Thursday, January 31, 2013

Married mother-of-four who ruined two soldiers’ lives after crying rape following one-night-stand avoids jail

As reported here:
A married mum-of-four who wrecked the lives of two soldiers after she falsely claimed they raped her has walked free from court.

Teresa Aldridge, 41, had consensual sex with one of the men at a party then drunkenly claiming she had been raped by him and another man.

Up to 20 police officers investigated the allegations and within 24 hours had arrested two squaddies, a court heard.

The innocent men were “degraded” as police took blood, pubic hair and DNA samples for a crime they had not committed, it was said.

One of the soldiers was branded a paedophile and a rapist when he returned to his barracks.

The other was forced to quit the army and move away from the area after his fiancee and children left him.

But the day after the fabricated sex attack, sober Alridge went to police and admitted she had made up the report.

She was charged with wasting police time and admitted the crime at Canterbury Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Aldridge was told she had come close to going to prison but was sentenced to 120 days jail suspended for two years.

The court heard Aldridge told police she had been at a party on March 24, 2012 where she had been drinking vodka, the court heard.

At the time she claimed she was taken into a room at the house party in Canterbury, Kent, where she said two men had raped her.

The soldiers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were booked into custody by sergeants, interviewed by detectives and examined by forensic officers.

But just hours later Aldridge confessed to police telling them she had lied and had in fact consented to having sex with one of the squaddies.

Prosecutor Rachael Laughland told the court: “A member of the public contacted police to say he had come across a woman who said she had been raped by two men she described as squaddies.

“Eight officers went to the barracks where they arrested two men. Twenty-four hours of police resources were wasted.

“But not before the defendant returned to the police station and made admissions that she had lied and that the sex was consensual.”

In a victim impact statement read out in court, one of the soldier’s said: “I was placed in a cell with a glass door and had a police officer watching me.

“Four blood samples were taken from me, my trousers were pulled down and pubic hair clipped and swabs were taken from my penis area.

“I felt disgusted and degraded – I started crying and asked for a solicitor. I have lost everything. My fiancee and children have left me and I now lead the life of a single man.”

Alridge, of Canterbury, Kent. was also sentenced to supervision and ordered her to pay £85 costs.

Aldridge’s solicitor Ian Bond portrayed his client as a vulnerable and troubled woman at Canterbury Magistrates Court last Friday.

Ian Bond said: “She takes full responsibility for this offence, fully understands the seriousness of it and is remorseful.

“She understands how her behaviour has impacted on her victims and is sickened.

“She did snuff out the allegations the next day when she went to the police to say that she had done something terrible.”

Mr Bond described the rape claims as an “isolated incident” and “not part of any pattern of behaviour”

He told magistrates that Aldridge, who has one previous conviction for being drunk and disorderly, was not a regular drinker and had drunk too much at the party on the night she made the claims.

Mr Bond added: “She had consensual sex with a man she had never met before, there was then a dispute which led to her being shoved out of the front door.

“She was feeling pretty wretched at this point, having just had sex with a stranger and being kicked out.

“She was sitting on a wall when a passer-by came past and she blurted out that she had been raped. It led to two men going through an unpleasant ordeal.

“But she did have the courage to go to the police and say ‘stop, this is wrong’ and understands the pain, suffering and indignity these men suffered.”

"Michael Crabtree: Completely innocent of rape allegation"

As reported here:

Thank writer Gregg Doyel here:

NEW ORLEANS -- Writers don't write headlines, but I want to write this one: "Michael Crabtree: Completely innocent of rape allegation"

I hope it fits. It better fit. The headline damn sure fit two weeks ago when this story had an uglier angle to it:

Michael Crabtree questioned about alleged sexual assault.

That was the headline on Jan. 18. That was the story. And given that the San Francisco 49ers' appearance in the NFC Championship Game was two days away, that was a major concern. In some corners, I imagine, it was an outrage:

How can this guy play in that game?

Well, the story fizzled. Crabtree didn't lawyer up and hide from authorities, as was his legal right. He cooperated with police, met with them on Jan. 18, two days before the biggest game of his life. Distraction? Meeting with police wasn't a distraction to Crabtree. Not meeting with police, letting this thing drag on and on, would have been the distraction. So he met with police, and soon the SFPD was sending signals that the charges wouldn't stick.

A few days later Crabtree was cleared. It was incremental, his path to innocence, and that probably muted its impact. At our website, for example, after that first shocking story about Michael Crabtree -- one of the best receivers in the NFL, accused of sexual assault in the hours after a playoff victory against Green Bay -- we reported the incremental stuff in smaller detail, in the links I've already provided. First he cooperated with police. Then police sent those signals that the charges wouldn't stick.

When Crabtree was officially cleared, a story came across the wires and we ran it -- but we didn't write anything special, as we had written something special earlier in the process.

That's how this business works. Allegations get major headlines. An athlete being cleared of allegations? Smaller headlines.

And so here I am today, writing about a story that has been out of the headlines for almost a week, and not to dredge up something ugly. I'm not here to hurt Michael Crabtree, but to help him. To drive home the point that the charges against him were garbage. You saw the earlier stuff, I'm sure, the stuff accusing him of assaulting a woman. Did you see the follow-up? That Crabtree was cleared? That accusation didn't just go away because police had other things to worry about. The SFPD worried hard about this one, assigning the case to its Special Victims Unit, and that unit cleared Crabtree.

Maybe you're wondering why I care so much. Maybe I'll tell you: I met Michael Crabtree this week, at the Super Bowl, and I liked the guy. I mean, a lot. OK, so we didn't actually "meet." It was at Media Day on Tuesday, and I was in the crowd asking questions. He was alone on the podium, giving answers.

I went there expecting not to like him, though for what reason I can't say. I had forgotten about his record holdout that cost him five games from his rookie season with the 49ers in 2009, so it wasn't that. The assault allegations already had been thoroughly debunked, so it wasn't that, either. Maybe it was just my general cynicism. Whatever the case, I walked over to Crabtree's interview area with low expectations.

He blew those expectations away. He was soft-spoken, he was humble, he was honest. He didn't get exasperated or agitated when asked, repeatedly, about the assault allegation. I asked him what it was like, facing that accusation, knowing there would be people out there who remember the initial headline more than any that followed.

"It shouldn't follow me," he said. "I hope it doesn't follow me. I was disappointed with what happened, but what can I do? Just cooperate and try to put it behind me, which I've done. But I was disappointed by the whole thing."

This one disappointed a lot of people. It disappointed another sportswriter here at the Super Bowl, Jen Floyd Engel, a columnist for Engel also spent time at Crabtree's podium on Tuesday. She wanted to hear what he had to say about the allegations, allegations she knew were bogus. I asked Engel what she thought of this whole episode.

"I'm [ticked] at the woman who accused him," she said. "The next woman who's sexually assaulted will have a higher threshold of truth to jump over because people will wonder if it's that Crabtree thing all over again."

Years from now Michael Crabtree will retire, and there will be people -- more than a few -- who remember him as that great receiver for the 49ers who had a special career and ... hey, wasn't he accused of something awful? Yeah, he was. Nothing came of it, but it was bad. I remember that. Typical story. Star gets away with it. Don't they always?

Sometimes they do, sure. And sometimes they're the victim. Sad to say, I'm sticking up for Crabtree here only because I spent time around him Tuesday and liked what I saw. What if I hadn't gone to his podium at Media Day? There were tons of options. I didn't listen to everybody, or even close. If I hadn't listened to Michael Crabtree on Tuesday, you wouldn't be reading this today. That's a fact, and that's a shame. Because as I reflect back on the 900 or so words I've written here, there are only 10 or 15 that matter, and those 10 or 15 haven't been written nearly enough:

Michael Crabtree was unfairly accused of something awful. He's not guilty, and more. He's innocent.

Police: Woman lied about rape and robbery

As reported at

A Westmoreland woman who said she was raped and robbed by a Keene man now faces a charge after police say she lied about what happened.

Ashley L. Brideau, 28, is charged with false report to law enforcement.

Brideau told police on Jan. 8 that David Wombolt, 35, sexually assaulted her and robbed her of medication while she was in his vehicle at Wheelock Park, Keene police said.

Wombolt, who is a registered sex offender, was initially charged with aggravated felonious sexual assault, strong-arm robbery, conspiracy to purchase heroin and failure to comply with the sex offender registry law.

