Monday, March 16, 2009

Oregon's Marshfield High students stand up for classmate accused of rape -- against the school's wishes

Comment: In the news story posted below this comment, students at Oregon's Marshfield High stood up for a young man who is presumed innocent of the most vile crime imaginable by wearing shirts saying they believe in him.

How do you think the school reacts? Does it uphold their First Amendment rights? Does it pat them on the back for supporting a presumed innocent classmate at the worst moment of his life?

Not a chance. It tells them to remove the shirts because they are "offensive" to other students -- possibly even the "victim."

Excuse me? Who on earth is "offended" by the students' support of the presumed innocent? Perhaps persons who have already rushed to judgment and decided the young man is guilty. After all, the forces of political correctness insist we should always believe that every rape accuser is telling the truth. Sadly, the data tells us that's not true, but we're not supposed to say this out loud. We know that upwards of half or even more of all rape claims are false.

And, please, school officials, stop referring to the accuser as a "victim." If you insist she is a "victim," then you've already decided the young man is a "rapist." She is an accuser, that is all.

The young man's life has already been destroyed even if it turns out the charge was a lie. Spend several hours reading through this website to see that lying about rape has become one of our national past times. Men and boys are routinely jailed based on nothing more than the lone accusation of a female, and it often turns out the claim was blatantly false.

Would the school have been so quick to tell students to remove shirts supporting the accuser? Regardless of what they might profess, if they are like other schools in other places in our nation, they would have allowed those shirts.

So, yes, it's about time someone stood up for the presumed innocent -- a young man (little more than a boy) tossed into jail on a "he said-she said" allegation. One can only imagine the terror he must feel. How dare the school deny this young man -- this presumed innocent young man -- the support of his fellow students at this terrible moment of his life.


Students stand up for rape suspect

Dozens of Marshfield High School students wore T-shirts on Friday declaring support for a classmate charged with rape.

School officials told them to remove the shirts, but some students reportedly left school instead.

The teens’ show of support was for Marcus Beckett, 18, who appeared in court Thursday for arraignment on charges of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

He faces charges including first-degree rape, third-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, third-degree sodomy, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and second-degree sexual abuse.

He remained at the Coos County jail Friday afternoon on $750,000 bail.

Jordan Edwards, a junior at Marshfield, is adamant that Beckett is innocent.

She designed and passed out dozens of shirts with phrases such as, “I love Marcus,” “Expose the truth,” and “Set him free.”

Students wore them to a spirit assembly.

“Our main goal is we need to expose the truth,” Edwards said.

Edwards said Dean of Students Greg Mulkey told them the shirts were offensive to other students, possibly even the victim, and that they should take them off.

Many students took another option, Edwards said.

“A lot of people I had made shirts for got up and walked out of the gym,” she said.

“They stood up for what they believe.”

Capt. Cal Mitts of Coos Bay Police Department said he and some other officers went to the school during the lunch hour in case things got out of hand, but there were no incidents.

A.J. Morris, a senior and friend of Beckett’s, said he didn’t wear a shirt, but he disagreed with Mulkey.

“I think it’s extremely wrong that they are taking away the right of free speech,” he said.

“I don’t think it is right at all.”Attorney Jesse Coggins, who represents Beckett, said he was not surprised students showed support for his client.

“In 20 plus years in criminal law ... he’s the finest young man I’ve met,” he said.

“Allegations of forcible conduct against him are absolutely false.”

Attempts to contact Mulkey, Principal Travis Howard and Superintendent Bob De La Vergne were unsuccessful Friday afternoon.

The World left a message for Mulkey at the school, and a school secretary later confirmed that Mulkey had received the message, but he did not return the call. A message left on De La Vergne’s cell phone also was unreturned. A secretary said Howard was not at school on Friday.