Friday, September 2, 2011

Top ten most popular FRS posts ever: stellar examples of injustice

The ten most widely read posts this site has ever run are also illustrations of gross injustice -- outrageous misconduct and inexplicable double-standards.  As FRS joins the rest of America celebrating the Labor Day weekend, we leave you with this trip down memory lane.  Next Tuesday, when we return, you will notice some important changes about this site. As our audience grows bigger and bigger, we are redoubling our efforts to be a potent voice for the community of the wrongly accused.  But first, to get your blood boiling, keep reading:

(1) "It is awful" to prosecute a 15-year-old girl who told a rape lie that got a boy arrested, says women's rights advocate: A 15-year-old girl was convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice for telling a rape lie that caused the boy she accused, who was just 14, to be arrested. She claimed she was raped, but the court rejected her defense, and she was convicted. Yet, according to the news story: "The decision to prosecute the girl, now 16, was criticised by anti-rape campaigners. Lisa Longstaff, of the campaign group Women Against Rape, said: 'It is awful that a girl so young has been prosecuted in this way.'"

If the girl's lie had its intended effect, would anyone have objected if the boy had been tried (and in many jurisdictions, he might have been tried as an adult) for the rape of an innocent young woman?  Would anyone have said "it's awful" that a boy so young should be prosecuted?" 

(2) Serial false rape accuser tried to destroy man's life for not giving her a beer: Kristin Milligan, 54, reportedly called police to say that a male had kidnapped and held her captive for five days. Police found the suspect matching the caller's description at a bus stop a block away. The man told police Milligan approached him on the street and said she would call 911 to report he had raped her if he did not get her . . . a beer. The man told police he did not know her and that because of her erratic behavior, he quickly walked away to the bus stop.  According to police documents: "She . . . frequently makes false rape allegations." Authorities transported Milligan to the police station where she allegedly became very irate and kept cursing and yelling. Authorities said she spat on an officer’s shirt and left forearm after he made her sit down on the jail bench.

(3) Women tells rape lie because she was late for work, blames diet: A young woman falsely claimed three men, with whom she had consensual sex, raped her so that she could have a reason for being late for work. Her defense counsel blamed her diet for her cruel act. The judge conceded that the effect on the three hapless males -- who were saved only because one of them recorded her consent on his cell phone -- could have been appalling.  Yet, thefalse accuser was sentenced to only twelve months in prison. 

Listen to the Judge's take on it: "The men had to make statements and supply their DNA to police officers, and it must have been a frightening experience, particularly for the man you identified. All he could say was that you had consented, but defendants often say so in rape cases, and juries are often invited not to believe them. The effects on the victim wrongly accused can be appalling, and might well have been in this case."

Defense counsel claimed that Johnson's behavior had been affected by her diet, which restricts her to 410 calories a day and prohibits solid food. The false accuser apologized -- to the police and all the real victims of rape.

(4) Woman makes twenty false claims against various men, and she will not spend a minute behind bars: A woman who made twenty false reports of rape, abduction, false imprisonment and assault against her innocent husband and other unnamed men will not be jailed unless she breaks a court order to stop wasting police time. Why was she not tried and convicted and given prison time? Doctors were unable to agree whether she was of sound enough mind to realize her claims were false, and that's an element of the crimes.  The Judge said: “I hope that it might be the case that this will never happen again."

(5) Man imprisoned 17 years for a rape he didn't commit has wages garnished for child support payments he couldn't make in prison: A man spent 17 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit, and upon his release, he received no compensation from the state -- but his wages were garnished because he owes the mother of his children tens of thousands of dollars for past child custody payments, payments he couldn't make because he was wrongfully imprisoned.

Hypothetically, if the man had been killed seventeen years ago, the mother of his children would have received nothing. How is this different? Mr. Northrop was deprived of seventeen years of his life because the state allowed him to be put behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. The mother of his children managed without his money all that time, but now the state says he needs to pay her money, and the state is helping her collect it. Here was our suggestion: if the state thinks she deserves the money, the state should pay it. Then, the state should compensate the wrongly convicted man several million dollars, and give him a handwritten apology from the Governor, the district attorney who prosecuted the case (if he or she is still alive), and the judge (if he or she is still alive). No amount of money will make up for what happened.

