ANNAPOLIS – The Court of Special Appeals on Thursday upheld the rape conviction of an Anne Arundel County police officer who attacked a woman while he was working as a security guard at Parole Plaza.
The court rejected Michael Dennis Feeney’s argument that his victim has a “history of mental problems” and that he should have been allowed to use her mental health records in his defense.
Feeney, who is serving a 13-year sentence for second-degree rape, assault with intent to rape and battery, said his right to defend himself outweighed the confidentiality of his victim’s medical records.
“We’re not happy,” said Feeney’s attorney, T. Joseph Touhey, who described it as a “he said, she said” case that turned on the victim’s credibility.
“There was no physical or scientific evidence on her part,” he said. “She was a very reluctant witness initially. There was no question she made prior inconsistent statements. But the jury solved the credibility issue in her favor.”
Feeney was a county police officer working part-time at the Parole Plaza when the rape occurred in December 1995.
He said he went into the Rite-Aid to buy aspirin for back pain when the victim, a cashier there, offered a back rub. He invited her to the mall security office after her shift to take her up on her massage offer and once there, he said, they had consensual sex.
But the woman testified that Feeney offered her a ride home and she accepted because she had a sprained ankle. But when she followed him into the office, she said he started to pace and talk about problems with his wife.
When she looked up, the woman said, Feeney was exposing himself. “There are things you can do to live and things you can do to die,” Feeney said before raping her, she testified. They then dressed and he drove her home.
She said she did not report the crime because Feeney was a police officer. The victim only told a friend of the rape in January 1996, because she thought she might be pregnant or have contracted AIDS.
The friend called police and Feeney was indicted for first- and second-degree rape, sodomy, perverted practices, assault with intent to rape, battery and sexual offenses, among other charges.
The trial was moved to Howard County, where Feeney asked for all the victim’s medical records to show that she was “a pathological liar and a sociopath.”
Howard County Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure rejected that request, allowing Feeney only those medical records that pertained to the attack.
Even without the mental health records, defense attorneys got the victim to admit on the stand that her father had sexually abused her, that she had misused prescription drugs and had attempted suicide. She also testified that she was homeless and taking prescription drugs at the time of the rape.
But the jury sided with her, convicting Feeney in April 1997. He was sentenced to 13 years, with three years suspended.
Touhey had not seen the appeals court ruling Thursday and said he would not decide whether to appeal until he has read it. Prosecutors could not be reached for comment on the opinion and county police declined comment.