Victim advocates worry rape case could lead victims to stay silent

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 3, 2015) -- Victim advocates worry the highly publicized rape case against a former Colts player will deter other victims from coming forward.

A jury found Josh McNary, a former linebacker with the team, not guilty of rape and two other charges on Thursday.

McNary is now a free and innocent man but as the saying going, "perception is everything" and advocates worry it is the perception that will harm other cases.

"I hope that it doesn’t prevent other victims from coming forward," Prevail Executive Director Susan Ferguson said.

Ferguson, who counsels victims at Prevail, said it's likely they could see the case and think of their own story, leading them to the dangerous conclusion that it is not worth speaking out.

"A lot of times it comes down to two people behind closed doors and what story they tell," Ferguson said.

That's exactly what happened in the McNary case, which became a classic "he said, she said" scenario.

"It sounds like they weren’t buying (the victim's) story, pretty much from the start," attorney Ralph Staples said.

Staples, who was not involved in the McNary case, said rape cases can be some of the hardest to try.

"It's a really tough job and it may come down to personalities," Staples said.

No matter who is to blame, Ferguson said she wanted victims to know there is help available and what is most important is getting help, not necessarily taking a case to court.

"We want to make sure that victims get the services that they need to walk them through that process, whether or not it includes the criminal justice process," Ferguson said.

If you or someone you knows needs help or wants to talk to someone, you can contact Prevail at the link here.

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