Becoming a Mother was not my Choice: The Delayed Prosecution of an LGBTQ+ Rape Victim
For many women, the choice to become a mother is one for which they have carefully considered and planned. If you identify as LGBTQ+ those decisions can be even more deliberate. However, as a victim of rape, these decisions may no longer be yours. This case study will examine the successful investigation and prosecution of Clifford Dunbar, a serial rapist who groomed an 18-year-old LGBTQ+ person of color to gain her trust, substantially incapacitate her with alcohol, then rape her when she was unable to resist. His crime resulted in her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter. Complex alcohol and drug-facilitated sexual assault issues, ranging from overcoming the consent defense, to memory loss of the victim, to society's preconceived notions of “drunk sex”, were all factors Mr. Dunbar was counting on to get away with his crime. This case study will showcase the victim’s incredible courage in coming forward when her repeated encounters with the police left her with no indication that she would ever receive justice. The presenter will focus on why it is important to take all cases at face value and let the evidence, not your opinions, guide the investigation. He will also highlight lessons learned on how to use a variety of investigative tools, such as pretext communications, to successfully investigate a delayed reporting case.
Bringing Cosby to Justice: The First Conviction in the #MeToo Era
Kristen Gibbons Feden, Stewart Ryan, Richard Schaffer, Kevin Steele
The first high-profile sexual assault prosecution in the #MeToo era spanned more than three years from the re-opening of the investigation to sentencing. Now, the sexually violent predator sits in a cell. During those three years, there were two trials, scores of motions and hearings, nearly two dozen criminal defense attorneys, and a variety of unique issues related to the presentation of evidence. This case study will focus on some of the most impactful decisions made in the Cosby case, such as reopening the investigation, calling multiple prior victims to testify, the use of experts to dismiss and contextualize common rape myths (especially involving known offenders), the challenges of trying the case twice under an international microscope, and the critical value of having the same detective involved from the first investigation in 2005 all the way through conviction in 2018.
Chasing Hubris: Sexual Exploitation & Violence in the 'Pics or it Didn't Happen' Generation
Terra Roberts, Rebecca Sommers, Jody Spiegelhoff
This case study will review the sexual assault of an intoxicated teenage girl by two teenage acquaintances at a house party. The sexual assault was video recorded by one of the perpetrators, but the video was nearly lost due to mistakes by responding officers. This case involved jail house letters from one of the offenders to his victim in an effort to "get in her head" and solicit perjury. It also involved a variety of legal issues, including waiver to adult court, search/seizure, destruction of evidence, ongoing interference by one of the defendants, and ongoing recovery of cell phone evidence. From failure to collect evidence at the crime scene, to advancements in technology, to inability to communicate directly with the minor victim, this case was a teaching moment for all law enforcement, forensic analysts, victim advocates, and prosecutors involved.
Kenny & Kevin: Internet Rape
Bobbie Bruhn, Tracie Reilly
When Hannah met Kenny, he was kind, funny and had a lot in common with Hannah. Kenny, a wealthy real estate professional, soon became a friend, confidante, and mentor to this young, single mother working her way through college. He also provided help for Hannah in dealing with Kevin. Kevin, an ex-internet only boyfriend, was harassing Hannah, threatening to expose naked pictures of her and even following her around. Kenny not only provided help, but interceded on Hannah's behalf and became an additional target for Kevin's harassment. Finally, after months of intimidation and threats, Kevin demanded that Kenny and Hannah have sex and separately inform him of all the details. Hannah was determined not to go along with this, but after reaching out to try and get help and finding none, she relented. On the third sexual liaison between Hannah and Kenny, Kevin berated Hannah for ruining the sexual experience with her crying, and she again tried again to call this police. This time, the police responded and immediately suspected that Kevin and Kenny were working together. It wasn't until the Randall County District Attorney's Office investigated the case that they were able to prove that Kenny and Kevin were not working together; they were the same person. This case study will examine the steps taken to develop this proof by means of subpoenas and search warrants for phone numbers, IP addresses, and social media accounts. Presenters will also review how to prepare for a case involving forced "consent" versus actual consent. Finally, presenters will discuss potential internal blaming of the victim, who "put herself in this situation" and "should have just said no."
A Love Triangle Conspiracy Murder: Utilizing Technology & Strategy to Solve & Prosecute a Domestic Murder
Mary Beth Kent-Duffy, Theodore Lagerwall, Scott Lefko
This case study will explore the cycle of domestic violence including love, heartbreak, violence, and death. In April of 2011, Rosemary was nine months pregnant with a child fathered by Deandre Minkens. Minkens had a longtime girlfriend, Shante Thomas, who did not like the idea that Minkens would have a child by another woman. With only one week before the birth of the child, Minkens and Thomas hatched a plan that would ensure the child was never born. Minkens lured the unsuspecting victim into his car while Thomas hid in the back. As a predetermined song played on the radio, Thomas jumped up from the back and, with the help of Minkens, strangled the victim and left her dead in a forest preserve, killing her unborn child. This case study will discuss effective police interview techniques, trial strategies behind trying two defendants with a double jury, the effects of gender bias throughout the case, and how to use technology to reconstruct the path to murder.
