Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Atrocity: Man wrongfully convicted of rape released because prosecution withheld evidence casting significant doubt on accuser's credibility; then, police wrongfully arrest him again in sex offender sweep

This is a bona fide horror story, an egregious case of injustice that few people have heard about. While media pundits are obsessed with finding wrongdoing when inebriated college kids willingly participate in  drunken sex acts, people like Carl Chatman are enduring a hell few of us can even imagine.

In 2004, Carl Chatman was convicted of raping a woman and was sentenced to serve a 30-year prison sentence. After hearing how Chatman still supposedly haunted his putative victim's dreams, a Cook County judge sentenced him to the maximum sentence and said, "What you took, she will never recover." The judge said he believed the "depravity" of the attack showed Chatman needs to be removed from society for a long time. His victim showed courage when she testified about what happened and when she addressed the court Thursday, he said. In a victim-impact statement, the woman told the court Thursday that the incident has profoundly damaged her life. "My feelings are consumed with fear, anger, humiliation, shame, sadness and grief." She said she feels "dirty and disgusting" and is fearful of even routine activity. The attack, after all, happened in a courthouse filled with armed deputies. "My screams were not heard, and the security measures failed," she said.

But that's not the end of the story. The National Registry of Exonerations explains that in 2011, a post-conviction motion for a new trial was filed on Chatman's behalf that cast considerable doubt on the woman's credibility:
The motion claimed that the prosecution had failed to disclose, and Chatman’s defense attorney had failed to discover, that in 1979 the victim had made a similar report of being raped in an office building. She claimed that early in the morning, before other office workers arrived, she was raped by an English-speaking maintenance worker. The suspect she identified was a Polish immigrant who spoke no English and who fled back to Poland before he could be arrested. The woman later sued the building management and settled for an undisclosed, but substantial, sum. 
The motion alleged that at the time the woman accused Chatman of raping her, she was being audited by the Internal Revenue Service and owed more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes due to gambling debts and fraudulent business practices. Within days of the alleged rape by Chatman, the woman had sued the County and later settled the lawsuit for more than $400,000. 
The motion also said that new evidence had been discovered that . . . two witnesses reported that . . . detectives coached Chatman and fed him details about how he had committed the rape. The building manager had filed a report at the time—never disclosed to the defense—that the officers had fed the confession to Chatman and that Chatman was “pretty incoherent.”
Chatman’s new defense lawyers discovered that a half hour before Chatman confessed, a detective had called the state police crime lab and was told the victim’s skirt was burgundy and that she was wearing thigh-high stockings—both details that Chatman was said to have spontaneously volunteered during his confession. 
The motion also alleged that Chatman’s trial attorney had failed to request a mental competency examination prior to his trial. Chatman, the motion said, had been diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1981, more than two decades prior to the alleged attack, and been repeatedly hospitalized. 
Chatman’s lawyers also discovered that police had failed to interview a sheriff’s deputy who said he was sleeping in the courtroom adjacent to the courtroom where the victim said she was attacked. When the deputy was interviewed years later, he said he heard nothing, despite the victim’s claim that she repeatedly screamed for help. 
After the motion was filed, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit re-investigated the case and concluded that Chatman was wrongfully convicted. On September 10, 2013, at the prosecution’s request, Chatman’s conviction was vacated, the charge was dismissed and he was released.
But Chatman's nightmare wasn't over. One Sunday morning earlier this month, Chatman and his sister, Theresa, were getting ready for church when police officers knocked on her door a little before 8 a.m. They were doing a sex offender sweep, and they told Theresa they were looking for Carl Chatman. Theresa said they busted past her and walked through the home to the kitchen. Carl Chatman was drinking his coffee when police handcuffed him, ignoring Theresa's explanation that her brother's conviction had been vacated and that she had the paperwork to prove it. They arrested him anyway. So much for believing the victim.

Carl was released later that morning and authorities blamed a clerical error.

Theresa said, "We didn't think that every time we turned around and opened our door, there were going to be police there. I mean, come on, when is it going to be over?"

When, indeed, Theresa.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

COTWA sides with the feminists on this one

We side with the feminists on this issue. People should be free to support alleged rape victims so long as they don't harass or defame the accused or his family and friends.

We would expect our feminist friends to echo the same sentiment when men accused of rape are publicly supported. Friends and supporters of the presumptively innocent should not be ridiculed and shamed as occurred here.

Ohio University should drop its investigation into the sex act between consenting students caught on video

A grand jury has determined that it will not file charges against a 20-year-old male student who engaged in a public sex act with a 20-year-old female student that was caught on videotape near Ohio University.

The district attorney has revealed information about the case that makes clear it is grossly unjust to say that a sexual assault occurred.

In reaching its determination, the grand jury used the same standard of evidence that the Department of Education mandates American colleges must use in their own internal disciplinary proceedings involving claims of sexual assault (probable cause -- the same as the preponderance of evidence standard used at colleges).

The prosecutor, Keller Blackburn, stated that the main issue the grand jury faced was whether the man knew the woman had no ability to consent. “A reasonable person would think that she was not intoxicated beyond the ability to consent,” Blackburn said. (This standard mirrors the one the university uses: OU's sexual misconduct policy states that consent cannot be obtained from someone who is "asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs or some other condition.")

Investigators determined that the couple, both 20-year-old students, had alcohol from a bar before the sex act, the prosecutor said yesterday. The prosecutor said the man asked the woman whether to stop the act when a crowd formed, and she said no. (That is exactly what we tell young men they are supposed to do: ask. He asked, and she verbally manifested her assent.) The prosecutor also said that the young man has cooperated with police, and the woman didn’t remember what happened. Testing showed no sign of any “date rape drug.”

The prosecutor also revealed the following: “Being able to walk down the hallway carrying her own burrito and into the apartment, she was able and not being escorted,” Blackburn said. “It didn’t appear to us or the grand jury that she was not able to give consent.” The couple can be seen on video voluntarily entering the man’s apartment. They arrived just after 3:30 a.m. and left at 6:30 a.m. The man then walked the woman home and provided her with his cell phone number.

The prosecutor also revealed that the man was attacked after the incident by a male bystander -- but not because of any belief that the woman had been raped. “The assault on him came from a citizen who appeared to be disgusted by that type of activity taking place in public, not because he was concerned about the safety of the female,” Blackburn said.

We don't have the benefit of the testimony to the grand jury, but in an email to Business Insider, a student who witnessed the public sex act and posted a photo of it on Twitter offered his perspective on why bystanders didn't intervene: "[It] did not seem like a rape or sexual assault, as the female was coherent enough to walk and talk. She was not passed out." A source cited by Gawker said that "the video shows both parties actively participating, and they both acknowledge that they are being filmed and observed." Another said "that the photo’s subjects ‘posed for pictures with each other and with several bystanders after they were finished.’”

Nevertheless, despite all of this, Ohio University is still thinking of punishing the young man.

“We have an internal process that we’re following and this kind of information — well much of this — may make it into our investigation,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi. President Roderick McDavis has previously said that the school would conduct its own investigation into the public sex act.

Ohio University should defer to the more capable law enforcement authorities who have reviewed the evidence, and the school should drop its investigation now. American universities are notoriously ill-equipped and untrained to mete out justice in sexual assault cases.

Prof. Mark A Godsey of the Innocence Project and the Wrongful Convictions Blog (we link to it on the left side of this page -- it is the greatest resource for the wrongly accused) has said that "the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases." The subject of rape is politicized on American college campuses to the point that public outcries are becoming more and more common.

We hope that that Ohio University does not succumb to the public outcry swirling around this event, but the sex act is being talked about at OU, and around the nation, as if it were an actual sexual assault or something close, and that sort of atmosphere only enhances the prospect of injustice.

The school didn't wait for the district attorney to reach its conclusions before it held an event last Thursday titled “Campus Conversation: Sexual Assault, Consent, and Bystander Intervention” that top university administrators and students concerned with “sexual assault, consent, bystander intervention, victim blaming/slut shaming, university policy and community outreach.”

Moreover, the school's president issued a statement that branded the event an "unfortunate incident" and stated: "When we conclude our investigation, we will take appropriate action to hold those involved accountable, in keeping with Ohio University’s policies and Code of Conduct." Note the president did not say the school "would take appropriate action to hold those involved accountable if the evidence warrants it."