After further investigation, police began to question Brideau’s accounts of what happened on Jan. 8, police said.

As a result, the charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault and robbery filed against Wombolt were dropped on Jan. 16, and he was released on bail.

However, the charges of conspiracy to buy heroin and failing to comply with the sex offender registry law still stand.

Wombolt is also charged with a count of violating a protective order for calling a person while he was being held in jail, after the court ordered he have no contact with that person, police said.

Brideau is being held for lack of $400 cash bail at the Cheshire County jail because she also has an outstanding warrant for not appearing in court on a motor vehicle charge from July, police said.

She is scheduled to be arraigned today in 8th Circuit Court District Division in Keene.

The case is still being investigated by police, and anyone with information is asked to call the criminal investigation bureau at 357-9820.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ylen false-report case goes to Wayne County prosecutor

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is handling a case alleging that Sara Ylen filed a false police report case.

In late September or early October, Ylen reported in St. Clair County she had been sexually assaulted at a Sanilac County location.

After determining there was no evidence of the attack, the Sanilac County Sheriff Department in November asked St. Clair County Prosecutor Michael Wendling to charge Ylen with filing a false police report.

Because of his office’s relationship with Ylen in the James Grissom case and the potential for a conflict of interest, Wendling asked the state attorney general’s office to reassign the case. The state turned it over to Wayne County.

In 2003, Wendling’s office helped convict Grissom of a sexual assault on Ylen. She testified the incident happened in the parking lot of the Fort Gratiot Meijer store on a busy Saturday afternoon.

After the conviction, investigators in Michigan, California and Colorado determined Ylen had reported that she had been sexually assaulted in other instances, but those crimes could not be substantiated. In light of that evidence, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Grissom should receive a new trial.

Wendling, deciding there was not sufficient evidence to convict Grissom a second time, dropped the charges. 

Grissom was released from custody Nov. 19, after almost a decade behind bars.

Maria Miller, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman, said Ylen’s false-report case is being reviewed before next steps are taken.

Separately, Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Brian Ferguson is conducting a fraud investigation involving Ylen. Details about that case have not been released.

The Times Herald normally does not identify victims of sexual assault. Ylen was identified when she asked the paper to tell her story.

The Lulu App: "Sure, it could cause trouble for some good guys," but it's worth it!

The "Lulu" app is yet another internet forum that invites young women to say what they want about young men with, apparently, no method to verify the accuracy of what is written. A writer at the University of Arizona's student newspaper described it as follows:
Lulu is an iPhone and Android app that allows women to rank men based on performance, commitment, ambition and a variety of factors that make up a profile, replete with information culled from Facebook. It’s an open platform that takes cues from Yelp and applies them to men, with ratings and attributes changing as more women complete reviews on a man’s profile. The best attributes on a profile are hashtagged, allowing users to click on that trait and see more men like him. And no, guys, this is a girl’s game only: In order to fully use Lulu, you must be denoted as female via your Facebook profile.

A comment under the story from "Sean" stated: "The disgusting thing is if men created a similar service, feminists would be up in arms about how sexist it is."

A response from "Sarah P" is breathtaking:
I see what you're saying, but this app could also help keep women safe. Have you seen the statistics on rape recently? No matter how cute that guy at the bar may be, if you catch a cab back to your place together, you're taking a risk. Sure, if it became widespread enough, Lulu could cause trouble for some good guys. But it could also help women steer clear of controlling, abusive, and dangerous guys. 
That said, I doubt that Lulu was really designed for anything more than entertainment, or that anyone is likely to take it seriously in the end. Anyone who has the app is well aware of how easy it is to leave a bogus rating on someone's profile, whether just for fun or with malicious intent. Even if Lulu does become A Thing among the college population, hopefully most of us are smart enough to know by now that you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.
(Emphasis added.) There you have it. "Sure," the Lulu App "could cause trouble for some good guys," but Sarah P thinks it's worth it!  Why? Because it will keep women safe by helping them stay clear of rapists or other male miscreants. But, she adds, everybody knows not to believe everything they read on the Internet.

Except if everybody knows not to believe what's written on this site, how on earth will this Lulu App help keep women safe? And is that how they are teaching you to think and reason at the University of Arizona, Sarah P?

We agree that this forum could "cause trouble for some good guys." That, of course, is reason enough to put an end to it.

Sarah P would do well to read this before making herself look silly again:

False Rape Claim Leads to Shooting in Bartlett

Rachel Courtney is in jail charged with attempted murder. Police say she ran out of her house with a gun and machete. 

According to police documents, her lover, Robbi Fitch claimed a man raped her. He later showed up at their home and parked outside.

The documents say Courtney got in the car, pulled a gun and she and the man fought over it.

He won, and pistol-whipped her, before she choked him.

The 57-year old man told police he took Fitch to buy drugs and have sex.  Fitch said he raped her, but police said text message showed otherwise. They had been sleeping together regularly for years.

In one text, Fitch asked the man to take her to buy the morning after pill. He showed up to do it and that’s when he found his lover’s live-in girlfriend armed and mad.  She accidentally shot him.

The girl caught in the middle finally admitted she wasn’t raped.

Rachel Courtney is charged with attempted first degree murder. Robbi Fitch is charged with making a false report.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

'Until it happens to you, you really don't grasp what it does to not just you, but to your family . . .'

Story found here:

Actor Mark Salling has hit back at a former lover for filing a "fraudulent" lawsuit against him, insisting allegations the Glee star forced her to have unprotected sex are completely false.

Roxanne Gorzela claims she consented to have sex with Salling in March, 2011, but insisted that he use protection.

According to legal papers filed earlier this month, he allegedly refused and proceeded to "insert his penis into (her) vagina without a condom".

She confronted Salling at his home weeks later, but was stunned to reportedly find him in bed with another woman and subsequently demanded proof that he hadn't given her a sexually transmitted disease.

He is said to have responded by pushing her to the ground, prompting her to file a police report, which was followed up with a lawsuit for damages.

However, Salling is adamant the accusations are all made up and he is eager for the case to go to court so he can clear his name.

He tells E! News, "With the most recent incident, you hear about fraudulent lawsuits all the time and until it happens to you, you really don't grasp what it does to not just you, but to your family, and you want the legal process to start as soon as possible but it just takes time... I just want the chance to defend myself and I will, vigorously."

Salling admits he has never really experienced being the talk of the tabloids so he is trying to remain positive and hopes justice will prevail.

He says, "It's the first time for me so you kinda have to learn as you go but like anything else, you have to stay positive and count on the people who actually do know you and do love you, and that you love as well, friends and family... so you just have to stay positive. (Also there is) my relationship with Jesus Christ so I count on that myself, and my parents are awesome too."

Man imprisoned on false accusations acquitted almost 20 years later

From the Edmonton Journal:

EDMONTON - An Edmonton man who has already served “every minute” of an eight-year sentence for sexually assaulting his young stepson has now been acquitted.

In a decision released Monday, the Court of Appeal of Alberta acquitted the 47-year-old man because the boy later recanted and said his biological father forced him to lie during a 1994 custody dispute.
In a special commission hearing held last year, the boy, who was nine at the time and is now an adult, testified that allegations of sexual abuse and rape against his stepfather were completely false.
“It is not the truth,” he said. “The truth is he did not do any of that.”

The court allowed the man’s appeal of his 1995 convictions and, because Crown prosecutors would stay the charges in any new trial, an acquittal was ordered.

“It is obviously not the fault of the appellant that he was convicted based on unreliable evidence,” the appeal court decision reads. “Nor is it any criticism of the Crown prosecutor, defence counsel, or the trial judge; it is merely a reflection of the fact that while the Canadian legal system is very good, it is not perfect.”

Neither the man, a local truck driver, nor the boy can be named because of a court-ordered publication ban.

The boy was five when his parents separated in January 1989. In the next two years, his biological father left for Saskatoon and his stepfather moved in with him and his mother. In June 1992, the boy went to visit his father in Saskatoon for the summer. The biological father later refused to send his son home.

The boy’s parents then began to go through divorce proceedings and a custody battle.

In the fall of 1993, the nine-year-old boy made allegations that his stepfather had sexually assaulted and raped him while they lived together in Edmonton.

