Appendix A
Description of Criminal Records Consulted
Investigations of sexual crime in early-twentieth-century Rio de Janeiro were initi-
ated by a private complaint at a local police station, usually filed by the victim's
parent or guardian (the same is true today). Not all complaints resulted in a full
investigation; many were only recorded in police logbooks, either because police
did not consider them sufficiently credible, the complainant decided not
to
pursue
prosecution, or the conflict was resolved with the help of police intervention. Once
a complaint was converted into an investigation, police were required to gather the
relevant evidence: testimony by the victim, defendant, and at least three wit-
nesses; medical examination performed at the Institute of Legal Medicine; declara-
tion of victim's "impoverishment," which justified the intervention of the public
prosecutor's office; and a report by the police delegate. The file was then submitted
to the public prosecutor, who either wrote an official accusation or requested that
the case be archived without a trial.
From the prosecutor's office, the file was sent to Federal District criminal
courts, where it was distributed among one of eight
varas criminais
(criminal
courts, a system created in
1923),
each headed by a single judge. The distribution
among the varas was done centrally to insure an even workload; thus, each vara
received cases randomly from all of the city's police stations, with the exception of
the jury tribunal (the sixth vara), which, after
191 I,
tried only the most grievous
offenses (murder, attempted murder, and treason). On the basis of the written
report and the prosecutor's opinion, the judge decided whether to indict. Fre-
quently, the marriage of victim and accused intervened, in which case the judge
ordered the case closed.
If
the accused was indicted, the investigation became part of the trial proceed-
ings. Defendant and prosecutors were permitted time to collect additional evi-
dence, and a date was set for the trial, during which arguments and witnesses were
heard by the same judge (or, often, his substitute).
Analysis of sexual crime records in this book is based on a selection of
250
police investigations that did not result in an indictment and
250
court trials, all
initiated between
1918
and
1941.
I recorded key data from all of these records and
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