MCASA in the News: Rape trial to test new witness law in Maryland

Jun 10th, 2019

Four women say he raped them after they’d passed out. Will a new law enable all four to testify?

Philip Kantor, prosecutors say, drugged a woman in a bar in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and then raped her. The case could be heard as soon as this fall, and could be notable for the prosecutors’ plan to try to use a new Maryland law that would enable them to bring in three more women as witnesses to recall similar alleged attacks by Kantor dating to 2007.

The law took effect in July, but is only now being invoked in active cases. Last year, after more than two decades of trying, prosecutors, MCASA, and other victims’ rights advocates convinced the Maryland legislature to allow additional alleged victims into rape trials to show a defendant has ignored other people’s lack of consent. Similar provisions are embedded in federal court trials and in more than 20 states.

Absent the new law, rape prosecutors in Maryland say they have faced an obstacle that runs counter to just outcomes: the challenge of convincing jurors that the individual victim in a trial had not consented to the sex acts, even as prosecutors had a string of potential witnesses who were willing but unable to appear in court to testify about having faced the same alleged treatment by the defendant.

“This was common sense. All the law says is that other victims get to come in and say, ‘Yeah, he did the same thing to me, and he still is confused about what consent means.’”
-Lisae C. Jordan, Executive Director of MCASA

To learn more about the law and how it could impact rape trials, you can read the full Washington Post article here

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