55

This story has been floating around in image form. Is it as ludicrous as it is presented, or are there nuanced facts being left out? Did it even happen?

The 18-year-old woman (“J.L.”) had sex in her car in a parking lot with a 15-year-old boy* whom she knew socially.

During the sex she withdrew her consent and asked him to stop. The boy stopped without having ejaculated, they returned to the McDonald’s restaurant they had been at earlier that day and she gave him her telephone number. Hours later she told a friend’s mother what had happened, the boy was arrested and tried for rape for his failure to stop the intercourse instantly:

Assistant state’s attorney: “About how long did he continue to push his penis into your vagina?”
J.L.: “About five or so seconds.”

Based on this delay of “five or so seconds” the boy was convicted of first-degree rape.

Dr. Ann Burgess, a Professor of Nursing, testified on behalf of the State that the absence of torn clothes and the woman’s behavior like her lack of physical resistance, failure to scream, sharing her telephone number, not calling 911, not immediately telling the first person about the rape “even if that person might be their best friend” and engaging in routine behavor such as “going to the supermarket and shopping” shortly after a rape is consistent with what she called “rape trauma syndrome” (her own theory which she developed with sociologist Lynda Holmström.)


The court case highlighted not only the widening definition of rape and how lack of rape evidence can be used to construe “rape trauma” but also how irrelevant the testimony of a male defendant has become:

Q: When she was sitting there, was she dressed?
A: She didn’t have nothing on but her shirt.
Q: How did she appear?
A: She appeared normal.
Q: Was she crying?
A: No, she wasn’t.
Q: When you got in the car, what, if anything, did you say or do?
A: I asked her if she was going to let me have sex with her. [..]
Q: What, if anything, did she say?
A: She said yes, as long as I stop when she says to. And then I said “I’m not going to rape you.”
Q: Did you feel that was permission?
A: Yeah, I thought that that was permission.
Q: Why did you say “I don’t want to rape you”?
A: Jut to, because she said, “Stop when I say to,” just to tell her that. It’s kind of like to confirm the permission.
Q: So after she said “Stop when I say stop,” what did you do, if anything? [..]
A: I took the condom out of my pocket and I ripped it open, I put on the condom [..], threw the condom [envelope] on the floor [..] and she picked it up and told me to throw it out the window.
Q: She gave it back to you?
A: Yeah.
Q: Where was it? On the floor?
A: Yeah. [..]
Q: What did you do with it when she gave it back to you?
A: I threw it out the window.
Q: Was the window open, or did you have to roll it down? [..] Had you previously closed it or opened it?
A: No. I didn’t touch the window the whole night.
Q: When you were putting on your condom, where was she, what position was she in?
A: She was, first she was sitting in the car when we was talking, and then she was still sitting when I put on the condom. But then after, when I was trying to go in there, she was like laying down in the car in the backseat.
Q: What did you do physically? [..] What did you do with your penis?
A: I tried to put it in.
Q: Do you know where it was touching or what happened to it?
A: No. After I tried to put it in once, it wouldn’t go in, and I tried a couple more times and it wouldn’t go in. I didn’t feel nothing there.
Q: What happened? What did she say or do?
A: And then she sat up. She was like, “It’s not going to go in,” and that’s when, after she sat up and said “It’s not going to go in,” [..]
Q: Who said “It’s not going to go in?” You or her?
A: She did.
Q: When she sat up, what did that mean to you?
A: That meant stop.
Q: She didn’t say “Stop”?
A: No, she didn’t. She just sat up.
Q: And you took that to mean stop?
A: Yeah.
Q: When she sat up, did you try to put it in again?
A: No, I didn’t.

The boy was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with all but 5 years suspended, and 5 years probation upon release.


* some sources claim he was 16 years old


Court case: “Maouloud Baby v. State of Maryland”

  • 12
    Please don't leave pseudo answers without references in the comments. – Oddthinking Mar 10 '17 at 22:41
  • 4
    Wikipedia article about the case (as mentioned on the right side of the image): Maouloud Baby v. State – unor Mar 11 '17 at 4:48
  • 36
    The meme is at least ludicrous because of the attached Feminism in action. Their is no factual relation between the story and feminism, just someone's straw man fallacy. – user22865 Mar 11 '17 at 14:13
  • 2
    (Note we have a whole meta question for bickering about the definition of meme, so we don't need to have that discussion here in the comments.) – Oddthinking Mar 12 '17 at 3:12
  • 2
    @TRIG It should all be transcribed, but the image should remain also. – fredsbend Mar 12 '17 at 23:45
54

Was a 15 year old teen sentenced 15 years because he did not stop a 5 second intercourse with an 18 year old quickly enough?

