FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A jury, saying a 22-year-old woman got what she deserved because she was dressed provocatively, acquitted a Georgia drifter of kidnapping and raping her at knifepoint.
'We all feel she asked for it for the way she was dressed,' jury foreman Roy Diamond said after Wednesday's verdict. 'With that skirt you could see everything she had. She was advertising for sex.'
The three-man, three-woman jury had repeatedly been shown a lacy white miniskirt and green tank top the woman wore when she was abducted at knifepoint from a Fort Lauderdale restaurant parking lot Nov. 6, 1988.
The victim said she was 'totally shocked' by the jury's comments.
'I can't understand how anybody could think I deserved to be cut up with a knife, raped multiple times, knocked out and almost killed in a car crash,' the woman said.
Said her lawyer, Alex Siegal, 'I guess this means every pervert and nut out there has a license to rape any person who dresses in a manner they think is provocative.'
Jurors found Steven Lord, 26, not guilty of armed kidnapping and sexual assault.
They were not told that the woman, who lives in Coconut Creek, was jailed for six days in June because she was reluctant to testify. Broward County Circuit Judge Mark Speiser had the woman picked up by deputies after she failed to respond to subpoeanes for court appearances. The woman said she was in Europe and was unaware of the subpoeanas.
After learning of the jailing, juror Dean Medeiros of North Lauderdale said, 'It makes me think that maybe we did make the right decision.'
Reaction to the jury's comment was swift.
'I can't believe it,' said Joanne Richter, director of the Broward County Sexual Assault Treatment Division. 'Even if you had a bikini on, does that give someone the right to have sex with you?'
Said prosecutor James DeHart, 'It hurts me because I know this guy did it. When a defense attorney is able to dirty a victim's reputation, common sense sometimes goes out the window.'
Defense attorney Tim Day and Lord told the jury the woman was a prostitute who agreed to have sex with Lord in exchange for $100 and cocaine. They said she went with Lord voluntarily but later changed her mind.
The woman testified she did not scream or resist when Lord abducted her and stole her red sports car because she was afraid. Lord drove her car north on Interstate 95, threatened her life and raped her three times along the roadside, she testified.
She escaped five hours later after Lord crashed the car in Indian River County. Passing motorists took the woman to a hospital and Lord was captured the next day.
The jurors said discrepancies in the woman's story swayed them to side with Lord, but added that much of their verdict was based on gut feelings.
'She was too calm about it,' said juror Dorothy Murray of Lauderhill, recalling the woman's testimony on the witness stand.
After the verdict, baliffs led a smiling Lord away in handcuffs. Speiser ordered him returned to Georgia to stand trial for the rape of another woman and for sexual crimes involving two other women.