Question of Consent: Innocence and Complicity in the Glen Ridge Rape Case

Overview

In 1993, a fascinating courtroom drama unfolded in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, as defense attorneys portrayed a mentally retarded rape victim as a seductress and her four rapists as regular all-American boys. The lawyers went on to explain how the teenagers had made an excusable mistake in sexually assaulting the young woman with a succession of foreign objects. Among those who witnessed this drama unfold was author Peter Laufer, whose A Question of Consent provides a full account of the case and the troubling ...
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Overview

In 1993, a fascinating courtroom drama unfolded in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, as defense attorneys portrayed a mentally retarded rape victim as a seductress and her four rapists as regular all-American boys. The lawyers went on to explain how the teenagers had made an excusable mistake in sexually assaulting the young woman with a succession of foreign objects. Among those who witnessed this drama unfold was author Peter Laufer, whose A Question of Consent provides a full account of the case and the troubling questions it raises. Laufer complements his personal observation with extensive interviews, deep examination of documents and accounts related to the crime, and wide-ranging exploration of the issues that surround it. The Glen Ridge case is symptomatic of ills that plague our society. By exposing the ways mainstream mentality enables rationalization of sex crimes, A Question of Consent raises chilling questions about the sexual mores of late twentieth-century America.

In 1993, a fascinating courtroom drama unfolded in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, as defense attorneys portrayed a mentally retarded rape victim as a seductress and her four rapists as good all-American boys. Here is the shocking true story of that crime and the troubling questions it raises about American society and sexuality. 8-page photo insert.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On March 1, 1989, a 17-year-old with an IQ somewhere between 50 and 64 was lured to the basement of a house in the well-to-do New Jersey suburb of Glen Ridge. There she performed fellatio on one of a group of 13 boys, many of them star athletes, and then a broom handle, a baseball bat and a stick were inserted in her vagina. The town tried to bury the story but it came to the attention of a New York City television reporter. In 1993 four of the accused were tried and found guilty of sexual assault; one was put on probation and the others not only given light sentences but also allowed to remain out of jail pending appeals. Laufer ( Nightmare Abroad ) examines issues of sexual stereotyping and the mentally retarded and includes interviews with the principals. He keeps his sense of outrage under control when defense attorneys argued that ``boys will be boys'' and that ``she wanted it.'' This account will rouse some to fury and reduce others to tears for the anonymous victim, so pitifully eager for social acceptance that she could not say no to anything. Photos. (May)
Library Journal
In 1993, Americans were shocked to hear of a brutal gang rape in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. The accused rapists were popular high school athletes. The victim was a mentally retarded 17-year-old girl who knew the boys as friends. As the trial unfolded, defense attorneys portrayed the victim as a seductress and the rapists as good all-American boys who had made excusable mistakes (``boys will be boys'') as they sexually assaulted the young woman with a variety of foreign objects, including a broom and a bat. Ultimately, the boys were found guilty, but the judge has allowed them to remain free while their case is appealed. In this book, journalist Laufer takes a hard look at the accused boys, their affluent environment, the stereotypes of sexuality and the mentally retarded, the apparent double standards that allow white rapists to escape with minor punishment, and, especially, the rationalization of sex crimes by a society that seems to sanction predatory sexual behavior against women. This engrossing and disturbing book is a worthwhile addition to all criminal justice collections that also own Linda Fairstein's Sexual Violence (LJ (5/15/93) and Alice Vachss's Sex Crimes (LJ 5/15/93).-Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781562790592
  • Publisher: Mercury House
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Pages: 230
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Table of Contents

Principal Figures
Preface - "She Wanted It"
1 The Sentencing 1
2 A Promised Date 8
3 The Rich White Suburb 12
4 A Slow Investigation 23
5 The Trial: The Prosecution Opens 35
6 Querques's Lolita Defense 51
7 The Trial Observers 73
8 Mari Carmen Ferraez Fails to Save Her Boys 94
9 Betty's Mother Testifies 99
10 Betty Takes the Stand 112
11 Betty Faces Cross-Examination 127
12 Paul Archer's Lies 145
13 The Verdict 148
14 Betty's Best Friend 152
15 Monday Morning Quarterbacking with Thomas Ford 158
16 Sex and the Retarded 170
17 The Prosecutors' Final Reflections 177
18 Not an Isolated Case 186
Select Bibliography 201
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