Kathy Shelton Rape Case: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know

Kathy Shelton of Springdale, Arkansas, is now 54 years old. But in 1975, at the age of 12, Shelton was allegedly raped by a 41-year-old factory worker named Thomas Alfred Taylor. The lawyer who provided Taylor’s defense was a 27-year-old law professor who ran a legal aid clinic for underprivileged defendants. Her name was Hillary Rodham, soon to be known as Hillary Clinton — and in the end, Taylor’s charges were reduced from first-degree rape to “unlawful fondling of a child under 14,” mainly due to a lack of credible evidence in the case. Taylor served 10 months of a one-year sentence, and died in 1992.

The Shelton rape case has long been used by Clinton adversaries to attack her, saying that her defense of Taylor makes her a hypocrite when she claims to be an advocate for women and sexual assault victims. Clinton’s political opponents have even claimed that the Democratic Presidential nominee “laughed” when discussing the case in an interview several years later.

With Donald Trump signaling that he intends to attack Clinton as a “bully” toward victims of sexual assault, the Shelton rape case is expected to be a topic in the second Presidential debate on Sunday, October 9, according to Bloomberg News reporter Joshua Green.

What really happened in the controversial Shelton case? Here’s what you need to know.


1. Shelton Was Allegedly Raped By Taylor on May 10, 1975

Shelton never came forward publicly until 2016, when she gave an interview to Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper. In fact, Shelton did not realize that Taylor’s defense lawyer had been Clinton until 2008, 33 years after the case, when the New York newspaper Newsday ran a lengthy story about the case, and Clinton’s role in it.

What actually happened that night remains unclear, mainly because — according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office — the original case files have been lost. Newsday in 2008 pieced together what remains the most complete account of the incident, but even that paper’s report described the case as “convoluted” and reliant on the testimony of three witnesses, who were each unreliable and had something to hide. An investigator told Newsday that Shelton’s own story contained “serious inconsistencies.”

According to the Newsday account written by reporter Glenn Thrush, the girl — not named in the story but now identified as Shelton — was sleeping over at a friend’s house when, around midnight, Taylor and another man, his cousin, came by the house and offered to take her for a ride in their pickup truck. Saying she wanted to buy a soft drink, the girl got in the truck.

They drove around and picked up a 15-year-old boy. According to the Newsday account, Taylor then stopped at a liquor store where he bought whiskey and Coke, giving the drink to the 12-year-old. Later, in the early hours of the morning, they drove to a secluded area where Taylor and the other man left the truck for a walk. The 15-year-old told police that he then had sex with Shelton.

After the act was concluded, the boy said that he got out of the truck — and Taylor got in. That’s when according both to Shelton and witnesses, as well as doctors who examined her a short time after the incident, Taylor raped her. He also beat her during the rape, she said.

Taylor denied raping the 12-year-old, and even passed a polygraph test, which Clinton said in her later interview “forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.”


2. Clinton Did Not “Volunteer” for the Case, She Tried to Get Out of Defending Taylor

In May of 1975, Rodham was still seven months away from her wedding to Bill Clinton, and had only recently moved to her fiancée’s home state of Arkansas where he planned to run for office. She took a teaching position at the University of Arkansas law school and quickly took the initiative to found the University of Arkansas School Legal Aid Clinic.

Because the legal aid clinic provided representation for clients who could not afford a lawyer, in the frequent instances when public defenders could not handle their heavy caseload.

When Taylor told the judge in his case that he demanded a woman lawyer, firing his court-appointed male attorney, prosecutors turned to Rodham, recommending her to the judge in the case.

Clinton wrote about the case in her 2003 memoir Living History, saying that she desperately tried to get out of the assignment.

“I really didn’t feel comfortable taking on such a client, but (Prosecutor) Mahlon (Gibson) gently reminded me that I couldn’t very well refuse the judge’s request,” Clinton wrote.

Gibson, in a CNN interview 11 years after Clinton published her book, remembered the young lawyer’s reaction the same way.

“I don’t want to represent this guy. I just can’t stand this,” Gibson recalled Clinton pleading with him. “I don’t want to get involved. Can you get me off?”