Moreover, numerous faculty signed a letter last week saying they were "deeply concerned about recent events involving alleged sexual assault, alcohol and social media on our campus and in our community." They said that "long-term solutions" were needed. "Don’t be a passive bystander: If you see something that’s not right, intervene directly if it’s safe to do so, or contact someone who can intervene safely." The implication seems clear: in the incident at issue, bystanders should have intervened to stop something improper. The faculty, at least, seems to have made up its mind (despite its use of the word "alleged") that something bad happened to the young woman.

Another letter appeared in the student newspaper that said "the news of a very public sexual assault that occurred last weekend has troubled me a great deal."

We fear that Ohio University is being being subjected to the sort of public outcry that breeds injustice. All persons of good will need to encourage the university to defer to the professionals who investigated the incident, and drop its investigation.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Grand jury finds no probable cause of a crime in Athens: the usual suspects are trying to change the word "incapacitated" the way they changed "consent"

Athens County's prosecutor said this afternoon that he won't file charges against the man accused of raping a student on the street during Ohio University's homecoming festivities. Neither the male accused of rape nor the 20-year-old female student who accused him have any memory of the incident, the Columbus Dispatch's Alex Felser reports. A grand jury did not find probable cause of a crime.

The 20-year-old female student came forward the next day to file a rape complaint after she saw a video on Instagram.

The police report notes that alcohol was involved in the incident. The woman did not know the man performing the sex act on her, according to the police report, but witnesses said the two appeared to be a couple.

In an email to Business Insider, a student who witnessed the public sex act and posted a photo of it on Twitter offered his perspective on why bystanders didn't intervene: "[It] did not seem like a rape or sexual assault, as the female was coherent enough to walk and talk. She was not passed out." A source cited by Gawker said that "the video shows both parties actively participating, and they both acknowledge that they are being filmed and observed." Another said "that the photo’s subjects ‘posed for pictures with each other and with several bystanders after they were finished.’”

OU's sexual misconduct policy states that consent cannot be obtained from someone who is "asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs or some other condition."

But, of course, the usual pundits know better than bystanders, the district attorney, and the grand jury. Caitlin Flanagan deigned to tell her readers "what was up: The young woman was out of her gourd on booze, and the young man was taking advantage of her drunkenness to assault her." This despite all her outward manifestations of being able to walk and talk and actively participate in the sex act and pose for pictures with onlookers. Why let the facts get in the way of a good male-bashing narrative?

This is the new battleground: for years the usual suspects narrowed the definition of consent so that it is barely recognizable to attorneys. Now they are trying to do the same with the word "incapacitated."

Writer Caitlin Flanagan has a problem with men

Despite the absence of evidence that a young man committed a sexual assault on a young woman in the infamous Ohio University sex act caught on video, the young man allegedly was beaten up by other men who were at the scene when the act occurred.

And now a writer by the name of Caitlin Flanagan has decreed that this presumptively innocent young man "got what was coming to him: By committing his act in public, he exposed himself to the swift judgment of men, and his ass-kicking probably won’t be the half of his problems."

Caitlin Flanagan's zeal for vigilante justice to protect a woman's honor springs from the same sort of impulse present at the hanging trees in the Old South. Ms. Flanagan would do well to study some of the recent cases where presumptively innocent young men men who were accused of rape -- falsely, as it turned out -- were subjected to such "justice." Please, Ms. Flanagan, try and tell us that these victims "got what was coming to" them.

We remind readers that Athens, Ohio Police Chief Tom Pyle said the video could "suggest other things" aside from sexual assault. A source cited by Gawker said that "the video shows both parties actively participating, and they both acknowledge that they are being filmed and observed." Another said "that the photo’s subjects ‘posed for pictures with each other and with several bystanders after they were finished.’”

Caitlin Flanagan is the same writer who wants to shutter all frat houses for the protection of women. Flanagan reminisced about her college days and, in words dripping with misandry, recalled seeing the fraternity houses for the first time: "They are built of the same Jeffersonian architecture as the rest of the campus. At once august and moldering, they seemed sinister, to stand for male power at its most malevolent and institutionally condoned." Flanagan's piece is not an op-ed. It's pathology in news ink.

It is well to note that Flanagan doesn't just take issue with men she thinks are rapists. Flanagan is the woman who wrung her hands when Karen Owen published her infamous "f*ck list." You see, Flanagan had a bona fide conniption because Ms. Owen seemed to genuinely enjoy rough sex with men and seemed eager to please them. As much as Flanagan flogged Owen for being anti-new woman, she saved the real vitriol for the "white" male athletes (she made sure to tell us they were white) who engaged in the consensual acts with Ms. Owen. Based on nothing more than Owen’s descriptions of her various sexual hook-ups, Flanagan branded the athletes as "louts” who were “eager[ ] to whip out their genitals on almost any occasion,” and who “offer[ed] any parent ample reason to think twice before sending a beloved child to Duke.” The fact that Owen seemed to have had at least as good a time as the guys, and that bedding them was her free choice without even a hint of assault, is beside the point.

Flanagan seems put off -- as are we -- by a campus culture that strips human intimacy from the most intimate of human encounters and that celebrates drunken barnyard rutting in the so-called hook-up culture. The problem is that Flanagan assumes when a man and a woman freely choose to immerse themselves in this depraved culture, only one is a victim, and only one is deserving of an "ass-kicking," and it's strictly along gender lines.

Sounds like Caitlin Flanagan has a problem with men.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Young mother jailed for making two false rape claims within hours after getting drunk and sleeping with friend's partner

Story reported here.

A young mother has been jailed after she made two different false reports of rape within hours after drunkenly sleeping with her friend's partner.

The man only proved his innocence because he filmed the sexual encounter on his mobile phone and the footage showed she was a willing and active participant.

Ashleigh Loder, 25, wasted at least 100 hours of police time and subjected the man, who has not been named, to police questioning after inventing the two attacks in Bideford, North Devon.

She first contacted police - drunk on vodka - saying she had been dragged to the ground and raped in an alleyway by two strangers.

But when forensic tests seemed to disprove the story, she fabricated a new one - accusing a man of date raping her at home.

A friend of the man's partner, Loder admitted she fabricated a story fearing the consequences of sleeping with him.

She spread her claims about him around Bideford and he was forced to stay inside, becoming a recluse for two weeks to avoid reprisals, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Loder, of Bideford, admitted perverting the course of justice and was jailed for six months by Judge Phillip Wassall.

He told her: 'The man was branded a rapist locally and it caused him considerable distress and suffered threats within the local area and lost time off work.

'One can only imagine what it is like to be accused of a very serious crime which could carry a sentence of around six years.

'There are some offences so serious that the court has no option other than immediate custody.

'There must be a clear message to anyone who invents a serious allegation, particularly one such as this which carries such a stigma.'

Jonathan Barnes, prosecuting, said Loder called the police on the night of December 1 last year and initially claimed to have been raped in an alley near her home as she left for a night out.

But after changing her account of events, her friend's partner was forced to take time off work for police questioning.
He proved his innocence with images of their affair and a text Loder had sent him claiming to have been raped in an alley.

Mr Barnes said: 'The allegations had a considerable effect on him. They were bandied about the area and he had to live like a recluse for two weeks. He lost two stone of weight through the stress and had problems sleeping.'

Greg Richardson, defending, said: 'Her life was a complete dream and she convinced herself she had been raped. Who knows what was going on in her mind but she believed something within her had said no.

'She says the situation she got into was rock bottom. She wishes to apologise sincerely to the man.'

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"The Rape 'Epidemic' Doesn't Actually Exist"

Reprinted from here:

A group of 100 protesters – including many topless women – recently marched the streets of Athens, Ohio chanting, "Blame the system, not the victim" and "Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape." Organized by an Ohio University student organization called "f*ckrapeculture," the protest was designed to bring attention to what the founders believe is a toxic culture of sexism and sexual violence infecting their campus.

F*ckrapeculture cofounder Claire Chadwick explained to the campus newspaper, "The name of our organization and the statements that we've made are loud. But it's because we need to be heard." But saying something loudly does not make it true or just.

