by Jack Burns, The Free Thought Project:
Houston, TX — A Houston woman has been traumatized by the District Attorney’s office, following her report of being raped by a serial rapist. According to Click2Houston, “Jenny, who is in her 20s, was the star witness in the rape trial of Keith Hendricks after he violently raped and choked her. Hendricks was eventually sentenced to two life sentences for raping women.”
But during the trial, Jenny broke down while testifying against Hendricks. Fearing that her star witness would not return to testify, prosecutors decided Jenny, who suffers from bipolar disorder, would need to go to the hospital, and then to jail. Yes, that’s right. After a brief stay at St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Jenny was “handcuffed, put in the back of a patrol car and taken to jail,” according to her attorney Sean Buckley. Adding insult to injury, apparently, not only was the witness raped, forced to testify in front of others about her.
Adding insult to injury, apparently, not only was the witness raped, forced to testify in front of others about her trauma but then she was rewarded by being forced to spend nearly a month in jail. A month!
The highly unusual move occurred when prosecutors presented the trial judge with a “witness bond.” The judge, Stacey W. Bond, signed the order but cannot comment on the case because the rapist is appealing his conviction. So to paint the picture, at least for around 30 days, both the victim and the perpetrator were locked behind bars. This miscarriage of justice just re-victimized the victim and led to a historic shake-up in the district attorney’s office.
Kim Ogg, a former prosecutor, used Jenny’s case to highlight one of the many injustices she perceived to be taking place in Houston. Ogg, who successfully ran against the DA (Devon Anderson) whose office put Jenny in jail, used Jenny’s story to get elected. At the time of the jailing of the rape victim, Ogg was highly critical of Anderson’s office. She told reporters, “Putting a witness in jail on a material witness bond, is highly irregular and reserved for the worst of the worst witnesses, maybe gang cases.
“They can be protected by placing them in a hotel, they can be placed with family, you can keep in contact,” she said saying there must have been another way to get Jenny the medical help she needed and still ensure her testimony.
Incredulously, the DA, Devon Anderson, defended her office’s actions in a videotaped response to the criticism. “I have carefully reviewed the case and fully support our prosecutor’s actions. It bears repeating this was an extraordinarily difficult and unusual situation. There were no apparent alternatives that would ensure both the victim’s safety and her appearance at trial.” Anderson reportedly would not speak with reporters who wished to grill her on the matter.
Ogg went on to defeat Anderson during the election for District Attorney, and saying she’s shaking things up may be an understatement. In a related story that The Free Thought Project brought you earlier this month, on election night, Ogg stated Houston would no longer be taking marijuana users to jail.
Off said she never felt comfortable locking up potheads with murderers and would no longer do so. And turning her attention to Jenny’s case, Ogg has since fired 37 prosecutors at the Harris County District Attorney’s office, including the prosecutor who had Jenny jailed. “I think this case, more than anything else, became the litmus test for the public about what type of justice system they wanted,” Ogg told reporters.
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