Pennsylvania AG’s Office: Rape Victim Should Shoulder Blame for Attack

Attorney General Kathleen Kane says she was unaware of the statement drafted by her office.

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office has said that a former state employee is at least partially to blame for her own rape after the employee sued the state over her attack.

The 24-year-old woman was working as a clerk at a state prison when she was attacked and raped by an inmate in 2013. The inmate, identified as Omar Best, was serving time after being convicted for three sex offenses. He had been transferred to the state prison after sexually assaulting a female staff member at another state prison.

Best was convicted of raping the clerk and the prison’s superintendent was removed, according to CNN. Now, the clerk is suing the state.

The lawsuit charges that despite knowing Best’s violent sexual assault record, the state “still allowed Omar Best to have unsupervised access to the offices of female employees.” Moreover, the prison superintendent moved the clerk from a secure, locked office to a section of the prison where “there were no locked doors between the offices and cell blocks,” according to the lawsuit.

In a response to the lawsuit, Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office issued a defense of the state Department of Corrections, saying that the clerk could be at least partly to blame for her attack.

“Some or all of the damages plaintiff have alleged are in part, or substantially due, to the acts of third parties … plaintiff acted in a manner which in whole or in part contributed to the events which led to the damages plaintiff has alleged in her complaint,” says a statement attributed to Kane in the filing.

Jennifer Storm, a victim rights advocate, told CNN that “it’s absolutely deplorable to blame the victim in this case.”

Attorney General Kane has walked back the statement, saying that she wasn’t aware it had been made in the filing.

A spokesperson for her said that “Kane’s name is attached to hundreds of documents every week, most of which she did not author and might not have read.”

In another statement, Kane’s office said that the attorney general “is disappointed that she was not made aware of this matter prior to the filing, and was saddened to learn that the filing implied that the victim somehow contributed to this crime.”

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