Last year, the stepson, now in his late 20s, said his father held a knife to his throat in the laundry room of their Saskatoon home and told him to accuse his stepfather. His biological father was angry, court heard, because his sons referred to their stepfather as “daddy.”

The father coached his terrified son on the false accusations and sexual details for 90 minutes, according to testimony. The boy added explicit details to his accusations that he learned from a pornographic magazine.

“When I was a kid and these allegations came up, I was threatened, and as a kid you do what your parents tell you to do,” the stepson testified before the special commission. “You are young, and you don’t know right from wrong. And when your parent threatens you, you basically just do what you’re told.”

The boy first told his stepmother the lies, then later the Saskatoon police.

At the special commission, University of British Columbia psychology professor John Yuille said he watched the Saskatoon police interview videotape and was not impressed. The officer conducted the interview “extremely poorly,” Yuille said, because he always seemed convinced the child told the truth. The accusation was full of vague answers and absent detail, Yuille said.

During a 1993 Christmas visit in Edmonton with his mother and stepfather, the boy came out of his room crying and apologizing to the couple.

“He said he was sorry for saying that stuff and apologized,” the stepfather testified to the special commission in April.

At the time, charges had not been laid and the stepfather wasn’t entirely sure what the child was talking about, court heard.

In January 1994, the boy testified to the abuse at his parent’s custody hearing and was placed with his father.

A month later, the stepfather was charged with sexual assault. At the trial, the boy again testified against his stepfather. During cross-examination, the boy was asked about recanting his story, but he “held firm.”

In February 1995, the stepfather was sentenced to eight years in prison. He served “every minute,” according to the appeal court, because he denied responsibility.

“You have refused all program or treatment interventions stating that you have no faith or trust in the ‘system’ and that given your ‘innocence’ regarding your convictions, you see no benefit,” the Parole Board of Canada told him in 2000.

While the stepfather served time, the boy’s biological father returned him to Edmonton in February 1998. Now living with his mother, the boy told her he’d lied about the abuse allegations.

In March 2000, as his stepfather was denied parole, the 15-year-old boy signed a statutory declaration that the allegations were false. The admission had no impact on the stepfather’s term and he was released in January 2003 after his full sentence ended.

Three months later, the stepfather and the boy’s mother rekindled their relationship and moved in together. The boy, then an adult, lived with them. He felt incredibly guilty, the stepfather recalled, and the relationship was distant at first.

Now, court documents state, the former accuser allows his stepfather and mother to babysit his six-year-old child.

In 2001, the stepfather applied to the federal minister of justice for a ministerial review of his convictions. Minister Rob Nicholson referred the case to the Court of Appeal of Alberta to determine if the boy’s recanting counted as fresh evidence.

Special Commissioner Ernest Marshall presided over the review and submitted his report to the appeal court in June 2012.

“Consideration of this testimony gives rise to a reasonable inference that the allegations were false and the recantations were correct,” Marshall wrote.

The boy’s biological father testified and denied he had coerced his son. Marshall was undecided on whether the man told the truth.

“It seems to me that the full truth of the alleged threats to the complainant by his father may never be known,” he wrote. “I am not prepared to make a finding on this issue.

Feminism does not cause adult women to have sex with teen boys, and Pope Benedict's teachings did not induce the gang rape in India

The marketplace of ideas is overrun with paranoids, hysterics, and frauds on all sides who make claims that would be laughable if they weren't so hateful.

Contrary to the comment by a Fox News commentator, feminism is not responsible when adult women have sex with teen boys.

And Pope Benedict's teachings on traditional family values had nothing to do with the gang rape in India.

That these assertions are both wrong and twisted beyond all measure requires no further support.

Daughter files false rape report against dad

A Karoi magistrate has ordered a 16-year-old high school pupil to perform 140 hours of community service after convicting the teenager of making a false rape report against her father who had beaten her for misbehaving.

The father, a nurse at a mission hospital, spent two weeks, including Christmas, in prison and was only freed last week. A magistrate delivered the ruling after the girl withdrew the case, saying she made the sinister report to “fix” her parent.

The magistrate initially sentenced her to six months in jail but suspended two months on condition she does not commit a similar offence over the next five years.

The remaining four months were also suspended on condition she completes 140 hours of community service at her school.

The community service begins on April 4 this year.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Off-topic: The prospect that women will be drafted should not be celebrated, but if men are drafted, women must be drafted, too

The news that women are now eligible for combat service means that that there likely remains no legitimate legal basis for exempting women from either Selective Service or a military draft. While, on the whole, women lack the physical capabilities of men, many young men have been drafted and have successfully served even though they lack the physical capabilities that many young women possess.

It is disappointing to read some who look upon the likely prospect that women will be drafted as "women's just desserts" for backing a progressive agenda. One writer to Time wrote: "I hope that this means that now all women on their 18th birthday will now be required to register with Selective Service. I wonder if all the women who vote for Obama because he told them that the Republicans had a so called 'war on women' like it better that they can now actually go to a real war with a real enemy. Obama will now not only give them free birth control but also free bullets for their M16."

Sigh. I scratch my head over comments like that. This issue is too serious for nasty gender "get-evenism." Nor should we do the very thing we often complain about when it is done to men: reduce women to caricature -- in this case, by suggesting that women, as a class, will not support drafting young women because they want only rights and not responsibilities. The fact is, if women have been kept from shouldering their share of our nation's burdens, we can thank chivalrous men, not the dreaded NOW. Over the weekend, I was surprised to hear a progressive male commentator on CNN express concerns about drafting women -- chivalry seems to be etched into the DNA of masculinity, even where least expected.

Exempting women from the draft does not comport with modern notions of equality. Our ideas about equality and justice evolve over time. Changing circumstances make old ideas seem antiquated and, often, wrong. When modern people watch old television shows, or new shows set in the past (e.g., "Mad Men"), through the lens of their 21st Century sensibilities, they often find the gendered roles of days-gone-by to be jarring in ways the people living through those times could not.

If modern people could step back in time to the Civil War, they would be shocked. The unspeakable carnage of the war would be shocking, of course, but also shocking would be that the horrors of the war fell exclusively on men, especially young men, as opposed to women. The mind-numbing percentage of young men in their teens and 20s who were killed or maimed in that terrible war, which President Lincoln said was given by God "as the woe due to those by whom the offense [of slavery] came," would horrify most modern people. Women were exempted from service because of notions that people today are far less accepting of. But to the people of the 1860s, that was the way things were -- men and boys were the ones who fought, and died, in wars. There were no serious voices calling for women to be drafted.

And that's the way it has been in every war we've fought until recently. Military service, with its attendant horrors, has always been the single most onerous obligation imposed on our citizens, by multiple orders of magnitude. But only young males have been forced to shoulder this burden, in most cases, against their wills.

There are legitimate questions as to women's proper role in the military, and we do not presume to tell the military how to do its business. But as a matter of public policy, the legal exemption of all young women from registering with Selective Service, and from being drafted, is wholly inconsistent with notions of gender equality and cannot be reconciled with the cavalcade of laws in recent decades insuring that women have at least the same rights and privileges as men. Women will never be viewed as truly equal if they are exempted from the burdens of going to war.

Let's make clear that it isn't just the draft that is unfair. The fact that only young men are required to sign up for Selective Service is also unfair, albeit to a far lesser extent. Signing up is a de minimis hardship, but the System does raise concerns about gender equality that are often too readily dismissed.

First, if a draft is needed on very short notice -- and after all, the principal purpose of the Selective Service System is preparedness in the event a draft is needed on short notice -- only young men would be called.

Second, the more immediate concern is what happens to a young man if he fails to register. A man who fails to register may, if prosecuted and convicted, faces a fine of up to $250,000 and/or a prison term of up to five years. Even if not tried, a man who fails to register with Selective Service before turning age 26 may find that some doors are permanently closed. What doors? Many -- see Note* below. 

Every year, even without a draft, the present law is penalizing a massive number of men, and only men, by making them possible felons and permanently stripping them of valuable rights and privileges that their same-age female peers take for granted -- merely because they engage in precisely the same conduct as their female peers. The number of men affected is staggering. According to the Annual Report to Congress of the Selective Service System for fiscal year 2012: "[I]f a man fails to register, or fails to provide evidence that he is exempt from the registration requirement . . ., his name is referred to the Department of Justice . . . for possible investigation and prosecution for his failure to register, as required by the Military Selective Service Act. During FY 2012, 101,355 names and addresses of suspected violators were provided to the DoJ."

