-after pill, McElroy said. The second dose is supposed to be taken within 24 hours.
Later, as she was riding in a patrol car trying to locate the crime scene in the dark, police found the warrant stemming from a 2003 juvenile arrest for grand theft and burglary. It said she owed $4,585.
"They stopped the investigation right there" and put her in handcuffs, Moore said.
Should the police follow up on the old warrant now that they know where she is? Perhaps, although it is a juvenile warrant and she has not had any trouble as an adult. But that is for a later time. The pressing matter at the time was the fact that she was a rape victim, and that the rapist was out there possibly targetting other vicitms. Any information the police could have gotten and used might have brought him in quickly. At the very least, he has gotten a good head start, and quite possibly evidence, including at the scene that might have helped them catch him has been destroyed by now.
This is the kind of bureaucratic mentality that I find nauseating. Instead of the common sense approach that 1) the crime under investigation at the time was a heck of a lot more serious than the one they learned about from years ago, 2) the evidence was available then and might not be later and 3) the woman in question had just been brutalized by a horrible crime, they followed some ridiculous procedure and shoved aside the more serious investigation to focus on what amounts to a minor one.
Yes, she may have made a mistake when she was a minor. But that is no reason she should have to pay for it by not having the authorities bring all the resources they normally would to hunt for the monster who attacked her.