The Main Stream

Dec 7, 2012 8:24 PM by Erika Flores

Attorney claims county victimizing rape victim

TUCSON - An attorney claims Pima County is putting a rape victim through more grief after she went after the Pima County Sheriff's Department in a lawsuit, but the county tells us that wasn't the intention.

The lawsuit stems from a 2010 rape case.

The victim alleges the Sheriff's Department mishandles the investigation.

The judge dismissed the lawsuits against the department and a detective, but what upsets both the victim and her attorney is what happened next, the county filed for the rape victim to pay civil court costs.

The total is $526.75.

Court documents describe it as "chargeable as legal costs and so claimed by Pima County."

"They decided that they would go ahead and target this rape victim who they admit is a rape victim for these court costs," said attorney Stephen Weeks.

The victim's attorney said his client has put up with enough already.

"You got to live through it over and over again as you try to explain what happened. You can't move on with your life," said Weeks.

Weeks claimed the county filed for her to reimburse Pima County attorney's deposition fees to keep her from proceeding with more lawsuits.

She's already accused the county of not training officers properly leading to what she and her attorney contends was a mishandled rape investigation.

"The only thing that she can do is hope that the system can get fixed so that other woman can have a successful prosecution," said Weeks.

Deputy Pima County Attorney William McCollum responded.

"The hard work of Ms. LaWall in representing the victims of Pima County should not be overshadowed by an incident or misunderstanding regarding court costs," said McCollum.

McCollum said they only filed for reimbursement of deposition fees to follow protocol.

"It was something that we had to put into the order of judgment to be timely with court," said McCollum.

After speaking to News 4 Tucson, he called Weeks to change their position.

"Risk management has indicated that they are not interested in pursuing the costs," said McCollum.

The county was dropped from the civil lawsuit, but the case continues against the homeowner where the alleged rape occurred and the suspect in the case.

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