Let that number sink in: 101,355. And they all have penises.The Selective Service's Web site is replete with assertions of its own fairness -- ironic, given that more than half the population of eligible Americans are exempt from registering and are not subject to any of the attendant penalties for failing to do so: the site says that the Selective Service System ensures that "any future draft will be fair and equitable . . .." And: "If a draft is ever needed, the public must see that it is fair and equitable. For that to happen, the maximum number of eligible men must be registered."  Those last two sentences are, of course, self-contradictory. How can we talk about "fairness" and "equity" if we are only talking about registering men?

It is reasonable to assume that the vast majority of the men who fail to register, and are possible felons, are lacking in education and social standing, and most likely just don't fully understand -- despite the Selective Service System's explicit warnings -- what failing to register could mean to them. The penalties to be imposed on these men for this infraction will only add to their oppression. Surely this isn't what the Selective Service System means by "fairness"?

But the prospect that selective service will be extended to women should not be an occasion to celebrate. War is a terrible thing. No sane and rational person wants to see anyone forced to go to war, our sons or our daughters, except as a last resort. Our evolving notions of civility underscore the brutality of forcing someone, against his will, to take up arms and kill or be killed. The feminists have successfully argued "my body, my choice" when it comes to abortion, but the voices of young men who didn't want to be shipped overseas have been silenced with jail sentences.

Unfortunately, however, it is painfully obvious that if there must be a draft, there is no reason for exempting women. Women will never be truly equal unless a draft includes them.

*NOTE: Among the doors permanently closed to men who fail to register are the following:

STUDENT FINANCIAL AID: Men, born after December 31, 1959, who aren't registered with Selective Service won't qualify for Federal student loans or grant programs. This includes Pell Grants, College Work Study, Guaranteed Student/Plus Loans, and National Direct Student Loans.

CITIZENSHIP: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) makes registration with Selective Service a condition for U.S. citizenship if the man first arrived in the U.S. before his 26th birthday.

FEDERAL JOB TRAINING: The Workforce Investment Act (formerly called the Job Training Partnership Act - JTPA) offers programs that can train young men for jobs in auto mechanics and other skills. This program is only open to those men who register with Selective Service. Only men born after December 31, 1959, are required to show proof of registration.

FEDERAL JOBS: A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the Executive Branch of the Federal government and the U.S. Postal Service. Proof of registration is required only for men born after December 31, 1959.

The states have their own penalties for men who fail to register.

False reports of Toronto sex assault, murder-suicide go viral in Korean media

It was a vicious story of sexual assault followed by a bizarre murder-suicide that overwhelmed a Korean community both in Toronto and overseas.

As local media grabbed hold of a story already circulating on social media at hyper speed — quickly becoming a sensation among the sizeable Korean community in Canada — the news spread to South Korea almost overnight, dominating coverage by broadcasters and leading daily newspapers.

Trouble is, none of it was true.

In an Internet age of immediacy, where it can take less than an hour for a story or video to go viral, it took five days for the false reports to unravel, while English publications and local police remained mostly unaware of the story’s global spread.

The story began with Facebook posts from a man identified on his profile page as a 22-year-old University of Toronto student claiming to be the friend of a 19-year-old female Korean student who was sexually assaulted in the Yonge and Finch area by three Korean men in a G-class Mercedes SUV.

On Jan. 9, he posted in both Korean and English that the three men were dead following a murder-suicide in London, Ont., where the car was recovered.

The original post, which named the three men and their ages, had been shared by more than 140 people on Thursday when viewed by a Star reporter.

“Thank you all and share this message so that it is known throughout the community that these guys are now caught and got what they deserved,” the post concluded.

When Toronto’s Korea Times reporter Jay Jung twigged to the story, he said the original posts were already causing a sensation online.

“It went viral on the Internet, so we went for the source of the story,” he told the Star on Friday.
After Jung interviewed the man on Jan. 8, the story ran on the front page of the Times — the first Korean-language paper to report the story — though it indicated that police could not confirm the reports, he said.

On Friday, stories of the assault were still posted on the websites of Radio Korea, Seoul Broadcasting System, and several major newspapers in South Korea, including the Dong-A Ilbo.

But a second Times article by Jung the same day cast doubts on the original story, reiterating that police in Toronto and London were not confirming any of the reports.

Jung said he’s since spoken again with the Facebook poster about the story.

“He confessed himself yesterday, last night,” Jung said. “It turns out it’s all fabricated by him.”

Jung said the man apologized to him for lying.

“He didn’t say why he’s done it, but his mother actually (said) to me he’s under a lot of stress,” Jung said.

The poster did not respond to a request for comment from The Star. His Facebook page has since been taken down.

When contacted by the Star on Thursday, police in Toronto and London said they had no knowledge of the alleged incidents.

Toronto Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said Friday there is concern that misinformation has been so widely disseminated within Toronto’s Korean community, which includes 34,220 people, according to the most recent census data — more than half of all Koreans living in Ontario.

“What concerns me is the damage this can cause to peoples’ sense of safety in Toronto,” he said. “If they believe that something that serious has happened, that can certainly have an effect on their perception of safety in the city and the way in which they behave in the city.”

Myong Yong Om, consul at the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Toronto, said any concern has been mitigated by a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release from his government to local media sent Thursday, calling the reports false, and a notice posted to the consulate website Friday.

“I don’t think any Koreans (are) concerned about their safety,” Om said, adding he personally contacted police and media outlets to verify and disseminate correct information.

Meanwhile, Jung said, the story is now riding a second wave as news spreads about its lack of authenticity.

“It went viral again in Korea and here within (the) Korean community,” he said.

Greg Elmer, professor of media at Ryerson University, said the nature of the story — involving sexual assault — could have given it particular traction in the current media climate, given the recent headlines about sexual assault in India and prior assault cases here involving international students.

“Usually the accusation, which is always very dramatic, gets seen by a lot of eyeballs,” Elmer said, “the same not being true for the modification, the correction or the outright rejection of those stories.”


Saturday, January 26, 2013

In campus 'peeping Tom' claim, Prof. complains that university is 'playing favorites' by publicizing accuser's name but not the accused's: now he knows how we feel

An Oklahoma State University female student claims her ex-boyfriend, an OSU football player, secretly videotaped them having sex four months ago. She claims he has been showing that video to friends and bragging about it. She says she's seen the video.

Dr. Joey Senat, who teaches Media Law at OSU, has issues with the way the university's communications department has publicized the event. The university's report lists the name, address, and phone number of the 19-year-old OSU student who filed the complaint. In contrast, the suspect's name was blacked out.

"That raises the question that they are playing favorites," Prof. Senat said.

The University countered that since this was not a sexual assault or a violent incident, the reporting party should be made public. The communications department also said the suspect's name was blacked out because it's "an ongoing investigation."

We share the professor's concerns about "playing favorites." It is wrong, by any measure. But this blog is replete with incidents where the news media shields the names of sexual assault accusers but splashes the names of the young men accused on the front page -- on the basis of nothing more than "he said, she said" accusations. The blatant injustice is underscored by the terrible harm often inflicted to the reputations of the young men accused.

It is unfortunate that Prof. Senat doesn't complain that the news media is "playing favorites" when that occurs, because it clearly is.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Woman makes up story of assault, carjacking, and threatened rape so her boyfriend would not find out she was playing video poker

Reported here and here:

A woman who was accused in September of filing a false police report has been convicted and sentenced for her wrongdoing -- but no jail time.

Early on Sept. 7, Dora Lina Tovar, 32, called police to report an assault and carjacking. Tovar told responding officers that a man walked in front of her car at a stop sign near Northwest 113th Avenue and Cornell Road, got in on the passenger side, assaulted her, attempted to sexually assault her, and said he was going to rape her. Tovar said she began driving, then pulled over, grabbed the keys from the ignition and ran home to call police. When detectives began checking her story, they discovered she was not at the places she claimed she was at before the reported incident. Investigators obtained video that showed Tovar playing video poker at the time she said she was assaulted in her vehicle, Rowe said. Tovar then told authorities she filed a false report so her boyfriend would not find out she had played video poker.

On Jan. 4, Tovar pleaded guilty to one count of initiating a false report.

