Kansas Prosecutor Suspended After Showing Pictures of Rape of Teen Girl

100px-Great_Seal_of_the_State_of_Kansas.svgAnderson County Attorney Frank Campbell in Kansas was reportedly suspended from practice for six months after he showed pictures of a 17-year-old girl being raped — after declining to prosecute the case. A lawsuit is now being planned, according to news reports.

Parents of the girl say that their daughter was raped at an outdoor party in May 2007 when four men and boys forced her to take off her clothes and then one of them allegedly raped her in the back of a pickup truck. Campbell told a newspaper that he would show the pictures to the parents of some of the minors but would not prosecute the case. The family objected, but Campbell insisted that he did not need their approval, writing them a letter that pointed out that “the photographs you refer to are evidence of criminal activity by several minors and as I cannot lawfully withhold evidence, I have allowed and will continue to allow the parents of the potential respondents to view altered versions of them in my office.”

The family is suing the county. The suspension only recently came to light but there is an opinion from January. The court concluded:

When Respondent addressed this court, he echoed his counsel’s “right reason” argument, saying he had seen the damage underage drinking could do and thought he could “fix the world” by showing the photographs to the parents of teens depicted drinking at the party. Nevertheless, he demonstrated little understanding of how troubling his method was. Had he been one of those parents shown the photographs, he said, he would have been angry with himself for being a “bad parent.” He also denied that he had contacted the press about his plan to display the photographs but admitted the first story followed his mention of that plan to a reporter and another lawyer during a Rotary meeting. He stated explicitly that he did not understand why other women and girls who believed themselves to be victims of sex crimes might now be reluctant to report the crimes or assist with prosecutions. Also, despite his counsel’s assertion that he had several mentors who would guide the exercise of his prosecutorial discretion, he had not pursued any independent review of his decision not to prosecute in C.H.’s case. Regarding Asperger’s Syndrome, Respondent said he had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) during his first year of law school and that there was a letter in the record on appeal about his condition. In addition, he took the position that his condition had worked to his advantage as a prosecutor because he could be dispassionate when evaluating cases.

The lawsuit would present some novel tort claims. It is rare for prosecutorial misconduct to be the basis for such liability, but not unheard of. Moreover, we have seen cases involving crime scene photographs that have led to charges, here and here.

For the full story, click here.

13 thoughts on “Kansas Prosecutor Suspended After Showing Pictures of Rape of Teen Girl”

  1. Buddha,
    I agree. Especially because even though I supplied links to diagnostic criteria, I am well aware that all the DSM’s have been manuals more reflective of the politics of psychology, than as scientific documents. The other problem is a tendency that I call “diagnosis de jour,” which reflects the tendency of psychiatric/psychological diagnosticians to follow popularity trends. Back in the 70’s when I was in training as a psychotherapist borderline was the most popular diagnosis and many people initially got diagnosed this way and no one would ever re-diagnose them based on new behavioral evidence. when i was last working Bi-Polar was the popular diagnosis. We see this with kids with the rise in ADHD. So my problem with these being included in widespread/wide read availability of medical dat is that at least in psychiatry/psychology (but I suspect in other areas of medicine too)we’re not talking science, but informed speculation. The underlying science in those disciplines is far from proven and/or factually based.

  2. Mike S,

    In re psychopaths, brain structure and potential impact to the criminal justice system by implication.


    While I appreciate the medical knowledge and think better addressing the issue of socio and psychopathic behavior is a critical issue, I can just smell the potential for governmental and corporate abuses of medical data. Medical records would never be used in a discriminatory or fraudulent manner . . . would they? Computerized records are just that much easier to make say whatever someone who knows how to push the right 1001001’s wants them to say.

  3. Damn Buddha,
    I’m supposed to be the psychotherapist around here and here you go with a perfect post that interweaves the politics with the psychology. It’s a good thing I retired.

  4. I have no disagreement with any of that, Mike. In fact I think it highlights why I think those two are the most dangerous undiagnosed conditions. They both render the potential patient capable of unconscionable acts. That one has a greater chance of recovery in no way minimizes the damage they do unchecked. As we’ve seen from the Iraq Invasion and Wall St. fiascoes, not all unconscionable acts involve physical violence but they are capable of doing as great a damage to people as any weapon.

