Victims' body can prevent rape: US judge

2012-12-14 11:00

Santa — A Southern California judge is being publicly admonished for saying a rape victim "didn't put up a fight" during her assault and that if someone doesn't want sexual intercourse, the body "will not permit that to happen".

The California Commission on Judicial Performance voted 10-0 to impose a public admonishment on Thursday, saying Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson's comments were inappropriate and a breach of judicial ethics.

"In the commission's view, the judge's remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not 'put up a fight'. Such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary," wrote Lawrence J Simi, the commission's chairperson.

Johnson made the comments in the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver, beat her with a metal baton and made other violent threats before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes.

Though the woman reported the criminal threats the next day, the woman did not report the rape until 17 days later.

'Shredded' by rape

Johnson, a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney's sex crimes unit, said during the man's 2008 sentencing that he had seen violent cases on that unit in which women's vaginas were "shredded" by rape.

"I'm not a gynaecologist, but I can tell you something: If someone doesn't want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case," Johnson said.

The commission found that Johnson's view that a victim must resist to be a real victim of sexual assault was his opinion, not the law. Since 1980, California law doesn't require rape victims to prove they resisted or were prevented from resisting because of threats.

In an apology to the commission, Johnson said his comments were inappropriate. He said his comments were the result of his frustration during an argument with a prosecutor over the defendant's sentence.

Johnson said he believed the prosecutor's request of a 16-year sentence was not authorised by law. Johnson sentenced the rapist to six years instead, saying that's what the case was "worth".

  • judith.taylor.56 - 2012-12-14 11:12

    Ignorant dinosaur - he should be removed as a judge completely

  • merry.martin.944 - 2012-12-14 11:21

    Why is this fool allowed to continue on the bench? Six years for rape? I wonder what a rape case with his wife/daughter as the victim (heaven forbid) would have been "worth"? Pah! This judge needs some serious education.

  • moi.carla.1980 - 2012-12-14 11:24

    He should be given an opportunity to test out his theory.

  • simon.berry.925 - 2012-12-14 11:26

    This judge obviously needs to be raped, then he can have an informed opinion.

  • delish7564 - 2012-12-14 11:30

    With attitudes like that is it any wonder the world is in a mess and people have no respect for the Law? :(

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-12-14 11:33

    Is this idiot for real? A body can prevent rape if it is possessing a fire arm or at least pepper spray. Once a victim is completely immobilized unfortunately not so much you can do. Anyone wants to test this cretin's resistance to a broomstick?

  • chris.stuart.332 - 2012-12-14 11:40

    Nothing wrong with what the judge said, he just believes in a 2000 year old lie from the bible.

  • darren.peach - 2012-12-14 11:41

    And this is why the Republicans don't have a Republican President. They preach this kind of rhetoric. On behalf of the male species I would like to apologise to the female species......Sorry.

  • jacques.walker.16 - 2012-12-14 11:58

    Typical Yanks......

  • marius.fourie.526 - 2012-12-14 13:22

    Shocking! Wonder what his comment would have been about the young women in PTA that was raped because the rapist had a hammer and threatent to kill her parents in the next room with the hammer. She allowed it but it is still rape you ignorant bastard!!

  • inx.vdh - 2012-12-14 14:00


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