Social media firestorm over alleged victim blaming - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Social media firestorm over alleged victim blaming

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A social media firestorm started today over alleged comments made in a courtroom that many are seeing as "victim blaming”.

At the center of this case, a 26-year-old man is sentenced for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old patient at Western Montana Addiction Services.

The story gained a lot of attention though when a report in the Missoulian suggested the victim was referred to as a "temptress" in court yesterday.

I spoke to lawyers of both sides today about why this is damaging for victim's rights.

"This is absolutely false,” said Lisa Kauffman.

Lisa Kaufman, the defense attorney, said that an article published this morning in the Missoulian mischaracterized her comments in court yesterday.

“It is unbelievable to me that the reporter could sit in the court room and attribute statements to me that never came out of my mouth ever,” said Kauffman.

At issue is a comment made in court in which the victim of a sexual assault may have been referred to as a "temptress."

Kauffman said that a judge brought it forward and she was commenting on it outside of the courtroom when a reporter and the victim's mother overheard her.

Prosecuting attorneys said that this type of language is damaging in sexual assault cases.

"I'm not quite sure what it takes to qualify as a temptress or not. I'm certainly appalled at the idea that that certain term could be fashioned in description of a 13-year-old child," said prosecutor, Brian Lowney.

A transcription of court proceedings will not be available for several weeks. 

The 26-year-old man pleaded guilty with one account of sexual assault and has twenty years with the Department of Corrections with sixteen of those years suspended.

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