Glore Case Sparks Legislation
Virginia Glore's case has convinced one local legislator that rape kit tests should be given to all who ask for them.
While Virginia Glore's pending trial for a Driving While Intoxicated charge isn't scheduled until late February 2002, Glore's attorney, Keith Taniguchi, said he is assembling the case he believes will win her acquittal. Glore was arrested on Aug. 4, 2000, after she crashed her husband's retro Ford Thunderbird outside a South Congress motel. Officials from the Austin Police Department and the Travis County Attorney's office say Glore wrecked her car because she was drunk, but Glore maintains she was drugged in a Sixth Street bar and then transported to the motel, where she was raped. She believes she was fleeing her attackers at the time of her accident (see Raped Twice?, Oct. 12).
On Nov. 21, Taniguchi said he had contacted nationally recognized drug expert Trinka Porrata, who he hopes will testify on Glore's behalf. A retired 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Dept., Porrata confirmed Tuesday that she has been in touch with Taniguchi but declined further comment. During her eight-year stint as an LAPD narcotics detective, Porrata honed her skills as a drug expert and her knowledge of the date rape drug GHB. Since retiring, Porrata has traveled the globe to train law enforcement and other governmental agencies, colleges, and high schools about the dangers of date rape and club drugs, and has also become a significant contributor to the informational Web site www.projectghb.org. Moreover, Porrata has worked closely with Officer Bill Petty, the APD's top drug recognition expert trainer. Taniguchi has filed a motion with Travis County Judge David Crain requesting state funds to help pay for an expert -- presumably Porrata -- to testify at trial. Crain has not yet ruled on the motion.
While Travis County Attorney Ken Oden and the APD have consistently asserted that they believe Glore fabricated her rape allegation (a felony) to avoid prosecution for the DWI (a misdemeanor), Glore's case has caught the eye of at least one state legislator. State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin, told the Chronicle that after researching Glore's case, he plans to sponsor at least two bills: one aimed at firming up sexual assault victims' rights, the other at shoring up law enforcement training and awareness of date rape drugs. Since Glore was twice denied access to the standard rape kit exam administered at hospitals, Barrientos wants to ensure that no sexual assault victim is denied access to medical attention, said his legislative assistant, Rachele Smith. "He is taking steps to make sure that anyone who alleges sexual assault must be provided a rape kit," Smith said. "To that extent he is going to sponsor a state law." The second bill would require Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents to educate bar owners on the use of Rohypnol, GHB, and other date rape drugs, and mandate that similar training must be provided in all state police officer academies.
While the Legislature doesn't reconvene until January 2003, Barrientos -- recently awarded the first ever "lifetime achievement award" by the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas -- may have enough clout to convince local and state law enforcement agencies to adopt these policies before the first Capitol gavel falls. Letters sent by the APD to two citizens about the Glore case state, "In the future, APD will make rape kits available to any woman who requests one." As of press time, however, no written policy to that effect has been added to the department's book of General Orders, Policies and Procedures.