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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 17

Law & Order: SVU (NBC) Full Episode & Recap - "A Misunderstanding"

"A Misunderstanding"

A member of a high school's secret society - The Cherry Pickers' Club - stands trial for the rape of a 15-year-old coed.

Benson sees a police psychologist after being taken hostage in the previous episode. She assures him that despite her nightmares and flashbacks, she's ready to come back to work.

At a school dance, 18-year-old Chris Roberts (Sean Grandillo), rapes soft-spoken 15-year-old virgin Abby Stewart (Charlie Ray), but when Abby reports it to her local precinct, they tell her there's no case. Speaking privately with Lt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Abby recalls her rape and explains she never consented, while Chris tells SVU that they didn't even have sex. SVU matches Chris' DNA with the stain on Abby's dress, which proves contact but not rape. They also uncover social media photos Chris posted of him and Abby kissing, using the hashtag "picked that cherry," but bravado doesn't equal proof.

Counselor John Buchanan (Delaney Williams), representing Chris, maintains that the two never actually had sex, and argues that Chris only posted the photos to impress his friends. When Abby sends Chris a text telling him she hopes they're still friends, SVU worries their case is falling apart.

When SVU pays a visit to Chris' friend, he reveals they're members of a high school seniors' secret society - The Cherry Pickers' Club - in which members compete to sleep with the most virgins. Before Abby, Chris had yet to "get on the wall." ADA Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) advises the Robertses to plead misdemeanor sexual misconduct, which would save Chris from jail time, but would put him on the Sex Offenders Registry. The Robertses refuse the deal and go to trial.

Buchanan aggressively cross-examines Abby and elicits her doubts over whether she was explicit in rejecting Chris' advances, while Barba cross-examines Chris, who admits that he didn't hear a "no" from Abby, but he also never heard a "yes." The jury finds Chris guilty of a sexual misconduct misdemeanor. He'll be placed on the Registry for 20 years, his hopes of college dashed. Benson and Barba look on sadly as a murky case ruins two kids' lives because the legal system lacks a satisfactory way to determine teenage sexual consent.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 17

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