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I ran across a couple of people who have been friends for several years and they have told me that they are going through something terrible. Their 13 year old daughter was at a party with other kids who were under the influence of alcohol. The girl was raped at this party by a man who is 32 years-old. They have DNA evidence and over ten witnesses, but the police tell them that this case could take up to two years. My friends believe that because they are poor and can't afford a lawyer, they are not getting the attention that this requires. Also, their daughter is afraid that the rapist will try to retaliate. This situation has infuriated me and I can't understand why the law enforcement are dragging their feet on this, but I intend to remain calm and try to get them the right help. Please help in any way you can, even if it is only advice for the parents of this child. I am a full time student and can't afford to give them financial help, but I have to do something.

Please advise and thank you,


Dear Jason,

Thank you for being such a good friend. Being poor certainly impacts what representation you can get, but in reality, even cases where wealthy girls have been raped have been slowed by the court process. Rape is illegal and we have means to pursue rape cases like DNA testing and filing a report with the police. Sadly, the reality is that these cases generally aren't prioritized unless you are the rare exception who has an outstanding judge who recognizes the time restraints and the need to close the case as soon as possible.

I certainly think that your friends should pursue this case. Given the vast age difference and the DNA testing it sounds like they have a pretty strong case. Many times, there are more gray areas in a case like this, which makes it harder to prove. Do they know for a fact if this man has raped before? If so, can they track these people down and see if they will speak in court or file a deposition beforehand? The more "victims" the stronger the case.

I'm not sure where you live or where you friend lives, but there are free services available that should be able to help. The most accessible is often Legal Aid - which you can simply find through your yellow pages. There is also RAINN (Rape and Incest Information National Network), which has a national network of advocates and services and so should be able to put you in touch with the services nearest to you. I hope that helps and I do think it's important that your friends pursue this case. As you/they said, if not solely for their daughter, for the others he might harm. Good luck.



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