Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Judge releases jailed woman

She claimed rape but didn't show up to testify in court

By Sharon Coolidge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

An alleged rape victim who was jailed Friday on a charge of contempt of court for failing to appear at several hearings in her case will be released from the Hamilton County Justice Center today after a judge cut her sentence in half.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker tells attorney William Welsh that he is releasing his client, a rape victim he had jailed for contempt.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker released the 33-year-old North Fairmount woman after her attorney asked for her immediate release, saying the woman had learned her lesson and would work to go forward with charges.

She would have stayed in jail for four more days.

"She was scared," Welsh said. "(She) realizes she had an obligation to come in. She did not call the prosecutor ... she did not call law enforcement ... she did not come to court and say she was being threatened.

"On the other hand she is accepting responsibility and now realizes that running away was not the answer," Welsh added.

Dinkelacker asked Welsh to tell his client she should not take the charges personally. "In no way in my mind would I ever victimize a victim," Dinkelacker said. "I hope we can all move on and the justice system is better for what I did."

Dinkelacker held the woman in contempt after she accused Michael Lindsey, 25, of North Fairmount, of raping her in July, but then failed to appear in court, forcing Dinkelacker to drop charges against Lindsey Thursday.

Friday, when brought to court on the contempt charge, she said neighbors had threatened her and called her a snitch. Dinkelacker ordered the woman jailed for 10 days, saying he wanted to send a message that people have to cooperate with the justice system - otherwise it doesn't work.

"I did have an alternative," Dinkelacker said. "I could not have done what I did, I could have put my head in the sand as I've done before. But bad people go free. This time I took a stand and I will do what I have to do in the future."

Dinkelacker said he hopes the woman goes forward with the case. Lindsey's attorney says his client is innocent.

"Hopefully justice will ultimately be served," the judge said.

Welsh said his client is still afraid, but realizes she has to go forward with charges because she doesn't want to see somebody else attacked.


• Latest update: Rape suspect back in jail
• Pulfer column: Judge used the wrong messenger
• Editorial: Intimidated witnesses
• Saturday story: Rape victim jailed, accused free

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