Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 2, Episode 17 - Law & Order - full transcript

A young teenage runaway is arrested after discharging a gun in a diner. Cerreta and Logan look into the reasons why she had run away and learn that she had been raped at the halfway house she had been staying in. The investigation leads to a free thinking nun and the caretaker of the halfway house.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
In the criminal justice system,
the people are represented

by two separate yet
equally important groups...

the police
who investigate crime,

and the district attorneys
who prosecute the offenders.

These are their stories.

(cash register rings)

- See ya later, Ernie.
- Ernie: Catch you tomorrow.

You don't even
give a damn, do you?


Do you?

What do you want me
to do about it, huh, Maggie?

Like I got a lot of control
over your life.

I'm not going back there.

Where are you
gonna go, huh?


thanks for the invitation.

Look, you just can't start
floppin' all over the place.

That's not what I'm talking about!

Let's just get out of here and we'll
figure something out, all right?

Oh, so you can just
dump me on the street?

would you just...

- Or maybe I'll just
go away and die, huh?
- Maggie...

How about I do
everybody else a favor
and blow it off right here?

- Or maybe I'll just do
everybody else!
- Man: Look out!


give me the gun.



do whatever
the hell you want.

- No, don't you go!
- Man: Look out.

(police radio chatter)

Why'd your girlfriend
try to kill you, Danny?

She wasn't tryin'
to kill me, man.

The gun just went off.
It was an accident.

You were arguing.
Nine people saw her shoot at you.

She was drunk, man.
She didn't...

Hey, hey... her eyeballs are
going through the ceiling...
that ain't drunk.

Danny, unlicensed gun...

criminal possession
three or four.

Felony or misdemeanor?

- Maybe she took a little meth.
- What's a little?

I don't know...
five or six hits?

Your treat?

No, man, I don't know
where she could've got it.

This better be the truth.

Boyfriend said she did
six hits of meth.

Only ID we found.

Corson, Maggie.
Issued at Haven House.

Catholic drug
rehab center.

Maggie. Maggie.

(police siren blaring)

I got nowhere to go.

(theme music plays)

Look, this is ridiculous.
She's 16. She was stoned.

If you want to arrest somebody,
arrest the creep she was with.

That's already been done.
Now, listen, as for Maggie...

accident or not,
she still has to be arraigned.

After that I can take her back
to Haven House?

That's up
to the judge.

It was a relapse...
it happens.

She is an addict... she's making
a difficult transition.

No one is doubting you...
you're telling the wrong people.
She's got to be arraigned.


- Are you really a...
- A nun? Yes, Detective, I am.

So I guess I would
call you "Sister."

Call me
whatever you want.

Sister, has somebody
called Maggie's parents?

She ran away
from home three years ago...
I doubt she's homesick.

Anyway, she's been
in our custody for a year.

She's our responsibility.

I thought nuns had curfews.

That went out
with the penguin suit.

when you're arraigned,

you'll either be placed
in a juvenile ward

or back at Haven House.

Now, chances are,
you'll get a compassionate judge

and you can go back
to the house.


Get her out of here!
I don't want her near me.

- Maggie...
- Please! Get her out!

Let's go have a talk.

what's the problem?

It doesn't have
to leave this room.


Last night,
we were in the shower...

You and who?

Sister Bettina?

All right, why were
you in the shower?

I was sick and...

she said I'd feel better
if I had a hot shower.

Mm-hmm. Okay.

And what happened then?


she had
her hands on me.

She put her hands all over me.

Okay, okay, all right.

It didn't come easy,

but she gave me
the whole play-by-play...

the what, where, how...
everything that Sister Bettina
did to her.

You ask
the nun about it?

We didn't give her the specifics,

but as far as Maggie
being flipped out... she says
she doesn't know why.

You think
this girl is credible?

Well, she seemed really
frightened about going back there.

Hey, man,
she's a meth head.

