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Judge Says Victims' Bodies Can Prevent Rape
A judge has been publicly admonished for suggesting that if a rape victim does not want sexual intercourse, the body "will not permit that to happen".
Judge Derek Johnson, who serves in the California Superior Court, made the comments in a 2008 case, saying the woman involved "didn't put up a fight" during the assault.
"I'm not a gynaecologist, but I can tell you something: If someone doesn't want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down," he said.
"The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case."
The attacker had threatened to mutilate the ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver and made other violent threats before the ensuing brutal attack.
Judge Johnson also disagreed with the prosecutor's request for a 16-year jail term.
He sentenced the rapist to six years instead, saying that was what the case was "worth".
The California Commission on Judicial Performance voted 10-0 to impose the public admonishment on Thursday, saying the comments were inappropriate.
It found that the judge's view that a woman must resist to be a real victim of sexual assault was his opinion, not the law.
Since 1980, California law has not required rape victims to prove they resisted or were prevented from resisting because of threats.
In an apology to the commission, Judge Johnson agreed his comments were inappropriate.
He explained they were the result of his frustration during the argument with the prosecutor over the defendant's sentence.