Judge: I’d call it rape, but I don’t like your job

Via Broadsheet comes this nauseating story of a judge who believes that if a woman agrees to have sex with one man for money, it’s perfectly okay for several of his friends to gang rape her at gunpoint. Well, wait, not entirely okay — it’s a “theft of services.”

You seriously cannot make this kind of shit up.

A DEFENDANT accused of forcing a prostitute at gunpoint to have sex with him and three other men got lucky, so to speak, last week.

A Philadelphia judge dropped all sex and assault charges at his preliminary hearing.

Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni instead held the defendant on the bizarre charge of armed robbery for – get this – “theft of services.”


Deni told me she based her decision on the fact that the prostitute consented to have sex with the defendant.

“She consented and she didn’t get paid . . . I thought it was a robbery.”

The prostitute, a 20-year-old single mother, agreed to $150 for an hour of oral and vaginal sex on Sept. 20, according to assistant district attorney Rich DeSipio. The arrangements were made through her posting on Craigslist.

She met the defendant, Dominique Gindraw, 19, at what she thought was his house, but which turned out to be an abandoned property in North Philadelphia.

He asked if she’d have sex with his friend, too, and she agreed for another $100.

The friend showed up without money, the gun was pulled and more men arrived.

When a fifth man arrived and was invited to join, DeSipio said, he asked why the girl was crying – and declined. He helped her get dressed so she could leave.

Oh yeah. That sounds like “consent” to me. Don’t women consent to sex with multiple partners in a vacant lot at gunpoint all the time? While crying?

This is a woman we call a “judge.” And yeah, you better believe that she’s judging someone.

Of course you would think — hope — that if any other woman agreed to have sex with a man and then was gang raped at gunpoint by his friends, it would undoubtedly be considered a rape. Deni’s issue, of course, is that the victim is a prostitute. And everyone knows that such a “loose” woman (or a non-virgin, a wife, a black woman . . .) can’t be raped. If you think that Deni’s contempt for the victim is astonishing thus far, keep on reading.

“Did she tell you she had another client before she went to report it?” Deni asked me yesterday when we met at a coffee shop.

“I thought rape was a terrible trauma.”

A case like this, she said – to my astonishment – “minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped.”

The defendant was charged in an identical incident involving a 23-year-old woman four days later, DeSipio said.

Neither woman knew the other and both told identical stories. The other men involved in the attack couldn’t be identified.

DeSipio was so stunned by Deni’s ruling in the first case that he refused to present the second one.

“I wouldn’t demean her that way,” he said of the second victim, calling the proceedings “a farce.”

Judge Deni then threw out the second case for failure to prosecute.

Firstly, “Judge,” I imagine that if the victim did see another client before reporting the rape, it was due to either A. shock (you know, the trauma that she supposedly didn’t feel) or B. an extreme desperation for money. And regardless of her reasoning, the last time I checked, even waiting ten days (or any other amount of time) to report a rape and having sex several times in the interim doesn’t actually negate the attack.

And since the victim reported the rape, she was obviously traumatized enough to believe that a crime punishable by law had taken place — particularly since admitting that she is a prostitute opens her up to being charged with a crime herself. But allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment and pretend, as Deni suggests, that she was not traumatized. Why, exactly, does that make a difference? If a man beats his wife but doesn’t leave bruises, does not mean it’s not abuse? If a rob someone, but the victim doesn’t miss the property I took, does that not make me a thief? Does failing to kill someone mean that you weren’t actually drunk driving? Is it okay to burn down someone’s house because their homeowners’ insurance will take care of it? I would certainly hope that the answer to all of these questions would be a resounding no.

Quite simply, though the impact caused by the crime may influence sentencing, it does not, nor should it ever, be the determination of whether or not a crime took place. And again, the victim does in fact seem to be pretty fucking traumatized.

More evidence that despite what you may think, we do in fact live in a rape apologist culture. How else would such judges stay on the bench? Why else would we allow it? And yes, I am particularly disheartened by the fact that a female judge could internalize such misogyny.

Absolutely disgusting.

0 thoughts on “Judge: I’d call it rape, but I don’t like your job

  1. RachelPhilPa

    Gawd. Right in my own back yard.

    Does this judge think that she could never be raped? Does she really think that she can somehow be “good enough” to inoculate her?

    It’s incredible that a woman can be so misogynist. I wonder, also, what race and class issues were involved.

    She should be removed from the bench immediately.

  2. Cara Post author

    Oh yeah, I think that this is definitely a class issue. I also know that young single mothers are disproportionately (but not mostly) black and have repeatedly heard that Philadelphia has a higher than average concentration of black citizens. But the article does not state the race of either the victim or the rapists. The race of the judge isn’t mentioned either, though I imagine that searching through public records might bring up a picture and give us an educated guess.

    In shorter form, no, I certainly do not doubt that race could have played a role, but without more info it’s impossible to say.

  3. akeeyu

    I wonder if the judge would take the same position if she consented to have sex with her husband or partner and then that person invited four more friends over to do whatever the hell they felt like. After all, she already consented to sex, so everything beyond consent is just a matter of ensuring proper payment, right?

    I’m guessing she wouldn’t think that line of reasoning was quite so neat-o keen if it was applied to her.

  4. brandann


    i can’t help but worry that cases like this are only one step away from such thinking. soon it will be wives/girlfriends/prostitutes whatever, they are all just property anyway…somedays i feel we haven’t made any progress at all.

    excuse me, i have to go barf now!

  5. Holly

    That is absolutely RIDICULOUS! I can’t believe that at all. And I was thinking the same thing as the above commenter, Rachel. Does this judge not think that she too, could be raped? I was speaking with a therapist of mine and she gave me some class A consoling thoughts on being able to “get over”, imagine this, multiple childhood rape, molestation, and incest, and she said that just because one knows a lot of facts and figures on something, that does not mean that what they know a lot about could not happen to them. If you know a lot about rape statistics and what causes depression, rage, PTSD, etc. it does not protect you from something like that happening.

    I don’t know, I ramble a lot? Yeah, that’s it. But I do agree, this judge should be removed immediately.

  6. Freya Fuhrman

    What kind of a person is Judge Deni? Just because a woman prostituted herself doesn’t mean that she deserved to be gangraped at gunpoint! What a misogynist!!

    She should be removed from the bench & ordered to get some counseling.

  7. mik

    the judge is an idiot but she won’t be removed from the bench. she’ll carry on in her well-paid job and take early retirement into a large pension and chauffeur-driven lifestyle. EVERYTHING in the world is decided by the people in power, right? and they act on what the people want, whether anyone admits it or not. And the people want what the media tells them to want, because people are stupid en masse. And the media says what the people in power tells them to say.

    So if we’re told that young single mothers are the dregs of society, wasting tax money and in their situation because of their own fault, then thats what they are.

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