When is rape at gunpoint not rape? When it’s “theft of services.”

UPDATE 2: Mike in comments has provided a link to the Complaint form for the Pennsylvania Jucidial Conduct Board. Once again, be polite, and be sure to follow the instructions. Thanks.

At least, that’s the stance of Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni.

She dropped all the sexual assault and assault charges against Dominique Gindraw, even though he stood accused of forcing a prostitute to have sex with him and three other men.

At gunpoint.

But Deni didn’t let Gindraw entirely off the hook. Because he didn’t pay her what he’d agreed to pay her for sex, and since she was in the business of providing sex for money, Deni let stand a charge of theft of services.

Deni told me she based her decision on the fact that the prostitute consented to have sex with the defendant.

“She consented and she didn’t get paid . . . I thought it was a robbery.”

The prostitute, a 20-year-old single mother, agreed to $150 for an hour of oral and vaginal sex on Sept. 20, according to assistant district attorney Rich DeSipio. The arrangements were made through her posting on Craigslist.

She met the defendant, Dominique Gindraw, 19, at what she thought was his house, but which turned out to be an abandoned property in North Philadelphia.

He asked if she’d have sex with his friend, too, and she agreed for another $100.

The friend showed up without money, the gun was pulled and more men arrived.

Got that? Because she agreed to have sex with Gindraw and his friend for a set price, and because that price wasn’t paid and Gindraw drew a gun and forced the complainant to have sex with not only him and his friend, but also with two other guys, that’s not rape, that’s robbery. Because it’s the same as stealing your neighbor’s cable.

Well, fortunately, the fifth guy who showed up asked the victim why she was crying, and got her dressed and out of there. He was a hell of a lot more compassionate than the judge, who couldn’t seem to grasp that the victim, despite having consented to sex under one set of circumstances, did not give blanket consent to every sexual act involving that particular customer. Particularly what with the presence of the gun and everything:

Deni did seem contemptuous of the victim:

“Did she tell you she had another client before she went to report it?” Deni asked me yesterday when we met at a coffee shop.

“I thought rape was a terrible trauma.”

A case like this, she said – to my astonishment – “minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped.”

Right, because it can’t be “true” rape if the victim is in shock, or is so desperate for money that she can’t afford to turn down a paying customer before seeking help.

Frankly, this reminds me of that nutbar state legislator from South Dakota who said that the only possible person who might qualify for an exception under the state’s draconian abortion ban would be a religious 13-year-old virgin who’d been violently sodomized.*

The idea, of course, is that only virtuous women can be “really” raped, that prostitutes are public property and thus, the only injury they suffer from rape is economic, since they didn’t get compensation for what they’re putting out there on the market. The sluts-can’t-be-raped argument is a bit different, in that sluts are giving it away for free, so what’s the problem?

Fortunately, the Assistant DA is rather horrified by the whole business:

It’s true the prostitute negotiated sex with the defendant – but not unprotected gang sex at gunpoint.

“The Legislature has defined sex by force as rape,” said DeSipio, accusing the judge of “rewriting her own laws.”

DeSipio said Judge Deni’s ruling was based, not on the law, but on moral contempt.

“Certainly if a jury wants to make that judgment, they’re entitled to. But for a judge to make a judgment on a human being – I’ve never seen that before.”

This is shocking because she’s not following the law AT ALL. She’s making factual assumptions about the quality of consent that she’s not entitled to (that’s an issue for the jury). I know people got up in arms about that judge in Nebraska who refused to allow the use of the word “rape” in court, but at least he had a colorable evidentiary basis for doing so. This judge? Not so much.

BTW, the defendant stands accused of repeating the exact same crime with another prostitute only four days later. But DeSipio, the ADA, decided not to bring that charge before Deni:

The defendant was charged in an identical incident involving a 23-year-old woman four days later, DeSipio said.

Neither woman knew the other and both told identical stories. The other men involved in the attack couldn’t be identified.

DeSipio was so stunned by Deni’s ruling in the first case that he refused to present the second one.

“I wouldn’t demean her that way,” he said of the second victim, calling the proceedings “a farce.”

Judge Deni then threw out the second case for failure to prosecute.

Police Detective Jack Ryan, who investigated the incidents, said the victims in the two cases “were in fear for their lives. Since they saw one of the doers really well, it crossed both of their minds that they’d be killed.”

And isn’t it interesting, the choice of terms that Deni used when she discussed possible reaction to her ruling?

Deni acknowledged that her ruling and remarks would be controversial.

“I know I’m going to get killed on this.”

Not like those two women, Judge Deni. Or the others who, desperate for money, will undoubtedly meet Gindraw and his friends, and his gun, in an empty lot somewhere late at night.

Via Jesse.

See also Violet Socks and Melissa.

UPDATE: Thanks to Caitlain in comments for the link to the Philadelphia Bar Association, which is recommending that this judge be retained.

You can email their chairman, Kenneth Shear, and let him know (politely) why you think the PBA should revisit their recommendation.

* Truly, any pregnancy resulting from such a violation would be a miraculous event. Since, well, sodomy is not known for its use of pathways to the uterus.

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85 comments for “When is rape at gunpoint not rape? When it’s “theft of services.”

  1. October 16, 2007 at 1:36 am


    That one is just truly incredible. She says in the original article she did it so she can sleep at night? How on earth can she sleep at night!