Gibson suggested that she take her pleas to the judge, which Clinton did. But the judge was unsympathetic, ordering her to take Taylor’s case.

Once she no longer had a choice in the matter, Clinton said in a 2014 interview that she had a professional obligation to give Taylor the strongest possible defense.

“I had a professional duty to represent my client to the best of my ability, which I did,” she said.

Gibson recalled that the young lawyer worked overtime on the case in hopes of impressing the court, which might them help establish the reputation of her new legal aid clinc.


3. Clinton Challenged Shelton’s Credibility, in an Court Affidavit

Even though she found the job distasteful, Rodham mounted what she felt was her strongest possible defense of Taylor. As Newsday reporter Thrush wrote in 2008, “Her approach, then and now, was to immerse herself in even unpleasant tasks with a will to win.”

In an affidavit that can be read in the court file above, starting on page 34 — or at this link — Rodham attempted to undermine the credibility of 12-year-old’s allegations against Taylor, writing that she had “been informed” that the victim, now known to be Shelton, “is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing.”

She also said that she had been “informed” that the girl “has in the past made false accusations against persons, claiming they attacked her body.”

Finally, Rodham wrote that a child psychologist told her that “children in early adolescence tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences,” and that this tendency was especially common in children from “disorganized families” such as Shelton’s.

When Newsday interviewed her in 2008, Shelton said that she bore no “ill will” toward Clinton. But she has since changed her mind, at least partly because of a tape recorded interview that surfaced in 2014 in which Clinton is allegedly heard “laughing” while discussing the rape case.



4. Clinton Laughed on the Tape, But Not About Taylor’s Light Sentence

In an interview conducted sometime in the mid-1980s by Arkansas reporter, Roy Reed, Clinton discussed the case. The audio recordings can be heard above. Clinton’s political opponents have claimed that she “laughed” while discussing the light sentence that Taylor received, and when she admitted that she knew he was guilty.

But that’s not true.

There are four moments where Clinton can be heard “laughing” during the interview. Here they are, as identified by The Washington Post.

•“Of course he [the defendant] claimed he didn’t [rape]. All this stuff. He took a lie detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.” Clinton and Reed both laugh at this remark.

•“So I got an order to see the evidence and the prosecutor didn’t want me to see the evidence. I had to go to Maupin Cummings [the judge] and convince Maupin that yes indeed I had a right to see the evidence before it was presented.” Faint laughter is heard between the words “evidence” and “before” in the second sentence.

•“I handed it [information on her expert witness] to Mahlon Gibson, and I said, ‘Well this guy’s ready to come up from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice.’” Both Clinton and Reed laugh, apparently at the irony of calling the case a “miscarriage of justice” when in Clinton’s opinion, her client was guilty.

•“So Maupin [ie. the judge] had to, you know, under law he was supposed to determine whether the plea was factually supported. Maupin asked me to leave the room while he examined my client so that he could find out if it was factually supported. I said ‘Judge I can’t leave the room I’m his lawyer!’ he said ‘I know but I don’t want to talk about this in front of you.’” Reed is heard saying, “Oh God, really?” and both laugh at the idea that the details of the case were not suitable to be discussed in front of a woman, even the defendant’s own lawyer.

At no point does Clinton laugh at mention of Taylor’s reduced charges and sentence, or at the notion that she defended a guilty client, which she determined to be her professional obligation.

“In the interview she called this a ‘terrible case,’ and it’s clear she is pained to recall it,” Clinton spokesperson Josh Schwerin told the Post. “The reactions that you mention were very clearly expressions of disbelief at breakdowns in the handling of the case and absurdities she encountered within the court system’s bureaucracy.”


5. Prosecutors Botched Evidence in the Case, Leading to Taylor’s Reduced Charges

Kathy Shelton Hillary Clinton, Clinton defends rapist, 12 year old rape victim, Clinton scandals, Hillary Clinton laughed

Hillary Clinton in 2008. (Getty)

Some of Clinton’s attackers have claimed that Taylor was found not guilty as a result of her defense. The truth his, the accused rapist pleaded guilty after prosecutors offered him a plea bargain, in which his charges were reduced to “fondling” rather than first-degree rape.

