SACRAMENTO (CBS) – In an extraordinarily rare move, a judge ordered a rape victim taken to Juvenile Hall after prosecutors said they had no other choice.
Weighing more than 220 pounds and covered in tattoos, including a swastika, Frank William Rackley sits behind bars accused of kidnapping and raping a 17-year-old girl who’s now behind bars herself just to make sure she shows up to the suspect’s trial.
Attorney Lisa Franco represents the teen. She’s outraged after a judge ordered her client jailed to make sure she helps put Rackley away. His case is scheduled to start April 23.
“It is extremely rare to have a sexual assault witness who is a victim in a case be imprisoned,” Franco said. “What this is serving to do is only making victims out there – potential victims and future victims – not want to come forward because they’re going to have to go to jail, because they’re afraid to testify.”
Franco says her client is too terrified to take the stand, and under state law sex assault victims are not required to do so, but still she’s behind bars.
Assistant District Attorney Albert Locher says even if she doesn’t testify, the victim is required to attend court. But so far she’s missed two court dates and several meetings with the district attorney’s office, forcing the case to be dropped and refiled.
“Certainly, we don’t like to be in the position of having to take a victim or a witness into custody to ensure the successful prosecution of a case,” he said. “It becomes a balance of inconveniencing the witness – we’re talking about a relatively short period of time – against the protection of the community.”
Community safety. But Franco asks, at what cost?
“You can’t stomp all over her rights and put her in jail when she’s a victim, revictimize her and treat her like she’s the criminal,” she said.