  2. October 16, 2007 at 1:45 am

    What’s the procedure for filing a complaint about a judge in Pennsylvania?

  3. October 16, 2007 at 3:23 am

    This is disgusting. It’s unbelievable to me that anyone could consider sex, unprotected, at gunpoint, as “theft of services”.

    This woman agreed to sex with 2 men, I assume protected. Not gangrape, where she has no control over how her body is used nor for how long. The fact is, if the woman (sorry, I couldn’t find her name anywhere) had changed her mind about the original contract, and he had just gone ahead himself, it would STILL be rape.

    And going to another client afterwards? That is not a sign a person isn’t traumatised. It’s a sign that she is either in shock and trying to regain control over her sexuality, or that she is simply in so desperate a situation that even rape and assault with a gun takes second place to bringing in the required amount of money.

    It’s strange- I’m used to thinking of judges as protectors of people, preventing nonsensical law changes, upholding the law and protecting the public from dangerous criminals. From the stories I’ve seen here though, with a teenage girl being told she wasn’t raped because “she looked 16 ad wore sexy underwear” and a woman forced to have sex at gunpoint having “not been raped, because she is a prostitute” it’s hard to hold much faith in the system.

    And how can the system of law work if the people it supposedly serves don’t trust it to do what is right and just?

  4. Lorelei
    October 16, 2007 at 5:56 am

    “I know I’m going to get killed on this.”

    jesus christ, we can only hope, eh?

  5. Hawise
    October 16, 2007 at 7:33 am

    What’s the procedure for getting that judge committed? That is truly an insane ruling.

  6. Caitlain
    October 16, 2007 at 7:53 am

    Anyone have that judge’s e-mail address? I have a few words I’d like to convey.

  7. Caitlain
    October 16, 2007 at 8:21 am

    By the way, the Philadelphia Bar Association is recommending that this asshat be retained in the upcoming November election.


    You can contact the Executive Director, Kenneth Shear and suuggest that they may wish to re-evaluate this moron’s suitability for the bench.

  8. BabyGirl
    October 16, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I see that Jill has updated this post and asked us all to, politely, email Kenneth Shear with our comments. Would it be possible for someone to write up a template of something we could send? I’m not the best writer in the world and I am not sure how polite I could be. I could also send the form to friends and family so they could tweak it and mail it to Mr. Shear as well. Thanks.

  9. October 16, 2007 at 8:56 am

    the judge has allowed a serial rapist to go free.

  10. BabyGirl
    October 16, 2007 at 8:56 am

    Oops, sorry, this is zuzu’s post.

  11. October 16, 2007 at 9:17 am

    Would my moral repugnance at men who hire prostitutes justify my convicting them of rape? (if I were a judge)

  12. ElleBeMe
    October 16, 2007 at 9:18 am


    So if someone were to seek revenge on this judge for a ruling she made – another judge could cite that revenge was irrelevant….the assailant had a difference of opinion and was seeking an appeal to the ruling?

    What a

  13. October 16, 2007 at 9:20 am

    What I mean to say, if this judge had moral sense, she’d throw the book at the men for hiring a prostitute than at the prostitute. The prostitute after all may have extenuating circumstances; the men have none. (And this without taking any of the gun point stuff into consideration).

    It is the same thought I have that the drug dealer and the buyer of say, heroin, are morally more culpable than the poppy farmer in Afghanistan. The persons with the more latitude of choice bear more responsibility.

  14. howie
    October 16, 2007 at 9:28 am

    This is indeed apalling. From a cold, practical perspective, however, I must ask what happened to the gun charge?

    Even if I accept the judge’s preposterous notion that it isn’t rape, shouldn’t it be armed robbery instead of theft of services.

    Most people don’t steal cable, for example, at gunpoint.

  15. Mandolin
    October 16, 2007 at 9:28 am

    No email address, but Phila.gov has her telephone number:

    Profile for: TERESA CARR DENI

    Department Name: COURT SYSTEM
    Department Number: 84
    Title/Position: JUDGE
    Location: CJC-1309
    Telephone Number: 683-7223
    Last Updated: 7/18/2007

    (as this information is manifestly a matter of public interest [hence being on a government site], I will assume that it’s okay to post here.)

  16. John
    October 16, 2007 at 9:30 am

    Oh my lord. What kind of world do we live in?

  17. October 16, 2007 at 9:32 am

    What, exactly, are laws for? Why do we even have them? For this?

    This is worth fighting for?

    Please tell me it’s not. This cannot stand. “The center will not hold.”

  18. micheyd
    October 16, 2007 at 9:43 am

    “minmizes true rape”

    The problem is, the way medieval judges and rape apologists frame it, there’s virtually nothing that counts as “true rape”. For any given case, the woman always seems to be lying or can be entirely dismissed on some minor aspect of her background.

  19. mr.ed
    October 16, 2007 at 9:44 am

    My sister just retired as a prosecutor in the PA state Supreme Court disciplinary council. I’d bet she’d come out of retirement to strip the law license of this party.

  20. LadyGrey
    October 16, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Philly area code is either 215 or 267.

  21. pisaquari
    October 16, 2007 at 9:56 am

    I just did a name search on Myspace for “Dominique Gindraw” and got only one result for someone, conveniently, residing in Philadelphia.

