The Blame Game: Lawyers say 14-year-old consented to rape; shares blame

By JOHN DeSANTIS Senior Staff Writer | Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 3:08 pm

In a small, windowless courtroom where bailiffs outnumbered spectators, a judge listened patiently to testimony from psychologists and other witnesses for almost a week, although a resolution to the case before him is a long way off.

The issue before District Judge George Larke is whether the people of Terrebonne Parish should pay money to a woman sexually abused at the age of 14 by a juvenile detention whose job was to keep her safe and, if so, how much.

The civil suit against the now-imprisoned guard, Angelo Vickers, and the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government alleges officials should have known Mary Doe – a fictitious name given to protect the victim’s identity – was at risk and that Vickers was improperly supervised.

The case is one component of a scandal that rocked the parish’s juvenile detention center in 2010, resulting in a scathing report from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Improper use of isolation cells, lack of supervision and accusations of guards exchanging candy and other favors in return for sex led to indictments and dismissals of staff.U4IeFKjpHH7hnPyvL65ggjl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBXEejxNn4ZJNZ2ss5Ku7Cxt

But the case before Judge Larke includes a new twist that is troublesome to child advocates.

As part of its defense, attorneys for the parish say the court should consider what they maintain was Mary Doe’s consent to sex with the guard, and that the amount of damages, if awarded, should be adjusted accordingly.

“Vickers could not have engaged in sexual relations within the walls of the detention center with (the victim) without cooperation from her,” legal papers filed by the parish’s attorneys read. “Vickers did not use force, violence or intimidation when engaging in sexual relations.”

That has some victim advocates fuming.
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