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OLD TIME COUNTRY JUSTICE

Story ID:906
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Period Piece
Location:Schoharie New York USA
Year:1949
Person:Alleged victim
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
OLD TIME COUNTRY JUSTICE
By Fred Wickert


In lightly populated rural areas in the mid 1900’s justice was handled a little differently than we do it today.

Schoharie County, New York is a forgotten place by America. During the American Revolution it was on the western frontier and became known as, “The bread basket of the revolution.” It is nestled in the northern Catskill Mountains, and was populated after the Indians by the Palatine Dutch. They are a hardy people, set in their ways.

There were two rare cases that came before the courts in Schoharie County during the summer months of 1949 that had the entire county abuzz. Both were rape cases, and rape in those days in Schoharie County was not a regular occurrence.

The first case involved a very tall Swedish woman. She was six feet tall and large boned. She charged a man with raping her against the wall of a building in an alley in the village of Cobleskill. The accused was a short fellow of five feet and four inches in height.

In county court in Schoharie as the trial got under way, the prosecutor asked the alleged victim to describe the events as they occurred the evening of the alleged rape. The woman described how she and the accused had been enjoying an evening stroll in the village, holding hands as they walked. When they came to the alley the accused led her into the alley which was dark. The accused then backed her against the wall and some kissing was indulged in.

According to the testimony of the alleged victim, the accused worked her skirt up without her knowledge while they were kissing. He then suddenly and without warning, pulled her panties to one side and thrust himself inside of her.

At this point, the judge stopped the proceedings to ask the witness a question or two of his own. The judge asked, “Now let me get this straight. You are saying the defendant had you backed up against a wall?”

“Yes, your honor.”

The judge replied, “Will you please explain to me then, since the defendant is considerably shorter than you are, just how he managed to over come the difference in height to gain penetration?”

The alleged victim replied, “Well, I scooched a little.”

At this point the court room erupted with laughter. After the judge got order restored in the court room, he said,

“Case dismissed. The defendant is free to go.”



The second case involved a very shapely 17 year old high school girl in the hamlet of North Blenheim, New York located in the southern part of Schoharie County. The girl was a high school cheer leader who lived with her impoverished grandfather in a small mobile home in the hamlet.

The girl filed a complaint of rape against three men in their early twenties. She identified each of them by name, knowing each one of them. She alleged that as she was walking on Route 30 in the hamlet of N. Blenheim that night, the three men had stopped and offered to take her for a ride. She had entered the car with them. The men were alleged to have taken her to a near by secluded area and parked the car. She alleged that each of the men had sex with her, and then returned her to the spot where they had picked her up.

When the trial began in Schoharie County court, the accusations were made in testimony given by the alleged victim. When the prosecutor asked her to identify the three men sitting in the court room, she did.

Upon cross examination by the defense attorney, the witness was asked why she reported the three men for rape when she had willingly got in the car and gone with them?

The witness replied, “Because they were each supposed to give me five bucks and they never paid me.”

The judge as in the other case, promptly dismissed this case also.