No, there was a conviction but the conviction was overturned, and remanded for re-trial. Re-trial is usually used when the courts make an error. Furthermore the 5 seconds of penetration was not the core issue of the case.

Is this story as ludicrous as it is presented, or are there nuanced facts being left out?

There are some facts left out. Because people are innocent till proven guilty, and I can't find a result of a new trial, I assume there are some questions that are unanswered.

Most importantly the image seems to suggest that J.L. was a consenting adult that after a while decided to change her mind during the act of intercourse and that "Baby" took 5 seconds to "pull out". That the 5 seconds of "unwanted sex" is what the conviction was about.

Changing your mind during sex is allowed by Maryland law, but generally withdrawing consent during the act does not make the act rape. In order to be rape the act has to continue, AND there has to be a presence of threat or violence.

With the facts presented in the image, this really confuses things. There is no threat, they were both consenting and then she didn't want to any more. He stopped, and thus, according to the image, no rape was committed. In fact, with just the information in the image many people may sympathize with Baby.

However there are some facts that were presented in the court case that are not in the image. Mostly:

  • There was testimony stating that J.L. was traumatized by the event in the same way other rape victims would be.
  • There was testimony that J.L. was pressured or forced into the sex acts.
  • There was testimony that she was "not allowed to leave until they were done".
  • She gave testimony, that was expounded on by a psychiatric nurse, that her initial consent was likely forced. And her mild reaction both before and after did not mean that she was not raped.

All in all, while not as "simple" as a rape case involving a gun or other weapons, evidence was presented that J.L. was raped, and that actions not included in that picture, were what made the event rape and not the actual penetration for 5 seconds after she said no. The state presented that the acts were not consensual because J.L. felt she had no choice but to say yes.

Furthermore:

On December 21, 2004, the jury found Baby guilty “[a]s to Count I, First Degree Rape (Being aided and abetted by [Mike] in the act of vaginal penetration),” guilty “[a]s to Count II, First Degree Sexual Assault (Aiding and abetting [Mike] in the act of anal penetration),”guilty “[a]s to Count V, Third Degree Sexual Offense (touched vagina),” and guilty “[a]s to Count VI, Third Degree Sexual Offense (touched breast).” The jury found Baby not guilty of one count of first degree rape, of one count of attempted first degree sexual offense, and of one count of conspiracy to commit first degree rape. On February 17, 2005, Baby was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment, with all but five years suspended, and five years probation upon release.

However the appeal focused on jury instructions around withdrawn consent, and rather the testimony about "rape trauma syndrome" should have been allowed in as evidence.

The appeals court agreed that the instructions about "postpenetration withdrawal of consent" were serious enough to warrant a mistrial.

It's important to note that the first degree rape charge, is only valid if he was "assisted" by another person in the rape. So by finding guilty, they are saying that the entire incident involving Mike, Baby, and J.L. constituted rape. Not just the 5 seconds after J.L. says stop.

However, again, there is a line in the image:

The court case highlighted not only the widening definition of rape and how lack of rape evidence can be used to construe "rape trauma" but also how irrelevant the testimony or a male defendant has become.

While that is an opinion, it is one supported by the facts in the case. Baby's testimony comes off as a kid, that didn't really know what he was doing (sex wise), but was trying to impress his friend, and generally have consensual sex. When J.L. decided not to have sex any more he stopped.

J.L.'s actions during and after, even her testimony do not come off like a "classic" rape victim. She exchanges phone numbers, goes shopping with her friend and her friends mom. Doesn't call 911. There is no torn clothes, or other "classic" evidence. And in J.L.'s own testimony she consented to sex as long as he would stop when she said to, and when she said stop, he did.

There is certainly a lot of room to interpret that information. But it's important to remember that the jury decided the actions were illegal.

Appeals court decisions
Wikipedia Info

  • 23
    You say the 5 seconds of penetration was not the core issue of the case. but then you say That the 5 seconds of "unwanted sex" is what the conviction was about. Is this not a direct contradiction? – David says Reinstate Monica Mar 11 '17 at 17:15
  • 9
    I meant that the image suggests that's what the conviction is about. – coteyr Mar 11 '17 at 17:24
  • 10
    According to J.L, when she said stop, he didn't stop: "I, well I yelled stop, that it hurt, and I was pushing him off me. Q. And he didn’t stop – A. No." According to her, she physically and verbally resisted for 5 seconds before he stopped (which seemed to have been longer than the maybe agreed to - but probably coerced - sex has lasted before). According to Baby, she never said stop in the first place. Whomever you believe, "when she said stop, he did" isn't really correct. – tim Mar 11 '17 at 17:45
  • 9
    @coteyr 5 seconds is a long time to keep penetrating someone when that someone is physically pushing you off and yelling. And a jury did convict him. Either way, my point was only that "she claimed that she said stop and he stopped" is not an accurate description of events, because that is not what she said. – tim Mar 11 '17 at 18:50
  • 13
    "J.L.'s actions during and after, even her testimony do not come off like a "classic" rape victim." There is no such thing, everyone reacts to traumatic events differently, and the idea that rape victims would behave in a certain specific way if they were "really raped" is a harmful myth. See this testimony, for example, or this (PDF) brochure. – BradC Mar 13 '17 at 15:36
72

It's partly correct, but it is missing an important aspect of the female’s testimony.

