Sunday, May 3, 2009

A must read: “The Government needs to look at how men accused of rape are treated."

Comment: The news stories below this comment underscore how men and boys falsely accused of rape are treated as second-class citizens and as "lesser" victims than actual rape victims. The falsely accused man in these stories chronicles his nightmare and notes how he was denied compensation from the UK's CICA. In our recent article posted on Glenn Sacks' site, UK women have a monetary incentive to lie about rape, one of the points we made was this:

"The United Kingdom’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), funded by the Ministry of Justice, pays victims of “violent crimes” according to an established scheme of tariffs. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (2008) sets forth the standard amounts paid for each category of crime.
. . . .
"The UK compensates victims of [even] non-forcible rape and even inappropriate touching over clothing. Consistent with the double standards so prevalent in this area, the UK does not compensate men who were falsely accused of rape, no matter how terrible their victimization."

In explaining who is not covered by this compensation scheme, we wrote:

"Victims of false rape claims are not covered. To verify this, I wrote to the CICA and asked if a false rape claim would be covered, noting that such claims often have the effect of mentally (not to mention financially) destroying the falsely accused. I received a prompt and professional response that included the following: 'Under the terms of our scheme unfortunately this would not be covered. Under the terms of our scheme for eligibility, applicants need to be the victim of a violent crime.'

"It is important to underscore the double-standard here: the victim of a single instance of a sexual act over the clothing is entitled to compensation, but a man falsely accused of rape who is arrested and jailed for weeks, months or even years, and who is subjected to untold mental agonies, the loss of his good name, and all manner of other indignities, is entitled to nothing. The victimization of men falsely accused of rape, no matter how egregious their injuries, is regarded as less worthy of society’s protection than the victimization of non-forcible rape victims, no matter how slight their injuries. The grave inequity of this double-standard is morally grotesque.

"Also not covered are the vast majority of boys who are statutorily raped by adult women. This is because victims of sexual offenses are not covered if they 'consented in fact.' (Criminal Injuries Compensation (2008) ¶9(c).) This effectively rules out virtually all claims involving the statutory rape of a teen boy by an adult woman because the boy is typically a willing participant. The fact that the law has determined that boys are incapable of giving valid consent to engage in sexual acts with an adult is of no import to the CICA."

Read the two news stories about this innocent man's nightmare:

I was just an ordinary bloke…but evil rape lies ruined my life

It’s every man’s nightmare to be falsely accused of a sex crime. That’s what happened to Clive Bishop. He and his wife tell how it almost destroyed them.

For eight years Clive and Sue Bishop tried to help others and had even been supportive foster parents to 10 vulnerable children.

But one night their lives were turned upside down when Clive was arrested by police on suspicion of rape...

Awoken by insistent banging on the door at 4.30am, the couple feared something had happened to one of their foster children, who had moved into his own flat.

Clive, 49, answered the door and Sue, 48, came into the living room moments later to find her husband on the sofa with three police officers.

Fearing something awful had happened to one of their children, when Sue heard Clive was being arrested for rape, her initial reaction was relief.

But a second later, reality hit. Clive, who lives in Walton, Somerset, was led upstairs to retrieve his clothing as evidence, while Sue struggled to take in the news.

“I kept trying to explain to the police that it was nonsense,” says Clive. “They’d told me where the rape was supposed to have taken place so I knew instantly who’d accused me and I was trying to explain I could account for every single thing I had done that evening.

“But I kept being told to shut up. I was in shock but convinced that they’d realise I hadn’t done anything and let me go.”

But, in fact, the couple’s nightmare was just beginning. As one of 10 children, Clive had it tough growing up and was determined to make a better life for himself.

During the day he worked with vulnerable adults and at weekends he supplemented his income working nights as a taxi driver.

On Saturday, February 24, 2007, Clive began driving at 7pm and at 9.45pm picked up a 17-year-old girl, Kirsty Palmer, and a friend and took them to a nightclub.

At 1am he got a call from Palmer’s friend, asking him to pick her up. At first Clive refused, thinking he wouldn’t get to another job in time. But after Palmer’s friend pleaded, he agreed.

Palmer was very drunk and had already been sick, so Clive told her to sit in the front. When he dropped her off he made sure that she got to her door, then did his other job and went home.

The next morning the police arrived and Clive was taken away.

“I didn’t question his innocence for a minute,” Sue says, “but I didn’t know what to do.”

Hours later, a recovery vehicle came to collect Clive’s car so that it could be forensically examined.

Sitting in his cell, Clive wrote down where he’d been and who he’d met. Then he volunteered for forensic tests, “as I had nothing to hide,” he says. He had no idea how degrading the experience would be.

