Man Convicted of Sex Assault on Disabled Woman Freed

Court: She could have communicated dissent
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2012 1:41 PM CDT

(Newser) – Connecticut's Supreme Court has set free a man convicted of sexually assaulting a woman with severe mental and physical disabilities. The reason? The defense successfully argued that the 26-year-old woman could have made clear she didn't consent by biting or kicking him, reports the Connecticut Post. The woman has cerebral palsy and the mental capacity of a 3-year-old. She cannot speak, and her physical movement is largely restricted to moving her right index finger, says the Post, which would make kicking her assailant all but impossible.

Nevertheless, "we are not persuaded that the state produced any credible evidence that the [victim] was either unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent to sexual intercourse at the time of the alleged sexual assault," declares the 4-3 opinion, according to NBC Connecticut. The decision holds people with disabilities to a "higher standard," complains one advocate. “Failing to bite an assailant is not the same thing as consenting to sexual activity.” Richard Fourtin Jr., 28, is free and cannot be tried again. (Read more sexual assault stories.)

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