Tovar was sentenced to one year of probation and must pay $157.50 in restitution, $400 in attorney's fees, plus fines and fees. Tovar is not to gamble during her probation, was recommended for alcohol abuse treatment and is required to provide truthful information to her probation officer.

New Delhi: Jilted woman filed false gang rape case for marriage

Reported here:
In a shocking incident, a girl withdrew her complaint against four accused that they had allegedly gang-raped her on gunpoint. The girl on Friday accepted that she had filed a false case against the accused.

The girl said, “I am taking my case back as I was not gang-raped. I tried to implicate them in false case because one of the accused duped me on the pretext of marrying me.”

The girl said that she developed a strong feeling for the boy and wanted to marry him. But when he refused to marry the girl she decided to take revenge by falsely implicating him in rape case.

It is to be noted that the girl in her complaint had alleged that one of the accused took her to his place where he along with three of his friends gang-raped the girl on gunpoint.

Acting on it, the Delhi police arrested two people on Thursday night. The Police said that since the girl has given her statement before the Magistrate, they will have to arrest other two accused who are absconding and file the chargesheet.

The police mentioned that girl is required to approach a court if she wants to take her charges back.

College sophomore Amelia Evrigenis says it's 'shameful' her school won't discuss how its new sexual assault policy makes it too easy to punish the innocent, and how a fraudulent accusation can smear reputations and destroy careers

In the The College Fix,  Amelia Evrigenis, a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, is very concerned about her school's reluctance to discuss its revised sexual assault policy, dictated by the Department of Education's infamous Dear Colleague letter, which applies a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to offenses involving sexual violence. (Readers here know that under the "preponderance" standard, persons accused of sexual violence on campus, almost exclusively males, will be found guilty if it appears more likely than not -- which is anything over a 50% probability -- that the alleged sexual violence occurred. Previously, most schools used a higher standard such as "clear and convincing evidence," which made it more difficult to punish the innocent for offenses they did not commit.) Our concern, and Ms. Evrigenis' concern, is that the government has made it all too easy to punish the innocent for offenses they did not commit, and that schools don't even want to talk about it. Ms. Evrigenis raises concerns that resonate with the wrongly accused:

The American justice system is rooted in the presumption of innocence and the common law premise that a wrongful conviction is a more repugnant than a wrongful acquittal. The new Title IX grievance procedures are inconsistent with this premise. With a preponderance of the evidence standard, the potential for a false accusation to result in a false conviction of sexual violence is exponentially greater.

The college did not publicly announce the new Title IX policies to the student body until December 10 in an email sent by college president Pamela Gann. Notably, the message included no mention of the preponderance of the evidence standard.

It is shameful that Claremont McKenna has not made students immediately and explicitly aware of the preponderance standard. CMC students deserve immediate notification of this policy and an explanation of its implications. They deserve warning that a fraudulent accusation has greater potential to result in conviction, smearing their reputations and destroying their careers.

The college defends the new rules in the statement entitled “Regarding Title IX.” Claremont McKenna writes, “The policies and procedures regarding Title IX are civil and administrative in nature and based an approach that offers a fair process to all parties.”

However, the college’s reluctance to discuss the topic with the media suggests that it is not proud of this new policy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

'Sexual assault allegations against Crabtree not holding up'

Micah Warren, in, writes:

We mentioned previously that San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree was being investigated for a sexual assault that allegedly took place after the team’s win over the Green Bay Packers a week and a half ago. He was cooperating fully with police and was allowed to play in the NFC Championship game on Sunday. And after seeing some more details, he should have been allowed to play, as it seems that this woman’s accusations are not holding up under investigation.

A law enforcement source tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the woman who has lobbed this allegation was one of three women in the hotel room that night. The other two say that there was no assault, and there is no physical evidence that an attack occurred.

And while all of the details have not come out yet, it looks like these allegations are starting to look rotten. I’m not sure what the charges are for filing false rape claims, but they should be equal to the punishment that a rapist faces. If this woman is making this up, she should be thrown away in jail for years. This isn’t a joke.

Rape is a little different than other crimes in terms of just how heinous it is. And for whatever reason, the public is more likely to jump onto the “you’re guilty” bandwagon right away at the mere allegations. Ask those Duke lacrosse players.

We hope for everyone involved that nothing bad actually happened in that hotel room. And if it didn’t, this woman – at the very least – should be outed for the liar and fraud that that she is.

Woman admits making false rape report

A Greene County woman has been charged with lying to police that she was raped in late November.

Charges of making false reports to law enforcement were filed Jan. 3 at the office of District Judge Glenn Bates against Jamie Marie Gump, 29, of 136 Lahew Drive, Waynesburg.

Trooper Robert Cree said Gump called Greene County 911 at 6:05 p.m. Nov. 27, reporting she had been the victim of a rape.

She was transported to Southwest Regional Medical Center in Waynesburg, where Gump told Cree that a man pulled her into the back seat of his car and raped her at a location in Franklin Township.

Cree said he contacted Gump Dec. 2 at which time she agreed to go over her story.

The trooper said several inconsistencies were noted in her account and when confronted with them, Gump admitted she lied.

Cree said Gump told him she agreed to have sex for money with an unknown male, but when he refused to pay her, she called 911 and reported a rape.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Major victory for the wrongly accused yesterday: please write to the Rep. Tom Lubnau to thank him

The wrongly accused had a major victory yesterday in Wyoming, thanks to Speaker Tom Lubnau and some other legislators who understand the terrible stigma of a false rape claim. COTWA urges all its readers to write to Speaker Lubnau at and thank him for his support of the presumptively innocent who, too often, have been wrongly accused.  Read on:

In Wyoming, the names of defendants accused of sexual assault are kept confidential by law until and unless a judge finds there’s enough evidence for their cases to proceed to District Court. Wyoming Republican lawmaker Samuel Krone tried to change that. He sponsored a bill in the state legislature that would have ended the state's limited anonymity for the presumptively innocent.

Yesterday, the Wyoming House voted down his bill to make public the names of defendants in sexual assault cases. House Bill 178 was denied on a 32-24 vote.

Wyoming also has a law that keeps confidential the names of alleged sexual assault victims. No one suggested that this law be changed. While the Powell Tribune spoke out forcefully to end the limited anonymity for the presumptively innocent, it added, without explanation: "We do believe in the importance of protecting and concealing an alleged victim’s name and identity — something the law currently requires and would continue to do under Krone’s proposed changes."

How did Rep. Krone justify his bill to end limited anonymity for the presumptively innocent? "I think the purpose of this bill is to say let’s treat (sexual-assault crimes) like everything else,” he said.

If Krone wanted to treat sexual assault crimes "like everything else," why didn't he try to change the law granting anonymity for purported sexual assault victims?

Opponents of Krone's bill said there was too much of a stigma attached to defendants in cases in which charges are dropped. Rep. Mark Baker, R-Rock Springs, said he voted against the bill because of the impact a false sexual-assault accusation can have on someone: “A name can just be completely destroyed with one of these, compared to one of these other types of crimes,” he said. “Releasing (the name) right away seems to take away the fact that we are presumed innocent until proven guilty, because these crimes are different, and the criminal justice system treats them different because you have a target on your back from the very start.”

Likewise, House Speaker Tom Lubnau, R-Gillette said this: "The reason that we created this statute is just the stigma of being branded as a certain kind of person without a finding of probable cause can be as bad or worse than a criminal sentence." Lubnau said the bill presented the chance "to do great damage to innocent people."  Remember, write to thank the Speaker at

Speaker Lubnau and Rep. Baker are correct: if there is no probable cause to prosecute someone for rape, then why on earth would we allow him to be destroyed by being stigmatized as a vile rapist? (And please, don't try to tell me that the wrongly accused are rarely destroyed by false claims -- see the links below. You would do well to save that ploy for someone else because I could fill a book with accounts of atrocities just from the past few years.) If there is no probable cause to prosecute, the man probably shouldn't have been arrested and held in the first place.

The usual suspects chimed in to try to end limited anonymity. Suzan Campbell, representing the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said her organization has been pushing for the speedier disclosure of the defendants’ names for several years. However, she said they have often met resistance from people who say this is dangerous because of the tendency of false reports in sexual-assault cases. But she said this is a myth and that there are not more false reports in sexual-assault cases than other crimes. “There is no evidence of that whatsoever,” she said. “There is a difference between false reports and unfounded reports, but that is a big distinction.”