    Steal with a gun or steal with a pen – there is no difference other than scale and body count. See (Insert Wall St. and/or K St. Scumbag here – Bernie excluded) and Dick C. Both methods are on display, both seem effective as long as Obama refuses to hold the criminals responsible accountable – from the Neocons of PNAC and AEI and their Saudi and Big Oil fascist minions to the three card monte players running insurance and banking concerns being rewarded for their incompetence when it’s not outright thievery that ran their companies aground. Unconscionable acts taken by unscrupulous actors for their personal benefit to the detriment of all and certain deaths of many.

    To me that sounds like the very definition of the work product of sociopaths, BPD’s and occasionally the just plain evil scumbags like our boy Iron Dick Cheney.

    Being protected by narcissists who helped enable tyranny and are too afraid of getting any on themselves to clean up properly.

    To the detriment and of all and certain deaths of many more.

    The words “social insanity” come to mind.

  5. Buddha,
    I tend to agree that the chief ill is sociopathy and the tendency of sociopaths to become leaders.



    Borderline Personality Disorder:


    As you can see from the criteria above there’s little difference between Sociopaths and Borderline’s. Having dealt with both types both professionally and unfortunately personally. My only sense of differentiation is that I believe borderlines can actually love and empathize, while sociopaths are incapable of either. Being loved/loving a borderline though is far from a walk in the park and can cause one to question their own sanity. With the sociopath, when you finally realize it dispensing with the pain can be easy, of cause by then the irreparable damage they’ve done you might too have a hard recovery.

  6. Mike,

    Perhaps, but I think the biggest undiagnosed condition impacting our systems today is garden variety sociopathic behavior or BPD (borderline, not bi-polar). Excessive greed isn’t good. It’s a pathological symptom.

  7. Buddha,
    Given the Rovian talking point about the wrongness of empathy, do you think there are more undiagnosed Asperger’s cases out there than we realize?

  8. ADD? Not buying it, but the Asperger’s sounds about right. I’m sorry, but I know someone with an AS child and the fault here is in the hiring. As talented as he may be in some areas, prosecutorial discretion is NOT someone that someone with Asperger’s should ever have. The nature of their disorder gives them blind spots in their ability to understand human social interactions that simply doesn’t comport with the duties of a prosecutor. This instance here is a perfect example of both how and why. When this guy says “explicitly that he did not understand why other women and girls who believed themselves to be victims of sex crimes might now be reluctant to report the crimes or assist with prosecutions”, he probably believes it. Someone with AS might not see the inappropriateness of that action. It’s the nature of the disorder. I’ve seen my friend’s son come to the very same kind of socially incorrect logics many times. Not because he’s mean or insensitive or stupid. Because he really doesn’t understand. He simply does not read social situations the way people without AS do. This is an inappropriate a hiring decision. To give someone with AS prosecutorial powers is like hiring a one handed pianist to play Mozart – that one hand may be really really good but some jobs simply require both hands.

  9. Aren’t the pictures child pornography? Even with black bars over the genitals and breasts and (I hope) the face, the pictures can be porn. Especially if they’re shown to those who know exactly who it is.

  10. erykah asks a great question. Who stood back and allowed this to occur and what is their culpability? Could they be said to be abetting the crime? The other large question is why there was no prosecution? There seems to be no reason given in the original story. Finally, I would guess that this prosecutor is so far out of understanding what he did that he thought this would actually be good publicity for him. He should just straight out be fired and the local bar should review his ability to continue to practice.

  11. Here’s the $64,000 question, who took the photos? My heart goes out to this girl and her family. Geez.

  12. How rare is it to have a rape case with actual photographic evidence? To then ignore that evidence as a basis for prosecution, and disseminate the photographs like a child pornographer simply shocks the conscience.

  13. Well, if a person is duly charged and are facing a criminal charge, usually the Prosecutor Proffers all of the evidence that is to be used at trial.

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