This could be a fabrication...
could be she wanted
to be kicked out.

But if she wants out,
there are better ways
than a molest charge.

She's young, she's speeding...
who says she needs easy choices?


Come on, this is
the first time we've seen

a false accusation
on a molest and a rape charge?

Yeah, but there's
also the other side, Mike.

- Where is the girl now?
- Manhattan Psychiatric.

The DA dropped her to criminal
possession four on the gun charge.

Has she talked to anyone else
about the molest?

Only her roommate. We have a call in
to the Executive Director
of Haven House.

Let's see if we can't dodge
the inevitable uproar
on this one, okay?

Yesterday evening was
the first I heard about this.

Maggie's roommate,
Maria Barragan,

brought it
to my attention.

I sent for Maggie,
but she'd already disappeared.

Did you have a chance
to speak to Sister Bettina?

This morning, after she got back
from the hospital.

She's pretty stunned.

What's your take on this?

I wish I had one.

Maggie Corson
can be quite...

Lacking in
the credibility department?

Look, all these kids
have been on the street.

Survival became a lot more
important than honesty

some time ago
for most of them.

So your first instinct on this
would be that Maggie's lying?

If Maria hadn't seen them,
I would have to say

it sounds incredible...
given Sister Bettina's reputation.

Wait a minute.
Maria is the roommate.

She saw Sister Bettina
and Maggie together?

She said she saw them
in the shower.

I guess it was around 1:00...
Maggie puked all over herself.

Sister B showed up
and took her to the can.


- Did you follow them?
- No, I just waited, but Maggie
wasn't coming back.

I got worried,
so I went looking.

I heard the water
running in the shower,

and I saw Sister B
touching and kissing Maggie.

Now, where...

where exactly
did she kiss her?

On her face
and her shoulder.

- Was Maggie dressed or undressed?
- Undressed.

- And Sister Bettina?
- She had on this blue bathrobe.

You see
anything else?

I went back to my room.
I pretended I was asleep.

And Maggie came back
by herself... she was crying.

She said Sister B
messed with her.

What exactly
did she say?

She said Sister B
put her fingers, you know...

She was wigged out.
She didn't want me to tell anybody.

But you told Mr. Powell.

Sister B's a freak...

she shouldn't be
pulling that crap.

Maria, let's get specific.

You said you got worried
when Sister Bettina

took Maggie to the bathroom.
Why was that?

She'd come on to me before.

She put her hand
on my leg... you know.

And she said
she loved me.

She was always
saying she loves me.

That's what I mean...
she's a freak.

Maria's mixed up.

She says she's pretty sure
of what she saw.

Maria practically grew up
on Times Square.

There, somebody touches you,
it only means one thing.

She's been with us
for only three months.

She hasn't had time to...
rearrange her thinking.

This "hugs, not drugs"...

do you take that literally?

Do you have any physical
interaction with these girls?

It's just
a figure of speech.

And you'd
be surprised how far

the proper amount of affection
will go with these kids.

Maria may have her signals crossed,
but that still leaves Maggie.

That one,
I can't figure out.

I always got along well
with Maggie.

I don't know
what happened.

Maybe she's working
something out,

maybe she thinks
that I let her down.

But you don't deny
being in the shower
with her that night?

She had stomach flu, and she'd
thrown up all over herself
and I helped her wash up.

With a shower
at 1:00 in the morning?

A sponge bath
would be less suspicious?

I may be wrong...
I just don't think she did it.

You think clergy can't
trip over their vows?

It happens... I read the same
news reports you do.

I just don't think
this is one of those cases.

- (car horn blares)
- You gotta admit, Phil...

it's not
the usual profile.

Just because it's female on female
and it's rare doesn't mean
it doesn't happen.

Yeah, I know...
"Anybody's capable of anything."

That's rule number one.

Look, I'm just sayin' this...

if I was to take odds on this...