Chadwick and the members of f*ckrapeculture aren't the only student sexual violence activists that are demanding attention. Since last spring, an expansive network of student activists has emerged to fight "rape culture" and change the way universities respond to cases of sexual misconduct. However, as universities reexamine their sexual assault policies, administrators should be wary of the demands of these "rape culture" activists. Not only is their movement built on a foundation of dubious statistics and a distorted view of masculinity, but it has already led to policies that have proved devastating to those who have been falsely accused.

Activists claim that reform is urgent because one in five women will be raped during her time at college. I have yet to see an article lamenting the campus rape culture that does not contain some iteration of this alarming statistic.

But is it accurate? Statistics surrounding sexual assault are notoriously unreliable and inconsistent, primarily because of vague and expansive definitions of what qualifies as sexual assault. Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute explains that the study often cited as the origin of the "one in five" factoid is an online survey conducted under a grant from the Justice Department. Surveyors employed such a broad definition that "'forced kissing" and even "attempted forced kissing" qualified as sexual assault.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics' "Violent Victimization of College Students" report tells a different and more plausible story about campus culture. During the years surveyed, 1995-2002, the DOJ found that there were six rapes or sexual assaults per thousand per year. Across the nation's four million female college students, that comes to about one victim in forty students. Other DOJ statistics show that the overall rape rate is in sharp decline: since 1995, the estimated rate of female rape or sexual assault victimizations has decreased by about 60 percent.

Of course, there are still far too many college women who are victims of sexual assault. But there's little evidence to support the claim that campus rape is an "epidemic," as Yale student activist Alexandra Brodsky recently wrote in the Guardian.

Bolstered by inflated statistics and alarmist depictions of campus culture, advocates have been successful in initiating policy changes designed to better protect victims of sexual violence. Duke, Swarthmore, Amherst, Emerson and the University of North Carolina are among the many institutions that have recently reviewed and revised their policies. It is not clear that these policies have made campuses safer places for women, but they have certainly made them treacherous places for falsely accused men.

In January 2010, University of North Dakota student Caleb Warner was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student. A UND tribunal determined that Warner was guilty of misconduct, and he was swiftly suspended from school and banned from setting foot on campus for three years. Yet the police – presented with the same evidence – were so unconvinced of Warner's guilt that they refused to bring criminal charges against him. Instead, they charged his accuser with filing a false report and issued a warrant for her arrest. Warner's accuser fled town and failed to appear to answer the charges.

Despite these developments, the university repeatedly rejected Warner's requests for a rehearing. Finally, a year and a half later, UND reexamined Warner's case and determined that their finding of guilt was "not substantiated" – but only after the civil liberties group FIRE intervened and launched a national campaign on Warner's behalf.

Unfortunately, Warner is not alone in his grievances. Across the country, students accused of sexual assault are regularly tried before inadequate and unjust campus judiciaries. At most schools, cases of sexual misconduct are decided by a committee of as few as three students, faculty members or administrators. At Swarthmore College, volunteers are now being solicited via email to serve on the Sexual Assault and Harassment Hearing Panel. Such a panel is far more likely to yield gender violence activists than impartial fact finders. In a court of law, we rely on procedural safeguards to ensure unbiased jury selection and due process. But on the college campus, these safeguards have vanished.

What's more, campus judiciaries operate under a dangerously low standard of proof for sexual assault cases, thanks to federal mandates. Since April 2011, the Department of Education has required institutions to consider cases of sexual misconduct under a "preponderance of evidence" standard (rather than a higher "clear and convincing" standard, which was commonly used prior to the new guidelines). This means that if a majority of committee members believe it is just slightly more likely than not that a sexual assault occurred, they must side with the accuser.

Sexual assault is a horrific offense, and institutions must do all they can to protect victims. It is admirable that activists like Chadwick are trying to fight it. However, a false accusation of rape can also have devastating, life-altering consequences. Universities have an obligation to protect the rights of all students – both victims of sexual assault and the accused. They must stop responding to questionable statistics and abstract claims about a rape culture and instead focus on ensuring basic fairness for all students.

Meanwhile, advocates for due process, rules of evidence, basic justice and true gender equality need to speak louder than the "f*ckrapeculture" alarmists.

Caroline Kitchens is a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Words of wisdom, from Dr. Seuss

In 1977, Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was awarded an honorary degree by Lake Forest College. The great man proceeded to deliver what has to be among the shortest -- and best -- commencement addresses ever delivered on an American college campus. It was greeted by a standing ovation, and it's words still resonate.

"My Uncle Terwilliger on the Art of Eating Popovers"

My uncle ordered popovers

from the restaurant's bill of fare.

And, when they were served,

he regarded them

with a penetrating stare.

Then he spoke great words of wisdom

as he sat there on that chair:

"To eat these things,"

said my uncle,

"you must exercise great care.

You may swallow down what's solid


you must spit out the air!"

And as you partake of the world's bill of fare,

that's darned good advice to follow.

Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.

And be careful what you swallow.

Sociologist: Westerners are now encouraged to see a rape culture 'that doesn’t exist'

“I’m concerned that when people say ‘You’re blaming the victim’ that what they’re doing is silencing a necessary discussion about what is rape and whether it is as prevalent as we now think it is,” said Tiffany Jenkins, a sociologist and cultural commentator in the United Kingdom. 
She goes so far as to say Westerners are now encouraged to see a rape culture “that doesn’t exist” — one in which men are inherently sexually violent and women must always stand on guard.
Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

We thought this was interesting

It was written by a Redditor named Celda. It was carefully researched and was written in a way intended to be fair and balanced:

COTWA was wrong about the Ohio University video sex act

We try to speak for the wrongly accused at this site, and an important part of that mission is to insist that rushing to judgment and assuming the guilt of the presumptively innocent without sufficient evidence is wrong by any measure. We are stranded in an era where, especially when it comes to alleged sex offenses, it is common to assume guilt based solely on an accusation. Women's rights activists preach that people should "always" believe the putative victim (they always leave out the word "putative"). To us, this is both misguided advocacy and a reprehensible affront to the rights and dignity of the presumptively innocent. Instead, the goal should be to be fair to both the accuser and the accused, and to treat both with dignity, without assuming either one is lying or is a criminal.

We stand guilty of the very thing we preach against. We have let down a presumptively innocent young man who is accused of sexual assault in connection with a public sex act caught on video near Ohio University's Athens campus. The woman involved in the sex act said the video actually shows she was raped. We acted too quickly and improperly relied on sources we thought were reliable and assumed it was a sexual assault.

We have had an opportunity to look into the matter with the care we should have exercised before we posted about it, and we simply cannot say that the video depicts a sexual assault.  We should not have assumed it does. Among many other things, Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle said: "You could view that picture and certainly suggest that a sexual assault took place. You could also suggest other things." According to Gawker, a reliable source said, "the video shows both parties actively participating, and they both acknowledge that they are being filmed and observed." And: “Another source told the site that the photo’s subjects ‘posed for pictures with each other and with several bystanders after they were finished.’” Investigators urged people not to do the very thing COTWA did:  rush to judgement.

It is one thing for women's rights advocates to let  this young man down. They have an agenda, and their musings on these issues are notoriously biased and often wrong. It is quite another thing for COTWA to get it wrong.

And make no mistake, we were very wrong to assume it. We owe the young man, his family, his friends, and the community of the wrongly accused, a sincere apology. The offending post has been removed. We are questioning our own judgment in having posted it, and we will strive to be more careful. If we can't do better than that, we need to think about retiring the blog.

Without a staff, and without editorial controls, we make mistakes more often than we'd care to admit. We have received notes from readers who pointed out our error, and we thank them.

Our apology can't make things right. We hope our actions can.

UConn strikes back on charges that it doesn't protect women from sexual assault

The University of Connecticut is under siege by claims of seven current and former female students that the school supposedly failed to protect them from rape and sexual assault.

In each of the seven cases, only the women's versions of the alleged acts are being publicly aired. No enterprising journalist seems to care enough about the facts to unearth the accused's side of the story. This is typical of the way these public outcries are handled by the news media.

The school's president, Susan Herbst, addressed the university’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday, detailing UConn's plan of action to curb sexual violence and saying the women’s claims that UConn was dismissive of the women’s sexual assault reports was “astonishingly misguided and demonstrably untrue.”

