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The Investigator: Judge orders polygraphs from sex-assault victims

5:04 PM, Mar 19, 2010   |    comments
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Judge Alison Floyd issued the orders after the offenders in the three separate cases where found delinquent -- a term used in juvenile court proceedings to indicate guilt. Floyd also ordered the juvenile offenders to also undergo lie detector tests as part of their probation investigation report.

The Investigator, Tom Meyer, first reported the story Thursday night about an order in one of the cases. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Ryan Miday confirmed Friday that the judge had issued similar orders in two other cases.

The judge's intentions is unclear in issuing the orders -- the first of which came January 15. The second order was issued on January 25 and the third on February 4.

Floyd has not returned a call for comment.

Prosecutors have filed motions in two of the three cases to prevent the court from carrying out the lie detector tests on the victims, Miday said. The office also plans to file a similar motion in the third case, he said.

In a motion filed with the court, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nicole Ellis wrote that state law prohibits public officials from forcing a rape victim to submit to a lie detector test for the purposes of investigating an alleged sexual assault. 

"It is clear that the court is attempting to reinvestigate the case after the child was found delinquent," Ellis noted. "Ordering a victim to submit to a polygraph test is harassment and is being done to punish the victim and is not necessary to rehabilitate" the offender.  

Megan O'Bryan, president of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, said the order may violate federal laws. She said it also sends the wrong message to the victims in the case.

"It sends a message to the victim that 'Hey, we don't believe your story,'" said O'Bryan. "It can cause anxiety for the victim. It can cause that victim not to cooperate perhaps and it's just philosphically something that we do not want to present to a rape survivor who has had the courage to come forward."


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