Sunday, August 28, 2011

I don't know what scares you, but Brett Sokolow scares me

Sandy Hingston proved that the sexual grievance industry isn't some imaginary bogeyman concocted by rape apologists, but that it's alive and well and living on campus, and that mothers and fathers of college-aged sons should be afraid. Very afraid. Read Hingston's New Rules of College Sex here.

If Hingston is correct, the leader of this industry is a Villanova law grad from Malvern, Pennsylvania -- a sexual assault activist and a true believer who has capitalized on his convictions named Brett Sokolow.

Hingston writes: "IF YOU'RE CURIOUS as to how student sexual misconduct became a federal civil-rights liability for colleges, the man with the answer is perched in shorts and bare feet on a big, comfy sofa in the vault-ceilinged living room of his stone home in Malvern. Brett Sokolow, a ’97 Villanova Law grad, is founder of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, or NCHERM (pronounced 'en-kerm'). For more than a decade, the genial 39-year-old has been warning colleges and -universities—he’s of counsel to more than 20, and has advised thousands—that the day was coming when courts would allow Title IX claims against them for sexual assaults. 'The ‘Dear Colleague’ letter was one of the most important moments of my professional life,' he says."

Here's the chilling part. One of Sokolow's models for sexual assault judicial procedures is the NCHERM CAMPUS SEXUAL MISCONDUCT JUDICIAL TRAINING MANUAL (now in revision, so download this version quickly) found here:

We will have much to say about this document, and others written by Mr. Sokolow, but for now, let us focus on just one: Mr. Sokolow's take on whether the "clear and convincing" standard of proof or the "preponderance of the evidence" standard should be used in college disciplinary hearings for sexual assault. Don't trust my characterization -- read for yourself on pages 21-22.

The gist of it is that Mr. Sokolow understands why some colleges want to use the higher "clear and convincing" standard due to considerations of "fairness" for accused students who might be expelled. However, he declares, that is not the best practice because the clear and convincing standard doesn't allow the "victim" (his word) to "win" under certain sexual assault scenarios.

Let that sink in. Sokolow seems to understand the concern about the danger of punishing the presumptively innocent, but dismisses it in the face of his fear that "victims" can't "win" with the "clear and convincing" standard.

And Blackstone's formulation (it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer," Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765) -- which, I'd guess, young Mr. Sokolow doesn't think should apply in this setting -- is not a concern.

I don't know what scares you, but Brett Sokolow scares me.