Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Kansas prosecutor says no to a rape charge, so a college student calls her own grand jury


Christopher Smith for the Washington Post

Madison Smith, who was attacked in a dorm room at her small college in Lindsborg, Kan., turned to a state law from the 1880s to pursue the rape charge that a prosecutor refused to bring.

Madison Smith will be just a few months out of college when her story is heard this fall by a most unusual Kansas grand jury - one she convened.

For three years, the local prosecutor has resolutely refused to make her case: that what began as consensual sex in a college dorm room became a rape, and that she was unable to say "stop" because her classmate was strangling her.

But Smith invoked a vestige of frontier justice that allows citizens in Kansas to summon a grand jury when they think prosecutors are neglecting to bring charges in a crime. The law, dating to the 1800s, was originally used to go after saloonkeepers when authorities ignored violations of statewide prohibition. The 22-year-old graduate is believed to be the first to convene a citizen grand jury after a prosecutor declined to pursue a sex-crime charge.


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