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Women’s sex abuse case: DA served the public well

 

If the evidence presented this week in court proved that Rachel Marie Green, 29, sexually assaulted another woman, then the outcome of her trial marks a step forward in providing justice for all.

A Jefferson County jury found Green guilty of two counts of sexual assault in connection with an incident that occurred two years ago in Beaumont.

This was not the first case in our county involving sexual violence and two women, prosecutors said, but it was the first that such a case went to trial. The office of District Attorney Bob Wortham made special effort to reveal the trial’s outcome and given the unusual circumstances of the case, it was surely justified.

Testimony revealed that Green attended a house party with the victim and others in Beaumont on July 30, 2016. There, the victim said, Green forcibly raped the 35-year-old woman.

The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office said Beaumont’s Special Victims Unit investigated the complaint, made three weeks after the incident, and the trial itself moved quickly. Jurors were selected Monday, testimony was offered Tuesday and the jury returned a verdict Tuesday afternoon. Sentencing followed Wednesday.

Two assistant district attorneys made the state’s case: Amy E. Tomlinson and Kim Pipkin. They deserve credit for their successful prosecution.

Pipkin said the case sets an example. All victims of sexual assault should come forward, she said, and the DA’s Office will stand behind them, fight for and support them. That’s exactly the position prosecutors should take.

Green was sentenced to three years in prison but got probation. She had no previous felony convictions.

It might have been worse for her. Misty Craver of the Victim’s Advocacy Center, an expert witness, said Green could have drawn jail time of two to 20 years and a fine of $10,000. She must also register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

As rare as such prosecutions are, the crime itself is not rare, including among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are victims of such assault at the same or great rates than heterosexual people.

The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that lesbian, gay and bisexual people suffered at shocking rates when it came to sexual violence, with as many as 44 percent of lesbians and 61 percent of bisexual women suffering from rape, physical violence or stalking by intimate partners.

Forty-six percent of bisexual women have been raped, compared to 17 percent of heterosexual women.

If this week’s court action in Beaumont helps send a message, that authorities won’t turn a blind eye to such criminal violations, then the District Attorney’s Office has served the public well.