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Judge seals victim’s medical records

Meghanne Downes | Thursday, September 11, 2003

During Donald Dykes’s trial Tuesday, a St. Joseph County judge sealed the medical records of the woman who accused four former Notre Dame football players of sexually assaulting her.

Judge Jerome Freese ordered both the woman’s medical and psychological records to be sealed during the defense’s cross-examination of her when it was discovered she was never told she had the right to refuse their release.

During Abram Elam’s trial, the first of the four former players’ trials, both the defense and prosecution used these records to present their cases.

Freese blamed the legal mistake on former St. Joseph County Prosecutor Chris Toth and said it was “as close as you can come to malpractice.”

The charges against the four former players were filed by Toth’s office before he lost his election to current St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak. The four cases were then transferred to a special prosecutor, Hendricks County Prosecutor Maureen Devlin, because two of Dvorak’s deputy prosecutors either worked with or served as an attorney for one of the players.

Dykes is the second of the former players to be tried and is charged with rape, conspiracy to commit rape and sexual battery. Last month, Elam was convicted of sexual battery but acquitted of criminal deviate conduct and conspiracy to commit rape. Lorenzo Crawford and Justin Smith’s trials will begin later this year.

The four former players testified at Elam’s trial that the sexual acts were consensual and maintained their innocence, while the woman said she was gang raped.

WNDU contributed to this report.