All she had to do was show up, put in a couple minutes of face time in court and then she could be on her way.
But the 17-year-old girl once jailed on a material witness warrant stuck it out. She took the stand. She testified for 3 1/2 hours Wednesday, and she identified the man accused of raping her.
It wasn't easy. First, she had to admit she had been working as a prostitute the night she said Frank William Rackley Sr. raped her. Then, she had to recount the assault repeatedly in precise detail in Sacramento Superior Court, in front of a dozen strangers.
When she was finished, she walked out of the courthouse able to move on in a life marked so far by foster care and group homes and dangerous streets she walked at night, dangling on the edge of a drug-dealing underworld.
"Basically, this is the final chapter in that past life," said her attorney, Lisa M. Franco. "She can go and heal now."
The girl's case shook the local criminal justice community last month after it was revealed the District Attorney's Office had jailed her on a material witness warrant to force her to appear in court. Though an alleged victim in the case, she was jailed for 27 days.
Sacramento prosecutors contend that Rackley, 37, may be a serial rapist and argued that her testimony was crucial to ensuring a conviction. They took the unusual action after the girl had twice failed to show up in court.
Wednesday brought the first public disclosure that the girl had been working as a prostitute at the time of the alleged attack raising a potential credibility issue for the prosecution. It had initially been reported that she was abducted from a light-rail station on Del Paso Boulevard.
The Bee is not naming the girl because the case involves allegations of sexual assault.
Her testimony on Wednesday culminated a months-long effort to get her on the witness stand.
On the run from a foster care placement, the girl was arrested March 21 in Antioch after she knocked on an off-duty police officer's door in the middle of the night and said she thought it was a friend's house. The officer thought she was trying to break in and forced her to the ground at gunpoint, she testified.
She was returned to Sacramento, where judges ordered her detained in juvenile hall to ensure her appearance against Rackley. She was released April 17 after the District Attorney's Office agreed to hook her up to a GPS device.
Under a provision of the state Code of Civil Procedure, authorities cannot force sexual assault victims to testify. Under the Penal Code, however, they can make them at least show up in court.
It was uncertain, then, what the girl would do Wednesday. Her testimony appeared to give Deputy District Attorney Alan Van Stralen enough evidence to have Rackley locked up but only if the jury believes her.
In his opening remarks, Assistant Public Defender Richard Berson blasted the girl and the other alleged victim in the case, also a prostitute, saying both had "lied and lied and lied again" in their interviews with investigators.
Berson said Rackley "is accused of a crime he did not commit, that did not occur."
For the morning session before Judge Greta Curtis Fall, the courtroom was packed with the girl's backers from assorted social service and support groups. By afternoon she had solidified herself in the face of the defense assault.
The teen pointed out Rackley as the man who on July 22 drove up in a red truck near the intersection of Watt Avenue and Auburn Boulevard and asked if she was "dating." She said she was and got in his truck. When he got on the freeway, she said, she knew she "was in a bad situation."
She testified he took her to a dark street authorities later identified as Lacy Lane, near Del Paso Country Club. He forced himself on her, she said, before there was discussion of price or performance.
"I asked the man to please not do this," the girl testified. "I was crying at first, and then I said, 'Please don't do this,' and he said, "Shut up, (expletive), or I'll slap you.'"
Asked by the prosecutor if she consented to the sex acts, the girl replied, "No."
Berson got the girl to admit she had been smoking pot the day of the alleged attack and had helped her ex-boyfriend cut up cocaine she planned to sell that night on the street.
She confirmed she lied when she told investigators she had been kidnapped from the light-rail station on Del Paso Boulevard.
But she did not budge from her identification of Rackley and her insistence he raped her the night of July 22.
While Rackley's future rests with the jury's assessment of the girl's truthfulness, her lawyer said the fact that she was working as a prostitute shouldn't matter much.
"Prostitutes are even more vulnerable, especially a juvenile," Franco said. "You still have the right to say 'no.' She said 'no.' "