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2003-01-31

Judge Fines a Women’s Center $500 a Day for Refusing to Hand Over a 16-Year-Old Rape Victim’s Counseling Records; Over 2,500 People Offer to Spend Time in Jail in Lieu of the Fine

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Crime is at an all time low in the country. You wouldn’t know that from media coverage. In New York, the number of crimes committed from murders to robberies to auto-theft is the lowest it’s been in 40 years. But there is one crime that is skyrocketing: it is rape–up more than 30% in New York alone.

Today, we go north to Massachusetts where a major standoff is taking place over the privacy of a teenage rape victim. A state court has ordered the Women’s Resource Center in the city of Lawrence to hand over counseling records of a 16-year-old girl to the defense team of the man she says raped her.

The Center is saying no. A judge has imposed a fine of $500 fine for every day the center refuses to hand over the records. The Center appealed that ruling and is expected to hear today whether it must pay the fine or not.

People from across the country have taken great interest in the case. Some 2,500 people have volunteered to go to jail for a night to help protect the girl’s privacy and to fend off the Center from paying the $500 per day fine.

Guests:

  • Wendy Murphy, visiting scholar at Harvard Law School. She is representing the Women’s Resource Center in Lawrence, Massachusetts in the privacy case.
  • Irene Weiser, founder of the StopFamilyViolence.org, a website through which she helped recruit 2500 volunteers who have offered to spend a night in jail to help the Women’s Resource Center protect the privacy of its clients.

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