Another example of why caution needs to be exercised in assuming guilt in 'he said-she said' college rape claims

CEDAR FALLS | Authorities at the University of Northern Iowa said an alleged sexual assault reported at the ROTH dorm in September never happened.

Officers with UNI’s police department began their investigation after a female student told them she had been attacked by two men in her room around 2:30 a.m. Sept. 15.

On Tuesday, UNI police arrested the woman, Elizabeth Kathryn Richmann, 21, for making a false report to law enforcement. She was later released from jail.

The charge is a misdemeanor.

According to court records, in September Richmann told officers that two men followed her into her room, robbed her and sexually assaulted her. UNI put out a campus-wide alert with a description of the suspects.

Investigators were able to identify the men suspected in the incident, and they told officers there had been consensual sexual activity, court records state. Richmann later gave a statement admitting the sex was consensual, records state.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

'False rape' label should not be thrown around carelessly

Just as a cry of "rape" should only be made when rape occurs, women should not be branded false rape accusers unless they are false rape accusers.

Some internet users have branded an Ohio University journalism student named Rachel Cassidy as a false rape accuser in connection with the alleged sexual assault on a sidewalk during Ohio University’s homecoming. Viewers were outraged when they saw a video of the alleged rape, because they say it didn’t look like the sexual assault, contrary to the assertions of Ohio law enforcement.

The only problem is, Ohio University has said that Rachel Cassidy is not involved with the alleged sexual assault in any way. Cassidy has been subject to abusive comments online and was forced to delete her social media presence. She also had her email removed from the school’s directory and is currently taking time off from classes.

Raising awareness of the plight of the wrongly accused is a noble and worthy impulse, but with advocacy comes responsibility. We preach at this site that it is wholly improper to fight injustice with injustice. It can't work just one way.

Some who are reporting on the injustice to Ms. Cassidy are blithely ignorant to the plight of the countless men whose lives are destroyed by false rape allegations. COTWA speaks for the latter, and we also decry the injustice to Ms. Cassidy, because it has to work both ways.

Woman jailed for 14 months for false rape claim after showing no remorse

News report found here.

A WOMAN who cheated on her boyfriend and then cried rape after having sex with a man she met in a pub, was jailed for 14 months at Tain Sheriff Court today.

Sentencing Charlene Seel, Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist said she used the man for sex then stigmatised him when she falsely accused him of raping her.

Seel (22) of Kirkside, Alness, had earlier pleaded guilty to falsely claiming to have been raped by the man on November 26 or 27, in 2011, at an address in Invergordon.

But in court Sheriff Gilchrist said the social work reports caused him concern because although Seel had pleaded guilty, what was contained in the reports amounted to a plea of not guilty and she had shown no remorse.

Seel’s solicitor Alison Foggo said the Sheriff must ignore the terms of the report.

Depute fiscal Roderick Urquhart told Sheriff Gilchrist that Seel had been in licensed premises in Invergordon with a friend when she met the man.

“She told her friend she fancied him. Later on she kissed him.”

She left with the man and returned some time later and Seel said to her friend: “I’ve done it”.

“At that point she didn’t appear in distress but said she had cheated on her boyfriend and her life would be over if he found out.”

The fiscal said Seel tried to persuade the man concerned to say that it was some other woman he had slept with.

About 3.30am in the morning the police received a report of a complaint of rape and attended at Seel’s home. She made the allegations at her home and at the Northern Constabulary Victim Support Suite in Inverness.

Mr Urquhart said the man involved in the allegations cooperated with police and gave a full account of consensual sexual intercourse having taken place which was in accordance with the account given by Seel’s own friends.

Sheriff Gilchrist asked if the man had ever been charged with rape.

The fiscal said there was no record of him ever being charged.

“But the mere fact it was being investigated means there would be people unwilling to give him employment,” the fiscal added.

Ms Foggo said in the background report Seel had told social workers she had “no option” but to do what she did.

Sheriff Gilchrist said he struggled to see where he could go with sentencing Seel when she had pleaded guilty and showed no remorse and denied any wrong-doing.

Ms Foggo said it was now two years since the offence and she had a child and a stable family life.

The Sheriff said he would need time to consider the case before sentencing.

After an adjournment he told Seel she had falsely accused a young man of raping her.

“It’s absolutely clear you were not coerced in any way. You deliberately set out and pursued him and got what you wanted.”

But the Sheriff said Seel then wanted to conceal that fact from her boyfriend so she decided to make up the allegation of rape.

“It resulted in a wholly innocent young man being detained by police and subjected to intrusive and other invasive procedures.”

Sheriff Gilchrist said the man was upset by the stigma attached to the case, suffered trauma and financial loss.

“For the avoidance of doubt, false allegations of rape is a very serious offence. Reputations can be ruined and lives can be devastated. It affects also the prospects of women who are genuinely raped.

“In your case you were misguided and malicious and you were indifferent to the victim’s position. Having used him sexually you have expressed no remorse and seek to portray yourself as the victim.”

The Sheriff added that even the evidence of Seel’s friends demonstrated her position was untrue.

“I have concluded to impose a non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message from the courts.”

He jailed her for 14 months and said the sentence would have been 18 months but for the guilty plea.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Because what could possibly be funnier than seeing a defenseless animal with its testicles trapped in a feeding stand?

See here. Disgusting to commercially exploit this.

Louise Pennington and others who think preaching safety is 'victim blaming' are putting our daughters at risk

Ours is a culture that "blames women for drinking alcohol rather than men for committing rape" according to self-proclaimed feminist Louise Pennington. If a writer or an anti-rape campaign dares to remind young women about the risks they assume when they drink and have sex with men they don't know, it is "victim blaming."

It doesn't seem to occur to this shrill zealot that a lot of people who remind other people to be safe when it comes to rape might actually believe that rapists alone are responsible for their rapes. They just want to keep people safe. Suggesting that preaching safety is victim blaming is the epitome of a non sequitur; the one has nothing to do with the other. Unfortunately, this non-sequitur has become the mantra of an entire movement. Few people outside of Pennington's circle of like-minded nitwits are actually buying it.

Now, if the sum total of efforts to reduce the prevalence of rape was to tell women to be careful, that's a legitimate beef. But when Pennington suggests that Emily Yoffe at Slate, of all people, doesn't want to hold rapists responsible, that only underscores the puerility, the pure idiocy, at work here. By shaming people of good will who are trying to protect our daughters, they are actually putting our daughters at risk.

Pennington's not finished. You have to wade through some serious bullshit before she finally gets around to her real point. Society needs to change and "this change needs to start with a message to men: rape must stop. Men must take personal responsibility for their own perpetuation of rape culture and men need to call out other men who are engaging in sexually predatory behaviour."

Ah, finally. "Men," as a class, are guilty by reason of penis.

Intolerance of rape is a noble and proper impulse. Assuming all "men" are complicit in perpetuating it is worse than the victim blaming this stupid woman screeches about. Rape is not normalized, it is aberrant criminal behavior that is universally detested among all rational people. Rapists, not "men," rape, and rapists can be either men or women. Pennington would do well to read what Dr. David Lisak says about rape.

Wouldn't it be helpful to tell both young women and young men that, as Dr. Lisak points out, the typical rapist is a serial criminal who preys on drunken, unsuspecting women at parties? Or is that "victim blaming"? Wouldn't it be useful for both young men and young women to be reminded that, as a matter of scientific fact, men and women view casual sex differently? That women feel remorse more than men following one-night stands? Or is that "victim blaming"? A study shows how common remorse is for women following one-night stands: "Overall women’s feelings were more negative than men’s [about one-night stand casual sex]. Eighty per cent of men had overall positive feelings about the experience compared to 54 per cent of women. . . . . The predominant negative feeling reported by women was regret at having been 'used'. Women were also more likely to feel that they had let themselves down and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation if other people found out. Women found the experience less sexually satisfying and, contrary to popular belief, they did not seem to view taking part in casual sex as a prelude to long-term relationships." See here: Similarly, Amy Bonomi, a professor of human sexuality at OSU specializing in domestic violence and assault, said: "Women tend to feel bad after having a "random hook up," she said. Typically men are not upset by these occurrences. Bonomi attributed this situation to society's "gender double standard" that men are expected to be more sexually forward than women.

Pennington doesn't want young women to hear any of that. She's too busy spewing hatred on an entire gender.