    [Link deleted. Did you think you were at Malkin’s blog? We don’t do that here. — Zuzu]

  22. BS Detector
    October 16, 2007 at 10:02 am

    And liberal Talk-Radio host Randi Rhodes was attacked and beaten up while walking her dog Sunday. She was wearing sweats and had no money – so it wasn’t a robbery. It occurred at 39th and Park.

    Beaten up. No robbery. Teeth knocked out.

    Check the news sites, NBC, ABC, CBS, etc. Silence.

    If Rush Limbaugh had been attacked and beaten up, do you think it would be newsworthy?

    Don’t bother answering, it was a rhetorical question.

  23. Mike
    October 16, 2007 at 10:21 am

    For those who are interested:


    Might be useful for someone in PA to file a complaint.

  24. anon
    October 16, 2007 at 10:51 am

    This does sound like the kind of ruling that be appealed b/c as a matter of law, rape=sexual relations w/out consent. Even assuming (and this is a huge assumption) if she consented to sex with two men, the arrival of a gun and two other guys means that any act with them was coerced and the charges should stand. (And this is a very charitable analysis of the defendants’ position.). Further, whether consent exists is a question of credibility, which is wihtin the provenance of hte jury. If they believe that she didn’t consent, then she didn’t, and the defendant loses.

    This woman probably should not be on the bench, but I hope the prosecutor’s office doesn’t lose sight of getting justice in the particular case.

  25. Betsy
    October 16, 2007 at 11:20 am

    This reminds me in a horrible way of the Maryland case about withdrawing consent. It’s like this judge assumed that since the woman consented to have sex under one set of conditions, she had no right to withdraw that consent under a very different set of conditions. It’s stomach-turning.

  26. Pilar Angélica
    October 16, 2007 at 11:44 am

    It’s too bad the prostitute didn’t have a pair of scissors or a butcher knife or stiletto in her pocket book. She could have shown all those male scumbags what “theft of services” was really about!

  27. vitaminC
    October 16, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    I don’t think this judge went far enough. The Constitution clearly states that there are two types of women, “free-range” and “cloistered”–free range, or “public domain” women, are clearly public property under the little-known “finders, keepers” clause of the 19th Amendment. Hope this clears things up!

  28. vitaminC
    October 16, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    That last was snark, in case it wasn’t apparent. Ugh. Too disgusted to continue.

  29. W Action
    October 16, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Maybe she’s enforcing the Federalist Society platform towards rape. Isn’t it becoming clear to all that “family values” means “I have something to hide?” Maybe rough sex with guns is this judge’s turn-on.

  30. LindaH
    October 16, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    This is the email is sent to the bar associaition,

    Dear Mr. Shear,

    I am distressed to learn that the Philadelphia Bar Association has recommended Teresa Carr Deni for retention as Municipal Judge. I do assume that that recommendation was made prior to her recent decision regarding the prostitute who was raped at gunpoint. I feel her decision in this case, that this was theft of services not rape, show a lack of judgment that should disqualify her as a judge. If, for example, I agree to sell my television to a stranger for $100 and he comes into my house with a gun and removes all my furniture, then he would be guilty of grand theft, not welshing on a deal. In a similar manner, forcing a woman who had agreed to one kind of sex to have a different kind of sex by threatening her with a gun is rape. Please reconsider your recommendation in this case. For justice to be maintained all people must be treated justly, regardless of their economic status or their profession.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

  31. preying mantis
    October 16, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Police Detective Jack Ryan, who investigated the incidents, said the victims in the two cases “were in fear for their lives. Since they saw one of the doers really well, it crossed both of their minds that they’d be killed.”

    I don’t suppose it ever crossed the judge’s mind that the only reason the women weren’t killed might be because the assailants assumed their victims, being prostitutes, wouldn’t go to police, or that she’s pretty much given them license to gangrape as many prostitutes as they like.

  32. frankly
    October 16, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    OK, this just makes me so sick and angry I can’t deal with it any more. SO I’m not gonna deal with it, I’m gonna retell a joke about sodomy leading to pregnancy.

    Back in the 50’s (damn I’m old) a young unmarried girl confesses to her doctor that she is pregnant. He says “don’t worry. When your time comes we’ll find a patient with gall bladder issues and convince her that she was actually pregnant.” When the time comes the only gall bladder patient is the village priest but they decide to go a head as they have no alternative. He is amazed at the miracle but accepts it.

    Years later, on his deathbed, the priest calls his son to his side to confess. “Son, you know I have always said I was your father but that isn’t the truth. In truth the Archbishop is your father.”

    I know our judicial system has never been perfect but really, how do we get dim bulbs (!:;+$@@) like this & how could we prevent it in the future?

  33. Thomas, TSID
    October 16, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Frankly, there is no perfect system, but in my view (and I’m a lawyer), elected judges are a disaster. The judiciary is the branch of government that should act as a counter-majoritarian check on the other branches. Judges should be selected by as insulated a process as possible and therefore have no interests to pander to. In my view, that beats the hell out of having a tight group of radicals put braying asses like Roy Moore in a position to decide what the fundamentals of our government mean or what our rights are. In fact, IMO, the federal bench worked just fine until the Federalist Society and their friends perfected the method for sneaking crazy ideologues onto the courts.

    Deni is what happens when judges are elected and nobody pays attention to judicial elections. Alito is what happens when judges are appointed and people put a lot of resources into advancing radical ideologues.