An ex-altar boy, wagering?

I confess... we used to lift
the wine once in a while.

Not us...

wafers, unblessed.


- Have you ever been
afraid of Sister Bettina?
- Afraid? No.

Before the night
in the shower,

did you ever feel she was interested
in you in a sexual way?


I thought she was
just being nice to me.

I guess I didn't
pick up on it.

I thought
she was different.

- Different than...?
- Everybody.

who uses you.

The night that Sister Bettina
touched you

you were very sick, weren't you?
You had the flu.


Did you have
any bad dreams?

Are you saying maybe
I hallucinated the whole thing?

I know
what she did to me.

I know how
she made me feel.

And how is that?

When things happen
to you on the street,
you expect it, you know?

But if it happens
to you at Haven House...?

I was supposed
to be safe there.

I really trusted her,
you know?

I know she did it.

I know how it feels.

Why, has it happened
to you before?

For three and a half years...

sometimes twice a week.

I was eight
when it started.

My mother
never believed me.

"No husband of mine
would ever do that," she said.

"He loves you.

He's your stepfather."

It's not about sex...
it's about trust and betrayal.

She was betrayed
by her stepfather,

and then she was betrayed
one step further by a mother
who refused to hear her.

So Sister Bettina is what...
a kind of surrogate mother?

Maggie was
trying to rebuild.

Sister Bettina had become
a figure she was starting to trust.

This thing blew apart
her whole world.

So you don't think this story
could have been rehearsed?

I think this girl
was blindsided

by someone she never even
perceived as a threat...

either emotionally
or gender-wise.

There's a lot of pain there.

I don't think it's an act.

so we move on a nun.

I'll get a warrant.

Does Sister Bettina have
anything else in storage
in the building?

Aside from her office, no.

I keep thinkin' I'm gonna get
struck by lightning doing this.

She should be
allowed to be here.

I don't know why she's
been treated like a criminal.

I'm sure she understands
these men are just doing their job.

Sister Bettina has
always been above reproach.

What exactly
are you guys looking for?

Well, a lot of people
in molestation cases,

they keep diaries,

they might have photographs,
you never know.

Sometimes they save something
from the encounter as sort
of a souvenir.

- Phil...
- (zipper closes)

"M. Corson."


She said she was
sick that night.

Matching set.

We showed
Maggie these garments.

She identified them as the ones
she was wearing last Monday night.

Sister Bettina may have kept them
as an encounter trophy.

Or she simply
intended to get them washed.

There's a laundry hamper
in the shower room...

she could've just as well
have left them there.

Whatever you want to read into it...
it's subjective evidence.

It's still a nun's word against
the say-so of two street kids.

What, too bad they're
not seniors at Riverdale?

What about this Sister Bettina...
anything there?

She grew up in...

Hollis. Joined a convent
at age 20.

She's been at Haven House
for eight years.

Eight years supervising
teenage girls?

If she does have
a predilection,

this might not be
her first time.

I never heard
a complaint about her.

Never heard
a rumor either.

- You've worked
with her for how long?
- I've been here six years.

Anybody ever complain
to the archdiocese?

Had that happened, I know
I would have heard about it.

You're not the clergy.

But 70% of our funds
come from the church.

Wait a minute...

that should give them more incentive to
bury a thing like this.

Not for Bettina.
Why not?

Sister Bettina aligns herself
with what the church calls
"non-traditional nuns"...

outfits like the Women's
Ordination Movement...

women as priests,
birth control...

if the church had had a reason
to get rid of her, I'm sure
they would have done it.

How about on the outside?
You know anything about
her private life?

No, I have no idea.

You ever meet
any of her friends?

Well, at fundraisers.

There was a woman...

Anne Houston.

She used to work
at the Queens Family Shelter.

I think they still talk like...
every other day.

You ever read
"Catcher in the Rye"?

Save the children...
that's Tina.

