Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fear Led To Sex With Prison Warden

MELBOURNE, AUS. - A woman who claims she was raped in Melbourne jail by a prison officer today told a trial she later pretended to have consented because she feared being labelled a "rat" or a "dog". The former inmate, who was at the time being treated for a mental illness, told the court she was in jail for breaching bail conditions imposed after she was charged with armed robbery.

The County Court trial has heard the woman, now 26, became pregnant and DNA tests showed the officer, Kelvin Andrew McCann, was the biological father of the subsequently aborted foetus.
Mr McCann, 29, of Caroline Springs, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape.

The jury was told the woman, who cannot be named, had sex with Mr McCann, on June 30, 2003, six weeks after arriving at the jail, the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, at Deer Park in Melbourne's west.

In her opening address last week, crown prosecutor Michele Williams said Mr McCann, who was on night duty alone, went to the woman's cell and told her to go to a supervisor's office.

Today, giving evidence via a video link, the woman said she performed oral sex on Mr McCann as he sat at a desk and had sexual intercourse on "all fours". But she said, she had sex with Mr McCann because she was frightened of him. She said she feared all prison officers and their uniforms "absolutely terrified me". At the time she felt she did not have a choice.

She told other prison officers she had agreed to sex because she had to live within the prison culture.

"You are not allowed to tell, to be a dog or a rat. You can't inform, that's how it works," she said.
She was aware that the other inmates could be "really aggressive" towards someone who had informed. Under cross examination by defence counsel, Stephen Shirrefs, SC, the woman denied that she "craved the attention of male prison officers".

The trial, before Judge Roy Punshon, continues tomorrow.

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