A Cowlitz County, Wash. woman who was raped and kidnapped was arrested by prosecutors for failing to show up to pre-trial meetings.
The victim, 43, lived through a nightmare when she was tied naked to a chair and sexually assaulted in October 2012, TDN reports. Her ex-boyfriend, Brandt Lyle Jensen, allegedly forced her to the home of Donald Howard McElfish. Jensen then reportedly used a knife to intimidate her to undress and perform sexual favors on McElfish. The woman managed to escape and flee to the woods, still nude.
Then, the survivor, who has been charged with no crimes, was taken into custody for not making pre-trial meetings with prosecutors.
Prosecutors got a judge’s order for a material witness warrant — a rare procedure in which police can arrest the witness to a crime to make sure he or she comes to court. They are used “as a last resort,” according to Chief Criminal Deputy James Smith.
Since the victim is also the prime witness to the case, Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning decided to issue the warrant. The woman is homeless and had been sleeping on friends’ couches and was therefore difficult to reach, prosecutors said.
“Do you understand?” Warning asked. “If the prosecutors try to contact you and you’re not there, there will be another warrant out for you, and you’ll be going back to jail. And this time you’re not getting let out.”
But the victim said she had been staying at her parents’ house.
Warning let the woman go after she spent a night in jail preceding a court appearance. She has been released with an order to appear weekly at the Hall of Justice, and must stay at her parents’ home until then, the judge ordered.
McElfish is facing charges of attempted rape, indecent liberties with forcible compulsion, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault with sexual motivation.
His trial, which was supposed to start earlier this month, is now scheduled for March 10.