"J.L." (Jewel Lankford) is the female, "Baby" (Maouloud Baby) is the male discussed in the OP, and "Mike" (Michael Eugene Wilson) is another male involved, who pled guilty, and is now a lifetime registered sex offender as a consequence. Bold emphasis is mine.

J.L. further testified that Baby then got out of the car. Mike inserted his fingers and then his penis into J.L.’s vagina. Mike then left the automobile and Baby got into the car.

J.L. testified that Baby told her “it’s my turn now.” According to J.L., the following then transpired:

Q. [ASSISTANT STATE’S ATTORNEY]: And what else did he say?

A. He, after that we sat there for a couple seconds and he was like so are you going to let me hit it and I didn’t really say anything and he was like I don’t want to rape you.

Q. And what did you say?

A. . . . [W]ell first of all they told me that . . . I wouldn’t be able to leave until I was done . . .

Q. They had told you that?

A. Huh?

Q. They had told you that you would not be able to leave?

A. Yes, earlier. They were just, they were like you can leave as soon as we’re done.

Q. And by that you assumed what or that you understood that to mean what?

A. That as soon as I finished whatever they told me to do, I could leave.

Q. So when [Baby] said I don’t want to rape you, did you respond?

A. Yes. I said that as long as he stops when I tell him to, then –

Q. Now, that he could?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, [J.L.], at the time that [Baby] got back in the car, how were you feeling?

A. I don’t know.

Q. Did you feel like you had a choice?

A. Not really. I don’t know. Something just clicked off and I just did whatever they said.

Q. Were you tired?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you want to go home?

A. I just wanted to go home.

Q. Now when you told [Baby] if I say stop, something like that, you have to stop. What did he do after you spoke those words?

A. Well he got on top of me and he tried to put it in and it hurt. So I said stop and that’s when he kept pushing it in and I was pushing his knees to get off me.

Q. You were on your back and he was on top of you?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he stop pushing his penis into your vagina?

A. Not right away.

Q. About how long did he continue to push his penis into your vagina?

A. About five or so seconds.

Q. Let me stop you for a minute. When he was, he put himself in you and you said, ow, it hurts, stop –

A. Yeah.

Q. – did he stop?

A. No.

Q. How many times did you tell him to stop?

A. I, well I yelled stop, that it hurt, and I was pushing him off me.

Q. And he didn’t stop –

A. No.

Q. – until at some point he did?

A. Yes.

State of Maryland v. Maouloud Baby, No. 14, September Term 2007
http://mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2008/14a07.pdf

  • 13
    Your quote just confuses things. Now there's a "they"? There were more people than just the two of them nearby or in the car? – fredsbend Mar 10 '17 at 18:28
  • 35
    @fredsbend yes, there were two males "Baby" and "Mike". You can't expect me to put all 76 pages of the court document into the answer. – DavePhD Mar 10 '17 at 18:33
  • 79
    Might be worth adding to your answer the detail that she was pinned between and groped by two guys on the back seat of a car when this conversation happened, and the exchange: "Q. Did you feel like you had a choice? A. Not really. I don’t know. Something just clicked off and I just did whatever they said." Their summary of a rape trial cuts out the parts about her being trapped, outnumbered, groped, pressured and feeling like she didn't have a choice... – user56reinstatemonica8 Mar 10 '17 at 18:57
  • 16
    Is this entire quote necessary? Feels like it could be shorter and still convey the point its trying to make. – TankorSmash Mar 10 '17 at 20:26
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    @tim the woman testified that both the children (Baby and Mike) were in the back seat with her earlier like you are saying, but Baby and Mike said she was in the front passenger seat and that they were never simultaneously in the back seat. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maouloud_Baby_v._State Mike pled guilty. – DavePhD Mar 11 '17 at 0:18
28

The claim as stated contains errors and purposefully excludes relevant information.

Baby - the alleged rapist in question - was not 14 or 15, but 16:

[...] appellant, who was sixteen years old at the time [...]

