Salt Lake Co. District Attorney’s Office accused of mishandling rape cases

SALT LAKE CITY — Four women who say they are sexual assault victims are accusing the Salt Lake County District Attorney of failing to prosecute their alleged attackers.

The women identified as “Jane Does” in a petition to the Utah Supreme Court are asking the court to assign a prosecutor to pursue their cases.

“What we have here is institutional betrayal,” said Paul Cassell, attorney for the petitioners. “The district attorney’s office is betraying these women.”

The petition cites a section of the Utah Constitution, allowing the Supreme Court to assign a private prosecutor when a district attorney declines to pursue a case.

Crystal Madill says she was sexually assaulted by a massage therapist in Salt Lake County.

“I went to the hospital and got all the work I needed to get done there,” Madill said.

But she says the DA did not pursue the case.

“Pretty much told that I needed to go heal and get over it,” Madill said. “I did ask if my rape kit came back as positive, if that would make a difference. I was told that might be a long time, might not ever come back and that even if it did, they could turn it down.”

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says his office does all it can to make sure victims are heard in court, but a legal standard must be met before investing any resources in a case.

“Many times I’ve talked to, or our prosecutors have talked to victims. It’s not that crime didn’t happen, it’s just that we can’t meet our burden of proof,” Gill said.

Gill says his office’s rate of prosecution of sex assault cases is in line with state and national averages, but he believes there is room for improvement.

“Is our office perfect? Can we always do better? Absolutely,” Gill said.

He plans to take a second look at the cases of the four women, including Madill’s.

“This isn’t an attack. It’s just the only way victims can get their attention, because who am I in their world,” Madill said.