Why? While Rodham mounted an aggressive defense, in the end prosecutors decided there simply was not enough evidence to make the rape charge stick — because investigators mishandled it.

The only piece of physical evidence available was a pair of underwear that had blood on it. Investigators cut out a piece of the underwear and sent it to a crime lab, but a forensic expert hired by Clinton determined that the small sample was not enough to allow a meaningful test. The only remaining evidence was the underwear that had been cut by the investigators, rendering it useless as evidence.

As a result, Taylor agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge and was given a five-year sentence in county jail — but the judge suspended four years of the sentence and shaved another two months off the remaining year for time Taylor had already served in county jail.

Despite her statement in 2008 that she had nothing against Clinton, in her 2016 interview, Shelton said she was incapable of forgiving the lawyer who defended her alleged rapist.

“It’s put a lot of anger back in me,” said told the Mail. “Every time I see her on TV I just want to reach in there and grab her, but I can’t do that.”

147 Comments

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147 Comments

Craig crewford

Hillary’s first big lie is she was forced by an unsympathetic judge to take the case, that she desperately tried to get out of defending. NO COURT
nor JUDGDE shall force or compel any lawyer to take any case they feel is repugnant. According to the American bar association under rules, codes and conduct. It can not be held against them in any way for refusing a case. There were 6 other female lawyers available with alot more experience then her. She championed herself as a child advocate and defender of women and children’s rights. She ran a legal aid she wasn’t part of the public defenders office. She wasn’t forced. Remember she’s a compulsive liar. Number 2 Hillary never mentions she and soon to be husband Bill were good friends with the good old judge, the judges son, and the prosecutor. At the time they were supporters of bills run for congress, campained for him and the judges son was bills first money campaign doner. She acts like she doesn’t know him. Before she arrived in Arkansas to head the legal aid clinic, hillarys law professor got her a valuable coveted job on the commission Watergate. Her boss asked her to leave or be from her job. He said hillary was a liar, dishonest, unethical, can’t be trusted, lacked good judgement and was a thief, etc. That’s why she left Washington dc. Why would a judge let Hillary take the last piece of evidence unsealed, unguarded, breaking the chain of evidentiary rules leaving Hillary alone with evidence for a few days on a trip to a bad part of new York. She could of tossed it into the washing machine for all we know. We all know how she likes to erase stuff. The 15 year old boy and Kathy both said the same thing. The boy had sex with Kathy but only lasted a few moments the defendant watching nearby sees his chance jumps on her to show how a real man does it. She starts screaming and protesting so he beats her into submission and says don’t say anything or there’s more of where that came from and left her in a ditch. The girl and her mom lived in this small town surrounded by the large family, friends and relatives of the defendant. Can you imagine the threats, taunts, bullying, name calling this 6 grader got from his relatives on a daily basis. Hillary the defender of young girls, the advocate for women’s rights says she knew the dirtbag was guilty
Maybe she feels raping 6 graders by pumelling them into submission isn’t repugnant. She then gets her ol buddy Maupin the judge to reduce the 5 years to 1 year with work release and probation. He worked days and basically went to jail to sleep after work. Its not that Hillary is some great lawyer, she had the judge on her side

R K

This article is complete bs. This article is Meant to defend Hillary Clinton. Who is also bs. This article tries to articulate that she “wasn’t laughing at the reduction of his sentence” specifically. But to be honest any woman or women or man or men. that laughs at any point in time, during a conversation about the rape of of a 12 year old girl. Alleged or not. He plead guilty by the way. Any one who laughs about that, Is a non compassionate, sickening, worthless human in this world. Definitely not somebody to look up to. Definitely not someone that you call a hero. Definitely not a champion of women or sexual assault victims. Hillary Clinton gives a bad reputation to all women. All women should resist Hillary Clinton in efforts to not associate with someone who likes to laugh at rape victims. Just my thoughts. I hate who ever wrote this article and this website that published it. Get your news somewhere else snowflakes.

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