Judge issues gag order on rape victim to not say "rape, sexual assualt" in court. A jury was in the process of being selected Thursday when Cheuvront declared a mistrial. Safi is accused of raping Tory Bowen in He said they had consensual sex; she said she was too drunk to agree to sex and that he knew it. Cheuvront barred attorneys and witnesses from using words including "rape," "victim," "assailant" and "sexual-assault kit," and ordered witnesses to sign papers saying they wouldn't use the words.
Words such as "sex" and "intercourse" were allowed. State law allows judges to bar words or phrases that could prejudice or mislead a jury. Bowen, 24, was fighting the ban, arguing that it hurt her testimony because she had to pause and make sure her words wouldn't violate the ban.
In a written explanation of his ruling, Cheuvront said Bowen and her friends drummed up pretrial publicity that tainted potential jurors.
They signed a petition decrying the word ban and posted it on a Web site that encouraged people to gather in front of the courthouse Monday to protest, Cheuvront wrote. Monday was the first day of jury selection; another rally occurred Wednesday. Bowen and her friends hoped to intimidate this court and interfere with the selection of a fair and impartial jury," Cheuvront wrote in his order released Thursday afternoon. Bowen said she did not intend to taint the jury and wants closure in the matter, but chose to speak out after Cheuvront's order because "silencing rape victims is something that has been done for far too long.
Advocates for rape victims criticized the restrictions, saying they discourage victims from reporting crimes, and held rallies on Bowen's behalf. Safi's lawyer Clarence Mock said the restrictions on language would help ensure Safi's rights, and accused Bowen and her supporters of engaging in an "irresponsible, reprehensible public campaign" to improperly influence jury selection. One of Bowen's lawyers, Sue Ellen Wall, said the mistrial made it unlikely that they will appeal the judge's language order in federal court.
Messages left with prosecutors were not returned Thursday. The judge had also ordered the ban in Safi's first trial, which ended in a hung jury in November. Speaking outside the courthouse Thursday, Bowen said she was disappointed by the mistrial decision but remains resolved to see Safi tried again.
I will do it," she said.