Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Morally grotesque: false accuser not charged, or named; sexual assault counselor says 'believe the victim'

Before you read the news story below, please keep the following in mind.

The decision not to charge the false accuser in this case is a manifestation of a sad national trend that allows false rape accusers to destroy the lives of men and boys with little or no punishment. We chronicle on daily basis the news accounts of men, boys, and, yes, even some women who have been falsely accused of rape and whose reputations are often damaged beyond repair. Many false rape victims are arrested and jailed for days, weeks or months before the lie that put them behind bars is exposed. Some are wrongly convicted and imprisoned for years before their false accusers recant or other evidence proves their innocence. Some false rape victims are beaten by angry relatives and friends of their false accusers, and, yes, some are even murdered (-- part of the "believe the [alleged] rape victim" mentality). Some can't bear the thought of losing their good names and tragically kill themselves.

For the "lucky" victims of false rape claim, they aren't wrongly imprisoned for years but, still, many lose their jobs and livelihoods, their spouses, girlfriends, and businesses because of even far-fetched rape lies that are quickly exposed. Some are never able to obtain decent employment again because the allegation trails them like a ghost for the remainder of their lives.

On that point, please note as you read the story that if this false accuser had named a male as her "rapist," his name would have been splashed all over the news. In contrast, even though she is a false accuser, she is still not named and her reputation will be relatively unscathed for the remainder of her life.

In addition, as you read the story, please note the comment at the end by the sexual assault counselor to "believe the victim."  In light of the serious problem of false rape claims, and in light of the terrible harm that is often inflicted on men and boys falsely accused of rape, any advice to "believe the victim" is grotesque and irresponsible in the extreme. It assumes against all evidence that any woman or girl who cries rape is automatically a "victim," which also means that any man or boy named by an accuser must automatically be guilty -- the accused has lost the trial even before it has begun. For persons who believe that rape accusers must always be believed, I hope you are not male, or that you have no husband, sons, boyfriend, brothers, uncles, father or male friends because false rape accusations can victimize anyone born with a Y-chromosome. And if you are a female teacher, you are also at risk.  You would do well to spend several weeks reading through the true-life accounts related on this website about the damage false rape claims cause to innocent people who are guilty by reason of penis -- victimized because they were a handy male scapegoat.


No charges in false sex assault report

By Nolan Rosenkrans
Posted: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 12:05 am

Prosecutors decided Tuesday not to charge a 19-year-old woman for falsely reporting she was sexually assaulted in a parking lot near Winona State University.

The woman, a WSU student, had told police a man sneaked up behind her early on Dec. 5, put a bag over her head and carried her to a parking lot where he took off her pants and assaulted her. Her claim spurred a police investigation and prompted the school to issue a campus-wide safety alert.

But the woman later admitted the report was fake, police said.

The case highlights a difficulty faced by police and prosecutors in cases of fraudulent sexual assaults. Officials weighed the benefits of seeking justice with the chance that charges could make actual victims less likely to come forward.

"We didn't take this lightly; there was a lot of time, a lot of effort behind this," Deputy Police Chief Tom Williams said. "It's a tough call. We don't want true victims to not come forward, because we obviously take them very seriously."

Police wrote a citation for the woman, but referred the case to the City Attorney's Office for review - an unusual step for a misdemeanor ticket that indicates the sensitivity of the case.

Assistant City Attorney Brian Glodosky said this was the first time he has dealt with a citation for a false sex assault report. He spent extra time reviewing the case file and even spoke to the woman before deciding not to pursue charges.

"Just because we can convict someone of something doesn't always mean we should," he said.

Glodosky declined to prosecute because the woman has a clean record and is an honor roll student, and because the incident appeared out of character for her, he said. The woman has problems that could be better handled outside of the court system, the prosector said, declining to be more specific.

The woman agreed to reimburse the police department for the cost of the investigation.

Victims advocates say they hope the case doesn't discourage actual victims from coming forward, or cause community members to doubt other reports of sexual assault.

"Don't take (rape reports) lightly," said Lori Woodward, director of Winona's Women's Resource Center. "Believe the victim."