Have you ever heard any gossip
or complaints about her?

You mean, why would a normal woman
choose to live in a community
of nuns?

Listen, we've talked
about her vows.

We've talked about sex.

Tina always said she redirects
her energy into her work.

Did she get along
with the kids?

Did you ever see
any misunderstandings?

You know, maybe
an incident of some kind?

Look, she ran day care
for three years.

Everybody loved her.

You want testimonials? There'll be
a line wrapped around this block.

Everybody knows
these charges are crap.

Then why
did she leave?

She was on loan from the church,
and they found out

that the shelter was providing
birth control counseling,
so they yanked her.

You have any idea
why this girl would accuse her?

What difference
does it make?

She's been accused, labeled.
How's she gonna shake that?

Olivet's report,
the clothes, the eyewitness...

most of it seems
to support Maggie's story.

Except for the fact
that Sister Bettina

practically walks on water,
according to all her friends.

I'm waitin' for ideas.

We've got to get off the dime
one way or the other.

The archdiocese
wants it dropped.

They both seem
to be telling the truth.

Fellas, there are
no tiebreakers.

If we're not sure
she did it, we kick her.

Sister Bettina offered
to take a polygraph.

It's not admissible,
but at least we'll know
if we're on the right track.

- Man: Are you 34 years old?
- Bettina: Yes.

- Is your father's name Michael?
- Yes.

Were you in Maggie Corson's room
the night of February 9th?


- Did she have a stomach flu?
- Yes.

Did you sexually molest
Maggie Corson on that night?


Did you kiss Maggie Corson
on that night?


Did you tell the police
the truth about the events
on the night of February 9th?


Are you telling
the truth now?


She passed on direct questions
about the molestation,

but her answers on the details
registered as false...

questions like whether or not
the girl had a stomach flu.

She could have
just been nervous.

She also failed the question
of whether or not she was
telling the truth.

On the whole, the results
classify as "deceptive."

Or inconclusive,
depending upon your mindset.

Either way,
she's hiding something.

Reason enough
to charge her.

Polygraph tests are

you gonna sell this
to the grand jury and then
not use it?

We have a victim's complaint,
eyewitness, opportunity...

I don't foresee a problem.

I would like to see she has
a chance to surrender.

- We'll call her.
- I want her R.O.R.

We sure we want to be perceived
as giving her preferential

For all intents and purposes,
Sister Bettina's indigent.

You see her
as a flight risk? I don't.

(church bells tolling)

This is my lawyer,
Francine Hughes.

From the archdiocese?

Oh no, she's just
an old friend.

May I see the warrant?

My client declines
to answer any questions.


- It's a beautiful morning,
isn't it?
- Yeah.

Francine explained the results
of the lie detector test.

I'm sure she also told you
that polygraph results

are non-admissible as evidence?

Yes, and if it were up to me,
I wouldn't be here today,

but Francine insisted
that I tell you what happened.

That night, Monday,

Maggie didn't have the flu...
she was drunk.

When I found her,
she could hardly stand up.
She was covered in vomit.

I helped her wash up
and then I put her to bed.

And then I hid
her clothes in my room.

I didn't want anyone to know
she'd been drinking.

That's not the first time
she's drunk at the house.

No, she'd been caught
twice before.

She came to us by a special
dispensation of the court...

a third report of drinking
and they'd pull her out.

You'd protect her even
at the risk of going to jail?

If Maggie were thrown out,

she'd be lost...
sooner or later she'd
end up back on the streets.

Do you have any idea what
her life expectancy would be?

Do you know how many
street kids die from AIDS or drugs?

How many
are beaten, raped?

We can't take it
on faith that Maggie was drunk...
we need corroboration.

My client is ready
to take another polygraph.

We need more than that.

She's lying... I can't believe
you're buying into it.

We ran tests on the clothes
you threw up on.

We know how much
you drank that night.

Now, listen, to me...

you lie in court,
that's perjury.