And we would be remiss if we failed to mention that Pennington would discard any semblance of due process any time a woman cries rape. "Rape victims," she bellows, "should never be required to testify in open court. . . ."

Why bother with the trial, Pennington? In your mind, you've already convicted an entire gender.

Refreshing turn: court holds it's unfair to attack the character of the accused in a rape trial

In a he said-she said sexual assault case in West Virginia, the state's Supreme Court of Appeals recently struck a blow for the presumptively innocent by holding that it's not fair to attack the character of the accused.  This is a refreshing turn of events.

In rape cases, judges routinely hold that it's not proper to admit evidence of the accuser's sexual promiscuity because the accuser's character should not be on trial in a rape case--the only question is whether a rape occurred. But in the West Virginia case, the court held that evidence attacking the character of the accused (specifically, evidence suggesting he is a sexual predator) should not be admitted because it is so prejudicial that it could deprive the accused of a fair trial. The case is called State v. Maggard, 2013 W. Va. LEXIS 1043 (2013). The majority's opinion was refuted by a vigorous defense that repeatedly called the accuser "the victim."

Bryan Scott Maggard alleged that he was deprived of a fair trial when the circuit court allowed the State to question the alleged victim regarding his sexual history and portraying him as a sexual predator. On direct examination at trial, the State asked the alleged victim, referred to as J.C., why she did not want to go into Maggard's house when he kept persistently asking her to accompany him into the residence. J.C. answered, "I heard how he is." The defense objected and said "'Heard how he is' is completely outside the scope of what is going on here." The circuit court responded "I will let her answer that." The State then asked, "and you said you knew?" J.C. replied, "Yes. And how he was that he just wants to be with — he just wants to get one thing from girls." Importantly, the State repeated J.C.'s answers twice during its closing argument. The first time, the State represented in closing,
"[s]o she knows what he is like and she is not wanting to have sex at that time with him. That's her decision to make and she says, 'Look, I made this agreement with him. I am not going to have sex with him and I told him that.'"
The second time the State mentioned J.C.'s comments in closing, the State represented that "[t]hat's why [J.C.] made that agreement with him. You heard what [J.C.] said. 'I had heard what he was like. I mean, I had heard these things about him.'"

The court held: "It is apparent from the record that the statements "heard how he is" and "how he was that he just wants to be with — he just wants to get one thing from girls" clearly insinuates that Maggard is a sexual predator."

Generally, evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show that he or she acted in conformity therewith.

Typically in rape cases, when defense counsel seeks to enter evidence showing that a rape accuser has previously behaved in a promiscuous fashion, such evidence is excluded pursuant to rape shield laws that prevent the accuser's character from being put on trial.

Shouldn't the accused's character be similarly protected?  In West Virginia, at least, it is.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Is this English or . . . what is it?

Mohadesa Najum, a writer for the Feminist Wire explains Rape Culture as the “condoning and normalizing of physical, emotional and sexual terrorism against women and girls and marginalized subjects. It is the production and maintenance of an environment where sexual assault is so normative that people ultimately believe that rape is inevitable.”

Woman apologizes for revenge rape lie

Story appears in Oxford Mail:

A WOMAN jailed for making a false rape claim says the lie cost her “everyone’s respect”.

Kirsty Debanks said she was in a “bad place” when she made the allegation against her boyfriend and regretted it instantly.

The 21-year-old – who alleged Chris Newitt raped her in her home last July – urged women not to make the mistakes she did.

A council sexual abuse boss last night said false allegations can put off genuine rape victims from going to police.

After the claim, Mr Newitt was arrested, interviewed and held for about six hours.

He declined to comment to the Oxford Mail last night. Debanks admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice at Oxford Crown Court in April.

Judge Ian Pringle was told friends inflicted fake injuries like scratches on her back after the group drank heavily and took crack cocaine.

But Mr Newitt’s alibi, that he was begging in George Street, Oxford, was confirmed by CCTV and she called police to confess on July 31. She told officers she wanted her ex-partner to “pay for everything he had done to her family”.

Sentencing her in May, the judge told her the “utter lie” had undermined real victims of rape.

Debanks – released in August from an eight months prison sentence – said: “I said it and I wanted to retract it straight away.

“But I was too scared to because I knew it was a serious allegation. Once I said it, it was like I had to carry it through.”

The Wood Farm resident said she fell into depression after her grandfather and father passed away within months of each other.

She said: “I regret what I did and I wouldn’t advise other girls to do what I did. I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing. If I wasn’t in a bad place I would never have said it.”

She added: “I lost everyone’s respect. I didn’t really care about my friends, but my family – that hurt me. It woke me up. I am working to get it back to this day.

“There are days when I don’t want to go out of the house because I am ashamed.”

Debanks – whose two children with Mr Newitt have been taken into care – lost grandfather Brian in February 2012 and dad Graham to cancer that May.

Then her uncle, Ian Simpson, was killed when he cut into an empty oil drum which exploded in College Way, Horspath, last July 27. Debanks says she suffers from depression and a multiple personality disorder.

Mother Rhea Debanks said: “She has openly admitted what she said was wrong and she has apologised from the start.”

Oxford City Council domestic and sexual abuse co-ordinator Liz Jones said women who make false claims should be “ashamed”.

She said: “We struggle to get these crimes through court. When real allegations come forward they are undermined by the false ones.”

Some false claims are the result of people with mental health problems or traumatic experiences, she said.

Det Supt Nora Holford, head of Thames Valley Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People unit, said: “We treat every allegation of rape seriously and will always investigate every allegation fully.

“On rare occasions, some allegations do turn out to be unfounded.”

The force said figures on false allegations were not available.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The horrific consequences of false rape claims

A candlelight vigil was held today in Surrey to remember two best friends who were murdered in cold blood 20 years ago. Friends since elementary school, Christian Lussier and Paul McDaniel were inseparable. “They were a team — they were always together,” Lussier’s older sister, Wendy Chapman, said. “I could never imagine one without the other.”

Tragically, the two young men also died together. On Sept. 11, 1993, John Joseph Arniel confronted Lussier, 16, McDaniel, 15, and Richard Moisan, 17, at a spot under the Pattullo Bridge, where he shot them all. Lussier and McDaniel died at the scene but Moisan, who had been shot in the face, survived. He was able to call 911 and identify Arniel as the shooter.

Arniel, then 18 years old, went after the teens because his girlfriend had told him that Lussier raped her — an allegation that police deemed unfounded and the woman later recanted. Arniel pleaded guilty in December 1993 to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years. Story here.

Over the past several years, our blog has covered far too many examples of the awful things that can happen because of false rape claims. We grow weary of people who trivialize false rape claims by claiming they are rare. Unfortunately, the people who make such assertions typically have a financial interest at stake. They fail to take into account that while only a relatively small number of rape claims can be definitively branded "false," the same is true for the percentage of rape claims that can be definitively branded as rapes. For most rape claims, no one can say one way or the other. Of the rape claims that can be definitively classified (either way), false rape claims make up a significant, unacceptable percentage.

But even if false rape claims were, indeed, rare, the consequences of a false rape claim can be so horrific, to trivialize them is an affront to decency. Here are just a few examples of some of the worst recent cases. False rape allegations can take on a life of their own, and too often, they result in unspeakable harm, sometimes even death, for the men and boys falsely accused. Contrary to the progressive meme, toleration of rape is not "normalized" in our culture, but rage and violent overreaction to even unproven rape allegations are. In some ways, we are little better than the grinning mob in Duluth or a thousand other places, posing for a twisted photo op with the lifeless body of a young man hanging from a tree for no reason other than that a woman has cried "rape." For the victim, the trial was over even before it had begun, the accusation became both his conviction and death sentence. As one civil-liberties lawyer concerned about the vigilante attitude toward accused rapists puts it: "Some people regard rape as so heinous an offense that they would not even regard innocence as a defense." Here are the examples, and remember -- we warned you:

▲Renada Williams of Philadelphia invited a man over for sex, then called a male acquaintance and his teenage brother and lied that her lover had raped her. The brothers kicked in the door at Williams' home and found her lover naked in the middle of the bedroom. Williams stood back and watched while the brothers terrorized and nearly killed him. They beat him with their hands, a 4-by-4-foot wood plank, and extension cords; then they sodomized him with a broomstick after taunting him that he was going to feel what it was like to be raped. The victim suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, and other injuries, and was hospitalized for a week. The woman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to up to 23 months in prison. The teen is being handled in the juvenile system. And now, the older brother has been sentenced to 6 to 12 years in prison.

