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MAHONING COUNTY Gains seeks gag order



Published: Fri, August 31, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Gains said the detective's comments show a lack of regard for the victim.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains wants to slap a gag order on a city police detective who talked to reporters about a rape case last week.

Jamar Callier, 21, of West Delason Avenue, and Andre Bundy, 18, of West Hylda Avenue, were indicted Thursday afternoon by a county grand jury.

Charges: Callier faces two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of conspiracy to aggravated robbery, two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping.

Bundy is charged with two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of conspiracy to aggravated robbery.

Two juveniles are also charged and their cases are pending in juvenile court. Gains declined to say whether he'll seek to prosecute them as adults and declined to comment on his request for a gag order.

Gains has asked that city police, specifically Detective Sgt. Delphine Baldwin Casey, be barred from publicly commenting on the cases while they are pending. Casey is assigned to the department's Crisis Intervention Unit.

Officer's comments: She said if the gag order is issued she will abide by it. She said it's not the first time she's "bumped heads" with Gains over a rape, noting the rapist is behind bars and she's never lost a case based on comments made to the press.

"I want people to know my concern is the victim and other people affected by these rapes and how they're reported," Casey said. "I know, if accurate information isn't put out, the fear and the panic it can cause."

Casey said that, as a black woman, she has experience dealing with sensitive issues, especially between women and minorities, "versus Paul Gains, a white male, who never hears these things." Casey said the rape case involves a white woman and black suspects, which makes it even more sensitive.

About the case: The case centers on the reported rape of a 21-year-old Boardman woman last week on a side street of Market Street. Casey spoke to a Vindicator reporter about the crime.

"In reading the articles, it is clear that the detective involved in this case has not acted responsibly," Gains wrote. "Her comments and opinions are not found in any police reports, and her opinions are not even necessarily admissible evidence."

Casey said anyone who may think she had a self-serving motive in talking to the press is wrong. "I'm not running for any political office and I'm not trying to be chief of police," she said.

Finally, Gains said Casey's comments to The Vindicator have upset the victim, who already has been traumatized. "If that's true, I'm not aware of it; the victim never expressed that to me," Casey said.

"The published comments demonstrate a complete lack of regard for the feelings of this young woman," Gains wrote. "I disagree -- that's a matter of opinion," Casey said.

Gains' written motion says gag orders are allowed when "First Amendment rights clash with a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial."

The pretrial publicity generated by the case could taint the defendants' chances for such a trial, he added. Casey said she feels singled out because other detectives talk about cases to reporters.

bjackson@vindy.com




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