Ms. Campbell would do well to spend a few months reading through this blog before she trivializes the victimization of the wrongly accused again. Her comments are nothing short of morally grotesque. I will add one thing: the community of the wrongly accused doesn't care why a man was wrongly accused, or what label police apply to it. It cares only that the man was accused of a crime he didn't commit.

Several students from Cody High School’s Youth for Justice program got caught up in the hysteria and fear-mongering and lobbied for passage of the bill. Group member Amanda Golden said there is no compelling reason to give people accused of sexual-assault crimes special treatment. “They should be given the same sort of treatment as people from all over and from all other different crimes,” she said. “And say the person got out on bail or wasn’t in custody … they could be walking the streets, and they could easily offend again without the public knowing who they are or what they are doing.”

Heaven forbid, Ms. Golden, that a presumptively innocent man -- who hasn't even had a probable cause hearing yet -- is out walking the streets! It sounds as though Ms. Golden is fearful of stranger rapists, while most rape, we are told, is of the acquaintance variety.

Press advocates also supported the bill, of course. Bruce Moats, an attorney representing the Wyoming Press Association, said there is a First Amendment argument that the public has a right to access the information. What about information about accusers, Mr. Moats? I don't recall seeing "sexual assault accusers" exempted from the First Amendment, yet that's not a concern for you, is it?

Reasons for Limited Anonymity

Just as the stigma from rape to rape accusers is so great that, we are told, they need anonymity even to induce them to come forward, that same stigma from false or mischaracterized rape claims destroys innocent men and boys. Legion are the cases where those wrongly accused of rape have suffered unspeakable injustices. We have chronicled the terrible consequences that too often befall wrongly accused men and boys. They are beaten, spat upon, they lose their jobs, their employment prospects, their wives, their girlfriends, their chance to play football in college (Brian Banks), their businesses, and sometimes, their lives. Read the following, but legitimate trigger warning: these are gut-wrenching: see here  (this post collects some of the worst in recent times) and here  and here and here and here  and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.  (I could go on and on and on -- after looking at the last few for the first time in a while, I'd had enough for now.)

Justice for rape victims does not depend on the public shaming, humiliation, and destruction of reputations of the presumptively innocent. But, it seems, some victims advocates view such public humiliation of the presumptively innocent as appropriate punishment for being an accused rapist, the innocent be damned. For rape claims, the accusation becomes its own conviction in the court of public opinion because it is nearly impossible to undo even the most far-fetched accusation (that’s due to the he said/she said nature of the claim). The stigma trails men throughout their lives, especially in the Google era, where news stories have a permanence and and an accessibility they didn’t formerly have.

In addition, there is real-world evidence that anonymity is not the bogeyman that many women’s groups claim. Many accused rapists are already afforded anonymity, without adverse effects to rape victims. 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 in both the UK and the U.S. The identities of accused males who fall within these two classes are shielded because, as a matter of public policy, the benefits of shielding their identities are deemed to outweigh the detriments. There is no evidence — none whatsoever — that granting anonymity to these classes of defendants has in any manner hindered the war on rape. Thus, in a real world setting, every hypothetical disaster that would supposedly occur if anonymity were granted has been proven to be disingenuous.

More rape victims would “come forward” if the men they accused 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. We suspect that a fair number of women are not coming forward because they know their identities will become known when the identities of the men or boys they accuse are publicized.

Reasons for Ending Anonymity for Accusers

While the reasons to extend anonymity to the accused are clear, the reasons for allowing the accuser to remain anonymous are not. Prof. Alan Dershowitz once said:

People who have gone to the police and publicly invoked the criminal process and accused somebody of a serious crime such as rape must be identified. In this country there is no such thing and should not be such a thing as anonymous accusation. If your name is in court it is a logical extension that it should be printed in the media. How can you publish the name of the presumptively innocent accused but not the name of the accuser?
Feminist Naomi Wolf also thinks it is time to end anonymity for women:
Feminists have long argued that rape must be treated like any other crime. But in no other crime are accusers kept behind a wall of anonymity. Treating rape so differently serves only to maintain its mischaracterization as a 'different' kind of crime, loaded with cultural baggage and projections.

Finally, there is a profound moral issue at stake. Though children’s identities should, of course, be shielded in sex-crime allegations, women are not children. If one makes a serious criminal accusation, one must wish to be treated – and one must treat oneself – as a moral adult.
. . . .
It is wrong – and sexist – to treat female sex-crime accusers as if they were children, and it is wrong to try anyone, male or female, in the court of public opinion on the basis of anonymous accusations. Anonymity for rape accusers is long overdue for retirement.
See here.


Sex crimes need a statute of limitations

Alexander Baron is among the champions of the wrongly accused. His latest piece is about statute of limitations for sex crimes. He writes: ". . . any man - or any woman for that matter - could be facing an allegation that he touched a girl's breast or put his hand up her skirt thirty and more years ago and told: 'Prove you didn't'."

Read his entire article here:

Pope Benedict foments . . . rape culture? Seriously?

Ian Buruma, a professor of democracy, human rights and journalism at Bard College in New York, suggested that Pope Benedict's teachings contributed to the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old Indian woman on a Delhi bus one night in December. Buruma told CNA on Jan. 21 that Pope Benedict XVI’s “narrow views on proper human relationships reinforce the idea in other, more violent, men that women outside those traditional relationships are 'loose' and thus deserve what is coming to them.”

He argued that the Pope’s tacit criticism of same-sex unions in a Christmas address to the Roman Curia supports sexual aggression and rage by promoting fear of sexual liberty. While he acknowledged that the Pope’s speech – which was delivered after the violent attack took place – did not directly influence the rapists, Buruma said that “arguments such as the Pope’s reinforce sexual norms that incite men to violence.”

Buruma's epiphany is other-worldly, to put it charitably. No one -- no one -- is inspired to rape by Pope Benedict's teachings. If someone otherwise prone to rape were actually inspired by the Pope's teachings, that person would not rape. What Prof. Buruma ignores is that rape is the worst of the "sexual liberties" that the Pope condemns.

Pope Benedict is about as responsible for the gang rape in India as the ham sandwich I had for lunch yesterday.

The Church's position on same-sex marriage is an apt subject for civil public discourse, as is the Church's own mishandling of sexual assault by its clergy, provided such discourse is fair and factual. What is not  appropriate is to demonize the leader of a church with more than one billion members by positing vile, preposterous assertions designed to hurt the church simply because its teachings do not conincide with the speaker's agenda.

Buruma has forfeited any claim that his voice should be heard in the public square. The local village idiot likely would have greater insight about these matters than him.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

'When you hear only one student’s description of what happened to him or her, it’s easy to pass judgment. When you listen carefully to both students, the task often becomes more difficult.'

The public discourse about sexual violence is nowhere at an adult level. It is often childish and unjust, and sometimes immoral. The persons who dominate the public discourse on this issue need to stop suggesting, implying, and outright stating, that every allegation of sexual assault -- except those that are proven to be false -- must have been a sexual assault. It is a monstrous lie, and they know it.

Yet virtually every "study" that supposedly measures the prevalence of rape and false rape claims is premised on this fiction. Every untested, unchallenged, unverified allegation of sexual assault is taken as an actual sexual assault. That doesn't just strain credulity, it shatters it into a thousand pieces. It cavalierly dismisses the fact that the vast majority of rape claims fall into a gray area where nobody can say whether it was a rape, a false claim, or a mischaracterization of what occurred. (And, yes, it is grossly dishonest to take a sexual assault study and proclaim that it shows that "only 8 percent of rape claims are false" -- when the speaker damn well knows that his or her audience will wrongly assume this means the other 92 percent must have been actual rapes.) 

Or perhaps they actually believe the lie. It is very easy to assume a sexual assault must have occurred when the only voice you bother to listen to is the accuser's. That's the problem.

Winston Crisp, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UNC, responded to news that a complaint has been filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights challenging his school's response to allegations of sexual assault. His words resonate with this blog:

The complaints of sexual assault heard by the University’s Student Grievance Committee . . . almost always involve charges brought by one UNC student against another UNC student.

When you hear only one student’s description of what happened to him or her, it’s easy to pass judgment. When you listen carefully to both students, the task often becomes more difficult.

Talk with any student who has served on a hearings panel responsible for reaching a decision in one of these cases, and I think you will hear how gut-wrenching and agonizing the deliberations can be.

