Judge releases Calif. teen who says she was raped

Apr 16, 2012, 11:25 PM

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A California judge on Monday ordered the release of a 17-year-old girl who had been placed in juvenile hall last month because prosecutors feared she would flee rather than testify at the upcoming trial of a suspected rapist.

Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown previously ordered the girl held because she has a history of running away. On Monday, he said she would be freed with a GPS ankle bracelet after prosecutors and the girl’s attorneys agreed to the release.

The judge told the teen her case had charted rare legal territory because her detention was seen as victimizing the girl a second time.

“I am truly sorry for all that you’ve been through,” he told the teenager. “You’ve demonstrated great courage for a young woman.”

The Associated Press is not naming the girl because of her age and because she was the alleged victim of sexual assault.

Prosecutors took the unusual step of detaining the foster child in juvenile hall because they say her testimony is vital evidence against a man they believe is a serial rapist.

The teen previously failed to make two court appearances when the suspect, Frank William Rackley Sr., 37, was previously charged, forcing prosecutors to dismiss charges against him.

They obtained a material witness warrant allowing her to be detained after they refiled the charges.

The teen did not speak during Monday’s brief court hearing, but smiled and laughed with one of her attorneys before the hearing began.

“It’s a good day for my client,” said one her attorneys, Amina Merritt, who represents the girl’s interests as a foster child. “Obviously she was suffering in incarceration, and I’m glad that she’s been released. She’s holding up amazingly well for a young girl of her age.”

The judge would not release the terms of the girl’s release or say where she would be living.

Victims’ rights advocates had said incarcerating the girl could discourage other victims from reporting sexual assaults, but prosecutors said the danger posed by Rackley outweighed the inconvenience to the teen.

Rackley is accused of raping the girl last July, when she was 16. She was abducted July 22 from a north Sacramento light-rail station where she was waiting for a friend to pick her up, according to court documents.

A man approached in a red pickup truck, told her his name was Frank and asked if she needed a ride and if she had a boyfriend. He got angry when she refused his advances, pulled her into the truck, then drove with her to a dark street and raped her, prosecutors say. He pushed her out of the truck and she ran, reporting the attack when she happened upon a sheriff’s deputy.

Prosecutors say a rape examination found Rackley’s DNA.

He also is charged with raping a 30-year-old suspected prostitute a month earlier, and prosecutors believe he is a serial rapist.

Rackley has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Richard Berson, was not available to comment.

Prosecutors attending Monday’s hearing would not comment, and Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County district attorney, said the office would have no comment.

The girl’s other attorney, Lisa Franco, had said her client was treated like a criminal after she was incarcerated with juvenile delinquents on March 23. Other girls wanted to fight her and she was inadvertently hit with pepper-spray used to break up a fight between two other juveniles, Franco said.

She said her client was inadvertently released from juvenile hall earlier this month, but proved she is not a flight risk by going immediately to a Sacramento group home. She was then sent back to custody.

Merritt, the other attorney, said she believed prosecutors could have taken less extreme measures to ensure the girl would show up and testify.

“This may be the first time I’ve heard of a minor being subjected to that process,” she said. “I think it can be characterized … as bullying.”

The criminal case against Rackley is scheduled to go to trial April 23.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

Mid-Atlantic coast under flood warnings as Ophelia weakens to post-tropical low and moves north

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Tropical Storm Ophelia was downgraded to a post-tropical low on Saturday night but continued to pose a threat of coastal flooding and flash floods in the mid-Atlantic region, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Residents in parts of coastal North Carolina and Virginia experienced flooding Saturday after the storm made landfall […]

3 hours ago

In this image taken from video, Niko, a pet squirrel, stands on the shoulder of Yeison in their ten...

Associated Press

Venezuelan man and his pet squirrel complete journey to U.S. border

A 23-year-old Venezuela man is preparing to say goodbye to a pet squirrel he says he brought from his home country on a journey to Mexico.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Minnesota’s would-be head of cannabis regulation quits amid reports she sold illegal products

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The recently appointed director of Minnesota’s new marijuana regulatory agency Erin Dupree has resigned amid reports that she sold illegal cannabis products in the state. Dupree ran a business that sold products exceeding state limits on THC potency, owed money to former associates and accumulated tens of thousands of dollars […]

9 hours ago

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee speaks during Sen...

Associated Press

Menendez gains a primary opponent as calls for his resignation grow after indictment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey announced on Saturday that he will run against Sen. Robert Menendez in the state’s Democratic primary for Senate next year, saying he feels compelled to run against the three-term senator after he and his wife were indicted on sweeping corruption charges. Kim’s surprise announcement came as […]

10 hours ago

FILE - Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., briefs reporters following a closed-door Repu...

Associated Press

With House Republicans in turmoil, colleagues implore GOP holdouts not to shut down government

WASHINGTON (AP) — Working furiously to take control of a House in disarray, allies of Speaker Kevin McCarthy implored their Republican colleagues Saturday to drop their hardline tactics and work together to approve a conservative spending plan to prevent a federal shutdown. In public overtures and private calls, Republican lieutenants of the embattled speaker pleaded […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

3 shot and killed in targeted attack in Atlanta, police say

ATLANTA (AP) — Three people were shot and killed Saturday in a targeted, daytime attack in Atlanta, police said. Officers responded to a call reporting that someone had been shot in the city’s West End neighborhood around 1:30 p.m., police said in a news release. A preliminary investigation indicates a man approached two people and […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Judge releases Calif. teen who says she was raped