Charges Dropped Against Accused Rapist After Judge Declares Victims
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 24, 2005
LEESVILLE, LOUISIANA--Three men who claimed they were raped by an institution employee will get no justice -- because of their disabilities.
According to the Leesville Daily Leader, prosecutors on Friday formally dismissed six aggravated rape charges against Louis Glenn Dowden, 58, after a state judge declared that the alleged victims were not competent to testify against Dowden because they have IQs below 70.
Each of the three men had accused Dowden of raping them twice. Leesville Police arrested Dowden in March 2002 after the state Department of Health and Hospitals investigated the claims.
During the investigation, Dowden resigned from his job as resident training specialist at Leesville Developmental Center, a state-run institution housing 50 people with intellectual disabilities. He had been free on $150,000 bond since his arrest.
During a two-day hearing last week, State District Judge John C. Ford ruled that the men's testimony against Dowden could not be used because their intellectual disabilities make them incompetent to testify. Since the case was based primarily on their claims, the prosecution had little hope of convicting Dowden.
DHH spokesman Bob Johannessen said: "We are very disappointed, but we do understand the position the judge is in."
Johannessen added that his agency is talking to the Advocacy Center, which is Louisiana's federally-mandated protection and advocacy system, to see if there is any other action they can take.
"Ultimately, the burden is going to fall on our agency and on others who provide services to individuals with disabilities to put in the proper safeguards to try and prevent these instances from occurring in the first place," he added.