(6) Woman makes eight false rape claims, but serves no jail time: A woman named Jayne Stuart has made eight false rape claims -- that's not a typo: eight -- and apparently has never served a day behind bars. Four of the men have been acquitted in trials the past two years. Each of her victims suffered a terrible stigma. After her latest false claim, "Judge Peter Bowers said it was unfortunate that there was no anonymity for the men."  The woman allegedly had mental difficulties that counseled against a jail term. The judge said to her: “The danger is that if you had a genuine, a real complaint in the future, the police might not be very inclined to take you seriously."  (Sorry, judge, but that's not the real danger -- the real danger is to innocent men who might meet her.)  (See the story -- we note several other celebrated serial false rape accusers.)

(7) College men who file suit after being wrongly accused of rape may be disciplined by their schools for retaliation: At Vermont Law School one night in 2009, Joshua Vaughan and an unnamed female classmate engaged in alcohol-fueled sex. Six months later, the woman reported her version of the story to two "student ambassadors," who then informed Shirley Jefferson, the school's dean of student affairs. "Independent investigators appointed by Jefferson concluded they could not say if the encounter was consensual or not, according to court documents.  The woman by then had told Jefferson she no longer wanted to pursue her complaint, but Jefferson decided to go forward with the case. She told Vaughan the school would drop the sexual assault claim if he would admit to a lesser, sexual harassment claim, Vaughan's lawsuit said.  Vaughan rejected the offer and opted to go forward with a formal hearing instead. On Sept. 9, the college's code of conduct panel unanimously found Vaughan innocent of the sexual assault allegation."

After Mr. Vaughan was exonerated by the conduct panel, he filed suit against the college, Shirley Jefferson, and the unnamed woman with whom he had sex.  The school's attorney Susan McAndrew charged that Vaughan had "violated all the confidentiality provisions in the student handbook by bringing a lawsuit." She asked the court to rule that Vaughan's action, according to the handbook, was an act of retaliation justifying instigation of a new round of disciplinary proceedings by the school. The judge declined the request to have him characterize Vaughan's lawsuit as an act of retaliation but did agree to issue a ruling saying that the college had the right to begin proceedings against Vaughan on those grounds if it so chose.

A college retaliation policy that makes it wrongful for students to file suit after they've been harmed by a legally actionable tort is unconscionable. Colleges justify curtailing the rights of male students accused of rape in this manner as a necessary evil to wage the war on rape.

(8) A woman sent a man to prison for five years because she was bored: In 1996, a female University of Akron student accused a male classmate of raping her in her dorm room. On the basis of her say so, the man was convicted and spent five years in prison. It turned out that after the purported rape, the woman kept a diary that illustrated her innermost disdain for men, and a critical passage chillingly suggested that she accused the man of rape to punish him for all the men who had supposedly used her for sex. This diary would be the man's belated salvation.  Read the following chilling diary passage, dated April 20, 1997 -- it is among the purest expressions of misandry we have seen in our studies of unfounded and false rape cases (I've highlighted certain portions):

"I can't believe the trial's only a week away. I feel guilty (sort of) for trying to get Nate locked up, but his lack of respect for women is terrible. I remember how disrespectful he always was to all of us girls in the courtyard . . . he thinks females are a bunch of sex objects! And he's such a player! He was trying to get with Holly and me, and all the while he had a girlfriend. I think I pounced on Nate because he was the last straw. That, and because I've always seemed to need some drama in my life. Otherwise I get bored. That definitely needs to change. I'm sick of men taking advantage of me . . . and I'm sick of myself for giving in to them. I'm not a nympho like all those guys think. I'm just not strong enough to say no to them. I'm tired of being a whore. This is where it ends.

"Yesterday morning I went to see two lawyers (partners) about a civil suit against Nate. *** I know that suing him is wrong, but what else is there for me to do? I know I'm not an evil person normally, but Nate pissed me off, and took advantage of me. Sorry for him that I'm so revengeful. I'll probably feel guilty about this someday.

