Research on sexual assault case processing remains mixed regarding how extra-legal factors such as the racial-ethnic composition of the defendant-victim dyad may impact prosecutorial decision-making. We use data from 2006–2010 in a Pennsylvania county court jurisdiction to examine the victim- and defendant-related factors that influence charging decisions. We also explore how the demographic and offense characteristics influence decisions to prosecute offenders for more serious types of sexual assault. Our findings indicate that the racial composition of the defendant-victim dyad contributed to the prosecutorial decision to charge an offender with a more serious sexual assault, while victim characteristics and use of violence during the offense were not related to seriousness of the charge.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes