Polygraph “Testing” of Rape Victims Debated in NC Sheriff’s Election

Alex McAllister reports for the Jacksonville, North Carolina Daily News in an article titled, “Sheriff faces his challengers.” Excerpt:

Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown on Wednesday defended his use of the polygraph tests on rape victims when investigating cases of sexual assault.

Brown addressed the issue during a forum for candidates running for sheriff hosted by the Onslow County Council for Women at Hilda’s Restaurant in Jacksonville.

Brown was joined at the forum by Democratic challenger Leon LeBlond along with Republican candidate Paul Buchanan; Wayne Morris, a Republican who will appear on the ballot as unaffiliated; and Billy Woodward, a Democrat who will also appear on the ballot as unaffiliated. Libertarian candidate Mathew Tillman did not attend.

Woodward, the son of the late former Sheriff Billy Woodward Sr., raised the issue and asked Brown, his former boss, if polygraph or lie detector tests are used in such cases.

“If this is the case, that will be the first policy done away with,” Woodward said, referring to his administration should he win election in November.

Brown defended the policy saying that times have changed. False accusations in such cases are not uncommon.

“We’ve seen something today we didn’t see in law enforcement 30 years ago,” Brown said and added that in some cases, there isn’t any evidence and the polygraph is used to find the truth when both parties disagree.

“I agree polygraphs shouldn’t be used as a prerequisite for charging,” Brown said.

Other candidates agreed with Woodward.

“The polygraph is nothing but an instrument, it’s the last resort you should use,” Buchanan said.

Morris concurred.

“No one should have anything held over them, because that’s victimizing the person,” Morris said.

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