case work

Is The FBI Accusing a Kidnapping and Rape Victim Of Being Responsible For His Assault?

Kristapher Dale Buchanan, 27, and Daniel Phillip Martinez (pictured), 46, are sitting in a jail on charge of kidnapping and raping an 18-year-old bisexual man in rural Terlingua, in southwest Texas near the Mexican border. So you’d think getting the FBI involved, in one of the first Matthew Shepard Act cases, would be great news. Not so for the survivor.

The Dec. 6 attack where anti-gay epithets were used, and which already victimized the young man, was allegedly followed by FBI investigators insisting he was the one who’s at fault. “My client indicated that your agent suggested that the victim must have misled people, resulting in a violent sexual assault,” the victim’s advocate writes in a letter to the FBI, adding, “the wearing of short pants, any sort of suggestive looks, or having some drinks” are not reasons to be sexually assaulted. … Agents must not re-victimize an already traumatized victim of a sexual assault, by allowing any sort of prejudices to influence the investigation. … A poorly handled investigation can ruin years of community trust that your agency works extremely hard to instill in the public, and that makes your job and mine that much harder the next time someone cries out for help.”

The FBI’s Matt Espenshade, the senior supervisory resident agent in the Midland office, says an internal investigation has been launched to look into claims of misconduct. As for DoJ? “The Department of Justice is monitoring the local investigation and prosecution, and I have no further comment,” says a spokesperson.

[Dallas Voice]