Saturday, March 5, 2011

MSU Students Ignore Facts, Protest Decision Not to Charge Basketball Players for Alleged Sexual Assault

Last year, prosecutors decided not to charge two MSU basketball players with sexual assault in connection with an incident that reportedly occurred between Aug. 29 and Aug. 30. 

The September 29, 2010 Michigan Messenger reported as follows:  "Documents obtained by Michigan Messenger show two high-profile Michigan State University basketball players have been accused of committing sexual assault on campus in August. Despite the allegations, prosecutors have declined to take up the case, and the victim disputes the reasons offered for not bringing charges. The heavily redacted police report released by Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III alleges the two team members took turns assaulting an unidentified woman for nearly an hour in their Wonders Hall dormitory room late on Aug. 29 and into Aug. 30.  The police report indicates that one of the two players corroborated the victim’s story in his statement to police."  http://michiganmessenger.com/42253/msu-sexual-assault (Emphasis added.)

Fast forward to this week.  Again, from the Michigan Messenger: "Four Michigan State University students were arrested Wednesday night when they refused to leave the administration building on campus.  The students were part of a protest sponsored by the Coalition Against Sexual Violence, a campus group that formed last year. . . . .  The protest was called “A Day of Rage.” The Coalition began following Michigan Messenger’s report on an alleged sexual assault on campus at the end of August. The assault was allegedly perpetrated by two high profile basketball players. While one of the players appears to have corroborated the statement of the woman, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III declined to press charges. Dunnings’ refusal to prosecute led to protests outside his downtown Lansing offices. And now the victim in the case and her attorneys have asked the Michigan Attorney General to review the case. Attorneys for the victim issued the following statement to Michigan Messenger:  'In our evaluation of the case, we believe that a criminal sexual assault occurred. Due to the refusal of the Ingham County Prosecutor to bring charges, we requested the Attorney General look into the matter.'” (Emphasis added.)  See http://michiganmessenger.com/47006/msu-students-arrested-in-campus-protest-over-sexual-assault

Is it any wonder the protestors are upset, given that one of the alleged rapists corroborated the "victim's" account? 

If that's really what happened, of course not.

Except it appears that's not what happened. It appears that rape activists have seized on an early, and innacurate, mischaracterization of what happened, ignoring later, more complete information, in order to assume that a vile rape occurred even though it's at least as likely that it didn't.

It appears this is what really happened:  "Despite numerous media reports indicating one of the men corroborated a story, [Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart] Dunnings said in the statement that the alleged suspect’s account of the alleged sexual assault does not match that of the complainant’s. Several factors in the police interviews differ. In the complainant’s interview, for instance, she states she asked the men to 'stop,' while the alleged suspect states in his interview she only said, 'I’m done,' and never directly used the word 'stop.'” See here.

More details: "Based on the transcripts from one of the men interviewed, Dunnings said the man did not corroborate the facts necessary to 'substantiate a criminal sexual assault charge.' In the transcripts, the interviewee tells two detectives the victim never explicitly asked either of the men to stop while having sex.  'She didn’t say stop,' the man told the detectives. 'She was like, ‘I’m done.’ According to the transcript, the man also told detectives that when she said she was done, he stopped, but the other man allegedly involved 'talked her into' continuing. She could have stopped, he told detectives during the interview.  'The tone of her voice was like, she was done, but then he talked her into it, and she just let him go,' he said. 'So I mean, I don’t really. I mean see, so like, I guess he talked her into it, but she, she could have stopped.'” See here.

More details: "Michigan Messenger flatly reported — with no corroborating information — that Dunnings was ignoring the police recommendation." And: "The story's claim that the MSU Police had recommended that the players be charged was based on the appearance on a police incident report of two lines that say 'Sexual penetration penis/vagina CSI1' and 'CSC 1st degree - pentration penis/ vagina' in a section called offense. But when MSU police spokeswoman Sgt. Florene Taylor was asked — in general — if MSU police ever make a recommendation in an incident report on a possible charge, she said no. 'It’s not a recommendation or a suggestion,' [Sgt. Florene] Taylor said. 'It’s a criminal report.' ” See here.

What we are left with is a typically murky situation where guys were pushing for sex, where the woman went along with it, and where the woman expressed grave concerns about the dirty deed after-the-fact.  It is a classic "he said/she said" narrative where the "he" side is both more plausible and can't be construed as "rape."

We have frequently noted the after-the-fact regret of young women to group sex: "This is a recipe for a false rape claim. Ground zero, in fact. We've seen this multiple times. The reasons are obvious: how on earth can she possibly explain this to a boyfriend, a parent, or a friend? How will she hold her head up on campus? Most sane young women will deeply regret that encounter after-the-fact and will worry that if word got out, it would destroy what's left of her reputation. The fear of 'slut shaming,' as the feminists call it, seems to spawn off-the-charts regret, and that is a false rape claim waiting to happen. Men should never, ever put themselves in this awful situation."  See here.

But facts be damned. Angry anti-rape activists have seized on the early, inaccurate news account that fits their agenda, ignoring more detailed news, because that's all they need. Because when the legend becomes fact, old cowboys and feminists alike insist on printing the legend.

They wring their hands and bellyache, "It’s a sad and unfortunate thing that college campuses are such a hotbed for sexual assault," see here, even though we've demonstrated on this site time and time again that they aren't.  And they decry the absence of justice for rape victims: “'I hope to inspire an open and honest conversation about how safe our community is,' says Elizabeth Battiste, 20. 'I’m not expecting the basketball players to be kicked off the team or convicted of a crime, but I want there to be justice for the victim. . . .  If I was a rapist, I would want to live in Ingham County,' says Battiste." See here.

All the moaning and the bellyaching and the hand-wringing does a grave, grievous disservice to actual rape victims. Why? Because the more the activists insist that crap cases that shouldn't be tried and that can't be won be brought to trial, the more they tell rape victims with legitimate cases that they shouldn't even bother seeking justice because it will be denied to them. 

The young activists' time would be better spent educating our young people that drunken group sex is a no-win for both young men and young women, and that asking our law enforcement and judicial systems to untangle murky "he said/she said" allegations after-the-fact is an impossibility.  That sort of effort would actually help matters. What they are doing now doesn't help anyone, least of all rape victims.

If this is the best case these protesters could find to make their point, that's a good sign -- it probably means rape isn't so rampant after all.