Rape victim jailed to insure her testimony is suing Harris County

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HOUSTON -- Television crime shows  are usually wrapped up neatly in just one episode. That's not the case in real life.

In Houston, a mentally ill, homeless and traumatized sex assault victim was put in jail. Psychiatrist Harvey Rosenstock calls this a case of double-rape.

“And then the system itself traumatizes the person and serves them up an extra slice of PTSD for dessert while they're incarcerated for no real purpose.”

Linda Cryer, one pioneer of the rape evidence kit 40 years ago, says, “To think that now, it has come to my attention, that a rape victim was put in jail and further traumatized. It shocks my conscience. It is so outrageous to me, that it almost creates an embarrassment to the rest of the country.”

In a videotaped response to this case, released by the Harris County District Attorney’s office, Devon Anderson says, “There is more to the story that you were not told.”

The D.A. says there was fear the case was in jeopardy after the victim broke down on the witness stand.   The prosecutor’s office believed she would not return to court to testify so the D.A. requested she be placed in a private psychiatric facility for 10 days.

Anderson asks, “How were we to insure that a homeless, mentally ill victim of an aggravated sexual assault would return to testify at the trial of her rapist, when that victim was going through a life-threatening mental health crisis and had expressed her intentions not to testify?”

At that point, a Harris County judge signed off on putting the rape victim behind bars, insuring she would show up. She did. Her assailant was convicted and sentenced to with life without parole.

“It strikes me that this crime victim was failed,” says Kim Ogg. “That the crime victim's bill of rights were not followed in her case.”

Ogg is gunning to replace Devon Anderson as the next Harris County D.A.

Anderson issued a statement: “Instead of continuing to rehash the facts to correct Ms. Ogg's inaccuracies, my attention is focused on taking proactive steps to make sure prosecutors have more resources to rely on in the future then they were left with in this case.”

The victim at the center of this has filed a lawsuit.

"She's suing Harris County. She's suing the Harris County Sheriff's Department, one of the prosecutors, and one of the jailers involved,” her attorney, Sean Buckley, said. "We're complaining in our lawsuit about the fact that she was in jail to begin with, and also her treatment while she was there."

The rape case may be over, but the case for the rape victim is just beginning.

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