So I was drunk, big deal.

She still
messed with me.

You had a lot
to drink, Maggie.

How much do you
really remember?

I know that she took me
into the shower.

I know that!

What else
are you sure of?

I don't know.

I was in the shower...

I can't remember.

What do you mean,
you can't remember?

I guess I passed out.

What you told the police...
did you make that up?

It happened!

Maria saw it...

and she told me.
She told me everything.

She saw it.

Maybe it was the morning after
when she told me what Sister B
did to her.

She blacked out...
she doesn't remember.

And you told police that Maggie
described in graphic detail

what Sister Bettina did to her.

I saw them
in the shower, okay?

I saw what was going on.

But you lied...
Maggie didn't tell you anything.

And now it's only your word that anything
happened at all,
isn't that right?

Maria, are you happy
at Haven House?

Do you want to go back
out on the street?

Then I don't understand why
you'd make up a story like this.

What do you mean?

If they believe this story...

if people think that girls are
being molested at Haven House...

what do you think that does
to the reputation of the house?

But it was only Sister B.

In the public mind,
they're the same.

They'll withdraw their support.

And without funds, Haven House closes...
and where do you
think you'll be?

That's not true...
you're just trying to scare me.

Maria, did you see

Sister Bettina molest Maggie?

I don't want
to hurt anybody else.

I just wanted them
to get rid of her.

What did she do to you?

She knew.

She asked me about it.
He'd think I told.

Told what?

Mr. Powell...

me and him.

Powell initiated
the relationship

one month after Maria
arrived at Haven House.

He put her in a position
where she would do his errands

and get excused
from the scrub work.

She still
could have said no.

He said he'd
put her out on the street
if she didn't go along.

Sister Bettina
uncovered this?

She had no idea.
She asked her about the errands.

She was concerned the other
girls might get envious.

It was a perfectly
innocent question,

but Maria
thought the worst...

that a secret was out,
and she'd be the one to go.

When she saw Bettina
in the shower with the girl,

she jumped at the chance
to discredit her.

- Any way to corroborate her story?
- We talked to Powell's secretary.

She confirmed that Maria spent a lot
of time alone with Powell
in his office.

You file a motion
to dismiss?

Yeah, it's on the way over,
but I think we ought to go
after Powell.

For what? Rape?

She said that Powell didn't physically force
her to have
relations with him.

And the girl
was 17 at the time...

you got
no statutory charge.

He is in a position
of authority over teenage girls.

He's abusing it.

A civil case, maybe.

Criminal Court?
I don't see it.

Suppose it's
not the first incident?

He's been on the job six years.
You think it's the first time?

I'd sure like to know the answer
to that question before we
make up our minds.


(bell rings in distance)

This whole thing sucks.

I can't believe
she would do that to me.

You didn't know she was
involved with Powell?


If he was hitting on her,
she could have told me.

He ever try
anything with you?

Maybe when
I first got there.

You know, he'd come into
your room at the wrong time,

call you into his office,
ask you stupid questions.

But I just stayed
away from him.

A lot of girls fall for it?

Everyone thought he was
pretty much of a joke...

except this one girl.

What about her?

I don't know for sure...

but I heard talk
about her and Powell.

We have the canceled checks
he sent you, Mrs. Morrill.

He's not giving you that money
out of the goodness of his heart.

Would... do I have
to give the money back?

As far as we can tell,

it legitimately belonged
to Jack Powell.

If he gave it to you,
it's yours to keep.

When I was at the house,

we had this thing going.

- A sexual relationship?
- Couple of times a week,
that's all.

- (baby coos)
- How old were you?

- 15 when it started.
- What was in it for you?

I didn't have
to work in the kitchen.

He'd have me do errands,
let me go to the movies.

Seems hardly worth it now.

Did he ever threaten to hurt you
if you didn't go along with it?

He said if I told anyone,

I'd have to leave the house.

