U.S. Judge Gets Reprimand for Claiming Victims’ Bodies Can Prevent Rape: ‘The Body Shuts Down’

SANTA ANA, Calif. (TheBlaze/AP) — A Southern California judge is being publicly admonished for saying a rape victim didn’t put up a fight during her assault and that if someone doesn’t want sexual intercourse, the body “will not permit that to happen.”

The California Commission on Judicial Performance issued a report Thursday saying Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson’s comments were inappropriate and a breach of judicial ethics. The group voted 10-0 to impose a public admonishment on Johnson, the USA Today reports.

“In the commission’s view, the judge’s remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not ‘put up a fight,'” Lawrence J. Simi, the commission’s chairman, wrote in response to the case. “Such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary.”

Photo Credit: AP

Johnson is a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit. He issued an apology saying he was frustrated with a prosecutor during an argument in 2008 over the sentencing in the case before him compared to other more aggravated cases.

The case involved a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes.

“I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something: If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case,” Johnson said at the time.

The commission essentially found that Johnson’s statement — that a victim should resist assault is not a legal opinion, but rather a personal one; since 1980, California law has not required rape victims to prove resistance.

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