Of course, these matters are significantly more painful for the students directly involved, and we try to always be mindful of that fact while staying true to our legal and procedural requirements.

Amen, Mr. Crisp. "When you listen carefully to both students," the task becomes gut-wrenching. That's because there are usually two sides to the story. Yet, every study blithely and without apology accepts as true every assertion that a sexual assault occurred. There is nothing gut-wrenching about it to the people who do those studies: if she said she was sexually assaulted, then she was.
Assuming that the accuser must be telling the truth, and that the accused must be lying, is childish, unjust, and immoral. The purveyors of this lie wouldn't accept it about any other subject.

It's time to have an adult discussion about these issues. We can start by heeding the words of Winton Crisp and "listen carefully to both students."

National task force: all women of child-bearing years, not men, should be screened by their physicians for domestic violence, even if there is no evidence of abuse

Roughly one-third of women and one-quarter of men purportedly report experiencing some form of domestic violence, also referred to as inter-partner violence, during their lifetimes. A national task force recommends that women of child-bearing years -- but not men of any age or any other group -- should be screened for domestic violence by their physicians.

"Although abuse of men, abuse of middle-aged women and abuse and neglect of elderly and vulnerable (physically or mentally dysfunctional) adults can have equally devastating consequences as IPV among younger women, there is currently not enough evidence about how primary care clinicians can effectively screen and intervene," the task force said Monday. (It is not clear why men and the other groups could not be screened the same way young women are screened.)

Aside from physical abuse, domestic violence includes emotional abuse and economic deprivation.

The task force isn't clear about what should be done if abuse is identified. The response might mirror the child abuse laws:  in all states, clinicians who suspect abuse or neglect are required by law to file a report with child welfare offices.

If the task force's recommendation is accepted, this would be the new reality for young men: if your wife or girlfriend is of child-bearing years, on her annual visit to her physician for a routine check-up, regardless of whether there is any evidence whatsoever to suspect abuse, she will be questioned about whether you are a criminal. The way the questions are posed, the way she answers, and the the way her answers are interpreted could be important in determining whether you are reported to law enforcement authorities as a domestic abuser. It is unlikely that the law would allow a report of domestic abuse to be ignored or treated lightly; such a report likely would play a significant role in determining the state's action against you, which could include a protection from abuse order and even arrest. Once the recommendation is instituted as law, physicians will err on the side of reporting to keep themselves out of trouble for not reporting.

The logical follow-up is this: why protect only women who have annual physical check-ups? Women who don't routinely see their doctors are every bit as vulnerable to abuse by their male companions, probably more so. Why not just cut to the chase and institute annual police visits to every home where young men and women reside together?  Two police officers, a male and a female, could go door to door, unannounced. The male officer would restrain the young man in one room of the house while the female officer gently questions the woman in another room to ascertain if the male is abusive to her. 

I know what some of my progressive friends are thinking: my suggestion is absurd because the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause in order to protect privacy interests. Police aren't allowed to randomly wiretap homes to fish for evidence they can use against someone, so this door-to-door practice certainly wouldn't be permitted.

They are right. What on earth was I thinking? To skirt the "probable cause" requirement, the solution is the one the task force has recommended: instead of having the police do the questioning, we'll mandate that women's physicians fish for evidence to be used against husbands and boyfriends even if they don't suspect abuse. The physicians can pass along to the police anything they uncover that's juicy or that might help to get the male in trouble. Isn't that brilliant? This way, we can invade the privacy interests of young men all day long and not feel bad about it!

The state of the union for the community of the wrongly accused: not good

Monday, January 21, 2013

A priest sitting in jail may be the victim of a wrongful conviction

By Carl E. Olson, found here:

The conviction of Philadelphia's Msgr. William J. Lynn last June was historic and widely trumpeted by an overheated media, as Lynn became the first member of the Catholic hierarchy to be found guilty in a criminal court for endangering children.

And the sole reason Lynn sits in jail today is because former priest Edward Avery had pleaded guilty to sexually violating a 10-year-old boy in the late 1990s. Prosecutors claimed that Lynn should not have placed Avery into a ministry assignment because the priest had a prior abuse accusation dating back to the 1970s. Had Lynn kept Avery out of public ministry, prosecutors charged, he would not have been able to abuse the 10-year-old.

But in a truly shocking development, Avery took the witness stand today in a Philadelphia courtroom and recanted under oath his guilty plea.

This remarkable turn-around indicates that Msgr. Lynn may likely be sitting in jail based on a crime that never even happened!

The site reports:

Avery's admission potentially plunged three separate cases into turmoil: his own, the case against Engelhardt, and last year's conviction against Lynn.

After hearing about Avery's testimony, Lynn's lawyer said he plans within days to ask a Superior Court or Common Pleas Court to reconsider Lynn's case.

"If there's a question about (Avery's) guilt, then there's no way you convict Lynn, because Lynn was only convicted as a derivative of Avery," said the lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom.

Bergstrom said he could ask Lynn's trial judge, M. Teresa Sarmina, for a new trial based on the newly disclosed evidence, or he could ask a superior court judge to free Lynn on bail while the new evidence is investigated.

Bergstrom said he believes Avery told the truth today. "I think they forced him into this plea and they made a deal for him that he couldn't turn down," he said.

The site has many more details:

The rape that Avery pleaded guilty to supposedly happened in a storage closet at St. Jerome's parish after a 6:30 a.m. Mass back in 1999. But Avery said he almost never said Mass at St. Jerome's, because he was employed as the chaplain at Nazareth Hospital. He was at the hospital every day of the week, beginning at 3 a.m., and he stayed on the job until 8 p.m., Avery said.

This was his routine 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Avery testified. At Nazareth Hospital, Avery said Mass every day, and the service was televised, he testified.

McGovern asked Avery if he was friends with McGovern's client, Father Charles Engelhardt, on trial at the second archdiocese sex abuse trial for allegedly raping Billy Doe.

"We were acquaintances," Avery said.

A 2011 grand jury report said that after Father Engelhardt had sex with Billy in the sacristy at St. Jerome's, he told Father Engelhardt about it. According to that grand jury report, Father Engelhardt allegedly went to Billy and said he heard about his "session" with Father Engelhardt, and that Billy's session with Father Avery would soon begin. Then Avery raped the boy.

Did you ever discuss with my client having sex with Billy Doe, the defense lawyer asked.

No way, Avery said. The only thing he remembers discussing with Engelhardt was Pasta Night, which was every Wednesday at the St. Jerome rectory, where both Engelhardt and Avery lived at the time.

Why did you take the plea bargain, McGovern asked.

"To get a lesser sentence," Avery said. "Every motion that was made was turned down. The options were less and less. I didn't want to die in prison. That's why I took the plea."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New rape patrols at US Naval Academy makes male midshipmen feel they are being regarded as potential rapists

The U.S. Naval Academy has instituted a crackdown on its male midshipmen in response to the "Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies," released in December 2012. That report showed a spike in reported cases of sexual violence and assault at other service academies but, ironically, not the Naval Academy, which showed a drop in such reported offenses. The Naval Academy reacted to the news of the drop in reported sexual assault by instituting a policy that makes its male midshipmen feel they are regarded as potential rapists.

Specifically, the Academy has instituted rape patrols. According to a professor at the Naval Academy: "A Second Class midshipman (in civilian terms, a junior) patrols the halls of Bancroft Hall (the mandatory sleeps-all home to our 4,500 students) until after midnight to make sure nobody was being assaulted; a First Class (senior) then takes over until 6 a.m. This is ridiculous for many reasons."

"There are also suddenly mandatory musters in the middle of the night to ensure that students are really trying to sleep rather than do something else."

The professor says the reaction of the student body, male and female, hasn't been good:
Of course . . . the midshipmen are infuriated—as I know by talking to several groups of them in the days that followed the abrupt tightening of the screws. Many of the men feel that they are being told that they are potential rapists; some of the women are groaning at the suggestion that they are, or should be, afraid of their male friends and classmates. "What's the problem?" one woman asked. "I don't feel afraid, and I don't know anybody who is."
The professor thinks the first step to overcoming the atmosphere of repression at the Naval Academy is to end the ban on even consensual sex. "We can't talk with the students to help them negotiate the line between permissible and impermissible sexual acts, simply because for us all are impermissible."

