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Alleged Rape Victim Sues Judge Who Won’t Let Her Say ‘Rape’

LINCOLN, NEB. (CN) - A woman whose alleged rapist's trial ended twice in mistrials because she violated the judge's orders not to use the terms "rape," "sexual assault" or "victim" while testifying has sued the judge on constitutional charges in Federal Court.

Nebraska District Court Judge Jeffre Cheuvront twice declared mistrials because the woman used prohibited words. She says the juries were not informed about Cheuvront's language-cleansing order, and that Cheuvront threatened to imprison her for contempt if she used the words. She is facing a third trial, at which she must confront her alleged rapist again, and expects Cheuvront to issue the same orders and threats against her and against witnesses. She says Cheuvront "required her to testify using words that did not accurately describe her experience." Lead counsel Sue Ellen Wall says, "judicial review to determine whether (Cheuvront's) order violates federal constitutional principles is unavailable to the Plaintiff under Nebraska law." She says the vice president of the National District Attorneys' Association has said, "the practice of state court judges issuing orders restricting the language of victims has increased substantially in recent years. It has not yet been reviewed for compliance with federal constitutional law."

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