Council Member: Casper Women Won’t Be Deterred From Changing Attitudes Toward Sexual Assault
The decision to not prosecute a man accused of a raping a Casper woman devastated her, but it will not derail the efforts of dozens of women to press for changes in the local justice system, a city council member said.
"I don't view the lack of a conviction or even a charge in this case as a failure," Amanda Huckabay said after the Casper City Council meeting Tuesday.
A nine-page memo written by an assistant Natrona County district attorney to a Casper Police detective last week and released Monday outlined why there was not enough evidence to prosecute Aimee Kidd's alleged assailant after a year's investigation.
Kidd first approached the council last fall with her concerns about the investigation of her case, and dozens of other victims have come forward as a result of her speaking out.
Despite her public efforts, the results of the investigation and the district attorney's decision personally shocked and angered her. Kidd recounted that pain to the council about what she called the attitude of the police and prosecutors, the callous attitude of this K2 Radio reporter during an interview, and the revictimization and humiliation through social media.
Tamara Macnaughton, one of the women who also has come forward, said the statements in the memo and made public attention are retaliatory and biased.
"And sadly, the events that have occurred in the last day will likely discourage victims from coming forward in the future," Macnaughton said.
Huckabay isn't so pessimistic.
"Without Aimee's courage and vulnerability to come forward and share her soul in the most raw and naked way possible, it's likely that many if not all of these women would still be suffering in silence," Huckabay said.
"So whether or not there was a conviction about Aimee Kidd's case, the bottom line is she was a conduit for a community of women from Casper to come forward and find camaraderie and healing and strength," she said.
Huckabay also blamed the previous council for not taking a more proactive approach to identifying and fixing problems with the police department. Four members of the previous city council were voted out of office in the November general election.
"I hope that victims see that despite this very difficult road that Aimee and others have put themselves into to put themselves here," she said. "Despite the previous council more or less telling them, 'we can't do anything about this,' I hope they're watching and I hope they're paying attention that we are doing something about it and things are changing."
The disclosure Tuesday of a survey of Casper police officers that slammed department leadership will augment those changes, Huckabay said, adding her resolve is strong.
"I am personally dedicated to this issue because too many children, too many women, too many men are permanently damaged for life at the hands of other people," she said. "If any of us in any capacity of life can do anything to try to benefit our community, benefit our fellow humans, I feel as though it's our responsibility to do it."