Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Baltimore Sun's politicized irresponsibility could result in the arrest of more innocent young black men

You can write to the author of the piece I am going to discuss here: andy.green@baltsun.com

The Baltimore Sun's editorial board has posted an appalling but politically correct and de rigueur defense of its recent lengthy article suggesting that Baltimore Police are improperly dismissing rape claims  Don't take my word about what they've said -- read it yourself. Their defense continues the scattershot and largely incomprehensible attack on police practices that can be summarized in one sentence: the Sun, echoing the sexual grievance industry, just doesn't like the fact that Baltimore Police are aggressively weeding out baseless claims.

The logical result of the Sun's efforts will be to avoid serious questioning of rape accusers -- despite the fact that a rape conviction can send a man or boy to prison for decades. The logical result of the Sun's efforts will be to de facto automatically believe the "victim," as the Sun calls rape accusers, which will cause innocent young black men in their teens and 20s to be arrested, charged, and in some cases tried and convicted. Let us be honest, in Baltimore, young black males is the demographic most at risk. 

If you want to see how this policy will play out, just review the facts of the Hofstra University false rape claim: the "victim" (actually just a false accuser, but I suspect the Sun would insist on calling her a "victim") was automatically believed, and four innocent young black men were jailed, and at least one of them got roughed up behind bars. Only later did police bother to check a video one had made showing the act was consensual. And we can show you innumerable other examples of the same thing.  Black men are rarely listened to when they are accused of rape, in case you haven't noticed, and they are jailed even more readily than white men.

The Sun has unnecessarily politicized what is purely a law enforcement issue without giving a damn about the implications for innocent men and boys.  Especially innocent black youths who will suffer the most from the witch hunts that surely will follow.  But the Sun's editors can sleep well tonight, for they have apparently bought into the radical feminist canard that false rape claims are a myth.  The evidence be damned. 

By the way, I previously provided a summary of the evidence in my note to Mr. Fenton that demonstrates that false rape claims are not a myth: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2010/06/letter-to-justin-fenton-baltimore-sun.html

And that is the primary reason this piece is unspeakably appalling: because it denigrates countless members of the community of the falsely accused by refusing to acknowledge their victimization.

H. L. Mencken must be spinning around in his grave.

Among the Sun's astounding assertions, and our comments interspersed, are the following: 

SUN: "Rape is different from other crimes. Not only does it involve a violation more profound than any other crime . . . ."

FRS: A violation "more profound" than . . . murder?  Than wrongly causing an innocent person to be imprisoned for months, years, even decades?  What on earth does "more profound" mean in this context?

Suggesting that rape is worse than murder, by the way, is from a time when a woman was deemed the "property" of her husband or father and the "property" was ruined when it was defiled by rape.  Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made that point in the oral argument of the landmark Kennedy decision that outlawed the death penalty for child rape.

SUN: ". . . but it also comes with a social stigma that forces victims to relive the pain again and again."

FRS: If you want to honestly discuss a crime that leaves serious social stigma, please come and see us here at False Rape Society.  Nowhere here, or in Mr. Fenton's piece, does that Sun even allude to the awful price of false rape claims. False accusations of rape have caused innumerable innocent men and boys to be jailed, charged, tried and even convicted for rapes that never occurred. Many of the men falsely accused have suffered prison atrocities and a good number have been brutally victimized by the very crime that they were falsely accused of committing. Moreover, false rape claims have severely stigmatized more human beings than false accusations of any other crime. The public scorn from false rape claims has caused innocent men and boys to be killed and to kill themselves; to be beaten, to be chased, to be spat upon, and to be looked upon with suspicion long after they are cleared of wrongdoing. They lose not only their good names but often their jobs, their businesses, and their friends. It is often impossible for the falsely accused to ever obtain gainful employment once the lie hits the news: for the rest of his life, a falsely accused man will have prospective employers Googling his name and discovering the horrid accusation.

SUN: "No one suggests that a victim of arson was really asking for it. No one asks whether an assault might really have been consensual. When a robbery victim is on the witness stand, the most private details of her life are not dissected under cross examination."

FRS:  This old chestnut is still floating around?  Astounding.  The "victim" of arson . . . is . . . who? I'm sorry, I'm lost. I will say this: when a building burns down, police and insurers routinely probe into whether the owner stood to gain from it; whether he or she lied about it; and whether he or she caused the fire or hired someone to do it. You know, the same sort of probing police should do with rape claims. From what I can tell, the Baltimore police do engage in such probing but for some reason, the Sun doesn't like it.  Kind of the way the corrupt police commissioner in the movies doesn't like it when the crusader cop is getting close to the truth.

