Can Prosecutors Charge Gang Rape Witnesses for Doing Nothing?

"I hope the prosecutor in California is trying to be creative and looking to find ways to prosecute these people who did nothing to stop the crime," she said. "If they were just cheering and hooting, that probably would not be enough to put them in an accomplice category."

Four States Have 'Bad Samaritan' Laws

The act of recording the event, or watching it for hours, changes the witness's perception of the crime and can make it easier for prosecutors to accuse him of being an accessory, said O'Donnell.

In 2002, the late Raiders defensive tackle Darrell Russell was accused of videotaping a woman while she was raped by two friends. Russell pleaded not guilty and the charges were later dropped.

Only four states have "bad Samaritan" laws, according to Louisiana State University professor Ken Levy. In states with "bad Samaritan" laws, the penalties are minimal, usually a fine of less than $500, said Levy.

The magnitude of the California gang rape evokes other historic cases in which bystanders stood by and did nothing including the 1984 gang rape in a New Bedford, Mass., bar, in which some patrons watched, and the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese outside a Queens, N.Y., apartment complex, in which residents ignored her many screams for help.

"This case isn't much better and it's a lot worse," said Fairstein. "We can assume the kids watching knew some or all of the perps and may have known the victim. That failure to tell someone, with teachers and administrators all around is deplorable."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937370. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937370. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937370. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937370. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937370. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937370. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937370.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Bruce Jenner is shown here at age 10 in this undated childhood family photo.
Courtesy Linda Thompson
PHOTO: Bruce Jenner celebrates after winning 1500M race during Decathlon at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada, July 17, 1976.
Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
PHOTO: A female coyote lay in an animal carrier after being captured by Special Operations officers on Manhattan?s west side, Saturday, April 25, 2015, in New York.
New York City Police Department Special Operations Division via AP
PHOTO:
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library