If you’ve ever wondered just how conniving, manipulative, and controlling abusers can be, look no further than the following story. Women often face difficult consequences for reporting the abuse committed against them but it’s safe to say no one has ever experienced anything like Seemoa Sumasar did. After accusing her ex-boyfriend of rape, he staged an elaborate CSI-like plot that left her in jail for over seven months.
According to the New York Times, Seemoa Sumasar began dating Jerry Ramrattan in 2006, after he posed as a police detective and private investigator in order to impress her. He moved into her home in 2008 but instead of going to work, he stayed at home and watched shows like CSI and Law and Order on repeat. Their relationship began to crumble about a year later and took a violent turn when he attacked her, taped her mouth shut, and raped her. Sumasar went to the police and refused to drop the charges even when Ramrattan sent friends to threaten her.
What happens next is “A revenge plot so intricate, the prosecutors were pawns”.
One night, Sumasar was pulled over by the police, handcuffed, and told by an officer “You know you did it…. Just admit it”. She was taken to the police station and charged with performing a series of armed robberies. The police claimed they had a wealth of evidence connecting her to the crimes, which included credible witness statements and proof that her car was used as the getaway vehicle. As a result, Sumasar lost her business and her home, was separated from her young daughter and had to come to terms with the fact that while she was sitting in a jail cell for a crime she did not commit, her rapist was free on bail and roaming the streets.
While his scheme was no doubt meticulous, it would not have succeeded if law enforcement hadn’t assumed from the very beginning that Sumasar was guilty or refused to investigate her claims that she was being framed. Had officials decided to take her statements seriously, they would have found that the three “witnesses” were being paid to participate in the set-up. The New York Times reports that Ramrattan coached the supposed victims to say that a woman identical to Sumasar robbed them and were even shown photographs in order to be able to pick her out of a line-up. Another “witness” came forward, claiming that he saw all of the digits from Sumasar’s car as it drove away from the scene and that he overheard the robbers use nicknames associated to Sumasar and a former boyfriend.
Shortly before Sumasar was scheduled to go to trial, the case fell apart when a witness confessed to police that their story was false. Ramrattan is currently awaiting trial and is making the claim that all of this is part of Sumasar’s scheme to set him up. Sumasar is planning on suing the police department for presuming that a woman without prior criminal convictions was guilty, despite evidence that proves otherwise, and for refusing to investigate her claims against a man who was accused of a violent sexual crime.
Over and over again, we see the burden of proof placed upon victims of sexual violence. In this case, the proof was on the victim’s side and yet it was completely ignored. If not for the witness coming forward, Sumasar never would have stood a chance. Scary how our justice system works sometimes, isn’t it?