SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that he would introduce legislation to prevent rape victims from having to view videotape of their assaults. The Governor’s announcement follows learning about the case of a Naperville woman who was nearly forced by the courts to view a videotape of her rape four years ago. Cook County judge Kerry Kennedy ruled today that the woman can continue her testimony during the trial of one of the men accused of her rape without viewing the tape.
“Judge Kennedy made the right decision when he ruled that the woman who was raped will not have to watch the video of her own rape. But it came too close. A victim of rape should never be forced to re-live the experience. The very idea of it is cruel. That’s why I have asked my policy and legal team to craft legislation that prohibits the courts from forcing a rape victim to watch or re-live the experience of her rape in court. This issue is simply too important to leave to a subjective decision on a case-by-case basis. Our lawyers are currently examining the Illinois Criminal Code. We will introduce legislation to amend the code because the very idea of subjecting a rape victim to something like this is appalling,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
On Tuesday, Judge Kennedy threatened to hold the victim in contempt of court if she refused to view the videotape. Attorneys argued this morning that forcing the woman to view the tape amounted to invasion of privacy under Illinois law and is irrelevant to the case.
The woman was 16 years old when she was assaulted and videotaped four years ago at a Burr Ridge home. The trial began Tuesday for one of the men accused in her assault. 20-year-old Adrian Missbrenner faces aggravated criminal assault and child pornography charges. According to published reports, three other men have been charged in connection with her assault. Burim Berezi of Brookfield fled the country after being charged and remains at large, 20-year-old Sonny Smith of Brookfield pleaded guilty to child pornography, and Christopher Robbins of Brookfield was acquitted of sex charges in March 2005.