Friday, July 25, 2008

Police need to get their priorities straight: The primary damage from a false rape claim is to the innocent men targeted as suspects

We previously blogged about the case reported below here and here, but one other aspect of it deserves to be underscored.

To illustrate, imagine the following scenario.

A man comes home from work and greets his wife:

WIFE: Hi, honey. How was your day?
HUSBAND: Oh, same old thing. I went out to lunch with a couple of customers at the new Italian place downtown. It was great, I have to take you there. And then this afternoon, some cops stopped by and had me go down for questioning about a rape, and they took a DNA sample.
WIFE: Oh, that's interesting.
HUSBAND: Not really. Took longer than I hoped. But I'm starved now. Want to go for some Chinese?

Doesn't ring true? Of course not. That's because a man who is questioned about a rape he didn't commit likely would be in a state of terror. His loved ones, too.

Yet, the emphasis in the story below is on the fact that the false rape claim wasted police time. And, oh, as an after-thought, the story mentions the fact that the police targeted a man as a "person of interest."

Oh, yeah, heh, heh, almost forgot to mention him!

If any crime almost exclusively affected women the way false rape claims affect men, do you think for a moment that the victims would be so cavalierly dismissed? No, and that's as it should be. (And by the way, rape itself may actually affect men more than women because of prison rape.) Why, then, are innocent men treated as collateral damage in the war on rape? Why are innocent men wrongly targeted as suspects treated as -- you know -- "just one of those things?"

The reason is because it is politically incorrect to speak the truth about rape and false rape claims. The truth is this: A rape claim should never be deemed inherently believable based on nothing more than the fact it was made. Likewise, a false rape claim should never be cited as a reason to doubt another rape claim. Each rape claim must be looked at objectively upon its own merits. If a rape occurred, the rapist needs to be severely punished. If the rape claim was false, the false claimant needs to be severely punished.

Does that make sense? To any fair-minded, thinking person it does. How did that sort of perfectly sensible logic become politically incorrect?

HERE IS THE STORY:

False rape report cost time, money

Molalla - Police checked several leads based on the 18-year-old's statement
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
RICK BELLA
The Oregonian Staff

A Molalla woman's false rape report subjected one man to unwarranted scrutiny as "a person of interest" and wasted public resources during a weeklong manhunt for a perpetrator who didn't exist, police said.

Officer Scott Douglas, a Molalla Police Department spokesman, said Joresa Diondra Jefferson, 18, of Molalla will be cited for initiating a false police report after she returns from visiting relatives in California. The charge is a Class C misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,250 fine.

Jefferson told police she was walking home from a party about 1:30 a.m. June 21 when she was attacked and raped on a Molalla sidewalk. She worked with a police sketch artist to create a likeness of her attacker.

The apparently random nature of the attack had everyone in town on edge, police said.
Medical tests turned up no physical evidence of an attack.

"Then, when we confronted her with it, she recanted," Douglas said.

"We put a lot of time into that case," he added. "With a small department like ours, we had to take a patrol officer off the street to investigate. It costs the taxpayers a lot of money when we get these false reports.

"We got tips from detectives and parole officers from across the area," Douglas said. "And then, we had to investigate each and every tip."

One man identified as a "person of interest" in the case submitted to questioning and provided a DNA sample.

Douglas said police believe Jefferson had been drinking at the party and later lied to her friends about her sexual activities. "It just snowballed from there," he said.

Molalla police also handled a false rape report last summer. That one involved a woman who later acknowledged that a sexual encounter with a man she knew had been consensual.

Rick Bella; rickbella@news.oregonian.com

Link: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1214961943180850.xml&coll=7