Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rape charge is dropped: after-the-fact regret about sex is not tantamount to rape

See the story below. A police officer's career, in fact his life, are in shambles because a woman deigned to cry rape after an evening of sex she later regretted. The woman had been flirting with the accused man and was heard to ask him for oral sex before the alleged rape. She initially said "no" but then "played hard to get." For anyone who has never thought about gender relations, this has been the custom between the sexes since pre-history. The man and woman eventually had sex, and afterwards, she slept in his bed, wore his sweatpants and sat in his lap.

The prosecutor handling the matter "outlined 22 concerns about the alleged victim’s credibility, and suggested the woman might have had consensual sex with the man, then regretted it." And charges were not dropped sooner -- why?

This case is typical of a false rape claim. All the evidence in the world of ex post facto regret is not tantamount to the absence of consent at the time the sex act occurred.

Why is a man arrested, taken into custody, and forced to leave his job over a disputed allegation of consensual sex? Is he a threat to the community? Wouldn't a protective order for the woman be every bit as effective to "protect" her? Does such arrest signal to women's groups that the police force is taking rape "seriously"? Bingo. What about false rape claims, do the police take them just as seriously? Few police forces could plausibly assert that they do. When a woman is raped, the feminists regard it as an attack on all women, even though men are probably victimized by rape more than women. Why don't men similarly view the crime of false reporting as a gender crime against males? Why do we tolerate treating innocent men as if they were rapists while doing nothing to punish and deter the liars?

And how can we make people realize that there is something terribly wrong with a system where virtually any female can have virtually any man or teenage boy deprived of his liberty merely by saying the word? A false rape claim often is enough, in and of itself, to destroy men's lives. The woman's anonymity is preserved forever; in contrast, the man's name is splashed all over the news and his reputation is tarred, possibly forever. “I think the biggest thing was the embarrassment that I would even be accused of something like that,” the man said, “but I knew I didn’t do anything wrong.”

At the end of the story, the man's attorney talks about restoring his reputation. That's going to be the difficult part. In fact, it probably will be impossible ever to get it back to where it was.

HERE IS THE NEWS STORY:

Special prosecutor drops rape case against ex-cop
Writer:David Frey
Byline:Aspen Daily News Correspondent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A special prosecutor has dropped the rape case against a Parachute police officer who lost his job as a result of the allegations.

Tammy Eret, the chief Mesa County deputy district attorney who was brought in to handle the case, said she questions the credibility of the alleged victim. In a motion to dismiss the case, she outlined 22 concerns about the alleged victim’s credibility, and suggested the woman might have had consensual sex with the man, then regretted it.

Magistrate Lain Leoniak on Wednesday agreed to dismiss the case.

The defendant, Kristopher Duncan, a former Marine and Iraq war veteran, said he hopes to return to law enforcement, but he hadn’t decided where. His lawyer, Greg Greer, of Glenwood Springs, said it remains “unanswered” whether or not his client can sue Parachute for being fired in the wake of the incident.

“I think the biggest thing was the embarrassment that I would even be accused of something like that,” Duncan said, “but I knew I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Duncan was arrested after a woman alleged that he raped her when she came with friends to his Battlement Mesa apartment on April 17 and was sleeping in his bed.

The woman said she didn’t fight off Duncan because of his strength and his position as a police officer. She sent a text message to a friend saying she might have been raped, and reported the alleged incident to police. A hospital rape exam showed no sign of trauma.

“I knew it wasn’t true,” said friend Caryn Sigmon, of Rifle, who was at the apartment that night. She said she was “very shocked” when she learned the woman had accused Duncan of rape, and when Garfield County sheriff’s investigators never asked her for her account, she came forward. She accompanied Duncan at the hearing.

After an initial investigation, Eret wrote, further investigations into accounts like Sigmon’s cast doubt on the alleged victim’s story, as friends who were at the apartment that night painted a different picture. They described the woman as flirting with Duncan and said she asked him to perform oral sex on her, then sat on his lap after the alleged incident.

“Simply saying ‘no,’ but then requesting oral sex” would suggest she consented, Eret wrote.

In a telephone call police set up between the woman and Duncan, Duncan allegedly acknowledged the woman initially said she didn’t want to have sex, but later seemed to be playing “hard to get.” Investigators said Duncan told her he would have stopped if she had asked, but she didn’t ask.

The woman said she was worried about Duncan’s strength, but Eret noted the two were close to the same size. The alleged victim is five-feet-five-inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. Duncan is another inch taller and about 20 pounds heavier.

Witnesses told investigators that the two were “flirting with each other, laughing, tickling and having a good time.” Instead of leaving, they said, the woman went to sleep in Duncan’s bed and never called for help, even though Duncan’s roommate is also a police officer. Afterwards, they said, she slept in the same bed, wore Duncan’s sweatpants and sat in his lap. That would be unusual for a rape victim, Eret noted.

“The interaction between the two … supports two people comfortable with each other and the acts that just occurred,” Eret wrote.

She added: “It would not matter how exhausted one may be — if they were just raped, the last place they would go would be to the bed where the crime occurred and the place where that person was sleeping.”

The woman also apparently sent a text message to her boyfriend saying she had been raped by “a black guy,” although Duncan is white. That also cast doubts about her credibility, Eret said.

Greer praised Eret’s decision to drop the case. “Our challenge now is just to restore his good reputation,” Greer said.

dfrey@aspendailynews.com

Link: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/special-prosecutor-d