Saturday, February 28, 2009

Men jailed for eight months based on nothing more than a false rape accusation

Comment: The shocking news story below (link here) illustrates a point we have made repeatedly on this Web site: For what other alleged crime do we so readily hand one class of citizens the right to deprive another class of citizens their liberty and to destroy their reputations?

Two men were jailed for eight months on a false rape charge based on nothing more than the false report of one woman. Try to imagine the anxiety of not knowing if anyone would believe the truth -- not knowing if they would be imprisoned for decades. There was no other evidence supporting the accuser's story. Finally, police determined that, in fact, she was sending text messages to friends at the time she was allegedly raped. The claim was a lie. The story does not indicate why the investigation took so long.

The two men have been publicly humiliated because their names were published while she retained her anonymity. Her name still is not reported even now. Why? What salutary journalistic policy commends this vile double-standard -- destroy the lives of men accused by one woman of a sex crime by reporting their names, but do not dare to report the name of the woman even after her claim is revealed to have been false? Are not newspapers in the business of airing the truth? Or does this not apply in the politicized arena of alleged sexual assault? And please don't tell me it's because you wait to see if the police charge her. That is inane. You constantly report on all manner of alleged wrongdoing, airing the full story including the names of the wrongdoers, before police charge the wrongdoer. That's because it's news. No, this policy is a double standard of the sexual assault milieu, an area rife with double standards.

One of the men left his two-year-old son in the care of his sister while he was falsely jailed. The man said he is not angry, but his life has been marred, perhaps forever. "I've lost practically everything," he said. "I'm just glad I got to keep him."

Every claim of rape needs to be taken seriously and investigated with all due diligence. Why did this take so long? Why do we allow the presumed innocent to languish in jail for months on a "he said-she said" allegation where there is no other evidence? Why do we allow their names to be splashed all over the news based on one person's say-so?

Following the encounter at issue and the woman's accusation, either she committed a crime (false reporting) or they did (rape). Why are they alone jailed when there were competing allegations? Why is her allegation (and only hers) presumed to be true despite the purported presumption of innocence? And now that we know who committed the crime, why are we still treating her as if she's a "victim"?

In a bow to political correctness, we, as a society, have handed far too much power to rape accusers. As shown repeatedly on this Web site, and as confirmed in every serious study ever conducted on the subject, false rape claims are a significant problem. We must not allow them to use the power of the state to destroy presumed innocent men and boys -- many of whom turn out to be factually innocent -- prior to a conviction.


Cell phone records lead to dismissal of rape charges

By Greg Orear
Daily Express
Tue Feb 24, 2009, 01:12 PM CST

KIRKSVILLE — After spending the last eight months in jail accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Tim Rogers said he isn’t angry, even if he did miss what should have been a memorable moment.

“I’ve got a two-year-old boy that my sister raised for me,” Rogers said. “I missed out on his first words ... that is something that can never be replaced.”

Rogers and a friend, Glen Johnson, were arrested July 1 on rape charges based on the accusation of one woman, whom Rogers said he had just met June 12. She told police the men met her at a Kirksville gas station, drove her out to a gravel road outside of the city limits, and raped her.

Despite the lack of any physical or medical evidence, witnesses, or other corroborating evidence, the two men, who had never been convicted of a felony, were arrested within days. With cash-only bonds of $150,000 and $100,000 respectively, Rogers and Johnson remained in custody until Monday, when the charges were dropped by the State Attorney’s General office.

According to Johnson’s attorney, Ed Campbell, the state dropped the charges after releasing cell phone records that contradicted the accuser’s testimony.

“Bottom line is there was finally evidence produced to reflect she was actually text messaging people when she claimed she was being raped,” Campbell said.

Public defender Kevin Locke, who represented Rogers, said there were numerous inconsistencies in this case.

“Working with Ed Campbell’s office, we were able to develop some evidence that created several doubts about her claims,” Locke said. “From all appearances, she lied about this, and it took us this long to prove it.”

Campbell called it a very unfortunate situation.

“There needs to be something done that there is some physical evidence required to hold a person in jail,” he said. “For these guys to sit in jail for the amount of time they sat in jail with the evidence that was out there, is absolutely ludicrous.”

Adair County Prosecutor Mark Williams quickly turned the case over to the Attorney General’s office due to assistant prosecutor’s Kristin Coffman defense of Rogers on a previous rape charge in 2000, for which he was acquitted. However, the charges were still filed by an Adair County grand jury in August 2008.

“That’s the whole problem with the grand jury,” Campbell said. “They only hear one side of the story, her side. In my opinion, this is a terrible miscarriage of justice and it’s a terrible price these two had to pay.”

During his first night of freedom since July, Rogers simply tried making up for the lost time.
“I stayed home with my son,” he said. “I’ve lost practically everything. I’m just glad I got to keep him.”