FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2020
Contact: Justin Boardman
Boardman Training & Consulting
801-231-0881 Text or Call
PETITION DRIVE HELPS RAPE SURVIVOR SEEK JUSTICE
McPherson County Registered Voters Can Sign Sunday, Ensuring Court Files Motion to Convene Grand Jury, Ultimately Allowing for Sexual Assault Charges to be Added.
McPherson County, KS – On February 11, 2018, Madison Smith reported that she and the suspect began engaging in consensual sexual intercourse for the first time when the suspect, without warning, repeatedly slapped her across her face and strangled her with both hands several times. Ms. Smith tried to remove the suspect’s hands from around her neck but was unable to: he squeezed harder when she struggled, until she started to lose consciousness. There was no prior communication or agreement. The encounter left visible marks on her body (neck).
County Attorney Greg Benefiel, who is prosecuting the case, asked to meet privately with Ms. Smith, telling her his office could not move forward with charges of rape or sexual assault, and calling what happened to her “immature sex.” Stunned, Ms. Smith requested her parents’ presence. The County Attorney eventually filed a charge of aggravated battery for the strangulation, but has refused to file the appropriate charge of rape and other sexual assault charges, despite professional prosecutorial resources, because Ms. Smith did not verbally revoke consent while being strangled. Ms. Smith has hired McKenna Law of Salina, Kansas and Boardman Training and Consulting of Utah to assist her, and is applying a seldom-used grand jury statute in order to seek procedural justice.
“Sadly, the survivor in this case has not been heard,” said Detective Justin Boardman (Ret.), a consultant working on Ms. Smith’s case. “Rape is not ‘immature sex.’ In this day and age of #MeToo, the justice system is still not listening to survivors of sexual assault, and many resources are still not available. Ms. Smith should not have to hire an attorney to help enforce her victim rights – she continues to be revictimized by the justice system.”
On Sunday, May 31, supporters of Madison Smith will hold a petition drive, gathering signatures calling for the McPherson County Court to convene a grand jury to investigate and appropriately charge the case of State of Kansas vs. Jared Peter Stolzenburg (2019-CR-000202). Seeking to ultimately add the charge of rape, among other sexually related charges, to the current charge of aggravated assault, the survivor must collect a minimum of 350 signatures from registered voters on Sunday and file an official petition with the court to convene the grand jury. The petition drive will be held from 10am to 2pm CDT at Artistic Hair and Nail Design, 300 N. Harrison Street, Lindsborg, in the parking area, following social distancing guidelines, and asking signers to BYOP (Bring Your Own Pen). Signature gatherers will be wearing masks, and we will even have runners that can come to your vehicle.
If the required number of signatures are collected on Sunday the court will file a motion to appoint a grand jury, Ms. Smith’s legal team can present their case, and the grand jury can appoint a new prosecutor, allowing the charge of rape to be added.
For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Justin Boardman at Justin@JustinBoardman.com or 801-231-0881 Text or Call
Boardman Training & Consulting provides training and consulting services in the field of gender-based violence with the goals of raising awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence from a trauma-informed perspective, being victim-centric, and holding offenders better accountable.
McKenna Law Office PA provides criminal and family law attorneys to the Salina, KS area, and has built a reputation for protecting the rights of clients ethically and competently.