MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama legislature has officially apologized to an elderly black woman who was raped nearly seven decades ago by a gang of white men as she walked home from church.
The Senate gave final approval Thursday on a voice vote to a resolution that expresses “deepest sympathy and deepest regrets” to Recy Taylor, now 91 and living in Florida.
She told the Associated Press last year that she thought the men who attacked her in 1944 were dead but that she still wanted an apology from the state of Alabama.
The House approved the resolution last month. It now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley (R), who said Thursday that he isn’t familiar with the details of the case but that he sees no reason he wouldn’t sign the resolution.
Reached by phone Thursday, Taylor said she welcomed the legislature’s action. “I think that’s nice,” she said. “It’s been a long time. I’m satisfied.”
The resolution, by state Rep. Dexter Grimsley (D-Newville), says the failure to prosecute the men was “morally abhorrent and repugnant.” He has said police bungled the investigation and harassed Taylor, and local leaders recently acknowledged that her attackers escaped prosecution in part because of racism.
The AP does not typically identify victims of sexual assault but is using her name because she has publicly identified herself.
Taylor was 24 when she was confronted by seven men who forced her into their car at knife- and gunpoint and drove her to a deserted grove of trees where six of the men raped her in Abbeville, in southeastern Alabama. She was left on the side of the road.
Two all-white, all-male grand juries refused to indict the suspects after the attack. Taylor’s brother, Robert Corbitt, 74, said law enforcement authorities tried to blame the attack on his sister.
He said his family was threatened after the attack, his sister’s house was firebombed and his father had to guard the house.
“I’m so glad [the legislature] decided to do the right thing,” Corbitt said.