By Andy Furillo
A Sacramento judge ordered today that an alleged juvenile rape victim must remain locked up to ensure her court appearance against the man accused of sexually assaulting her.
"That is my ruling today, and I do it ... with a heavy heart," Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown told the sobbing girl as she stood in the courtroom cage normally reserved for accused felons.
Deputy District Attorney Alan R. Van Stralen argued for the girl's continued detention. Van Stralen said the detention of the girl presents prosecutors with "an extremely difficult situation." But he said his office believes that the defendant in the case, Frank William Rackley Sr., 37, "is a serial rapist" and that the girl's release "would seriously jeopardize that prosecution."
The girl's attorney, Lisa M. Franco, argued in favor of the alleged victim's release, saying she has been "revictimized" since she has been incarcerated at Sacramento County juvenile hall.
Franco asked the judge to equip her client with a steel-braced GPS tracking system, as opposed to a traditional electronic monitoring device. The attorney said the girl was accidentally released from juvenile hall last week but that she returned to the county's Children's Receiving Home and did not leave the jurisidiction.
"She is not a flight risk," Franco said.
Brown told the girl, "I can't tell you how terribly sorry I am that you're in the circumstance you're in. This is bizarre to say the least. You're not a criminal."
But the judge added, "The dilemma I'm continuing to have is, I need to have every confidence you would in fact make your court appearances. Your track record has not been good."
Brown set the next hearing on the girl's detention to April 16. He said if Franco can demonstrate the effectiveness of the GPS device, which he said is being reviewed by prosecutors, he would be open to moving up the hearing on his calendar.