Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Soccer star won't be charged with rape due to insufficient evidence -- which means no rational trier of fact could have convicted him

COMMENT: As explained in the news story below, Soccer Star Fredy Montero has been cleared of rape charges, but unfortunately there probably will be some people who claim that "he got away with it." One comment under the news story at the original source said this: "Did you actually expect a celebrity to take the fall for this. they have this mentality that they are entitled to whatever they want." The feminist community will assert that the mere fact that the prosecutor didn't bring charges doesn't mean that no rape occurred.

You see, the concept of "presumed innocent" has little meaning in the rape context. A rape allegation is almost impossible to totally disprove to everyone's satisfaction beyond any scintilla of doubt when the defense is that the parties were involved in a consensual relationship. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Montero has already been tried and convicted, without a scrap of evidence being admitted at trial, in the court of last resort -- the suspicious minds of people ready to believe that any man accused of a sex crime "must" have done "something."

The district attorney refused to bring charges due to "insufficient evidence." Under Washington state law, it means that "no rational trier of fact, could have found the essential elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt." If there is "sufficient" evidence, this means there is some evidence that could convict the accused, even if it is weak. It is up to the trier of fact to decide how much weight is to be given to a claim. Here there was "insufficient" evidence, in the district attorney's opinion.

The fact that any rape allegation can trail an innocent man for the rest of his life, often destroying him in the process, is reason enough to give the presumed innocent charged with a sex crime the same anonymity accusers are afforded.

Sounders FC's Montero won't face criminal charges

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg has declined to file criminal charges against Seattle Sounders FC soccer star Fredy Montero, citing insufficient evidence to support an Eastside woman's claim that he had raped her.

By Christine Clarridge
Seattle Times staff reporter

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg has declined to file criminal charges against Sounders FC soccer star Fredy Montero, citing insufficient evidence to support an Eastside woman's claim that he had raped her.

A brief statement on Tuesday from Satterberg's spokesman, Dan Donohoe, did not elaborate on the decision.

The 23-year-old woman had reported to Bellevue police that Montero, 21, had raped her in March, and then later stalked her. Prosecutors reviewed the police department's investigative files before reaching their decision Tuesday.

Reached by phone Tuesday, the victim said she was "devastated" and could not understand how the prosecutors came to the decision.

Montero's agent said that the allegations were false and stemmed from Montero's efforts to end a dating relationship with the woman.

Montero continued to practice with Sounders FC during the investigation, although he missed the team's April 4 match against Toronto.

"I am excited to return my complete attention to scoring goals for the people of Seattle and making the Sounders FC a very successful club," Montero said in a statement released Tuesday by Sounders FC.

Said an unidentified team spokesman in a statement: "We are pleased with the decision from the prosecutor's office and look forward to putting this behind us and focusing on soccer."

A relative of the woman, who asked to not be identified, had said the woman and Montero knew each other but that "calling it a relationship would be way, way out there."

According to documents released Tuesday by the Bellevue Police Department, the woman met Montero just a few weeks before the alleged rape.

A friend of the woman, who is employed by Sounders FC, had approached the 23-year-old about possibly doing some work as an interpreter and translator for the club's Spanish-speaking players.

The woman, who had lived in Colombia and speaks Spanish fluently, told police that she, Montero and several others had been out dancing and partying on March 14 when they decided to go to Montero's town house in Factoria for an after-hours party.

Another woman, who met the group that evening for the first time, was invited as well.

One of Montero's teammates and another woman told police that they saw Montero and the 23-year-old kissing. The teammate told police it looked to him like the 23-year-old was "happy."

The 23-year-old woman told police later, however, that Montero was sexually aggressive with her, and kept trying to get her to have sex with him, urging her to drink heavily and even locking her in a bathroom with him.

She said that she decided to sleep at Montero's house because she had too much to drink and she slept on the floor next to him. She left the house the next day, according to Bellevue police reports, but discovered later that she had left a necklace at his house.

She told police that she texted him or called him several times during the week to ask about her necklace, but he never texted back.

According to police documents, she said Montero called around 2:30 a.m. on March 22 to tell her that he had found her necklace and invited her over.

She told police that she went back against her better judgment because one of his teammates would be there as well.

At some point, the teammate left and the woman claims that Montero dragged her up the stairs, removed her clothes and raped her while she cried for help.

The 16-year-old son of Montero's host family, who was also spending the night there as a friend of Montero's teenage brother, told police he did not hear any screams or cries.

Montero was arrested by Bellevue police on March 22 and released after surrendering his passport.

The woman also alleged that Montero stalked her when she saw him in a car with his host father a week after the alleged rape, but investigators concluded that the sighting was coincidental after talking with the host family.

The 23-year-old woman's family said they went to the media with the allegations after the Major League Soccer club announced that Montero wouldn't be traveling to Toronto with the team because he had the flu.

Information from Seattle Times reporters Ian Ith and José Miguel Romero is included in this report.