▲A 15-year-old girl falsely told her boyfriend that an 18-year-old man had raped her. The girl, her boyfriend, and another man drove to the innocent youth’s apartment. The innocent youth was looking through the peep hole of his front door when one of the men shot him to death through the door. The gunman fled, but the false accuser's boyfriend (who did not fire the gun) was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. The girl was given a suspended sentence.

▲Two teenage girls lied to a 19-year-old man that another 19-year-old, Cory Headen, had raped one of them, so the man broke into Mr. Headen’s home and beat him to death with a baseball bat while he was sleeping. At the man’s trial, the judge described the teens who accused Mr. Headen of rape as "stupid, drunken, immature girls" who delivered a vile message. The judge sentenced the killer to seven years in prison. The girls who ignited the fire apparently escaped unscathed.

▲John Chalmers, a 47-year-old prominent businessman, suffered devastating brain injuries in a vicious attack by the woman's brother. He was wrongly convinced that Mr. Chalmers had raped his sister, so he delivered a beating so terrible that Mr. Chalmers has had to “learn everything again.”

▲Darrell Roberson came home unexpectedly from a trip when he found his wife, Tracy Roberson, and her lover, Devin LaSalle, together in Mr. LaSalle's truck. To cover up her affair, Mrs. Roberson falsely told her husband she had been raped. Mr. Roberson shot and killed Mr. LaSalle. In a rare switch, a grand jury refused to indict Mr. Roberson, but his wife, Tracy Roberson was charged -- and convicted and imprisoned for five years for involuntary manslaughter. "The wrong person went to prison," fumed Jill Davis, Tracy Roberson's attorney.

▲Felisha Hardison, 25, from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, along with her mother, picked up a group of young men, ages 19-22, and drove them to the home of Cody Wightman, 25. Hardison and her mother then sat in their minivan while the young men proceeded to kick in Mr. Wightman's front door, then punch and kick him, and finally, beat him with a claw hammer. They cut Mr. Wightman's head and bruised him, but, thankfully, Mr. Wightman survived the attack relatively unscathed. The attack occurred because Hardison had told the young men that Mr. Wightman had raped her. Police say the rape claim was false. Hardison, her mother, and four of the young men pled guilty to charges in connection with the attack. It turns out that several weeks before the attack on Mr. Wightman, Hardison had falsely accused another man of raping her. She pled guilty to that charge, too.

▲A 23-year-old San Antonio woman instigated a murder by lying to her boyfriend about being raped in an attempt to cover up the fact she was two-timing him. The victim was gunned down behind the Quiznos where he worked. The false accuser accepted a plea agreement in which she now faces up to eight years in prison.

▲Remember the tragic death of young Daniel Cicciaro? John White, a 50-something black father, shot the 17-year-old Cicciaro, who was white, following a false rape claim. At his trial, Mr. White testified that late in the evening of August 9, 2006, his 19-year-old son, Aaron, woke him up to tell him that he had just come from a party where a young woman said he had threatened to rape her. Aaron told his father that a group of angry white youths were headed to their house to beat him up because they wrongly believed the young woman. Mr. White and his son walked to the end of their driveway to confront the youths, and in the heated confrontation that followed, young Mr. Cicciaro was killed. Mr. White claimed his gun accidentally discharged. According to a news report: "Cicciaro Jr. and four friends descended on White's home to confront his teenage son because they were wrongly led to believe that in an online chat room Aaron had threatened their friend with rape. She later recanted the claim." One boy is dead, and a father was imprisoned after a racially charged trial that divided a city.

▲Regan Scott Derrick, 27. His then-girlfriend returned home after a Saturday night out with some of her friends. She was vomiting and crying, and she lied to Mr. Derrick that she had been date raped and robbed by some men. Mr. Derrick assembled a posse of friends to dish out some vigilante justice and to repossess the stolen items. They barged into the house where the supposed offenders were, and a violent altercation ensued. No one was killed, but Mr. Derrick was convicted of injuring with intent. Mr. Derrick said he was "shocked and horrified" when he learned his girlfriend had lied.

▲A vigilante mob burned down a gypsy camp near Turin, Italy after a 16-year-old girl falsely claimed she had been raped by two men. She lied to conceal the fact that she had lost her virginity to her Italian boyfriend.

▲And if we talk about overreacting to rape accusations, we can't leave out Philadelphia. The hanging trees of the Old South would feel at home there. On a steamy day in June of 2009, an innocent man named Michael Zenquis was beaten by an angry mob after he was wrongly accused of raping an 11-year-old girl. In light of this despicable atrocity to an innocent man, what did the mayor and the police commissioner do? Nothing. Worse, the next day, a different mob caught up with the actual rapist and gave him a brutal beating that lasted several minutes until the police got there. The police gave two of the men who helped "apprehend" the rapist $5,750 each. Further, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey announced he would not pursue criminal charges against the mob.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gov. Brown kills unfair bill that would extend the statute of limitations for some abuse cases only, expresses understanding of the importance of limitations periods

Story here:

Los Angeles, Calif., Oct 15, 2013 / 04:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed more decades-old sexual abuse charges against Catholic schools and other non-profit institutions, while exempting public schools where abuse took place.

Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson of Los Angeles, the president of the California Catholic Conference, said the bishops of the state are “grateful” that the bill was vetoed.

“It was unfair to the vast majority of victims and unfair to all private and non-profit organizations,” he said, adding that the bill “discriminated and treated victims unequally” in a way that was “impossible to morally or legally justify.”

The bill would have lifted the statute of limitations on child sex abuse lawsuits against private schools and private employers who failed to take action against sexual abuse by employees or volunteers. It would allow alleged victims younger than 31 to sue employers of abusers, extending present age limit for alleged victims from 26 years old.

However, S.B. 131 specifically exempted public schools and other government institutions from lawsuits.

Critics argued that this was unfair to Catholic and private schools, and that it failed to protect the vast majority – more than 90 percent – of California children who attend public schools.

The Wall Street Journal had criticized the proposed bill as a “nonprofit shakedown” targeting the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and the “political enemies” of the legislature, where Democrats hold a supermajority of seats.

The bill also would have provided a one-year window for victims older than the new age limit to sue alleged negligent employers. This could have resulted in many new lawsuits concerning allegations dismissed after 2003, when the statute of limitations was previously suspended.

That suspension resulted in almost 1,000 claims against the Catholic Church in California, with legal awards totaling to $1.2 billion. Some of these claims dated back to the 1930s.

Gov. Brown explained his veto decision in a three-page Oct. 12 message to members of the State Senate. He argued that the bill’s policy of making private institutions “subject to suit indefinitely” while exempting public institutions is “simply too open-ended and unfair.”

He explained that legal cases alleging abuse make “valid and profoundly important claims,” but the statute of limitations is part of a legal tradition of “fairness.”

“There comes a time when an individual or organization should be secure in the reasonable expectation that past acts are indeed in the past and not subject to further lawsuits,” the governor said. “With the passage of time, evidence may be lost or disposed of, memories fade and witnesses move away or die.”

He also stressed that the bill's failure to address the different treatment of abuse victims in public and private institutions continues a “significant inequity” in the law.

The Catholic Church and a coalition of non-profits and other religious organizations and private schools had opposed the bill.

Bishop Wilkerson said he thought the way the bill “discriminated” against victims of abuse in public institutions played a “major role” in prompting the veto. He also voiced hope that the Catholic Church’s response to abuse in the last 10 years – through its actions to protect young people and report allegations to law enforcement – further helped contribute to the veto.

The bishop pointed to the “safe environment” training instituted as a means of helping to protect children and discover potential abuse. Church workers and volunteers also undergo background checks.

He said that the Church suspends anyone, clergy or lay, who is suspected of abuse.

The injustice to Paula Hall

The last time anyone remembered seeing 68-year-old Freda Heyn alive was on November 3, 2003 at the post office in Oldfield, Missouri. When family members finally reported her missing from the rural trailer where she lived on November 7, police found the inside of the trailer in disarray and with blood spattered on the walls, floors and ceiling. There was no sign of Heyn.

