The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Rape trial dismissals send wrong message

Jude Seymour | Friday, October 10, 2003

I felt great dismay after I read Oct. 7 article about the rape trials. I found special prosecutor Maureen Devlin’s announcement that she intends to file motions to dismiss the charges against Lorenzo Crawford and Justin Smith saddening. Devlin is not dismissing these charges in the interests of justice, it seems. Rather, she has considered her personal record. After an acquittal and one lesser charge found against Abram Elam, she has decided her evidence, which was enough to indict, is not enough to warrant a successful result.I pray Crawford and Smith were not involved in this rather personal attack on a fellow community member. However, there seemed to be enough evidence at one time to suggest to Devlin that they were. Now, she is going to throw in the towel, citing the cost of going to trial.This alleged victim has allegedly cooperated with authorities and the district attorney’s office up to this point, so I don’t believe Devlin’s assertion that these upcoming trials would involve an additional emotional and financial price for the victim, the witnesses and the community at large. I wonder what kind of closure the alleged victim in these cases felt about the months she has put into these trials. Does she feel satisfied that Devlin has given up her cause, essentially saying, “You’re not worth our time or our money?”I’d suggest to Devlin that a great emotional price will be paid for by the Notre Dame community at large. The special prosecutor is essentially sending the message to the female student body: “If you feel you were raped, we have little or no recourse to successfully prosecute the individuals you feel harmed you.” Devlin is also discouraging future victims of rape to keep the alleged crimes to themselves. What kind of message does that send to the female population of Notre Dame?I pray for all individuals involved in this case. From my point of view, the process of seeking justice in these cases has gone awry.

Jude Seymour class of ’02Oct. 9