The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Friday, September 15, that there was insufficient evidence to support criminal civil rights charges in respect to allegations a St. John woman was the subject of federal civil rights violations in an alleged kidnapping and rape in August 2005.
“A thorough investigation revealed that this matter does not involve a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes,” according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Anthony J. Jenkins, District of the Virgin Islands.
“The available testimonial and physical evidence was insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, other potential violations of the applicable federal criminal civil rights statutes by this individual or any other person,” the press release continued. “Accord-ingly, the Department is closing this matter.”
“The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of the Virgin Islands, and the FBI conducted a vigorous and comprehensive independent investigation and carefully considered all the evidence,” according to the Jenkins press release.
“Substantial federal resources were devoted to this investigative effort, including eight Special Agents of the FBI; agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and resources of the National Park Service,” according to the release.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the FBI devoted many hours and significant resources to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of these allegations,” according to the Jenkins press release. “The decision not to pursue criminal charges is based on the facts developed by that lengthy and thorough investigation.”
As part of the investigation, the FBI obtained the investigative files of the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department and the U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General, which included the incident reports, witness statements, photographs, evidence records, and forensic evidence analysis, Jenkins added.
The FBI also conducted numerous witness interviews, evidence collection and extensive forensic analysis of the available physical evidence, according to the release.
In order to prove a violation of the potentially applicable federal criminal civil rights laws, prosecutors must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted with the intent to violate a federally protected right on the basis of race, gender or some other form of bias that is prohibited by federal law, the press release stated.
Federal privacy law, the Code of Federal Regulations and the Department of Justice policy limit the ability of federal employees to disclose the details of information they obtain in the course of an investigation, the release added. These limitations are intended as a protection of the privacy of all citizens who are involved in the matter, whether as a victim, subject or witness, according to the release.
“One individual has been convicted and sentenced in the Virgin Islands courts for engaging in a bias-motivated assault of the victim, and federal policy precludes the reprosecution of individuals who have been the subject of a successful local prosecution that substantially vindicates the federal interest in the underlying matter,” according to the Jenkin’s press release.
The Justice Department is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, according to the press release.
The Civil Rights Division has filed a record number of criminal civil rights cases in FY 2004, and charged a record number since FY 2001.
The total number of civil rights cases filed over the past five years is comparable to the total number filed during the previous five years. Likewise, the total number of defendants charged with civil rights offenses from FY 2001 through FY 2005 is greater than the total number charged from FY 1996 through FY 2000.