A sicko convicted of raping a retarded and physically disabled woman — who can't speak and can barely move — is a free man after his public defender successfully argued the alleged victim should have bitten him to prove she wasn't consenting to sex.
Richard Fourtin Jr. of Bridgeport is on the loose after the shocking verdict by the Connecticut State Supreme Court.
His victim, who is so limited that her only method of communication is to tap her index finger, suffers from cerebral palsy and mental retardation. A daughter of a woman Fourtin was dating, she was 26 at the time of the 2005 (non-)assault but has the estimated intellect of a 3-year-old.
The court in all its wisdom approved his appeal to a prior conviction on charges of attempted second and fourth degree sexual assault, ruling that the woman should have stopped Fourtin's sexual advances by methods such as "screeching, biting, kicking and scratching." The justices were unconvinced that she was incapable of denying consent.
The ruling was 4-3. The opinion, in part, states (read full opinion below):
When we consider this evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict, and in a manner that is consistent with the state’s theory of guilt at trial,
we, like the Appellate Court, "are not persuaded that the state produced any credible evidence that the [victim] was either unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent to sexual intercourse at the time of the alleged sexual assault."
Let's get this straight: Okay, "justices," even if she had the theoretical means to signify that she didn't want to be f**ked by this scumbag — even if she could have tapped out a morse-code message with her finger to this asshole while having the wherewithal to grunt and scratch — what about the fact that her mind is too underdeveloped to give consent regardless? Able-bodied, able-minded teen girls are legally unable to give consent, yet a severely crippled woman with the mind of a little child should have done more to signify her lack of consent? (Rant over.)
Victims' groups are up in arms.
Anna Doroghazi of the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services said, according to NBC Connecticut:
We are incredibly disappointed with the State Supreme Court’s decision in the Fourtin case. The court’s interpretation of what it means to be "physically helpless" jeopardizes the safety of people with disabilities. By implying that the victim in this case should have bitten or kicked her assailant, this ruling effectively holds people with disabilities to a higher standard than the rest of the population when it comes to proving lack of consent in sexual assault cases. Failing to bite an assailant is not the same thing as consenting to sexual activity.
And here's James McGaughey of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, also via NBC Connecticut:
People with disabilities are much more likely to be sexually assaulted than people who do not have disabilities. Our justice system should provide them with protection, not require them to resist their attackers.