On September 27, 2022, White Deer Run employees contacted Pennsylvania State Troopers after a patient, Raine Elizabeth Rideout, told employees she was raped by Arthur Oister, the man who transported Rideout to White Deer Run. Now, Rideout and Oister are both facing criminal charges.
Rideout was taken from the Franklin County Prison and transferred to the White Deer Run Treatment Center by Oister. According to Rideout’s testimony, Oister pulled over on a dirt path off the South Susquehanna Trial in Union Township and raped her. Pennsylvania State Police investigated the case and claim they discovered Oister paid Rideout twenty dollars for oral sex. Police troopers then claimed that the sexual encounter was consensual.
Rideout is currently charged with Prostitution and is imprisoned in the Snyder County Prison. Oister, who worked at White Deer Run for a decade, is charged with Institutional Sexual Assault and Solicitation of Prostitution. On October 12, 2022, his bail was set at $25,000 unsecured, which means that Oister did not have to pay anything to be released and will only have to pay that money if he violates his bail conditions. Rideout and Oister’s preliminary hearings are both scheduled for November 15, 2022.
The CSE Institute appreciates the work of Pennsylvania State Police in investigating and arresting Oister. However, the CSE Institute encourages Pennsylvania State Police to develop better resources for individuals who come forward as rape victims. Rideout was in a vulnerable situation as she was transported while in police custody to White Deer Run, which is a residential drug and alcohol treatment center. Oister oversaw what should have been Rideout’s safe transport to the treatment facility. Thus, he was in an immense position of power and control.
Rather than helping and believing Rideout after she bravely came forward, law enforcement charged her with prostitution. This sends a dangerous message to survivors of rape and sexual assault. How can we expect victims to come forward if they fear they will not be believed and possibly criminalized? This case also sheds light on a very difficult and worrisome issue for victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Specifically, this case highlights that law enforcement and society may not believe rape and sexual assault cases if they are led to believe that the victim was a person in prostitution. This creates a dangerous and problematic narrative that may prevent a sexual assault and rape survivor from bringing their complaint forward in the first place. It also may actively prevent the victim from getting the justice that they deserve.
For law enforcement to fully protect the interests of victims like Rideout, they should prioritize trauma-informed investigatory work and victim-centered relief. The CSE Institute applauds the bravery of Rideout in this case. After all, it is irrefutable that survivor voices will be the force of change in all instances of abuse against women, especially sexual assault, and rape cases.
The CSE Institute will provide updates on this matter.
All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.