  34. Anatolia
    October 16, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    RE: she’s pretty much given them license to gangrape as many prostitutes as they like.

    Or any other woman in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    These cases are canaries in the coal mine.

  35. ThomasT
    October 16, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    As noted above, Judge (sic) Teresa Carr Deni is up for a retention vote (only happens once every ten years) in a couple of weeks. Many feminist organizations make and distribute recommendations for judicial votes. Retention votes are usually a cake walk, but there is a libertarian-ish group calling for the ouster of all judges up for retention this cylce based on our semi-infamous legislative and pay raise scandal from a couple years back. This issue has lost steam and this will be a low turnout election, but with a concerted effort, we might be able to get this pathetic excuse for a judge out of office.

    Drop a line to Philadelphia NOW, Liberty City (GLBT) Democratic Club, Planned Parenthood SE PA, and NARAL PA and let them know that their voters guides should recommend a NO vote on retaining this judge who refuses to uphold the law.

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  37. justicewalks
    October 16, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Are you serious, zuzu? One can post the female judge’s information all over this thread, but one can’t post a link to the male gang-rapist’s myspace page?

    There isn’t even any disagreement as to whether or not the man held a gun on this woman while he and his crew forcefully masturbated into her orifices. What exactly was the problem with that link? Why are you trying to provide “assylum” for this asshole?

    The least you could do would be to delete the woman judge’s contact information from the thread as well. If readers are going to be redirected to Google for contact information for the rapist, they could be diverted there for Judge Deni’s information too.

  38. zuzu
    October 16, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Justicewalks, I’m not interested in being Michelle Malkin, Jr.

    The judge made a ruling that was breathtakingly unethical and contrary to law, and as a public official, she can be held accountable for it. The organizations that have recommended she be retained can be lobbied to change their position.

    But I’m not interested in harassing a private person, who may or may not even be the right guy. If you want to Google this guy, be my guest, but I’m not going to be a conduit for it.

    More importantly, however, is this: harassing the perp when he is walking free may very well result in the death of the two victims, should he be of a mind to take it out on them. He knows who they are, and they are without protection.

    Are you really willing to have that on your head? I’m not.

  39. justicewalks
    October 16, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Oh, please, his walking free at all is more danger to those 2 women than any message someone may or may not leave at his myspace page will ever be.

    I didn’t say anything at all about the contact information for people in a position to relieve this woman of her judicial duties, so I don’t know where all that’s coming from. But I do think that the raped woman was wronged by both her rapists AND the judge, and I don’t think her violators, neither the many sexual assaulters nor the handmaiden judge who sold her out, ought to be treated all that differently.

    I agree to disagree with your stance in the matter.

  40. October 16, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Justicewalks, we have a policy of not publishing anyone’s personal information, no matter how repellent. If someone had published the judge’s home address or phone number or her personal email address, it would be deleted immediately. What the commenter published was the contact information for the judge relating directly to the capacity in which she made this decision. The information was published with the intent of giving people a place to complain about the ruling.

    No one is giving the asshole rapist “asylum.” But publishing his personal information isn’t for the same purpose as publishing her professional contact info. And we don’t publish personal info, not even for the most abhorrent people.

    After all, there are plenty of people out there who think, for example, that women who have abortions are murderers. They’re wrong, but that doesn’t matter when they’re taking photographs and listing the names and addresses of doctors women who have terminated pregnancies. There are plenty of people who did publish the personal information of the Duke rape accuser because they think she’s an asshole. We aren’t like them.

  41. October 16, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Ah, I see my response was too late. Carry on.

  42. ratel
    October 16, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Because this happened at a preliminary hearing, jeopardy has not yet attached, and the likely outcome of this ruling will be that the Defendant will be re-arrested and will face a second preliminary hearing in front of a common-pleas judge.

    DeSipio said he’ll file to reinstate the charges in both cases right away – before a different judge, of course

    The bad news is that having been treated so badly by the system once the women may not be willing to return and risk their lives by testifying again.

  43. pisaquari
    October 16, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    To be clear, that page was not linked to as a way to “antagonize” this person. Nor did it include, from what I saw, *any* addresses as to where we might physcially contact him. What has been given out here on the judge gives way more as to her physical location than anything that Myspace page includes.
    I thought that perhaps this would be a guerilla method for collecting cues, reading what was on the wall, people linked to in his friend list who had names that matched those of others in the trial, etc… It was a way to collect further evidence if any was to be found. I understand your policy and was not aware of it.

    It never ceases to amaze me how much the focus shifts away from the rapist(s) during these cases.
    We’ve already had a female judge tell a rape victim she was robbed.
    And now we can launch another ferocious letter writing campaign telling the judge off, getting her retained,etc…
    And, of course, now we’ve got feminists calling other feminists
    “Michelle Malkin.”
    Women vs women, while men walk free.
    The patriarchy wins again.

  44. zuzu
    October 16, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me how much the focus shifts away from the rapist(s) during these cases.
    We’ve already had a female judge tell a rape victim she was robbed.
    And now we can launch another ferocious letter writing campaign telling the judge off, getting her retained,etc…
    And, of course, now we’ve got feminists calling other feminists
    “Michelle Malkin.”
    Women vs women, while men walk free.
    The patriarchy wins again.

    A) Who’s calling anyone else “Michelle Malkin” here?

    B) The point here is to get the judge, who was the one who let this guy off, NOT retained. You know, off the bench, where she can’t do this to anyone else?

    C) Once again, we don’t know for sure that you got the right guy there. Personally, I have a name shared by two other people in the New York bar and by a number of other people in my borough. I’d be horrified if someone decided to go after me but published one of these other people’s names.

    D) You seem convinced that this is some kind of women vs. women thing. Are you referring to yourself, or to Judge Deni as the vs.? If it’s you, get over yourself. If it’s Judge Deni, keep in mind that she was the one who dismissed the charges. So why should we not go after her? Her actions invalidated anything anyone else (other than another judge or the ADA) could do about the rapist. What, exactly, is your problem with going after Judge Deni?

  45. Laurie
    October 16, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    *cheers and claps for zuzu*

    Well said.

  46. pisaquari
    October 17, 2007 at 12:28 am

    Zuzu, my link was first deleted with a snark reference to Malkin–call it what you will. It was unnecessary as I was trying to help. I have explained my thinking on the Myspace page–I never said we should “go after” this person and wouldn’t. I thought it might be another angle to take and gather information if his page did offer any references to this trial or those involved.
    Judge Deni is not off the hook–my noting the shift away from the rapists is not a suggestion to ignore the judge’s hand in this matter. I support that. But I do wish there was a way to continue involving the names and blame of the incident on the men who actually raped the woman–in addition to Deni. My attempt to do this did not sit well with a policy I was unware of your blog holds–your method of dealing with this, I felt, was antagonistic and definitely not considerate of someone who felt compelled to *help.*
    More statements like “If it’s you, get over yourself” only add to unnecessary bite to someone who came to join hands.
    That is unfortunate. What a red-herring merry-go-round.

  47. M
    October 17, 2007 at 6:42 am

    Of course I agree with the post. But a minor point:

    “Truly, any pregnancy resulting from such a violation would be a miraculous event. Since, well, sodomy is not known for its use of pathways to the uterus.”

    Actually, a significant number of pregnancies follow anal sex due to leakage of the ejaculate from the anus.

  48. ThomasT
    October 17, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Regarding the comment, elevated to update, to file complaints with the PA Judicial Board, it seems like that is not the appropriate route. From the first item on their FAQ:

    For example, the Board will not review or change any legal ruling or pass judgment on a judge’s exercise of discretion regardless of the correctness of that ruling or exercise of discretion. These complaints of “legal error” can only be considered by courts created by the Constitution to hear cases on appeal.

    I’d suggest that those interested in seeing this judge lose her job support efforts to campaign against her retention vote which is coming up in a couple of weeks. YoungPhillyPolitics.com will be a good place to find out what’s happening in that regard.

  49. zuzu
    October 17, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Thomas, I think this would fall under ethical complaints. Clearly, she based her ruling on her opinion of the victims and not on the law or facts.

    Actually, a significant number of pregnancies follow anal sex due to leakage of the ejaculate from the anus.

    Gah! For real?

    Zuzu, my link was first deleted with a snark reference to Malkin–call it what you will. It was unnecessary as I was trying to help. I have explained my thinking on the Myspace page–I never said we should “go after” this person and wouldn’t. I thought it might be another angle to take and gather information if his page did offer any references to this trial or those involved.
    Judge Deni is not off the hook–my noting the shift away from the rapists is not a suggestion to ignore the judge’s hand in this matter. I support that. But I do wish there was a way to continue involving the names and blame of the incident on the men who actually raped the woman–in addition to Deni. My attempt to do this did not sit well with a policy I was unware of your blog holds–your method of dealing with this, I felt, was antagonistic and definitely not considerate of someone who felt compelled to *help.*
    More statements like “If it’s you, get over yourself” only add to unnecessary bite to someone who came to join hands.
    That is unfortunate. What a red-herring merry-go-round.

    Look, you’re a new poster who posts someone’s myspace page. I’ve got no idea what your intentions are, and posting someone’s personal information rarely leads anywhere good. And I’m sure the Philly police can use Google too, so I really don’t see how posting myspace pages here will help anyone.

    As I’ve explained, over and over by now, the person who actually had the power to do something about the rapists and hold them accountable failed to do so because of her own prejudices. We *can* do something about her. In fact, this is a post about her.

  50. preying mantis
    October 17, 2007 at 11:17 am

    “Gah! For real?”

    Yeah. I think anal has something like a 15-20% failure rate when used to prevent pregnancy thanks to the leakage factor. Of course, that’s probably not really representative of the expected pregnancy rate for a random couple who has unprotected anal sex every so often while using condoms as their birth control method. From the structure of the study, it seemed logical to conclude that the couples surveyed used it instead of abstinence while using the rhythm method, so any sperm that made it to the vagina had the best chance of causing pregnancy that they were going to get.

    That aside, I’m pretty sure that disturbingly-well-thought-out litany of prerequisites for an abortion included vaginal rape as well as forcible sodomy.

  51. October 17, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    It is quite true that if you get semen more or less in the right place, you can have pregnancy without penis/vagina intercourse. The pregnancy rate for anal given above seems rather high.

  52. Caitlain
    October 17, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    I have always heard that 2% of all unintended pregnancies were the result of “anal leakage.” I don’t recall specifically where that came from, though I know it was either a textbook or an article that was used in one of my Human Sexuality classes at UM. Quite frankly, I’m not sure how you’d be able to determine that with any reasonable certainty.

