In 2008 Richard Fortin Jr. was convicted ofsexually assaulting a highly disabled woman and sentenced to a prison term of six years, but that ruling has been overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court and he is now a free man.
The incident originally took place in 2005 at “Success Village”, a residency for disabled adults. The woman, whose name via court records is only known as L.K. is disabled with cerebral palsy, cannot verbally communicate, and is nearly immobile with very little body movement. It was alleged that Fortin forced himself on L.K. sexually, but the Connecticut Appeals Court saw the issue differently, and ruled Oct. 9 that L.K. was not “physically helpless under the state law”, and therefore Fortin could not be convicted of his crime. This ruling advanced Fortin’s case to Connecticut’s Supreme Court.
It has been locally reported by ctpost.com that the defense’s argument centered on the testimony of a home health aide who previously worked with L.K. The aide claimed L.K. was able to verbally express her displeasure at meals by screeching, and often would spit and kick violently if she did not get what she wanted to eat. Therefore, as the argument goes, had L.K. not wanted to have sex with Richard Fortin, she should have kicked, yelled, and spit.
Because the Supreme Court did not believe that L.K. put up enough of a fight they ruled against her:
We are not persuaded that the victim was either unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent to sexual intercourse at the time of the alleged sexual assault.
Therefore, the woman who is developmentally disabled and physically unable to move her body is supposed to be able to fight off a fully grown, healthy, sexual predator and because she did not do that to the satisfaction of the court, her attacker was allowed to go free.
The court’s decision does not bode well for any further cases involving those who are most vulnerable in our society being sexually assaulted.