CHICAGO – An Illinois judge on Wednesday ruled that a 20-year-old woman doesn't have to watch the videotape of her alleged rape.
Cook County Judge Kerry Kennedy said defense attorneys could cross-examine the woman in the case against Adrian Missbrenner, 20, without her watching the video of the rape she says happened four years ago. He ruled in favor of prosecutors, who argued that rape victims are granted special treatment under the Constitution.
But Kennedy also ruled the tape could be shown in court after the woman is done testifying, according to the Cook County state's attorney's office.
On Tuesday, the first day of testimony, Kennedy threatened to jail the woman for contempt of court charges after she refused to watch the tape in court. The defendant claims the tape could prove the alleged victim was a willing participant in the sex acts.
Before making his decision Wednesday, the judge asked the alleged victim if she would view the video. She declined.
"I am not going to force her to watch the video during cross-examination,'' Kennedy said, reported The Chicago Tribune. "I don't believe Adrian Missbrenner's case is being injured.''
The woman has never viewed the video and doesn't want to, according to George Acosta, the attorney representing the woman in the civil case against Missbrenner's family.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Wednesday said state law should protect rape victims from having to view videotapes and photographs of their ordeal. He said his office is drafting legislation because rape victims should not "go through any further acts of cruelty."
The Missbrenner case stretches back to more than three years ago.
In the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2002, the woman went to an alcohol-filled party at Missbrenner's home with a girlfriend of hers. She testified that she woke up in his home the next morning naked from the waist down with marker-written vulgarity on her legs, according to the Tribune.
Later, she learned she had been videotaped and went back to Missbrenner's home to ask for the tape, accompanied by friends.
But Missbrenner denied the tape existed.
Cook County police obtained the tape days later from Missbrenner's friend. The friend said Missbrenner gave it to him because he was concerned the girl would claim the sex wasn't consensual — and the tape would support his claim, if needed.
Prosecutors say the woman was so drunk, she was unable and did not consent to having sex with Missbrenner and another male.
But Missbrenner's attorney said the video conflicts with the alleged victim's stance that she was too drunk to consent.
"I think the videotape impeaches her on that issue. I think, in fact, the videotape shows that she's lying," said defense attorney Patrick Campanelli.
FOX News has spoken with one person who has seen portions of the videotape in question. That source said the tape does raise questions about the alleged victim's testimony on whether she was an unwilling participant in the sex acts.
After Wednesday's ruling, Campanelli filed motions to dismiss the charges and to bar the woman's testimony, the Tribune reported. Kennedy denied both requests.
Missbrenner is one of four men charged in the assault of the woman in December of 2002 when she was 16 years old. He is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and child pornography, and faces six to 30 years in prison if found guilty of the offenses. Missbrenner has already served time for flight from prosecution after he jumped bail and fled to Serbia. The move delayed the trial for eight months until his return of May 2005.
Of the other three charged in the case, one male has been convicted, one has been acquitted and one is believed to have fled the country and is a fugitive.
FOX News' Steve Brown and The Associated Press contributed to this report.