At the time, I didn't
have anywhere to go.

- How long has it
been since you left?
- Three years ago.

And since then, Powell's been
giving you $200 a month

for what... just to keep
your mouth shut?

He would have preferred
I lose it.

Mrs. Morrill,
would you be willing

to repeat what you just
told me to the grand jury?

You mean, go to court?

Look, nobody knows about this.


And I'm not gonna
change that.

(car horn blaring)

She was 15.

Statute of limitations
hasn't run out yet.

We could force her
to testify,

but her husband thinks
the kid is his.

That leaves
only Maria Barragan.

With a possible charge
of rape one.

Rape one? Ben,
Powell never threatened Maria.

And with no
forcible compulsion...

An adult male with the power
to send a young girl back
to the streets

demands that she
have sex with him...
that's not forcible compulsion?

There's no physical force,
no threat of death
or physical injury.

I'm willing to take the chance
to make the case.

Get me a slot on the grand jury,
we're going for an indictment
for rape in the first degree.

You're way off base on this, Ben.

Jack Powell has spent
his entire life

working selflessly
for the public good.

He's raised hundreds of thousands
of dollars for charities.

For crying out loud...

Did he tell his contributors
about the afternoons he spent
with Maria Barragan?

It's an indiscretion,
not a crime.

Maria's 17... she's an adult.
She consented.

We're not charging you with statutory
rape. We're charging you with rape in the
first degree.

Little bitch...

I didn't force her.
I didn't have to.

She said you threatened
to expel her from Haven House.

for curfew and drugs.

Then you admit
you threatened to expel her?

- Yes, with good reason.
- Legitimate reason in whose mind?

Look, Ben, didn't the
episode with Sister Bettina
tell you anything?

Maria Barragan's a liar.
She'll say anything to get
what she wants.

And what she wants
is to stay alive,

and in her mind that means
staying at Haven House.

A lie like this does not
serve her best interests.

Maybe we can
work something out.

Sexual abuse three,

pleads no lo,
one year community service.

A "B" misdemeanor?
This is more than
a traffic violation.

Without proof of forcible
compulsion, you have no case.

Motion to dismiss.

See you tomorrow at 2:30,

Judge Reisman's chambers.

Maria Barragan was
blowing kisses for nickel bags

long before
she ever heard of Jack Powell.

- Which is hardly relevant...
- It sure as hell affects
her credibility.

That's a matter
for the jury, not for me.

Even if you look at the facts
in a light most favorable
to the prosecution,

the indictment
has still failed

to make a prima facie case
for rape one.

The statute is clear.

It requires threat of death
or physical injury.

Your Honor, we intend to prove
in court that it was reasonable,

under those circumstances,
for Maria Barragan to fear
for her life.

She wasn't seduced,
she submitted...

She consented
for God's sake, Ben.

All right, all right.
My instinct tells me you're
asking me

to stretch the law
to places it shouldn't go.

However, I'm gonna
reserve my decision

on defendant's motion to dismiss
until after trial.

- Your Honor...
- Charge stays for now.

We go
to trial right away.

Reisman reserved decision?
It's a minor miracle.

So we're halfway there.
We present a compelling case...

Don't fool yourself,
Reisman's no groundbreaker.

Read his decisions...

if there's no precedent,
it doesn't fly in his court.

So why didn't he dismiss?

Who knows? It could be he's
waiting for the jury to acquit.

Then he doesn't have
to make a decision.

Could be he's ready
to make new law.

I wouldn't bet on it.
You talk to McCarter?

Yeah, he wants a slap
on the wrist.

Well, maybe you oughta
start slapping.

What do you suppose
a trial like this is gonna
cost the State?

Even if you convince a jury,
Reisman snaps his fingers,

sets aside the verdict.

Adam, since when does cost
have anything to do with it?

Since the State is
on the verge of bankruptcy.