  53. NotALodge
    October 18, 2007 at 3:22 am

    I appreciated the link pisaquari-I personally felt it was a nice blog warming gift.
    MySpace is a public domain- you just re-directed us to a source.

  54. karen bojar
    October 18, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Philadelphia NOW has written to the Bar Association calling on them to rescind their recommendation that Teresa Carr Deni be retained as Municipal Court judge. See attached letter:

    Ken Shear
    Executive Director
    Philadelphia Bar Association

    Dear Mr. Shear:

    The Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women calls on you to rescind your recommendation that Teresa Carr Deni be retained as Municipal Court judge.

    According to thus far uncontested reports, Judge Deni dismissed charges of rape and assault against a male defendant who lured a prostitute to an abandoned property and forced her at gunpoint to have sexual relations with him and three other men. The victim had agreed to a few hours of paid sex with the defendant and one other man. She had not consented, however, to sex with the other two, nor had she consented to unprotected sex in an abandoned building. There can be little question as to her lack of consent—those who engage in consensual sex do not have to be held at gunpoint.

    Whether the defendant in this case is in fact guilty of rape may well depend upon specific facts as yet unknown. Finding such facts is the function of juries. Judge Deni’s premature dismissal of the case, if allowed to stand, will forever prevent relevant facts from being discovered, and may well result in a criminal’s remaining unpunished.

    Judging from her comments as published, Judge Deni’s decision to dismiss the charges of rape and assault seems to be based on her abhorrence of prostitution and her contempt, even disgust, for those who practice it. A judge is not free, however, to ignore a crime because she disapproves of the victim. Judge Deni’s willingness to ignore the law and sound judicial practice renders her unfit for retention. We hope that you rescind your recommendation to retain her.

    Yours respectfully,

    Karen Bojar
    Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women

  55. Josh
    October 18, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Hey! I sent this to the folks at Feministing last Friday. How come it took so long to make it to the blogosphere?

  56. JB
    October 18, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    I also am amazed at the ruling. On the one hand I can identify the logic involved. For instance, if you have someone agree to detail your car for money and instead you force them to do it at gunpoint for not just your car but a few friends also it’s a theft of services and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and perhaps a conspiracy charge also. But if you instead forced someone to do it who hadn’t agreed to do it for money the charges of illegal detention, kidnapping or even perhaps a slavery charge (as it is involuntary servitude) would happen.

    So while I disagree with the actions of the judge I can see the logic involved.

  57. Dee
    October 21, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    JB, that’s a joke right? you’re aware that a car is not a vagina? no amount of false analogies can defend this judge’s action. she holds prostitutes in moral contempt, period. to suggest the presence of logic in this ruling adds insult to injury.

  58. Kathryn
    October 22, 2007 at 3:47 am

    I am so disgusted……

    I thought the days of “Well, she shouldn’t have put herself in that position….She deserved it!” or “Well, look what she was wearing….she must have wanted it” were long gone…..evidently not, it seems we have regressed all the way there again!

    Wow…..I am so angry I am shaking……I really hope that judge gets what she deserves….(*maybe raped at gunpoint?) !!!!

  59. Kathryn
    October 22, 2007 at 3:49 am

    Ummmm….JB, we are talking about a HUMAN BEING! A woman who has been traumatized by rape! She is a VICTIM! GEEZUS, WTF is wrong with people!

  60. October 22, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    Wow…..I am so angry I am shaking……I really hope that judge gets what she deserves….(*maybe raped at gunpoint?) !!!!

    I certainly understand your anger and believe it’s – obviously – completely appropriate. However, I really do not believe it is helpful at all for anyone to insinuate or directly state that any human being deserves to be raped for any reason at all…regardless of the vileness of said human being.

    Nope, just not helpful at all for a woman on a feminist site to state (or insinuate) that any other woman deserves to be raped.

    (former blogger from Feminist Nation)

  61. dbd
    October 23, 2007 at 1:45 am

    This is pretty saddening.

    What exactly is the procedure for removing a judge from the bench? If the Bar Association doesn’t recommend her for retention, will she then automatically be replaced? Or is their recommendation informal, more of an endorsement than a nomination?

  62. L.
    October 29, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    1. This is why there are so many problems involving the abuse of sex workers. A prostitute would be hard pressed to seek justice when there are judges like Deni.
    2. This is why prostitution needs to be legalized.

  63. k
    October 29, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    this is totally insane

  64. November 1, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    By the way, the PBA has finally “criticized” the idiot judge for her ruling in this case.

    Read it here

  65. November 2, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Rape is NOT an Occupational Hazard!

    Sex Workers Join Women’s Groups and Sexual Assault Survivors’ Groups to Urge PA Voters to Vote ‘No’ on the Retention of Judge Teresa Carr Deni

    Judge Teresa Carr Deni spawned outrage from all directions after ruling on October 4th that a sex worker that was raped at gunpoint by multiple men was NOT sexually assaulted, rather she was just robbed. Deni commented in an Oct. 12th interview that this case “minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped.”

