Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Jailed woman now will testify

Claimed rape but skipped court

By Sharon Coolidge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A woman jailed for contempt after she said she was raped, then failed to show up in court, is now planning to testify, her lawyer says.

Graffiti protesting the jailing of a rape victim was written in chalk in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse. This says: "Victims don't belong in jail."
(Gary Landers photo)
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After meeting with the woman in the Hamilton County Justice Center Monday, attorney William Welsh said the woman is planning to go forward with charges. Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said that is possible, but it will have to be done quickly.

Meanwhile, Welsh said he'd ask the judge to reconsider today her 10-day sentence for contempt of court.

Welsh said he would file a motion for his 33-year-old client, a mother of two, to be released. A hearing could be held as soon as today. "She is doing fine," Welsh said. "She accepts responsibility for not showing up in court."

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker charged the North Fairmount woman with contempt of court Friday, saying he wanted to send a message: Not showing up for court - even if fearful of retaliation, as the woman claimed - makes the justice system useless.

The woman said she was dragged into woods near her home and raped by a stranger in July.

Michael Lindsey, 25, of North Fairmount, was charged, but when the woman failed to show up for three hearings, Dinkelacker dropped the charges. Lindsey's attorney says his client is innocent.

Prosecutors and police will talk to the woman about the case after her release from jail.

"It is up to the victim; this is not a case we can prove beyond reasonable doubt without her testimony, which is typically true in rape cases," Allen said.

Dinkelacker said he heard only positive feedback about the sentence. But someone used chalk on the courthouse steps to say otherwise over the weekend.

"Judge Dinkelacker your ruling is wrong."

"Reverse it."


E-mail scoolidge@enquirer.com

• Today's update: Rape victim getting out of jail
• Pulfer column: The wrong messenger
• Editorial: Intimidated witnesses
• Saturday story: Rape victim jailed, accused free

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