Christian County Sheriff’s Detectives began questioning residents who lived near Heyn’s trailer, including 36-year-old Paula Hall. Hall had been romantically involved with David Epperson, who was renting a house from Heyn’s son-in-law. The house was about a mile down the same road where Heyn’s trailer was located. At the time, detectives said they became suspicious of Hall because when they questioned her, she said, “I have no idea why anyone would want to kidnap…and harm Freda.”

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The injustice to Rosa Sade Batts

On July 25, 2012, 25-year-old Rosa Sade Batts was arrested by Houston police and charged with possession of narcotics.

Two days later, Batts appeared in court and was offered a deal by prosecutors in which she would receive two years in prison in exchange for a plea of guilty. Because Batts had numerous previous narcotics convictions, she could have faced a maximum of 25 years to life. She accepted the prosecution offer, pled guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison.

On May 30, 2013, more than 10 months after it received the sample, the Houston police crime laboratory reported that forensic testing on the substance seized from Batts was negative for the presence of narcotics. The Harris County District Attorney’s office notified Batts’ attorney, Cynthia Cline, who then filed a state application for a writ of habeas corpus.

On July 16, 2013, the application was granted by a Harris County District judge and Batts was released.

On September 11, 2013, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the issuing of the writ and the case was dismissed.


Monday, October 14, 2013

False rape doctor suspended for one year

A junior doctor at Bassetlaw Hospital who lied about being raped twice on hospital grounds was suspended for just 12 months after a tribunal ruled it would be “disproportionate” to strike her off.

Dr Hannah Farnsworth, 26, said she was dragged into an office at knifepoint by two unknown men, where she was injected with drugs, tied down, beaten and burnt with a lighter.

She also told police the attack was filmed on a mobile phone.

The medic later reported a second incident to colleagues at the Worksop hospital, in which she was claimed she was raped by two men at knifepoint in a nearby building.

Dr Farnsworth made the false declarations to colleagues, the NHS Trust and police before retracting the allegations in an official statement on 19th July 2011.

She admitted lying about the rapes but claimed she “embellished” the details of two genuine physical assaults on 1st April and 3rd June 2011 so she would be taken seriously.

A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service fitness to practise panel in Manchester found her account of events was “implausible” and found her guilty of all remaining charges of making false declarations.

The tribunal also ruled her actions were dishonest and misleading and that her false declarations had caused the police to waste time and resources.

The hospital spent £10,000 to improve security for staff, while two police forces investigated the claims, the hearing was earlier told.

Dr Farnsworth was banned from the profession for a year and will have to attend a review hearing before the end of the period of suspension to prove to a panel that she is fit to return to work.

Panel chair Ian Spafford said: “The panel has already determined that your dishonest behaviour constitutes a serious departure from good medical practice.”

“However, the panel accepts that you have reflected on aspects of your behaviour and you recognise the seriousness of your actions.”

“You have apologised to the trust and the police, and offered a face-to-face apology to those who attended this hearing to give evidence.”

He added: “The panel considers that a sanction of erasure, although seriously considered by the panel, would be disproportionate.”

“It does not take the view that erasure is the only means of protecting patients and the wider public interest in the circumstances of this case.”

“The panel is therefore satisfied that it would be both sufficient and proportionate to suspend your registration for the maximum period of 12 months.”

“In deciding this period, the panel took into account the level of your dishonest behaviour and the need to demonstrate clearly to the public, the profession, and to you, that such conduct is unacceptable.”

“It will be sufficient to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour and to maintain public confidence in the profession.”

Giving evidence, the trainee GP told the panel that during a night shift she had been held down on the floor and repeatedly kicked in the ribs by two unknown men.

During the alleged attack, which lasted between five and ten minutes, she described feeling a “sharp pain” in her upper arm and later found a discarded syringe on the floor.

Dr Farnsworth, who has been in a same-sex relationship since 2005 and is expecting a baby in January, said: “The whole event was very distressing.”

“It was a shock and I found myself more nervous, more anxious, not sleeping very well, more tearful than usual,” she said.

“I didn”t feel that I was entitled to feel as distressed as I did. I was worried other people might have a similar view to me, that they might feel that it was not that serious and wonder why I was not my usual self and why I was anxious and distressed.”

She did not report the alleged assault, but instead returned to work to finish the rest of her night shift.

But days later she mentioned the assault to a friend and colleague and over the following weeks introduced more lurid details to her account.

Dr Farnsworth said she had become pregnant after being raped by two men, who had cut her with a knife.

The trainee GP told friends and colleagues she was receiving “funny bleeps” on her hospital pager and received verbal threats not to talk when she replied.

Dr Farnsworth also raised suspicions about two hospital doctors who she thought may have known about the assault, but did not implicate them in the rape.

She apologised to her colleagues during the hearing last week.

She said: “I apologise for my behaviour to everybody concerned including the people behind me. I know it was inappropriate and I”m glad I had this opportunity to apologise in person.”

When the doctor was asked to give an official statement on 19th July after the case was passed on to Notts Police she retracted the allegations.

Sergeant Melanie Ball told the panel they decided not to charge the medic with wasting police time after she stated she never intended to make an official complaint.

'Were you aroused?’ is a question everyone knows should not be posed to female rape victims -- so why is it acceptable when posed to male victims?

Since the vast majority of sexual assaults occur among acquaintances, and since the vast majority of sexual assaults involve alcohol, it stands to reason that men and boys are sexually assaulted at rates far, far in excess of those actually reported. It is fair to say that underreporting of female-on-male rape is at epidemic levels. Raising awareness of this crime ought to be a primary focus of sexual assault counselors.

The reasons for this underreporting are obvious. Society does not accept that men can ever be victims of sexual assault. Even if it happens, it is not deemed to be a something negative since the victim is often physically aroused. The evolutionary reason for the double standard in thinking that sexual assault is only bad when it happens to women is simple: only women can get pregnant.

Here's a good article about it:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Case involving woman who made false claims and accepted reparations money coming to trial

ST. GEORGE – The resolution of a court case involving a 2012 false rape report and related items was pushed back an additional 30 days Wednesday so attorneys can adequately prepare for the hearing.

The case involves Sarah Elizabeth Rutz, 26, of St. George, who was arrested in September 2012 on charges stemming from filing a false rape report and accepting money from a state victims reparations fund. The ongoing police investigation eventually determined the report to be falsified, as new evidence came to light.

St. George Police Department Det. Terrance Taylor testified during a preliminary hearing in January 2013 that Rutz had come up with the rape story to cover up an affair with a man she me via craigslist.

Rutz has been charged with three class-B misdemeanors involving making false reports to police, as well as a second-degree felony for filing a fraudulent crime victim reparations claim.

Money from the fund can be granted to a victim in order to cover expenses caused by criminal activity. The reparation can cover property damage, medical or counseling expenses, relocation costs if a victim can no longer reside in his/her current location safely, burial and funeral costs, etc.

Rutz entered a not guilty plea and a two-day jury trial was set for July. The case has since moved toward a resolution phase. A hearing was originally scheduled for Sept. 4, with a subsequent rescheduling for Sept. 18.

The case has been rescheduled for Oct. 16 at 9 a.m., to allow attorneys involved to complete preparations for the pending resolution hearing.

It is common in the court system for hearing dates to be rescheduled as needed to ensure all sides are adequately prepared to present their side of a case.

Origin of the false report

Rutz, who reported to police in May 2012 she had been raped while jogging into on the bike path that leads into a tunnel under Sunset Boulevard. A post-rape examination at Dixie Regional Medical Center produced DNA that did not match any known sex offenders listed on a national database.

During the investigation, the police gained access to deleted emails from April 2012 between Rutz and an individual she met over craigslist. Police traced the emails to a residence in St. George. Police contacted a married man at the residence who acknowledged the emails were his. The man said he and Rutz had been a consensual sexual affair that culminated in a physical encounter on May 2, 2012. The man’s DNA also matched the sample taken from Rutz’s examination.

The police took the new evidence was taken to Rutz who initially denied the affair, then admitted to it, calling it a one time thing. Rutz told investigators she became overwhelmed by what had happened and was apprehensive of how her husband and others she knew would react if news of the affair got out. She ultimately came up with the rape story while out jogging, claiming that a man dressed all in black had attacked and raped her.