    Grassroots activists around the country, including nationwide sex worker-led organizations such as the Desiree Alliance and regional advocacy groups from coast to coast responded with anger and disgust for Deni’s disregard of the basic human rights of the rape victim in this case. “Deni’s decision in this case sends a message that sex workers can be targeted for violence with impunity. Rape of sex workers is common, alarmingly under-reported, and rarely taken seriously by authorities,” Kitten Infinite of Sex Workers’ Outreach Project said. “Violence against sex workers is perpetuated by the state through discriminatory laws and judicial rulings such as this.”

    Sex workers in the US and abroad are organizing and becoming more vocal about the violence and discrimination that they face. “Because prostitution is criminalized, our human rights and our boundaries are clearly not respected,” Mariko Passion, a board member from the Desiree Alliance commented, she continues, “…forcing or manipulating sexual intercourse by fraud, fear or coercion is rape.” On Oct 30th, after considerable pressure from sex workers and feminists around the country, the PA Bar Association issued a statement condemning Deni’s action, stating that, “The victim has been brutalized twice in this case: first by the assailants, and now by the court.”

    The Desiree Alliance applauds Association Chancellor Jane Dalton’s review of the matter and we find some satisfaction in the fact that the District Attorney’s office has re-filed rape charges against the perpetrator of this despicable crime. However, we still call on voters to vote ‘No’ on retaining Deni in the election on November 6th. The Desiree Alliance will hold a virtual press conference and rally on Monday, November 5th at 5pm Eastern for sex workers and allies to comment publicly about this case and how to prevent further discrimination against sex workers.

    Who: Desiree Alliance and Affiliates

    What: “Rape is NOT an Occupational Hazard!” Virtual rally

    Why: Judge Teresa Carr Deni should not be retained as a Municipal Court Judge in Philadelphia

    When: Monday, November 5, 2007 5pm Eastern, 2pm Pacific

    Where: http://www.BoundNotGagged.com

  66. November 13, 2007 at 12:13 am

    I really thought about this. Here is what I came up with:


    To debate this argument, we need to consider what constitutes a rape and what constitutes a robbery.

    Rape is legally defined as non-consensual sexual contact, involving forced penetration orally, vaginally or anally either by a body part or using an object. Rape can also occur if one party in a sex act is not mentally able to comprehend or willfully consent to the act, in instances where the victim is under the age of consent, or mentally impaired either by disability, alcohol, drugs or duress.

    Robbery is defined as the seizing of property through force or intimidation. (This is different from burglary, which is the seizing of a property without resorting to violence or threats – such as breaking into someone’s home when they are not present and stealing their television set)
    Theft of Services is defined as “a crime which is committed when a person obtains valuable services — as opposed to goods — by deception, force, threat or other unlawful means, i.e., without lawfully compensating the provider of said services.”

    Prostitution is defined the exchange of sexual activity for remuneration, being either cash or other goods/services.


    In order to comprehend rape as a robbery, you need to first comprehend prostitution as a service that can be stolen, and before that, as a service that can be rendered.

    To do this, I will compare prostitution to plumbing.

    Both a plumber and a prostitute have a service to offer. A plumber will come to your house, inspect your pipes, and unclog a drain if need be. A prostitute will come to your house (or other suitable location) and perform sex acts. In order to get either of these people to do either of these things, you must pay them. Typically, a plumber will see the clog in your drain and tell you how much it will cost you to remove. Similarly, a prostitute may ask what you want, and depending on what requests you have, give you a fee. In this manner, both people are giving you an estimate, or, an approximate amount of money you’ll be required to pay.
    Let’s say that for each of these people, the fee to get them to do what you want is $200. Let’s assume that neither of them requires the money upfront. This implies that you will pay them $200 after the completion of said service.
    In the case of the plumber, you will probably receive a written contract. This contract will, at the bare minimum, look something like this:

    I, Juliet Bennett-Rylah, agree to pay Percy Plumber $200 for his service of unclogging my kitchen pipes on November 10, 2007, upon completion of this service.

    And both Percy and Juliet will sign the document. Likely, we will both have a copy. This is a written binding agreement that is unequivocal proof indicating that this service is to be rendered and when it is, Juliet will pay Percy the agreed amount. Contracts are legally binding. Contracts can only be signed by people who are 18 years old or older, in good mental health and not under mental duress – i.e., the same type of people who can consent to have sex. Verbal contracts are sometimes not legally binding. For instance, if Percy asked Juliet for five dollars for lunch, which he promises to pay back tomorrow, he is not legally obligated to do so because there’s no proof that this ever happened.

    That said, Gindraw was not under legal obligation to pay the woman for sex, because they had no binding agreement that he would. This is because prostitution is illegal, therefore, it is an oxymoron to assert that a legally binding document could exist pertaining to an illegal act.

    However, there is such a thing as an implied contract. That is to say, if you go to an auto repair place and have them change your oil, it is implied that you will pay for it. If you don’t, you are still legally bound to pay because it is implied that you will. It’s common sense. Therefore, if you go to a prostitute and have sex with her, it is implied that you will pay her because, by definition, prostitutes are people that have sex for money.

    Unfortunately, the bit about prostitution being illegal still remains true. An illegal act has no legal recourse. If a buyer does not pay his dealer for cocaine, it is theft. However, what can the dealer do? He can’t take it to the police. He has also committed a crime.

    Ignoring the fact that prostitution is illegal and is not subject to these contract laws (as Deni has clearly done), and assuming that this transaction should be compliant with all others, it is true that Gindraw did commit a theft of services against the young woman. He breached an implied contract by having sex with her, a prostitute, and then not paying. It is true that he is guilty of robbery, in particular, theft of services, because he used intimidation and force to acquire them. Armed robbery at that, because he employed the use of a gun.

