Criminal Justice

Juvenile Judge Orders 4 Sex-Assault Victims to Take Polygraph Test

Baffling prosecutors and upsetting victims, an Ohio judge has ordered four teenage victims of sexual assaults to take polygraph tests—after their alleged attackers have already been found delinquent, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Cuyahoga Juvenile Court Judge Alison Floyd has also called for the delinquent teens, who are accused of rape and other sex crimes, to be tested, too, for reasons that aren’t clear, the newspaper article says. It appears, however, that she may feel information from the tests would be helpful at the delinquent teens’ upcoming sentencing.

The office of County Prosecutor Bill Mason has filed objections in two of the cases so far, asking Floyd to stop ordering polygraphs for rape victims. At least one filing contends that the judge doesn’t have the power to order victims to take the lie-detector tests, and that the demand violates Ohio’s rape-shield law and public policy by implicitly blaming the victim of the crime.

While some sex-assault victims take polygraphs voluntarily, requiring the tests violates the federal Violence Against Women Act of 2005, Megan O’Bryan tells the newspaper. She is president and chief executive officer of the local Rape Crisis Center, said the center. “The practice puts us at risk for losing critical VAWA funding,” she tells the newspaper.

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