Operation HELLBENDER: A Look Into the Domestic Sex Trade in North America
David Lane, Melissa Parker
In April 2016, H Division Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) began an intel probe to investigate the recruitment and trafficking of vulnerable high risk females into the sex trade by a well-known gang that operates all across Canada and the U.S. This gang is particularly known for the finesse they use in luring girls into the sex trade, as well as the extreme violence they will use to keep them there. One of the main objectives of Operation HELLBENDER was to determine the level of sophistication of this gang and how they operate in order to assess their threat to the North American public, as well as learn ways to disrupt them from luring and recruiting girls into the sex trade in the future. The file involved over 175 officers from across both countries. Investigators listened to thousands of wire tap intercepts in which female victims described their nightmare and saw no way out. They also captured the psychological manipulation that these traffickers utilized to control these victims. This rare insight into victim psychology was eye-opening for investigators and is invaluable knowledge for NGOs for future targeted enforcement.
Spa Reversal Operation
Beau Abdulla, Melanie Jones
This case study will describe the implementation and result of a major police department taking over an established spa and using it to gather intel and make arrests for prostitution (buying). In this 10-day operation, female officers were trained to work reversals. The investigation led to the arrest of 139 men and 1 female former employee. A non-governmental organization, "Love People Not Pixels," was invited into the operation as a means of combating recidivism and offering the men services to help them get out of the lifestyle. In terms of arrests, the operation was the most successful police-organized endeavor for the department in 2017. Attendees will explore a new tactic for targeting the demand side of prostitution and see how successful law enforcement and NGO corroboration can lead to a safe mass arrest operation.
“There’s a Method to My Madness”: Preying on Her Weaknesses
Ann Duffy, Caitlin Paver
For years, Rudy Edmonds beat his girlfriend, MJ, almost daily. Having previously assaulted his ex-wife, Rudy had mastered the art of manipulation. Trapped by Rudy’s self-proclaimed “method to his madness,” MJ suffered in silence, blaming herself and her own alcoholism for the abuse. MJ called police after one particularly violent attack but quickly returned to Rudy. Following continued abuse by Rudy, MJ nervously agreed to testify against Rudy but continued battling alcoholism and remained in contact with Rudy up until the week of trial. This case study, featuring supporting illustrative examples, will address an overarching theme of manipulation, and will show how challenging cases can be made stronger by exposing the predatory dynamics of abusive relationships. Instead of minimizing victims’ perceived weaknesses, the truth is most revealed by highlighting how abusers exploit vulnerabilities in victims, and how they attempt to use those to discredit victims in the legal process, all in furtherance of manipulation and control.
Uber Driver, Serial Rapist: Using Data Mining Software as a Law Enforcement Tool
George Duarte, Jeff Richards
On Valentine's Day in 2017, a Providence Police School Resource Officer was informed by a 15-year-old female student that she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man who claimed he was an Uber driver. Immediately, investigators faced scrutiny from those in law enforcement who felt the victim and suspect knew each other and that the claims of the victim were untrue. After beginning the case with little evidence of the suspect's identity, the cooperation of several local businesses led to crucial surveillance imagery which identified the suspect. The investigators also used data mining software to conduct a forensic search of the suspect's cell phone. Although the use of such technology has been questioned by agencies such as the ACLU as being a violation to our privacy, the presenters will discuss how vital the use of such technology was in obtaining and identifying additional victims, some of which were drugged, raped, and filmed by the Uber driver. This case also gained a great deal of media attention on both a local and national level, which encouraged victims who saw the story to come forward.
We Can Do Better: State of Texas v. Gabriel Rogers (Lunch Session)
With a history of drug-induced psychosis, Gabriel Rogers spent years tormenting his grandmother, Dorothy, including keeping her prisoner in her own home, stealing from her repeatedly, and physically abusing her. This case study will walk through the many attempts Dorothy made to stop Gabriel and all the ways in which the system failed her, highlighting common issues that are often overlooked in elder abuse cases.
When Witness Protection is Not an Option: Recourse for Victims of Domestic Violence
This case study will discuss one victim's journey through investigation, prosecution, and appeal of her domestic violence case at the federal level, as well as victim services alternatives that were offered to her following the defendant's unexpected release from custody. Steps taken to ensure the victim's safety included a legal name change, relocation, and sealing of the public record. The presenter will review the process of federal prosecution of domestic violence cases and resources available to victims, as well as the applicable statutes used to prosecute domestic violence cases under the Violence Against Women and Gun Control Acts.
When Your Hospital Becomes a Crime Scene: The Dr. Sheikh Case (Pt. 1 & 2)
Jacinda Gunter, Tiffany Larsen, Stacey Mitchell, Janna Oswald
In 2013, when Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh was a medical resident, he raped a sedated hospitalized patient. Two years later, DNA tests linked Dr. Sheikh to the crime. After being convicted of second-degree sexual assault, he was sentenced to 10 years probation, his medical license suspended. The complicated criminal investigation of this case had many barriers for hospital and law enforcement investigators, including patient history, provider attitudes, and systems barriers. Challenges included perceived privacy, suspect role, and health care provider and staff attitudes, which further hindered the investigation.
Pt. I of this case study will provide an in-depth discussion about the case, challenges, and strategies to overcome barriers to sharing information, discovery of key information necessary to follow the trail, and lessons learned by criminal and hospital investigators on the way to a conviction for rape.
Pt. 2 will discuss the collaborative processes used between hospitals and law enforcement, specifically to increase the efficiency of parallel investigations. The presenters will discuss key strategies to improve collaboration and how to design law enforcement strategies that apply in a health care setting, specifically to prevent communication failures in a criminal investigation.