It's a no-win, my boy.

Reisman goes your way,
we got the appeal to worry about.

A trial of any sort
puts Haven House out of business.

Adam, he raped
a 17-year-old girl.

Did he? The statute says
physical harm.

It doesn't say put her
in a situation where
she could get hurt.

But it's all in the victim's
state of mind.

Maria's fears were real.

If he had threatened to throw
her out on the expressway...

He didn't
threaten anything.

She's a kid, Adam. To her,
Times Square is just as dangerous.

- Law doesn't read that way.
- Well, maybe it should.

When I was 12,
my mother ran away.

- Stone: And your father?
- I never knew him.

A complete bio, Your Honor?
It's hardly relevant.

It's relevant
to the victim's state of mind.

It's the defendant's
state of mind that's at issue.

The defendant took advantage
of the victim's fear.

I think it's necessary to show
the derivation of that fear.

I'll allow it.

After you were abandoned,
where'd you live?

In port authority.

Until Sister Bettina
found me.

Did you prefer Haven House
to the streets?

They didn't beat me
or anything.

The sisters,
they cared about me.

And Mr. Powell?

He liked me fine.

Your Honor, we've
established already

that the defendant and this witness
had sexual relations.

We don't need
a play-by-play, Mr. Stone.

Maria, please describe
for the Court

the circumstances...

leading up to your first
sexual encounter with Mr. Powell.

I was in his office.

He started touching me.

He said he could
make me feel good,

and he could
make my life easy.

I told him
I wasn't interested.

But you did
sleep with him?

He said he would have me
thrown out of the house if I didn't.

- And you believed him?
- He showed me a form.

Please describe the paper
I just handed you.

It's the form they use
when they throw you
out of Haven House.

Was that the form
Mr. Powell handed you?

No, the one he showed me
had my name on it.

So you willingly
slept with him?

- I was scared.
- Of the streets?

I've been there.

It's better than going back...
anything is.

That's why
I lied about Sister Bettina.

I thought
if anyone found out...

Thank you.

Your witness.

Have you ever been arrested,
Miss Barragan?


If we're giving bios, let's give
the unabridged version.


Miss Barragan?

Three times.

What were the charges?


- So you were a whore?
- Your Honor!

All right, enough
of that, Mr. McCarter.

The Haven House isn't
all fun and games.

You have to earn
your keep.

There's cooking,
and washing clothes,

isn't that right?

It's part of the rehab.

Isn't it true,
Miss Barragan,

that when you first started
working for Mr. Powell,

most of your chores
were eliminated?


What kind of work
did you do for Mr. Powell?

I filed papers,
answered phones.

Hell of a lot easier
than scrubbing toilets.

Your Honor...

Now, when you were out
on the street, Miss Barragan...

you sold your body for money,
isn't that true?

I had to eat.

Oh, I understand.

You were trying
to make your life easier.

- That's what a whore does.
- Your Honor...

And weren't you trying
to do that with Mr. Powell?

- Trying to make your life easier?
- Objection!

- Miss Barragan?
- Judge: Sustained.

That's enough,
Mr. McCarter.

I've worked for non-profits
all my life.

I don't know, maybe there are
some people who think
I'm too caring.

If I minded my own business,
I wouldn't leave myself open to...

all kinds of problems.

When did you first come
in contact with Miss Barragan?

She was a new girl.

There's a routine
first interview.

I liked her attitude...
she was very bright, eager.

I needed someone
to run errands.

It began as a non-sexual

Powell: Yes.

But then she began
to put out signals,

as if she were
interested in me.

What kind of signals?

I don't know, like...
the way she'd look at me.

To what did you attribute
her interest?

I'm not really sure.

It's certainly not
because I have...

some magnetic
effect on women.

Maybe it was because
I was nice to her,

or maybe she thought she could
get something out of me.

What did you do
about these advances?

I put her off,
but she was very persistent.

