CLEVELAND, Ohio – More than 5 1/2 years after reporting that a co-worker viciously attacked her, LaTreese Miller this week saw the man sentenced to a decade in prison.
Miller's rape case had dragged on for so long that in February she asked an Ohio appellate court to force a Mahoning County judge put Maurice Clark on trial for kidnapping and rape charges that had been pending since 2010.
The case had been continued more than 20 times, prompting The Justice League, an Ohio non-profit that provides free legal support for crime victims, to step in and file for what's called a Writ of Mandamus forcing the judge to set the case for trial. A Justice League attorney argued that Miller, as a victim, had a right to a speedy trial.
The drawn-out process, Miller said in February, was 'worse than the actual rape sometimes' because it prevented her from healing and moving on with her life.
Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney later responded to the 7th District Court of Appeals that Miller had no standing as a victim make such a request.
But she did set a trial date.
Last month, five years after his first court appearance, a jury found Clark guilty of rape. The 49-year-old was found not guilty of a kidnapping charge. On Thursday, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was ordered to register as a sex offender.
"I'm grateful that I got my day in court, finally," Miller said Friday. "Now it's time for me to be able to move on."
The appeals court dismissed Miller's complaint as moot after the trial took place. That was hard, Miller said, because she felt that the system should be held accountable for the way they treat victims.
After taking some time heal, she hopes to be an advocate sharing this message:"Don't let anybody tell you you don't have rights. Fight for yourself."
Miller said she was fortunate to have the Justice League by her side when nobody else would help her.
Miller's Justice League attorney, Elizabeth Well said, "We are extremely pleased with the outcome, though we feel that this outcome should have been reached years ago."
"We hope that other victims experiencing victims' rights violations will contact us for assistance. We think that LaTreese's situation highlights the critical role our organization can play in helping victims obtain justice."