Why “Delayed Disclosure” in Sex Crimes is More Common Than Not

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Another accuser of Roy Moore. This time the alleged crime happening forty years ago. But, a delayed disclosure is more common than not.

“Typically in a sexual assault you don’t have an immediate disclosure.” Veteran prosecutor Teresa Heinz has spent more than a decade prosecuting sex crimes in Baldwin County. In the majority of those cases, the victim delayed disclosure for various reasons. “I didn’t know who to call, I wasn’t in a safe place to tell anybody, I didn’t know who to tell, sometimes they are worried about their reputation. There is a shame and a stigma associated with them.”

She says attackers in the sexual assault cases she’s prosecuted were predators who knew how to pick their victims. “They pick them very meticulously, very carefully, who they are going to prey on and some of those people are the weaker in our community, people who have mental illness or alcohol or drug-related problems and they prey on them because no one is going to believe them and they’re not going to have the strength to come forward.”

Delayed disclosure cases are terribly hard to prosecute because there is no physical evidence and not every case makes it to court. Sometimes the best prosecutors can do is get the victims help to overcome the trauma.

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