Baby was also not only convicted of first-degree rape for the 5 second forced penetration, but additionally of first-degree sexual offense and third-degree sexual offense unrelated to the 5 seconds:

[...] the actions for which Baby was convicted on the sexual offense charges, specifically aiding and abetting Mike in an act of anal penetration and touching J.L .’s breast and vagina without her consent.

The court describes these events in some more depth:

Upon their arrival, she parked her car, whereupon Baby and Mike asked J.L. to sit between them in the back seat so they could talk. J.L. climbed into the back seat and sat between the two. She removed her jacket because she was warm. Baby then put his hand between her legs and Mike tried to put J.L.’s hand down his pants. Baby told J.L. to “flash him” and Mike told her to “just lick it.” When J.L. did not comply with their requests, Baby began to fondle her breast with his hand.

J.L. also testified that she told Baby and Mike that they had to return to the McDonald’s, but they asked to stay ten more minutes. J.L. then “somehow ended up on[her] back,” at which point Baby attempted to remove her pants and Mike tried to place his penis in her mouth. J.L. told them to stop, but Baby and Mike moved her around so that her body was against Baby. Baby then held her arms as Mike attempted to have intercourse,briefly inserting his penis mistakenly into her rectum. Mike again unsuccessfully attempted intercourse, and Baby inserted his fingers into J.L.’s vagina.

J.L. further testified that Baby then got out of the car. Mike inserted his fingers and then his penis into J.L.’s vagina. Mike then left the automobile and Baby got into the car.

After this forced digital penetration and groping with Mike in the car, Baby got out of the car, Mike penetrated the victim and left, after which Baby reentered the car and the 5 second incident - during which the victim verbally and physically resisted - took place which is summarized by DavePhD.

The conviction of Baby was appealed because the judge in the initial trial did not answer a question regarding withdrawing consent. The appeals court argued that consent cannot be withdrawn, with which the next appeals court disagreed. It did however confirm the reversal because of court errors (see Wikipedia or the above linked court document for details).

  • 1
    @Oddthinking I didn't include it as the claim is only about the conviction itself, but I can add it. – tim Mar 11 '17 at 13:25
  • 2
    @DavePhD Yes, they overturned all because they think that they are related: "Lack of consent is an element common to both rape and first and third degree sexual offenses [...] Any clarification which the jury received on the element of consent would have been applicable to its understanding of the first and third degree sexual offense counts, as well as the rape charges." – tim Mar 11 '17 at 13:45
  • 1
    @DavePhD Yes, the court cases are a bit confusing. As I understand it, there was the original trial which ended in a hung jury in 2004, the trial that ended in a conviction in 2004, the 2006 special appeals trial which overturned, and the 2007 appeals trial which confirmed that (but disagreed with the other decisions of the special appeals court). I don't think that there were further cases (a date-restricted google search only turns up mens rights posts talking about the case), maybe jhunewsletter.com is mistaken. – tim Mar 11 '17 at 14:29
  • 1
    Thank you. My comment was based on the issue that it left the reader with the impression that Baby was (legally) guilty, which, whatever one's feelings about the case, doesn't seem to be the official position. – Oddthinking Mar 11 '17 at 14:34
  • 1
    @tim you're right he was 16. Born 13 September 1987. I've looked at his court records in Montgomery County. Pled guilty to possession of marijuana in 2007 and only traffic offenses since then. No evidence of a retrial. – DavePhD Mar 11 '17 at 15:08
-2

To directly address the question asked:

  • The case is not as ludicrous as presented, however the point that what happened during the discussed 5 seconds is being interpreted as rape is as ludicrous as presented.

  • There are indeed a lot of nuanced facts left out. Both from the meme and from the quoted court testimonials (it is her lawyer's job to paint a picture that will lead to conviction, after all).

  • The conviction did happen, before being over turned at a later date.

It's important to recognize that facts, including the duration of the time frame as 5 seconds, is a recount by the victim.

Some examples of nuances left out during both the meme and the testimonies:

  1. During recollection of the events, J.L. states:

    Yes, earlier. They were just, they were like you can leave as soon as we’re done

    Here, what Mike, or Baby were referring to when saying "done with X" can only be inferred.

  2. Then when the Attorney questions her as to how many times she had to ask Baby to stop she instead responded with:

    I, well I yelled stop, that it hurt, and I was pushing him off me.

    The period of time between pushing and yelling is implied.

The answer to both of the above drastically changes the sequence of events.


Why is there an answer that states:

She gave testimony, that was expounded on by a psychiatric nurse, that her initial consent was likely forced. And her mild reaction both before and after did not mean that she was not raped.

Instead of addressing:

The meme in OP's post quotes the court case to show that Doctor Burgess used her own theory to testify as a professional to say that the lack of behavior that is expected of a rape victim is what she would expect of a rape victim.

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