updated 7/12/2007 6:58:13 PM ET 2007-07-12T22:58:13

Before a jury was even seated, a judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the sex-assault case where he had barred the words “rape” and “victim” among others.

Judge Jeffre Cheuvront of Lancaster County District Court said publicity surrounding the rape case against Pamir Safi, 33, would have made it too difficult for jurors to ignore everything they heard before the trial, which had been expected to begin next week. A jury was in the process of being selected when Cheuvront declared a mistrial.

Safi is accused of raping Tory Bowen in 2004. He said they had consensual sex, but she said she was too drunk to agree to sex and that he knew it.

Cheuvront barred attorneys and witnesses from using words including “rape,” “victim,” “assailant” and “sexual-assault kit,” and ordered witnesses to sign papers saying they wouldn’t use the words. Words such as “sex” and “intercourse” were allowed. State law allows judges to bar words or phrases that could prejudice or mislead a jury.

Bowen, 24, was fighting the ban, arguing that it hurt her testimony because she had to pause and make sure her words wouldn’t violate the ban. She said: “I want the freedom to be able to point (to Safi) in court and say, ‘That man raped me.”’

The Associated Press usually does not identify accusers in sex-assault cases, but Bowen has allowed her name to be used publicly because of the issue over the judge’s language restrictions.

A 'reprehensible' campaign
Advocates for rape victims criticized the restrictions, saying they discourage victims from reporting crimes, and held rallies on Bowen’s behalf.

Safi’s lawyer Clarence Mock said the restrictions on language would help ensure Safi’s rights, and accused Bowen and her supporters of engaging in an “irresponsible, reprehensible public campaign” to improperly influence jury selection.

“I think the proper way to influence jurors is in the courtroom, not by placing tape over your mouth and holding placards,” he said.

Messages left with prosecutors and Bowen’s attorneys were not returned Thursday.

Mock said it’s up to the county prosecutors to decide whether to seek another trial.

The judge had also ordered the ban in Safi’s first trial, which ended in a hung jury in November.

Bowen said in court Wednesday that she would not sign papers promising not to use the banned words, but would try to follow the judge’s order. Mock had sought to have Bowen stricken as a witness because of the refusal.

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