    So, by simply reducing the argument to its basic terms, we know that Deni is correct. What occurred on September 20 was a theft of services. A robbery. But, was Deni correct is throwing out the sexual assault and rape charges? Was the crime only a robbery and not a rape?


    Let’s go back to the definition of a rape: “non-consensual sexual contact, involving forced penetration orally, vaginally or anally either by a body part or using an object.”

    Gindraw did penetrate the woman, and it was against her will. She had initially consented to oral and vaginal intercourse with him for the arranged price of $150 and his friend for an additional $100. Her willingness to participate in the act depended on his end of the bargain, that is, the payment. When he made clear he was not going to pay her, he breached the implied contract. Therefore, she revoked her consent. At the moment when the sex occurred, the woman was a non-willing participant. She was a non-willing participant because she had a gun to her head and because she was not going to be compensated for her advertised and hired services. Therefore, Gindraw raped her and Deni’s claims that this case minimized “true rape cases” and demeaned “women who are really raped” is false: the plaintiff was really raped. In addition to this, Gindraw’s friend also raped her by rescinding his offer of payment. Furthermore, the additional two friends made no offers to pay her, did not ask her if she would have sex with them, and forced themselves on her, using the gun and their sheer presence to intimidate her. They caused her to fear for her life. These men also, then, were involved in what is legally defined as the rape of the plaintiff. Gindraw, by assisting them to rape her by holding the gun, bringing her to the scene of the crime, and inviting the men to commit a crime, was an accessory to three separate incidences of rape, not including the one he personally committed.

    It would also help to note that Gindraw had done the same thing to another woman from Craiglist less than a week before committing this atrocity against this particular escort, meaning that was not a bizarre and isolated incident, but rather a calculated and willful act of malevolence and poor business ethics.


    To go back to the plumber, this would be equivalent to Juliet forcing the plumber to fix her drain clog for free by holding a gun to his head, then taking him to several neighbors’ homes to do the same, also for free, gun still to his head.

    All this evidence considered, Gindraw is guilty of the following:
    1. Theft of Services
    2. Armed Robbery
    3. Intimidation (Also known as criminal threatening)
    4. Assault
    5. Fraud
    6. Rape
    7. Accessory to Rape
    8. Sexual Assault
    9. Employing a Prostitute
    10. Kidnapping

    It is also, I think, useful to note that in Philadelphia, the line of separation between Petty Theft and Grand Theft is $400. If the woman agreed to have sex with him and a friend for the combined total of $350, then the average going rate for sex is $175. Since the woman was forced to have sex with four men, this would result in services stolen worth $700. Therefore, the penalty for the theft charge should be considerably higher than one for a petty theft, such as the amount of $350 (under the line of $400) that was actually called into question.

    Therefore, if the defendant is going to be charged with theft of services in regards to services that are illegal, then clearly all the same rules should be applicable as if the service was legal. Therefore, the plaintiff should be awarded compensatory damages. $700 in direct damages, an estimated amount in consequential damages for lost earnings (to be estimated based on how much time she couldn’t spend working because she was in trial/recovering) and related health costs, in additional punitive damages, as determined by a crisis counselor to somehow attempt to compensate for the emotional trauma she endured and to deter Gindraw from committing such crimes again.


    Deni is clearly wrong on all accounts. She did not balance her equation when convicting Gindraw of Theft of Services, because she did not carry out all the requirements of such a charge by compensating the victim in damages. She was also wrong to convict him of Theft of Services, since the ‘service’ is not legal. She was also wrong to throw out rape and assault charges, because those crimes were clearly committed.
    Given that the intended audience for Deni’s argument was a court of law, her argument was both ineffective and inappropriate. She imparted her own values into what should have been a fact-based argument. By using fact-based logic, it is easy to see how her value-based argument was incorrect. Matters of the law should be conducted exactly as the law implies they are to be done: as unequivocally fact-based, and never altered to conform to someone’s personal morals, making them value-based. Although her argument cannot be improved now, because a judge’s rulings are final until the next appeal, she could go back in a time machine and improve her argument by adhering to the rules of the court. She could, if she feels so strongly about prostitution as a wrong, convict the defendant of rape and assault as he is so obviously guilty of, and also charge the plaintiff of prostitution (although, in an additional value-based argument of my own, that sounds like adding insult to injury unnecessarily – of course, isn’t that what this current ruling does?)
    Since Deni is clearly incapable of following the rules of the law, she should be removed from her position. The trial of Gindraw should be re-executed by a judge who knows how to differentiate fact and justice from her own personal bias. The young woman should not be demeaned and reduced to the sum of her reproductive parts as capital, and we should all feel slightly unsettled that someone this illogical could ever be given any sort of authority.

  67. December 3, 2007 at 7:59 am

    this is sickening….. just really really gross.

    juliet benet – i really like your breakdown of the case and what the judge should have done. maybe you should move to philly and run against this idiot judge, you’ve obviously got a better legal mind then she does.

    zuzu – thanks for posting this, and for preventing people from posting up the link to some random guy who may or may not be the perp’s myspace page. way to keep the discussion on-focus.

    and i really really hope that word of this outrage spreads and it costs this creep her re-election.

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