FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
April 17, 2015
Schuette Seeks to Further Victimize Teen Rape Victims
Attorney General wants to expose names of prison rape victims
MICHIGAN — In an ill-advised attempt to defend the state from a class-action sexual assault lawsuit, Attorney General Bill Schuette is seeking to publicly name rape victims who were preyed upon as minors while being housed in adult prisons.
Lawsuits filed on behalf of 11 John Does, who were all teenagers charged as adults at the time, hold the Michigan Department of Corrections, prison officials and Gov. Rick Snyder culpable. The suits allege that adult inmates raped the teens and that officials knowingly ignored the assaults.
A circuit court judge allowed the case to proceed with the names of victims withheld in order to “prevent retaliation by other inmates and Corrections Department staff members,” according to media reports. Prison records show that one John Doe was recently stabbed 27 times, presumably by inmates who learned that he had reported the abuse, according to The Detroit News.
“It’s absolutely shameful that Bill Schuette would attempt to further intimidate and endanger these victims by publicly naming them, many of whom are still locked up in the prisons where they experienced this abuse,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan.“The state should have no interest in outing the names of rape victims, but for Bill Schuette, no tactic is too low or inhumane to get what he wants.”
Schuette has already been unsuccessful in over a dozen appeal attempts regarding this case.
The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence says naming the victims of rape — particularly in the media — can have a chilling effect on victims from coming forward and reporting their abuse.
“These victims have been through enough without Bill Schuette trying to silence their cries for justice,” Scott continued. “Who is Schuette ‘on duty’ for these days, rapists or the victims? By dragging these names before the public, Schuette is only emboldening the rapists and putting these victims in an even more dangerous environment.”