Alleged rape victim accuses two top prosecutors of mishandling her case

Updated: Nov. 20, 2019 at 9:04 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - An alleged rape victim claims two top Ohio prosecutors mishandled her case.

Jennifer Kinsley is a law professor at Northern Kentucky University who specializes in criminal and First Amendment law.

Kinsley claims she was raped by a former client that she was representing free of charge in 2012.

According to court documents, Kinsley claimed her alleged rapist Aaron Roco would not let her leave his home, pinned her down as she yelled ‘no’ and choked her until blood vessels in her eyes popped.

"This was a real thing that happened to me. It was incredibly demoralizing and scary,” Kinsley said.

She explained why she waited to come forward until 2018.

“I felt that no one would hire me if they knew this had happened to me. They wouldn’t trust my ability to represent them and I wouldn’t be able to earn a living and take care of my kids,” Kinsley said.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office pursued Kinsley’s allegations, which resulted in Roco being charged with four counts of rape and one count of kidnapping.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters assigned Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser to the case.

Kinsley said prosecutors offered Roco a ‘lenient plea deal’ of six months in jail but she did not accept it.

"The precedent they are setting by offering such an insignificant deal to a person who has victimized me is a slap in the face to what I experienced,” Kinsley said.

Kinsley claimed the prosecutor’s office did not properly investigate her case. Deters told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “It was the assessment of my assistants that this was not a strong case, and that a plea deal was appropriate.”

She also claimed Roco’s attorney at the time, R. Scott Croswell, donated money to Deters’ re-election campaign. Deters told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the donation ‘had no bearing on his decision.’

Cincinnati Enquirer | Lawyer says top prosecutors mishandled her rape case: ‘It feels like I’m being re-victimized’ | Prosecutor asks Ohio Supreme Court to punish lawyer for interfering with her own rape case | Attorney general takes over Cincinnati rape case after accuser complains about prosecutors

FOX19 NOW reached out to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office for comment. They responded, “As you know, this is no longer our case. The ethics rules prohibit us from commenting.”

In a follow-up email, the prosecutor’s office was asked what Deters would say to sexual assault victims who are concerned about how he may handle their case.

Deters’ office responded, “I would tell anyone that my office will work to see that justice is served. We have a victim advocacy team second to none. They handle sexual assault and domestic violence cases as well as anyone in the country. I’ve been a vocal advocate of efforts to make sure victims of sexual assault are notified of court hearings, involved in the process, are kept free from harassment, have privacy respected and are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. No two cases are the same. The facts and people are different each time, but our prosecutors and victim advocates are diligent, smart, committed and go the extra mile to help victims through an incredibly difficult process.”

Kinsley said she was never informed Gmoser was assigned to her case and filed a complaint against him with the Ohio Supreme Court, which was dismissed. “I filed a lawsuit to challenge why the Butler County prosecutor was engaging in activities in my case,” Kinsley said.

Gmoser has his own complaints about Kinsley. He said she wrote a letter to the original judge on the case who then had to recuse himself.

“She has a perceptual defect. She doesn't get it. She can't see past her role as a victim and as an attorney,” said Gmoser during a phone interview.

Gmoser is also quoted by the Cincinnati Enquirer saying Kinsley “doesn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground.” Here’s what Gmoser told FOX19 NOW about that statement, “It's an old quote by the way. You can google, 'doesn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground.’ Look anywhere on the google. It's a popular reference for someone who is doing something stupid.”

Kinsley believes she is being re-victimized by both prosecutors.

“I thought it was completely wrong of him to reference my body parts. He doesn’t know what my body parts have been through or experienced,” Kinsley said.

FOX19 NOW asked Gmoser if he believes Kinsley is a victim of sexual assault. He responded, “It would be unethical for me to make that statement.”

The case has now been assigned to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. It was in court Tuesday and it is moving forward. A judge has scheduled a hearing for early next spring.

FOX19 NOW reached out to Roco’s attorney last week but did not hear back.

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