Alleged rape victim faces felony charges - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Alleged rape victim faces felony charges

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A crowd of protestors wants charges dropped, and they took that message to the Jackson county courthouse Tuesday. A crowd of protestors wants charges dropped, and they took that message to the Jackson county courthouse Tuesday.
Two dozen men and women stood outside the Jackson County courthouse with a single message--drop the charges against Melissa Vistain. Two dozen men and women stood outside the Jackson County courthouse with a single message--drop the charges against Melissa Vistain.
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JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -

A Carbondale woman who reported her sexual assault to police last spring- now faces felony charges.

But, a crowd of protestors wants those charges dropped, and they took that message to the Jackson county courthouse Tuesday.

These two dozen men and women stood outside the Jackson County courthouse with a single message--drop the charges against Melissa Vistain.

"Raise some attention about this and challenge this whole prosecution, we want them to stop and to stop prosecuting victims of sexual predators."

Vistain claims she was raped in march of 2012-but two months later-she found herself facing disorderly conduct charges....accused of making a false report.

Megan Jones-Williams from The Women's Crisis center in Carbondale says the wrong person is being punished.

"We know that there is always lots of circumstances involved and the issue of consent often comes up. And the issue here today is that Melissa has said that she did not consent to the sexual activity to the assault that was committed against her."

Which is why members of rape crisis centers across the state signed this petition....showing support for Vistain.

"I think this is just a terrible waste of our resources and we need to focus on the real issues and stop blaming the victims of sexual crime and focus on the predators."

"We want sexual assault victims to know that it is safe to report their assaults to law enforcement. and when charges are brought against someone for doing so, it sends a chilling message to victims everywhere."

In court Tuesday, the judge continued Melissa Vistain's pre-trial.

Her trial is scheduled for March 18.

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