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Furthermore …

Rape victim’s rights are upheld at last

The Indiana Supreme Court got it right last week when it ruled that a onetime high school principal in Muncie should have immediately reported the rape of a girl 16 years old.

Instead, the principal, Christopher Smith, told the victim to put her complaint in writing. The girl sat in Smith’s office for two hours, and other authorities did not get involved for four – when someone from the children’s home where the girl lived took her to a hospital.

There are also some disturbing sidebar issues; the boy who raped her was allowed to leave the school building.

Smith was originally sentenced to 120 days in jail, all suspended, ordered to serve 100 days of community service and fined $100.

An appeals court reversed the conviction, which the Supreme Court reinstated Thursday.

Smith argued that the statute under which he was convicted was vague, particularly the word “immediately,” as in “Man, you’d better tell the Department of Child Services about the incident immediately.”

Ordinary people understand the word means without “any intermediate intervention or appreciable delay,” Justice Steven David wrote in the majority opinion, stating directly and unequivocally what almost everyone would think upon being told to report the matter immediately.

The boy was sentenced to four years in prison.

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