news.gif (12017 bytes)Rape Part 1 by Dr. Scott Neff President the American Academy for Justice Through Science

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      On the federal level, specific elements constituting a crime of rape will vary tremendously from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  However there are some consistencies in the evidence submitted which aids the nabbing of the culprit of the heinous crime.  First and foremost the accused had to have sexual intercourse with the female.  The female may not be a wife of the accused although in some states again, the weight of that statement change.  The intercourse act was committed forcibly and against the will of the victim

      Although this appears simple to prove, try convincing that to a victim afraid to testify, so scared psychologically from the loss, as to lose her wits from years to her entire life.  Some women who are strong enough to bring the hideous nature of the assault public, must persevere as it self must be proven to stop the criminal from continuing. 

      The act of intercourse is considered to be committed by force and against the will of the woman if the act is committed at a time when she was unconscious, drugged, intoxicated, or so mentally deranged or deficient that she cannot agree to the act.  In addition the evidence demonstrates that resistance by the women proves the act was without her consent and against her will.

      Obviously sexual intercourse begins when the penis is inserted into the vagina.  Penetration of the vagina is the prime condition of the act; the man does not have to experience an emission. 

     Thus it is the act of penetration, which is the necessary element, not the degree of completeness.  This is extremely significant, as a victim will on occasion complain of being raped as a result of a sexual assault.  However, subsequent physical examination reveals that the vagina was not penetrated.  In this case the act is not classified as a rape.  However, if the vagina were penetrated even though no remnant of emission was discovered, this would constitute a rape victim.   In the first case of a woman being violated yet not penetrated, this attach is still criminal and must be prosecuted as a type of assault and personal bodily theft, but not the specific crime of rape.



      Your first duty at a rape scene is to aid the women.  Recruit medical attention at once.  If the attack was brutal and the victim is suffering with wounds, briefly question the victim about the attack if she is able to speak.  Many women are so horrified they cannot make sense.  It will be your calm, truth seeking nature, which will nurture her, and calm her to give the necessary description.  First ask what happened?  Where did the crime occur?  Can she describe or provide information about the assailant? This initial attempt to secure information should be made whenever possible while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance or during transport to the medical facilities. 

      The dispatcher should be immediately contacted so that they may broadcast the “lookout” message.  This cannot wait.  If the identity of the suspect is known, and he is not present at the crime scene, make arrangement to have them arrested after you have attended to the victim.

      As I alluded to above upon arriving at the rape scene, you will find the victim of the sexual assault under severe emotional duress ranging from hysteria to deep grief and depression.  Crying uncontrollably excited to the point of incoherence or a deep state of shock and shame is also common.  Your first goal is to reassure the victim that she has nothing else to fear and that she will be all right (far better then she is presently).  If possible another woman would generally be far more comforting than a man would.  Experience has shown that an experienced female Agent or policewoman will comfort the victim far better than a male Agents best intentions.  If a female agent or policewomen is not available (hard to believe) have a female relative or friend come to the scene as quickly as possible.  It is also good investigative work to secure the crime scene and to search the area for physical traces of the criminal just as this examiner has taught you in Murder 1-6.

      Make certain that any physical evidence about the person of the victim is preserved.  Very often, the victim will pull hair or tear the assailant’s clothes or scratch his face, wrist or fingers, during the struggle and accumulate skin tissue or bloodstains under her fingernails.  The victim’s clothing can also provide valuable forensic information.  His must be collected and forwarded to the Agency or crime laboratory with the other trace evidence for analysis.

      When a rape occurs within the domicile or home of the victim, ask the victim to change her clothing before transporting her to the medical facilities.  Assume custody of all the clothing worn at the time of the attack so that they may be scientifically examined for seminal stains, blood stains, hair or skin from the assailant.  There may be other physical traces that may lead to the identification, apprehension, and conviction of a suspect.

    When the crime scene is not within the home or the crime locations makes the immediate recovery of the clothing impractical, instruct the victim you will collect her garments at the hospital for transfer to a crime laboratory explaining not to touch her clothing as this will get the perpetrator.  In this situation have the female relative or friend you called or have a friend or relative bring a change of garments for the hospitalized victim.  Much love can be transferred when a so injured woman has a female relative or friend.  There is much psychological aid to their presence and a change of garments.

       Have the clothing sealed for the laboratory.  Restrict the number of persons handling the victim’s clothing.  Ideally, the victim should personally give you her clothing, which is then marked in her presence.  If it is at all possible, personally transport these items to the laboratory for examination.  Every concerted effort to protect the integrity of the specimens and guard the chain of possession must be used.  To review clothing protocol; 

A.  Tag and wrap to secure against tampering, label and either bring properly packaged and labeled clothing to or forward the evidence to the crime laboratory.

B.  The tag and wrapper must include the date of acquisition, name and addresses of the victim, rank, name, shield number, or Agent number.

C.  Restrict the number of persons who will handle the evidence.

D.  Each item is properly marked to facilitate future identification.

      The clothing of a rape victim, especially the undergarments, as well as the clothes of a suspect are analyzed by the forensics laboratory for seminal stains, bloodstains, hair and other physical remnants, such a soil, grass stains, hair grease stains and so forth.  Discovery of findings may then be used to give the Agents or investigators a sense of course of action.  The forensic analysis of evidence may link a suspect to the crime or it may indicate that the suspect is not the person being sought.

      This examiner cannot stress enough the fact that the clothing must be carefully handled to protect the evidentiary value of the stains they may contain.  Seminal traces and bloodstains are highly brittle when dry and may be brushed off clothing!  Stains must be covered with paper before the clothing is folded and each item is individually wrapped.

      It is not uncommon to find a reciprocal transfer of evidence in crimes involving bodily contact.  Thus it is not unusual to find hair of the criminal transferred to the body or clothing of the victim, and in turn, discover some of the victim’s hair on the suspect.  Recovered hair is usually subjected to microanalysis at the forensics laboratory.  The results of this examination can generally narrow the search of the perpetrator.  A single strand of hair may identify the race, sex, approximate age and the true color of the hair of the criminal.  The analysis can also determine the portion of the body that it is from such as the pubic regions, arm pits, chest, scalp or legs.

     Relative to Semen, seminal remnants may be located by ultraviolet radiation because of their fluorescent qualities.  These stains are often present in sex crimes or crime associated with sexual irregularities.  Seminal fluid is a highly proteinaceous serum normally containing a great number of spermatozoa or male germ cells.  From these cells DNA analysis can be as good as a video of the actual crime.  Seminal traces are usually found on the underclothing of a victim or of the suspect.  Semen may also be located on bedding, a mattress, a towel, a handkerchief, an automobile robe or cushions, and even out clothing and materials found at or near the crime scene or in the possession of the suspect.  Bloodstains may also be found in similar locations and possess the DNA trackers.

by Scott D. Neff, DC, DABCO, CFE, Doctor of Medicine © TEXTBOOK FOR FORENSIC CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS 1999 “The first bond of society is marriage; the next, our children; then the whole family and all things in common’.  Cicero-De Officiis

© & TM 1998 American Academy for Justice Through Science. All rights reserved.

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