I'm not proud
I slept with her.

Maybe this was
bound to happen.

I spend a lot of time
with these girls, and...

in a way, they're trained
to deal with men sexually,

to use sex
to get what they want.

It was stupid of me
to give in to that.

Did you ever
threaten Maria...

overtly or implicitly?

No, never.
She'd been victimized enough.

Did you intimidate her?

That's what
I don't understand.

I'm probably the only guy
she was ever with

who actually cared for her.

I felt l... I was
very kind with her.

I can't understand why Maria
would say she was afraid of me.

No further questions.

Mr. Powell, do you recognize
the name Marjorie White?

She was with us
for a while.

We caught her dealing
to the other girls.

Ah, did you throw her
out of the house?

She was dealing drugs.

All right,
Alberta Gaines?

She was expelled
for violence.

And Rosa Valdez,
was she expelled?


Do you know what happens
to these girls that are expelled?

Sister Bettina tries
to keep track of them.

Do you know what happened
to Rosa Valdez?

I believe she died of AIDS.

Alberta Gaines?
An overdose.

Yeah. Marjorie White,
she die, too?

Raped and stabbed 12 times
by six members of a gang.

And of all 18 girls
expelled in the past six years,

three have died of AIDS,
five, drug overdose,

one of exposure,
two murdered,

and the rest disappeared.
Isn't that true?


So isn't it reasonable,
under these circumstances,

for Maria Barragan to fear
for her life when you threw her
out on the street?

- Objection!
- Sustained.

Did she ever say she was
afraid of leaving Haven House?

I never... listen, when these girls have been
out on the street
long enough,

they become hardened, tough...
they're not afraid of anything.

- So if you're beaten up enough,
you lose your fear?
- You learn how to survive.

Until someone
kills you.

The law says that if Jack Powell

never placed Maria Barragan
in fear of death...

or physical injury,
he cannot be convicted

of rape in the first degree.

He didn't wrestle her
to the ground.

He didn't put
a gun to her head.

He simply said,
"Have sex with me

or I'm throwing you
back out on the street."

Case dismissed?


But what did that threat
mean to Maria?

Another broken arm?


instead of hepatitis?

A bullet
instead of a razor blade?

More rapes,
more beatings.

And more than anyone,
Jack Powell knew

that his threat contained
the weight of all those things.

So when he threatened to remove her
from the one safe harbor

in her sad young life,
he put her in fear

for her life
and her physical well-being.

And he didn't put
a gun to her head.

No, he showed her
another way he could hurt her.

Were you expecting
a guilty verdict this quickly?

I can't anticipate the mind
of a jury, but I'm very grateful.

Man: What about the mind
of Judge Reisman? Do
you think he'll dismiss it?

I think we met
the burden of proof.

If he does dismiss,
do you have a plan how to proceed?

- Yes, we do.
- Man: Mr. Stone?

you convinced a jury.

It doesn't mean a thing

until Reisman rules
on the motion to dismiss.

With his history,
I wouldn't hold my breath.

Our knowledge of rape
and power has grown...
the law should reflect that.

Right now you got leverage...
use it or lose it.

Now, I say call McCarter,
work out sentence.

You think my case
was that weak?

No, I just think
that the judiciary

isn't as open-minded as you.

(phone buzzes)


Hold on.

looking for you.

He wants
to talk about sentencing.

You can still lose it.

No deal.


Be seated.

After listening to the evidence
and reading counsel's briefs,

I find that the prosecution
has met its burden

with respect
to the charge

of rape
in the first degree.

Defense motion
to dismiss, denied.

Jury verdict of guilty stays.

(gavel bangs)

Get out
your soundbite, Ben.

Yeah, nothing sells like sex.

Don't sell yourself short...
everybody loves a winner.


You know it'll probably
be reversed on appeal.

Probably. But maybe the legislature
takes a look, rewrites the law.

(theme music plays)