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Letter to the editor

Dana Raphael, a Trinity senior, wrote a very powerful piece in her column, "A 'rare look' at a common experience: correcting the sexual assault narrative." It raised a question in my mind as to why the Durham County Sheriff's Department and the Durham Police Department (as distinct from the Duke Police Department) and the local District Attorney. Why aren't these authorities involved in rape cases that, by definition, are violations of laws (statutes) and thereby cases to be tried in criminal court?

When I saw the movie "Spotlight," one of its revelations was that sexual crimes against minors committed by Roman Catholic clergy were not typically prosecuted in criminal court. That clearly led to miscarriages of justice. Is it the same situation for rapes and other sexual assaults perpetrated by members of the Duke University community? It would be very educational if someone from the Duke Law School could answer this fundamental question. 

I would also like to express my gratitude for the courage and honesty of Dana Raphael as expressed in her column. Finally, it would be helpful to know if alcohol and/or recreational chemicals were involved on that. Halloween night in 2015. Those chemicals impair judgment without doubt, both for a perpetrator and a victim.

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- John McGovern, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke


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