As for asking whether an assault might have been consensual, well, it's almost impossible to know where to begin to respond to this terribly inane analogy. Let's go back to Rape 101: the difference between assault and rape is that the only physical evidence of the former typically is that of . . . you guessed it -- an assault. In contrast, the only physical evidence for rape is typically the residue of an act of love that has been played out somewhere around the world every second of every day since the beginning of time.  See the difference? The first evidences only an assault; the second evidences an act of love far more often than a crime.  Wow!

As for not asking a robbery victim about intimate details, well, it depends on whether those intimate details are relevant to a matter in dispute, doesn't it?  If they are, do you think a good cop or prosecutor isn't going to ask about it?  Seriously? When it comes to rape, where the issue is usually consent, and only two people know the truth -- and one of them might spend twenty years in prison -- intimate details are often relevant.

SUN: "The problem with rape is that it is too difficult for victims to come forward . . . ."

FRS: A breathtaking assertion that finds its only support in the serene ipse dixit of the sexual grievance industry.  After thirty years of rape reforms that make charging easier than any other crime?  And every change was supposed to eradicate "underreporting"?  Aside from ditching the adversarial system and going to an inquisitorial system, aside from flipping the burden of proof, aside from just believing the "victim," as your radical feminst allies suggest, what on earth does the Sun propose?

Oh, I know: more genteel questioning, right?  I mean, the Sun is in favor of some questioning of victims, isn't it? Isn't it?

By the way, a recent law review article demonstrated that underreporting is so terribly politicized it is not even certain it exists, much less its extent.  But why let the facts, or the truth, or scholarship, get in the way of a good feminist victim metanarrative?

SUN: "It’s not that women routinely make up rape allegations — who would willingly submit themselves to such unjust public humiliation?"

FRS: Again, it is positively breathtaking that talking points from the 60s still find life in the blog of a major U.S. daily.  I am truly appalled by this. Spend a few weeks reading through this blog and then you tell us.  Here's False Rape 101:  http://falserapearchives.blogspot.com/2009/06/archives-of-sexual-behavior-feb-1994.html and http://www.theforensicexaminer.com/archive/spring09/15/.

SUN: "Worse, police reports obtained by The Sun and reviewed by Mr. Fenton show a disturbing pattern in which detectives aggressively question those who say they have been sexually assaulted . . . ."

FRS: How can the Sun determine a question is posed aggressively without hearing its tone?  I did not see one concrete example of impropriety by any Baltimore police officer here or in Mr. Fenton's entire piece. Not one. Would someone kindly show me one question that should not have been asked when the issue is a crime that might send someone away for decades? I've seen a lot of conclusory assertions and examples that don't rationally support the conclusions you want people to reach.

I've written to Mr. Fenton, but he has not given me the courtesy of even a short response.

SUN: " . . . . a process that, intentionally or not, gives victims the impression that the focus of the investigation is to prove that the victim is lying, not to catch and prosecute the attacker."

FRS: That is utterly appalling.   By labeling an accuser a "victim" before a scrap of evidence has been admitted at trial, much less an adjudication of guilt, you have impliedly rushed to judgment and declared the accuser's allegation to be factual. Such a description does a grave disservice to (1) the presumptively innocent who are accused of rape since, by necessity, they must be guilty if their accusers are, in fact, "victims"; (2) actual rape victims, because you trivialize rape when you include among its victims women who might only be false accusers; and (3) your readers, who are entitled to accurate reporting but receive something less than that when you transform an accuser into a "victim."

I recently wrote to the New York Times about a similar misuse of the term "victim" in reference to a rape accuser, and the reporter immediately changed the word. In the interest of fairness and accuracy, the Sun should do the same.

SUN: "The result is that Baltimore has a higher rate of unfounded complaints — by far — than nearly any other city in the nation."

FRS: WHAT QUESTIONS DO THEY ASK IN PITTSBURGH? PHILADELPHIA? ANYWHERE ELSE?  Guess what. They do it the same everywhere. How does the Sun know that the "unfounded" rate is the result of these tactics? It doesn't.  And why assume that Baltimore is worse than the others as opposed to being the one that does it right?  Ah, because that doesn't fit the Sun's politics. Let's be honest.

SUN: ". . . a former commander of the unit that investigates sex offenses told Mr. Fenton that many reports of rape are made by women for “ill gain” — such as to explain to a husband or boyfriend why they hadn’t come home that night. That presumption is as offensive as it is nonsensical."

FRS: A presumption?  Sorry, that's a fact. See http://falserapearchives.blogspot.com/2009/06/archives-of-sexual-behavior-feb-1994.html and http://www.theforensicexaminer.com/archive/spring09/15/.