County Attorney Fast Tracks Arraignment Hearing to Avoid Filing Rape Charges as
Victim Files Petition Calling for Grand Jury Investigation into the Case
Online PR News – 03-June-2020 – McPherson County, KS – Madison Smith, a rape survivor, is calling for a grand jury investigation of her case as the county attorney now prosecuting it attempts to fast track a plea deal before rape and other sexual assault charges can be added.
Ms. Smith reported that she had been raped on February 11, 2018. What began as consensual first-time sex between Ms. Smith and the suspect escalated to violence when he repeatedly slapped her across the face and strangled her with both hands several times. Ms. Smith tried to remove his hands from around her neck but was unable to: when she struggled, he squeezed harder, until she started to lose consciousness. They had not had any prior communication or agreement about this violence, and the encounter left visible marks on her body.
County Attorney Greg Benefiel, who is now prosecuting the case, asked to meet privately with Ms. Smith, telling her his office couldn’t move forward with charges of rape or sexual assault. The county attorney called what happened to Ms. Smith “immature sex.” Stunned, she requested her parents’ presence. Eventually, the county attorney filed a charge of aggravated battery for the strangulation, but has refused to file the appropriate charge of rape and other sexual assault charges because Ms. Smith did not verbally revoke consent while being strangled.
On May 31, 2020, Ms. Smith and her supporters held a petition signing in Lindsborg, Kansas. 335 signatures were required to file the petition, and in just three days, 426 signatures were collected. At that time, the arraignment hearing to enter a plea deal on the aggravated assault charge was scheduled for July 2, 2020.
On June 1, following the successful petition drive and at the end of the day, Madison was notified by the county attorney that the defense wanted the arraignment moved to June 4, and the county attorney agreed.
“This is a deliberate move to enter a plea to an aggravated battery in an attempt to avoid convening a grand jury to review the facts of the case,” said Detective Justin Boardman (Ret.), a consultant working on Ms. Smith’s case. “The county attorney and defense attorney are both actively trying to silence this rape survivor. Victims of crime shouldn’t have to hire attorneys to protect them from the justice system.”
The county attorney is blatantly violating several parts of the 2019 Kansas Statutes 74-7333, a bill of rights for victims of crime created to ensure the fair and compassionate treatment of victims of crime and to increase the effectiveness of the criminal justice system by affording victims of crime certain basic rights and considerations:
- Victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and with respect for their dignity and privacy and should suffer the minimum of necessary inconvenience from their involvement with the criminal justice system.
- Victims should receive, through formal and informal procedures, prompt and fair redress for the harm which they have suffered.
- Information should be made available to victims about their participation in criminal proceedings and the scheduling, progress and ultimate disposition of the proceedings.
- The views and concerns of victims should be ascertained and the appropriate assistance provided throughout the criminal process.
- When the personal interests of victims are affected, the views or concerns of the victim should, when appropriate and consistent with criminal law and procedure, be brought to the attention of the court.
Madison Smith filed the petition to convene a grand jury on June 2, 2020 and concurrently filed a motion to postpone the arraignment hearing that is set for June 4, 2020.
For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Justin Boardman at Justin@JustinBoardman.com or 801-231-0881 (text or call)
Boardman Training & Consulting provides training and consulting services in the field of gender-based violence with the goals of raising awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence from a trauma-informed perspective, being victim-centric, and holding offenders better accountable.
McKenna Law Office PA provides criminal and family law attorneys to the Salina, KS area, and has built a reputation for protecting the rights of clients ethically and competently.