As part of its defense in a civil suit against a man who raped a 14-year-old girl, attorneys argue that the court should consider what they maintain was the young woman’s consent to sex with the ex-juvenile detention guard, and that the amount of damages, if awarded, should be adjusted accordingly.
Angelo Vickers, a former Terrebonne Parish Juvenile Detention Center guard, pleaded guilty in February 2011 to one count molestation of a juvenile and was sentenced to seven years in jail. He has been in prison since his arrest in April 2009.
A civil suit filed against Vickers and the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government alleges that officials should have known the victim was at risk and that Vickers was not properly supervised.
However, the defense is arguing that the court should consider that Mary Doe – a fake name given to protect the victim’s identity – supposedly consented to sex with the guard.
“Vickers could not have engaged in sexual relations within the walls of the detention center with (the victim) without cooperation from her,” legal papers filed by the parish’s attorneys read, according to the Tri-Parish Times. “Vickers did not use force, violence or intimidation when engaging in sexual relations.”
Marci Hamilton, a nationally recognized sex crime victim advocate and professor at Benjamin Cardozo Law School in New York, who once clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, is among experts who question the validity of the parish’s argument.
“The defense has no basis in law,” Hamilton said. “She is a victim of statutory rape. The age of consent in Louisiana is 17. The defense is also offensive to sex assault victims everywhere.”
Though the civil case filed by the teen and her father was scheduled for a ruling Thursday in Houma. La., attorneys wanted to call more witnesses than could be fit into the scheduled time frame.
The trial will now have to wait until late March, the first open date in Judge George J. Larke’s calendar.