Ed. note: Persons charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

False rape reporting in war journalism

"In Libya one of the most influential stories described the mass rape of women in rebel areas by government troops acting on orders from above. A Libyan psychologist claimed to have distributed seventy thousand questionnaires in rebel-controlled areas of which sixty thousand were returned. Some 259 women volunteered that they had been raped; the psychologist said she had interviewed 140 of them. That such precise statistics could have been collected in the anarchy of eastern Libya was implausible, but her story was uncritically repeated, doing much to turn Gaddafi into a pariah. Largely ignored were reports a few weeks later from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a UN commission saying that there was no evidence for the story. It appears to have been a highly successful propaganda ploy."

Read the story here.

Scottsboro boys await official pardon

"By most accounts, false convictions of black defendants were rampant in early 20th century Alabama . . . ."

Read the story here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The death of Christian Adamek and zero tolerance insanity

Christian Adamek, 15, hanged himself after getting in trouble for doing something that wasn't evil, wasn't a threat to anyone's safety, and wasn't a big deal to any rational person. Christian landed himself in big trouble for streaking across the field during a football game at his high school.

Before Christian's death, the school's principal said the teen's stunt could warrant legal charges atop school discipline. "There's the legal complications," the principal told a news station. "Public lewdness and court consequences outside of school with the legal system, as well as the school consequences that the school system has set up."

Christian's death is tragic. Was it prompted by the prospect of an overblown reaction to his schoolboy prank? We don't know for sure.  Regardless, Christian deserved detention, not to have his name slapped on a sex offender registry along with rapists. If Christian took his life over the prospect of having his life destroyed by vindictive adults who think streaking is on a continuum with rape, then we've all got blood on our hands.

In our zeal to protect women and children from predatory men, we've enacted a multitude of laws that, among many other things, put high school streakers, guys who pee in the alley after imbibing a little too much, and guys who have sex with their slightly younger girlfriends, onto sex offender registers. The majority of states now register streakers, an indication of why the number of registered sex offenders in America has exploded. If they were all crammed into a single state, it would be more populous than Wyoming, Vermont or North Dakota. It's a cottage industry, with lobbies and powerful interests behind it, and it won't let up any time soon because not enough people give a damn about the Christian Adameks of the world.

Zero tolerance policies excuse people from doing something we are loathe to ask people to do any more: think for themselves -- to use their discretion, to exercise common sense, to employ mercy, and to look at things with balance. It's a lot easier to hide behind a zero tolerance policy so we don't get in trouble for exercising our discretion contrary to the common consensus. The problem is, zero tolerance polices are written for a black and white world, and the world is mostly gray. Sometimes the result of zero tolerance policies is Christian Adamek.

We are beyond saddened by Christian's tragic death. The world has gone mad.

Friday, October 4, 2013

WVU police say report of sexual assault on campus was unfounded

An investigation by West Virginia University Police determined that the report of a sexual assault near the downtown campus Monday evening was unfounded.

A 21-year-old woman, who was visiting campus, had told police she was assaulted by two men on Monday evening, when the university's annual FallFest concert was underway.

The woman told university police the assault happened near the Mountainlair student union between 9:30 and 10 p.m., according to a brief statement by the university.

Further investigation concluded the report was false, university officials said in a statement released Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Popular professor says criticizing sexual assault policies was treated as a violation of those policies

Story here:

A popular U.S. Naval Academy professor says he was unfairly temporarily suspended from teaching after two students complained about his criticism of the school’s sexual assault policies.

Bruce Fleming, an English professor at the academy, was prohibited from entering his classroom or contacting his students on Sept. 16 while the school’s English department conducted an investigation into the complaints, which he claimed were baseless. He was permitted to resume teaching on Sept. 18.

“The investigation was conducted in a way that was meant for due process for both the students and the professor, and when it was completed the decision was made that professor Fleming could return to class on Wednesday,” said Cmdr. John Schofield, academy spokesman.

Fleming said he is still not sure why the investigation was conducted and that no formal charges were ever filed against him.

Vice academic dean Boyd Waite initially presented professor Mark McWilliams, chairman of the English department, with a letter barring Fleming from the classroom and contact with students, Fleming said.

After McWilliams refused to sign the letter, the administration presented him with two options: either initiate an internal investigation of Fleming within the department or allow a “lengthy, nasty” investigation run by the “military side,” Fleming said.

McWilliams chose the first option. Fleming said he thought he was placed on administrative leave.

However, McWilliams suggested to him that he “voluntarily” decided not to teach his courses and agreed to have other English professors fill in for him and conduct a “fishing expedition” by surveying his students for complaints, Fleming said.

Fleming said he does not see it that way. He said he was treated like an “elementary school teacher [who] has been fondling students.”

“The Naval Academy was pulling the strings at all points. They had a loaded gun to my head and said to my department chairman ‘pull the trigger’ and he said ‘no,’” Fleming told the Washington Free Beacon.

“They made it look like an English department mission, but it wasn’t.”

The two female students, who dropped Fleming’s course, initially filed complaints with the academy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO). The office dismissed them because they were not related to a sexual assault case, Fleming said. The students’ complaints were also denied at the academy’s Equal Employment Opportunity office.

That is when the administration got involved. Fleming said the students, who help facilitate seminars for SAPRO, “acted completely inappropriately with no judgment whatsoever” by not starting with the lowest level and expressing their concerns to him and McWilliams.

The deans’ decision to then pursue an investigation after the complaints were denied at other offices was “completely unpardonable,” he added.

Additionally, 95 percent of the documents in a case folder provided to McWilliams by Dean Waite pertained to Fleming’s criticism of the academy’s sexual assault prevention policies. Fleming said this suggested, “Criticism of SAPRO itself was a SAPRO violation.”

The documents also included Xerox copies of notes from one of the students about a poem, “Kong Looks Back on His Tryout With the Bears,” by William Trowbridge, which Fleming used in his creative writing class.

The notes allege that Fleming made a racially tinged comparison between the fictional King Kong, who is depicted as a football player in the poem, and three former Navy football players accused of sexually assaulting a female student at a party. The student also accused Fleming in the notes of referencing oral sex through the poem.

Fleming said he likes to discuss what is on students’ minds before starting class. SAPRO training came up that day, prompting Fleming to note that he found it interesting how the responsibility to report incidences had shifted from complainants to third-party onlookers. He then turned to the poem, which was already on the syllabus for the day.

The poem, whose subject is the famous oversized gorilla, is not meant to have racial overtones, he said.

“Kong eats women like candy” in the poem, he said, which is also not intended to refer to oral sex. Fleming uses the poem to discuss the mechanics of poetry and as a metaphor for the necessity of men to channel their aggression in positive ways.

Fleming, who has taught at the academy since 1987, has been a prominent critic of the school’s sexual assault prevention policies. He says stringent rules at the academy against alcohol and consensual sex are often counterproductive.

Sexual assault policies for all military branches have received heightened scrutiny in recent months from the media and lawmakers due to a purported rise in sexual assault cases.

However, some experts say sexual assault rates have declined in recent years and question the reliability of the surveys the military uses to formulate their sexual assault policies.

Fleming has filed complaints with both the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and Faculty Senate, accusing Deans Andrew Phillips and Waite of treating the investigation like a SAPRO case—even after SAPRO rejected the complaints—and exposing him to “public humiliation.” The administration offered the two students anonymity, which is only an option in SAPRO cases, he said.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said in an email that she views Fleming’s efforts as an attempt to hold the administration accountable. She noted findings in the most recent military SAPRO report that the number of unfounded sexual assault cases increased by 34 percent between 2009 and 2012.

“There is no evidence that SAPRO is doing anything about this problem, so prof. Fleming’s push-back may be the only way to restore some balance and respect for due process,” she said.

Fleming has clashed with the administration before over his outspoken views regarding academy policies. He won a legal settlement in 2011 against the academy after filing a complaint alleging that top officials denied him a raise recommended by his supervisor because of his criticism of the school’s race-conscious admissions policies.

Schofield, the academy spokesman, said discussing the details of the investigation into Fleming’s teaching practices would be “inappropriate” but added that any further complaints would be treated in a similar manner.

“Our primary focus is on due process,” he said.