Friday, February 19, 2010

Man rotted in jail for two months before DNA proved he was innocent and his false accuser recanted

Comments: Before you read the news story below, which presents a microcosm of the false rape problem in America in 2010, please consider the following thoughts:

(1) You remember the news account of the teen boy who had consensual sex with an older girl, but who failed to withdraw, by her testimony, for five to ten seconds after she told him to do so?  He was convicted of a felony.  In contrast, in this case an innocent man was forced to rot in jail for two months while his false rape accuser held the keys to his release but never used them. She only came clean after she was advised that the DNA proved he was innocent. You do the math: five seconds versus two months.  Which was a worse ordeal for the innocent person?  But what are the odds that this false accuser will see the inside of a jail for even five seconds, much less two months?

(2) Wouldn't it be a great idea to get the DNA results back before you arrest a man and jail him on a he said/she said rape charge?  What universe are we living in where a man can be deprived of his liberty on the say-so of a lone liar?

(3)  Please note the reputational harm to this man.  His life has been badly damaged if not destroyed because of a lie.  In contrast, she is still afforded anonymity, despite the fact that the DNA evidence proved she lied and she has recanted her allegation. She was afforded anonymity in the first place because of her own criminal act, and reasonable people would think that she has forfeited whatever right to anonymity she might have had by committing a crime.  Not so.  The news outlets continue to shield her, and, in effect, reward her fraud solely because of the nature of the initial lie. Oh, and for reasons not known, they still claim she was raped by someone.  Um, right. In any event, the innocent man's reputation = destroyed; the criminal's reputation = protected. The asymmetrical anonymity policies of our news outlets that allow this are the result of gender politicization run amok.

(4) Not mentioned in the story below, but noted in another account of this incident is this: "Officials say they believe[d] the [rape] story because the two had a history of domestic violence and at the time safety of the victim was at issue."  See here: http://www.abc3340.com/news/stories/0210/707793.html  This is a cautionary tale for men: you are at greater risk of having a false rape charge against you stick when you've been in trouble with the law previously, especially where the allegation is similar to the rape lie. It isn't fair, of course, but in these he said/she said rape cases, the police are looking for anything that would make them feel better about arresting you. 

Here is the news story:

Innocent Man Spends 2 Months In Jail

An innocent man spends two months in jail, accused of rape. Now he is free after being cleared by a DNA test.

Investigators say this all stems from a false report. It turns out, the woman admitted to lying about the rape after the test results came back.

Now, after spending two months behind bars, all charges have been dropped, but the case is far from closed.

You might remember the name Michael Eulenstein, the Tuscaloosa man arrested and charged for rape in October 2009.

But DNA tests came back earlier this month, proving that Eulenstein's DNA did not match the evidence found in the investigation.

Since then, his name has been cleared, but he says his life has yet to return to normal.

"I've lost several friends. It's been hard for me to find gainful employment. Everybody looks at my name and is like, 'Whoa, you're that guy that's accused of rape. We don't want anything to do with you,'" said Michael Eulenstein.

"We're not sure exactly what happened," said Captain Lloyd Baker of the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit. "She had obvious and substantial injuries that were indicative of being attacked. They did not appear to be self inflicted. The doctor we talked to in the emergency room believed that she had been assaulted by someone."

Investigators believe the victim was raped, but at this point, no other suspects have been named.

The victim admitted that she lied about Eulenstein's involvement in the case, and will now face charges for giving false information to law enforcement.

Link: http://www.cbs42.com/content/localnews/story/Innocent-Man-Spends-2-Months-In-Jail/huboCQeuMkShOuKL-2vJ-w.cspx