Read this lede.
It was a sleepover.
A 14-year-old boy and his friend were sleeping in a mutual bed. The 14-year-old awoke to the sensation of a touch on his genitals.
Afraid and unsure of what to do, as if paralyzed in a state of shock, the 14-year-old pretended to sleep. The other boy began performing oral sex on him and following the initial sexual acts, proceeded to force himself inside the victim.
The 14-year-old ultimately reported the series of events that unfolded that summer morning to Bloomington police.
After the report, a rape kit was completed at an area hospital.
This case, as it is recorded in police records, was a sexual assault. In fact, it was a number of things according to Indiana Code, including sexual battery and criminal deviate conduct.
But, according to the code, it wasn’t “rape.”‘
You want to know what happens next, don’t you?
That was the start of a project that began last semester, when IDS reporter and editor Michael Majchrowicz — who at the time was BPD reporter — found out that same-sex rape is not considered “rape” in Indiana. Later in the story:
Indiana law does not constitute sexual assault as rape unless it is between members of opposite sex. However, there is deviate conduct, “a person who knowingly or intentionally causes another person to perform or submit to deviate sexual conduct.”
Investigators and prosecutors typically file for criminal deviate conduct when an accused person makes forced sexual contact through means of anal penetration, oral penetration or penetration with an object without the victim’s consent or if the victim is in a state in which they cannot grant permission.
Prosecutors, psychologists and advocacy leaders have made it clear that a change is necessary — some even calling the current code “archaic.”
The story is well-sourced and well-researched with input from investigators, counselors, prosecutors, local police records, legislative records and FBI records. It does a great job of explaining the problem with rape definitions from many points of view and does so completely and elegantly.
I know this took a long time to report and used a whole number of resources in the project. I’ve asked Mike to comment below and start a conversation about the reporting process. Make sure to read the story, linked above, and jump in with questions/comments if you have them.