"Speaking of money, I'm suing Nate. I'm desperate for money! My consience (sic) wouldn't allow me to do that before, but I'm going to do whatever I have to to get out of debt."

At the man's rape trial, the court allowed some portions of the diary to be read to the jury, but it excluded others. Citing Ohio's rape shield law, the trial court prohibited defense counsel from introducing the following language from the diary into evidence: ". . . and I'm sick of myself for giving in to them. I'm not a nympho like all those guys think. I'm just not strong enough to say no to them. I'm tired of being a whore. This is where it ends."  Years later, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the diary passage excerpted above should not have been excluded from evidence. The man was finally released from prison.

In 2004, the man filed a claim for wrongful conviction. After Common Pleas Judge Marvin Shapiro heard testimony from the man his accuser, he wrote that the evidence suggested the two students consented to sex, just as the man had claimed since his arrest. Judge Shapiro granted the man a ``declaration of innocence,'' a legal standard needed to file for damages in the Ohio Court of Claims. In 2005, an Ohio court approved a $662,000 settlement for the man's wrongful rape conviction -- this amount included $412,000 for lost wages and $250,000 for lawyers' fees. This was supposed to compensate him for the five years her spent behind bars.

(9) A girl who is statutorily raped gets her abortion paid for by the taxpayers; a boy who is statutorily raped is obligated to pay child support if his rapist decides to keep the baby: A minor girl who is statutorily raped is entitled to taxpayer support if she decides to have an abortion, says a new piece of legislation.  But if a minor boy is statutorily raped by an adult woman and he impregnates her, the boy is liable for child support if the statutory rapist decides to have the baby. In that case, unlike the situation where a female victim of statutory rape decides to have an abortion, the taxpayers don't have any obligation to pay for the result of the boy's victimization. That responsibility is his, and his alone.

(10) The British Government Ditches Plan To Give Anonymity to Men Accused of Rape: Why The Decision Is Wrong: Late last year, in a betrayal of justice, the British government announced it was ditching its pledge to give anonymity to men accused of rape. The British plan originally was to grant anonymity to the presumptively innocent unless convicted; the plan was watered down in the face of a politicized backlash to grant anonymity only to men who have not been charged. In the end, even this very modest form of anonymity was scrapped.

Opposition to anonymity for the presumptively innocent accused of rape is unconscionable because it typically fails to acknowledge the harm of a false rape claim.  Among the many disingenuous reasons for not granting anonymity is that anonymity would "send a message" that rape accusers aren't to be believed. Anonymity for the presumptively innocent would send no such message any more than anonymity for rape accusers sends a message that rape accusers are to be believed over the men and boys they accuse. Besides, many accused rapists are already afforded anonymity, and there is no evidence that granting anonymity to these classes of defendants has in any manner hindered the war on rape. (Specifically, in the UK, anonymity orders under Section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 are frequently granted to teen boys accused of sex crimes. Moreover, men whose identities cannot be revealed without necessarily revealing the accuser's identity are usually treated anonymously by the press.)

Another argument often trotted out to oppose anonymity for men accused of rape is that anonymity could inhibit the effective prosecution of serial rapists. Anonymity for men accused of rape would not hinder police investigations any more than anonymity for rape accusers hinders police and other innocent men from learning that a rape accuser has made false rape allegations in the past.

Another argument often posited in opposition to anonymity for men accused of rape is that women will not come forward if the men they accuse are not publicly named. There is no factual basis for this conclusion, and the one has nothing to do with the other. For example, there is no basis to believe that fewer women come forward when their rapists are teen males whose identities are not made public. In fact, it is likely that more rape victims would "come forward" if the men they accuse were anonymous. The vast majority of rapes, we are told, are of the acquaintance variety. When a woman accuses a male acquaintance of rape and he is publicly identified, it often isn't difficult to infer who the accuser is. It is reasonable to assume that most rape victims would prefer not to have their identities revealed by inference when they accuse an intimate acquaintance of rape. 

The real reason anonymity for men is opposed is because naming men publicly is, in some sense, viewed as meting out justice.  The only problem is that justice should not be meted out until a conviction. Justice for rape victims should not depend on the public shaming and humiliation of the presumptively innocent who, too often, turn out to be victims of false rape claims.