Law and Order
Law and Order
"Competence"
SVU, Episode 3.22
Production number: E2335
First aired: 10 May 2002
  th of 476 produced in SVU  
th of 476 released in SVU
  th of 1229 released in all  
Huang Competence.jpg
Teleplay By
Robert F. Campbell & Jonathan Greene

Story By
Robert F. Campbell,
Jonathan Greene & Jeff Eckerle

Directed By
Jud Taylor


Summary[]

An overprotective mother claims that her daughter with Down syndrome became pregnant after being raped.

Plot[]

Rebecca Tolliver reports her 22-year-old daughter, Katie, who has Down Syndrome is pregnant. Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler have to make sure it's not just her mother being overprotective and in denial of her daughter's sex life. They learn even more people could have used her innocence about sex to abuse her.

At first, they suspect Katie's boyfriend Danny from the Down Syndrome education and activity group she attends as he has taken the sex ed classes and is very devoted to Katie, who she runs off with.

After the detectives find the pair, Rebecca accuses Danny but he denies being the one who slept with her and tells them when he told Katie what sex is, she disagreed. Hearing this, Stabler asks Danny what Katie said sex was when he told her and he says she described it as exercise. It turns out that Katie's boss Abe Cheney at a local store (where she works as part of a program) is responsible for her pregnancy. Katie explains the details of the sexual encounters to her mother and Benson who are both stunned.

Cheney is brought in and denies the allegations Katie has launched at him. When detectives say all he has to do is supply a DNA sample to prove his innocence, Cheney immediately asked for a lawyer with them realizing his guilt.

ADA Alexandra Cabot then has to interfere and take on her superior, in order to settle the mother-daughter dispute on whether the daughter should have an abortion or not and if Katie is competent enough to be a mother. This directly conflicts with their argument in Katie's rape case where she isn't competent enough to consent to sex even though she is over the legal age. The judge tells ADA Cabot she can't have it both ways - that Katie is competent enough to be a mother, but not enough for sexual consent and dismisses the charges. Ultimately, Rebecca sees that she is wrong to do what she’s doing and has the hearing stop.

Without a confession from Katie's boss that it wasn't consensual sex there is no case but they have something that might help them. The Detectives visit Rebecca to inform her that doctors have said that her unborn grandchild does not have Down syndrome, to her relief. She soon notes that they did not come just to tell her that and they ask for permission to speak with Katie. While talking, Katie soon reveals that other employees have been victims to the “exercise” of Cheney.

The ADA and Katie go to talk to Cheney and Trevor, with Cabot congratulating him by announcing that he is having a boy with Katie. Trevor states they will plead to sexual misconduct but Cabot shows them photos of more babies born to girls from the Down Syndrome work program that worked for Cheney. She also reveals that his financial reports showed he had been paying off the mothers and that some of them are underage. She tells him to plead to 10 years or face a harsh sentence. She tells Cheney that even though he is unable to be charged with rape for Katie, he will be paying child support for her child and the rest of the kids with funds from his house and businesses, thus ruining his life financially by making him literally pay for his crimes. Watching this, Rebecca and Katie are shown to be satisfied with the outcome that they have gotten justice.

Cast[]

Main cast[]

Recurring cast[]

Guest cast[]

References[]

Down's Syndrome

Quotes[]

  • Katie: I got my baby from Danny.
    Dr. Huang: How?
    Katie: Kissing, stupid. (turns to Alex) Your friend doesn't know anything.
  • Kressler[to Alex] Did you know that Katie set fire to her mom's apartment when she tried to use the stove?
  • Alex: I set fire to my own stove last year, Counselor. But, no, I did not know that.

Background information and notes[]

Episode scene cards[]

1 2 3 4

Manhattan Adult
Day Center
65 East 38th Street
Wednesday, May 1

Special Needs School
169 Seventh Avenue
Thursday, May 2

Manhattan Adult
Day Center
65 East 38th Street
Friday, May 3

West 23rd Street
Women's Clinic
Saturday, May 4

5 6 7 8

Avco Pharmacy
2078 Broadway
Monday, May 6

The Broadway Arms
2122 Broadway
Monday, May 6

Office of Special Victims Unit
Bureau Chief
Elizabeth Donnelly
Wednesday, May 8

Competency Hearing
Thursday, May 9


Previous episode:
"Denial"
"Competence"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 3
Next episode:
"Silence"
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