“They took scrapings from my fingernails. Then they took some hair, samples of my pubic hair and then a swab from my penis.

“It was humiliating. I felt like I was guilty when I knew I’d done nothing wrong.”

During questioning, Clive asked what he’d actually been accused of. Palmer said she’d been forcibly taken to a remote lane and been raped. They then told him she’d said her attacker had been black, Asian, or possibly heavily tanned. “At this point my solicitor nearly fell off his chair laughing. I asked the police, as a white man without a tan, why I was there.

“And then, after 12 hours, I was told I was being released on bail. I just couldn’t believe I wasn’t being fully released.”

Told to return in six weeks to answer his bail, Clive left the station hoping to get back to normality.

But things wouldn’t return to normal for a long time.

Palmer maintained her story for three months, by which time forensics had all but cleared Clive. After six weeks his possessions and car were returned to him, minus the back seats.

“I did try to go back out taxiing,” he says, “and just picked up my regulars. But then I picked up another girl who was drunk and it freaked me out. I felt so vulnerable and haven’t gone back since.”

For Sue, who works as a carer, the worst thing was having to lie.

“We couldn’t sleep and people kept saying how unwell I was looking. It was awful. I wanted to tell them about this awful thing Clive was being accused of but I couldn’t.

“For weeks that’s all we could talk about. We just went over and over it again. It was always on our minds.”

Finally, six weeks after the allegation, Clive was told that no further action was being taken.
And three months later, Palmer admitted that she had made it all up.

She said that in her drunken state and after being locked out of her house, she had knocked on a neighbour’s door and told them she’d been raped.

Clive was horrified. “I couldn’t believe she’d put something as horrific as that on me. And what about all the women who genuinely have been raped?

“From then on, all I wanted was for her to admit in court that she’d lied and for her to be punished.

“Mud sticks. Whenever someone is accused of a sex crime, even if they are not charged, there is the assumption that something must’ve happened, that there’s no smoke without fire.

“So I wanted to hear her say in court that she’d lied. That was the only way I would be completely vindicated.”

Kirsty Palmer, 18, of Pilton, Somerset, pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice before Bristol Crown Court and, in July last year, was sentenced to 10 months in a young offenders’ institution.

“I felt a mix of emotions when she was sent to prison,” says Sue. “On one hand I was pleased that she was punished. But she has a baby and a toddler, and I thought ‘those poor children’. It’s no start in life for them.”

Now, after giving up his taxi business, having to go to counselling and reliving the nightmare every day, Clive is angry that he has been refused compensation.

He says: “I’ve applied twice and been told by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority that because I wasn’t physically injured, I’m not entitled to anything.

“I can’t understand that, though. Mentally, I have suffered.

“I relive what happened every day and I always wonder what would have happened if Palmer hadn’t come forward with her lie so quickly.

“What if she’d done it a week later, when DNA evidence wouldn’t have been admissible and my memory of what I’d done had not been as clear?

“It would have been my word against hers and the thought of what could have happened frightens me more than I can explain.

“The Government needs to look at how men accused of rape are treated.

“I was treated as though I was guilty. I lost my dignity, the last 20 months of my life, some of my income and almost my job.

“And all because Kirsty Palmer told one lie.”



Rape case taxi driver calls for law rethink

A former taxi driver who says he was put through hell by a false allegation of rape, has called for changes in how such cases are dealt with.

Clive Bishop, from Walton, and his wife Sue had their lives turned upside down when 17-year-old drunken mother Kirsty Palmer claimed he had attacked her.

Months later, she finally admitted to police she had made up the whole story – but not before Clive had been arrested, held for questioning and subjected to "humiliating" intimate forensic examinations.

Police charged Palmer with perverting the course of justice and she was subsequently sentenced to 10 months in jail.

But even now, two years after the allegation was made, the couple's lives have not returned to normal.

The stress of what happened – on top of his car and other items being seized by police – meant that Clive could not return to his taxi job.

Yet because he was not physically attacked, Clive has been told he does not qualify for a penny from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

On the eve of a new hearing with the CICA, Clive has spoken of how the fabricated allegations almost destroyed him and his wife.

In an article in Monday's Daily Mirror, he also called for changes in how such cases are dealt with.

"I was treated as though I was guilty, I lost my dignity," he said.

But Clive said that he and his wife have finally received the one thing they craved – an apology in person.

"We saw Kirsty after a hearing last week and she made a very sincere apology," he said.

"It was a relief to hear her say sorry and that she had never meant to cause any of the problems that she has.

"But until we receive at least some of the compensation for the thousands that we lost, it will be impossible to move on."

An appeal to the CICA will be heard next month.