Rape Sometimes Hard to Prosecute

Rape prosecutors in Montgomery say they know what lawyers in the Kobe Bryant case are going through. It can be tough to try a rape case. Usually, it's because there's so little evidence.

When a rape case goes to trial, it's the prosecutors who are often at a disadvantage. "The most difficult thing about a sexual assault crime is that there's usually no witnesses," says Montgomery assistant district attorney Daryl Bailey.

Bailey says Alabama law only requires a victim's word to prove her case, but without witnesses or evidence, a jury still might find it hard to believe. And finding the right jury is a whole other problem.

"A lot of jurors and a lot of individuals automatically start blaming the victim. They want to know what she did to cause it. And that's something we may see in the Kobe Bryant case," Bailey says.

As tough as it may be to prosecute rape cases, at a local rape counseling center, they say it's even tougher getting the rape victims to come forward. Statewide, only 39% of all rape victims report the crime.

Counselors with "Standing Together Against Rape" say reporting the crime is often the only way of overcoming the emotional pain. And Bailey says it's the only way of putting the criminal behind bars. "If not, then they're going to rape someone else," he says.

More often than not, rape cases do end with convictions despite all the difficulties prosecutors have. In Montgomery they credit a special Violence Against Women unit in the DA's office, which aids in prosecution and helps victims cope with the legal process.

Rape counselors say they never force a victim to prosecute, but they still recommend victims report the incident to get the counseling they need. Victims can call the "Standing Together Against Rape" crisis line at 1-888-908-RAPE or simply dial 911.