The "all-men-are-potential rapists" shtick has gotten old.  It is a meme that is neither effective policy for nabbing rapists, nor is it by any measure just. And, no, this attitude need not be verbalized to be communicated -- roaming the halls looking for rapists tells the young men at the Academy how their school feels about them. This rape patrol policy not only is bizarre, but as a taxpayer, I find it repugnant that the Naval Academy demonizes and reduces to caricature so many outstanding young men who would never rape anyone but who just want to serve our country.  These young men should not be made to feel that their school looks upon them as potential rapists.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Newspaper writer takes it as a given that a campus sexual assault occurred on the basis of an accusation

Katie Rogers, writing in The Guardian, takes issue with Notre Dame's support of star linebacker Manti Te'o, who claims he cultivated an online relationship with Lennay Kekua, a beautiful, smart woman who died from cancer – and who never really existed. Notre Dame is characterizing Manti Te'o as a victim of an on-line hoax, but the public consensus seems to be that his story is so far-fetched, he made up the girlfriend out of wholecloth just to garner public favor.

Ms. Rogers appropriately wonders why Notre Dame is supporting this story but a couple of years ago, dragged its feet to even investigate Lizzy Seeberg's claim of sexual assault at the hands of a Notre Dame athlete.

Some background: Seeberg, a St. Mary's college student, committed suicide nine days after reporting to Notre Dame police that a Notre Dame football player had touched her breasts. St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak decided not to file criminal charges in the matter due to conflicting witness statements and cell phone records that were inconsistent with Seeberg's allegations. We wrote about this case extensively here:

Katie Rogers makes a valid point about Notre Dame's peculiar support of Manti Te'o's story, but then she undermines her position by off-handedly taking it as a given that Lizzy Seeberg was, in fact, the victim of an assault: "In the stressful aftermath of the assault . . . Seeberg took an overdosed of depression and anxiety medication and died eight days later."

Note that when Rogers talks about Manti Te'o's story, she correctly says maybe it happened but maybe it didn't: "Maybe Te'o really was duped, or maybe he had a hand in perpetrating the Kekua myth."

But when it comes to Lizzy Seeberg's story, Rogers declares it an assault. 

Sorry, Ms. Rogers, but a disputed allegation by a witness who shortly thereafter killed herself, whose story was in part contradicted by cell phone records, and who can't be cross-examined by the presumptively innocent young man she accused, scarcely qualifies as a proven assault. It is certainly possible that Ms. Seeberg was assaulted -- no one should accuse her of making it up. But by the same token, no one should embrace it as a given that an assault occurred. The assumption that every campus sex accusation must be true, sadly common among writers like Ms. Rogers, does a grave disservice to all presumptively innocent college men. Have we learned nothing from Duke Lacrosse, Hofstra, Brian Banks and all the rest?

It isn't just Notre Dame that is guilty of a double standard. So is Katie Rogers.

Second-time false accuser puts innocent man on trial for rape, cracks and tells the truth on cross-examination

Here's a case out of Trinidad, but it's chilling. A woman who is not being named by the press admitted in court that she had falsely accused a man of rape to protect her boyfriend. 

The victim of the lie -- we will not name him -- was on trial for allegedly raping the woman when she was 13-years-old back in 2005. As a result of her testimony, Justice Carla Browne-Antoine, directed the jury of nine men to return a not-guilty verdict in favor of the wrongly accused man.

The accuser testified that on the day of the alleged rape, she left her family's house and met the man she falsely accused and another man she identified by name. She testified that the man took her to a house and that she spent the night there. She testified that when she returned to the house four days later, the man held her down while she was assaulted by the falsely accused man.

However, under cross-examination by defence attorney Kevin Ratiram yesterday, the woman admitted that the other man was her boyfriend, and that they had sexual intercourse.

Wait. There's more. The woman also admitted to making a false report to police last year that she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted in a separate incident, which resulted in her being charged, and pleading guilty to wasteful employment of police time.

The wrongly accused man  told the court he would be going to church to give thanks.

'For those quick to judge, I ask how you would feel if you were forced to face such an accusation?'

Gaza Singer Denies Rape Allegation

Gaza and their frontman Jon Parkin have publicly denied a rape allegation against the singer which was posted online this week. They issued the following:

"We have worked hard to establish a good reputation for almost ten years now and we're not about to let an errant accusation unravel that. For those quick to judge, I ask how you would feel if you were forced to face such an accusation? There is no perfect way to handle this, but we're going to take every measure to preserve the most important thing we've created in that time; our reputation. We take this very seriously. The last sentence in Jon's statement is one that cannot be stressed enough."

Parkin had this to say, "Let me first say that this rape allegation is entirely untrue. Throwing this sort of accusation up on the internet is reckless and completely slanderous. Two of my very close friends have been raped and it was devastating to watch them go through the recovery process, one of which I spent a summer helping through counseling. I went with her to the clinic to get her AIDS test results. Rape infuriates me, and I never see red like I do when I hear about it. This is not a subject or an accusation I take lightly. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I could never and would never force myself on anybody.

"I'm sorry that you all have to be part of this drama, but this has to be addressed. This mess in no way has anything to do with the band and I'm sorry for the other members as this is a black mark on us that is undeserved and untrue.

"Women's rights and all forms of social justice are causes we champion. I would encourage this person as well as any other who feel they have been assaulted to go immediately to the police."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Laugh line from inspirational film -- see if you think it's funny

From the film The Blind Side, a line spoken near the end of the film by Leigh Anne Tuohy(played by star Sandra Bullock), to the young black man she and her husband adopted as he is heading off to college:

Leigh Anne Touhy: Michael, I want you to have a good time but if you get a girl pregnant out of wedlock, I will crawl into the car, drive up to Oxford and cut off your penis.
Because there's nothing funnier than penile mutilation!

Woman jailed for crying rape to cover up cheating on her husband: an example of what can happen even when a false accuser doesn't name a specific male

There is a dangerous meme circulating in some circles that most women who falsely cry "rape" cause no harm because they don't target a specific male. We have provided innumerable examples of what can happen even when a false rape accusation doesn't name a specific male. Once unleashed, a rape lie takes on a life of its own, and, short of recanting, the liar often has great difficulty controlling it. These sorts of lies often end up harming the innocent.

Here is another, terrible case that gives credence to this view. The false accuser, Gaynor Cooke, 41, claimed she had been subjected to a horrific ordeal in the front seat of a taxi cab in 2003. She reported the incident to police at the time. She was also swabbed for DNA evidence. In an 18-page statement, she said the rape had made her depressed and suicidal.

Cooke's report was a lie to cover up her consensual tryst from her husband.

It took the police eight years but they finally got their man: they found a DNA match after the hapless, innocent taxi driver was arrested for an unrelated incident. The taxi driver was charged and was due to face trial. He was suspended from his job.

What did Cooke do? She threw her former lover under the bus, so to speak. She said she was "pleased" a suspect had been identified and that she could finally could have "justice."  The poor driver denied the charge, claiming that he had only had consensual sex with women in his home when he was a single man in 2003.

Cooke kept up her lie when she was visited by a policewoman, saying she intended to proceed with her complaint and had nothing to add to her original statements.

But the lie was eventually exposed when police went to speak to Cooke about the case and a couple in the St Ann's area of Nottingham told them the rape had been a lie to cover up her cheating on her husband.

When police told Cooke about the couple's allegation, she admitted "you have got me." She confessed that she had a one-night stand with the cab driver and made the false allegation when she realized her husband was angry when she returned home.

What might have happened if that couple hadn't tipped off the police?

After the lie was exposed, the taxi driver was "completely exonerated" and instead Cooke was charged with perverting the course of justice between October 25, 2003, and January 20, 2012. She wiped away tears as Recorder Shaun Smith QC sent her to prison for two years after she admitted the offence.He read to her extracts from statements she had given about her "ordeal." In these she had claimed: "Since I was raped in 2003, I feel my life has been changed for ever. I'm depressed after what happened to me and often feel suicidal."

The judge told her: "It's a complete pack of lies. It may only have been for a short period of time, but you have destroyed an innocent life."

The court heard the taxi driver had been suspended from work as a result of the charge. The stress of the court proceedings had taken a toll on his health and he had been unable to return to work. "It was a humiliating experience for him," said Prosector Grace Hale.