War on Women: CT Supreme Court Rules It’s OK to Assault Handicapped Women If They Can’t Communicate Refusal To Have Sex

Posted by on Oct 03, 2012 at 8:50 am

Can someone please explain to me how this is considered justice?

The state Supreme Court has thrown out the conviction of a Bridgeport man who was found guilty of sexually assaulting a severely handicapped woman.

Justices ruled, 4-3, that despite evidence that the 26-year-old woman cannot speak and has little body movement, there was no evidence she could not communicate her refusal to have sex with the defendant, Richard Fourtin Jr.

She cannot speak, but there’s no evidence she can’t communicate? WTF is going on here?

Fourtin, 28, was convicted in 2008 of attempted sexual assault and sentenced to six years in prison.

The woman, who was not identified in court, has severe cerebral palsy, has the intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old and cannot verbally communicate, according to court documents.

The ruling centers around the state proving that the victim was physically helpless at the time of the attack, which is defined as ‘‘unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate
unwillingness to an act.”

However, defense lawyers argued that there was evidence she could communicate by biting, kicking, screaming and gesturing.

Oh, OK, so if she doesn’t do that then she’s fair game. And if she’s got the capacity of a 3-year-old and cannot properly communicate her resistance, does this make it OK to rape 3-year-olds? This is just beyond sick.

H/T Andy.

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6 Responses to “War on Women: CT Supreme Court Rules It’s OK to Assault Handicapped Women If They Can’t Communicate Refusal To Have Sex”

  1. Chipperoo on 3/03/12 at 11:31 am

    It looks from a quick scan of the opinion that the primary problem is in the drafting of Connecticut sexual assault statute.

    It has a hole in it regarding the presumption against consent favoring a victim who is physically helpless.

    The Supreme Court may be too literal and strict in interpreting this language.

    I agree that the outcome is horribly unjust, especially for this poor victim.

    And it looks like the case could have gone the other way, three justices did dissent, although I can’t find their dissenting opinion.

    My hope would be that the legislature will amend the statute to overturn this outcome and create a presumption against consent for persons having such limited mental

  2. MT Geoff on 3/03/12 at 2:20 pm

    H’m. I would like to introduce a cautionary note.
    An adult with the functionality of a young child may not be able to provide knowing consent for anything, including sexual activity. Yet such an adult, impaired physically and mentally, may also experience sexual awarenss and sexual desire. If we are too busy protecting such adults from exploitation — which is a worthy and necessary goal — we may also protect such adults from experiencing something they desire and would enjoy. We also deprive them of their individuality and their natural right to control their own persons.
    That’s not to say that my concern necessarily applies in this case. But it might and it does apply in some cases. It is possible that the defendant in this case believed, in good faith, that the woman was consenting. If she was capable of resisting with limited physical action, and if she did not, there is room to wonder if the action was in fact against her will.
    Any decent person wants to protect any vulnerable person from exploitation, especially sexual exploitation. Any decent person must have some compassion for the sexual needs of people who are impaired. This may be a tougher call than it looks at first.

  3. Blue Hen on 3/03/12 at 2:51 pm

    “We also deprive them of their individuality and their natural right to control their own persons.”

    You can be over 18, in full command of all faculties, not impaired in any way, and still be considered a victim 100% of the time. It’s called “being a subordinate in the US military”, particularly when an instructor/command authority figure is involved.

    There ain’t no fucking way that this person could give consent by any standard, even for a place that would elect Chris Dodd. The idea that anyone would state, “well she shoulda bit or scratched him!?! Really? Ya think Todd Akin could say this shit and live? I certainly hope not. And I’m a rethuglickan. This is the result of the professional hair splitting that Shakespeare observed. They pressed for a conviction stating that she was helpless. Read all of the notes. These assholes think that it shouldn’t have been used, because their definition of helpless excludes grunting, schreeching and scratching. It gets worse. The esteemed assholes cited a case where a woman was attacked in an ambulance by a caregiver while stuck on a stretcher. THAT judicial gem was decided against the victim there too, because she was able to say “no”.

  4. MT Geoff on 3/03/12 at 3:39 pm

    Howdy Blue Hen
    Please note my mealy-mouthing in my comment because your points are also valid.
    I was on active duty for 20 years. If there was a sexual relationship that involved the chain of command, both parties were subject to disciplinary action. The senior was always, and properly, considered more responsible. Regarding the misconduct at basic training — I went to enlisted basic training and any recruit is indeed vulnerable to the position of any TI or DI. I was an instructor later and we were held to the same rules: no relationship with a student.
    My points are also valid. A person with impairments is still a human and still enjoys natural rights of self-determination. Those rights will necessarily be frustrated to a degree by severe impairment. The defendant in this case may be as slimy as our friends think he is. That won’t always be the case.