Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Former nun falsely convicted of rape in state payout talks

As we've stated here, from the outset, falsely accused/convicted, is a travesty, no matter who it is.

THE Government is in "active" compensation negotiations with a former nun wrongfully convicted of the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

The Irish Independent has learned that Nora Wall, who had her rape conviction declared a miscarriage of justice by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2005, is seeking court orders compelling the State to provide her with documents relating to her prosecution.

Four years ago, Ms Wall, a former Sisters of Mercy nun known as Sr Dominic, launched a High Court action challenging what she claimed was the refusal of the State to make a decision on her compensation claim.

The case intensified in recent months when Ms Wall (65) sought details of the circumstances surrounding her prosecution and negotiations are now at an advanced stage.

"The case is still active and negotiations are currently under way," said a spokesperson for Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

"In the circumstances it would not be appropriate to make any comment."

Ms Wall was convicted of rape at the Central Criminal Court in June 1999 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

She was the first woman in the State to be found guilty of rape, but only served four days of her life sentence as her conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal six weeks later.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions agreed to a retrial when it became apparent that there had been non-disclosure of evidence in relation to one witness.

But within months, the DPP said that he would not be pursuing the retrial, instead supporting Ms Wall's application to the Court of Appeal for a declaration of miscarriage of justice.

It emerged that one of the complainants had a history of making false complaints of assault and a key witness had been declared unreliable prior to the trial and should never have appeared in court.

In 2005, the Court of Criminal Appeal declared a miscarriage of justice after hearing a "forensic debacle" had led to her conviction.

The DPP said that had he been aware of significant information which had come to light, the prosecution against Ms Wall and a now deceased homeless man, Paul McCabe, for the alleged rape of the girl would never have been brought.

In 2009, Ms Wall was given leave by the High Court to bring a judicial review challenge to the alleged refusal by the Justice Minister to make a decision on her application for compensation.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Kimberly M. Binnion conviction/plea deal over false rape accusation

Counseling requirements were included in the sentence a Mattoon woman received after she admitted making a false claim of being raped in Douglas County in October.

The counseling evaluation was one of the terms of the two-year probation sentence that Kimberly M. Binnion received for pleading guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct.

Binnion, 32, first claimed she was raped by a man after she picked him up while he was hitchhiking in a rural location between Mattoon and Arcola on Oct. 12, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

During the following week, the sheriff’s office announced that investigation didn’t support the her claims and she then admitted that she made the false report. Binnion was then charged with disorderly conduct, a felony offense, for allegedly making the false report of the crime.

With the terms of her probation, Binnion will have to undergo an evaluation to determine if counseling is necessary and follow the evaluation’s recommendation. The sentence also included about two months in jail with day-for-day reductions possible.

Circuit Judge Michael Carroll imposed the sentence based on a plea agreement that State’s Attorney Kevin Nolan and Public Defender James Lee recommended.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Xantya Ashton receives suspended sentence over false sexual assault and kidnapping accusation

A "WICKEDLY dishonest and manipulative" teenager falsely accused a man of kidnapping her and another of sexual assault.

Student Xantya Ashton, 18, of Abbey Road, Grimsby, admitted perverting the course of justice between December 22, 2011, and September 2012, by accusing Saman Adlohb of kidnapping her.

But a court heard that on the night she claimed she was kidnapped by Mr Adlohb and sexually assaulted by another man, she was actually having sexual relations with a third person.

Humberside Police investigated her claims over a number of days, spending many hours studying CCTV footage of the alleged route taken through Grimsby town centre.

At Grimsby Crown Court, Judge David Tremberg said the offence "struck at the heart of the criminal justice process".

He said: "No person should think they can use the criminal justice system for their own purpose."

Judge Tremberg said false complaints involve wasting scarce public resources.

He said: "The police expend extensive resources to unpick the lies. Police officers studied CCTV throughout Grimsby town centre. All those man hours were wasted because of your lies."

He said it was a "malicious" complaint against Mr Adlohb.

Judge Tremberg said such offences were all the more serious when they were persisted with until October this year, when Ashton admitted the accusations were false.

He said the most serious consequence of her action was to "devalue" genuine cases.

"It causes juries to doubt genuine complaints from real victims who have taken the trouble to give evidence in court, because they know people like you exist. That is quite unforgivable."

He slammed her "wicked lies" and described her as "wickedly dishonest and manipulative".

He sentenced her to six months in a young offenders' institute but suspended the sentence for 12 months.

He ordered her to undergo 12 months supervision from the probation service and 80 hours of unpaid work.

She will also be electronically tagged and subject to an 8pm to 6am curfew for 28 days.

When Ashton unsuccessfully applied to have the time extended to 11pm in order to work at a restaurant, Judge Tremberg said she was "lucky to have work at all".

Patrick Palmer, prosecuting, said Ashton had made a rape allegation against Mr Adlohb in November 2011, but no action was taken.

Then, on December 22, 2011, she called from a phone box to claim she had been kidnapped by Mr Adlohb in a van near Grimsby railway station and sexually assaulted by another man at a house where she was held.

Police studied CCTV of the route she was alleged to have taken through the town. But no evidence was found, and phone records showed she had met up with a man named in court as Dan Freeman.

He had agreed to meet her and told police they had gone back to his home and had sexual intercourse.

Police discovered the initial phone call claiming the kidnap had been made from a phone box near his home.

Mr Palmer said Mr Adlohb had spent five hours in police custody following his arrest.

For Ashton, Richard Butters said his client had been "to hell and back" and suffered mental health problems akin to post-traumatic stress disorder reaction.

He added: "Her regret is enormous."

References supporting her were handed in by her parents, a hair and beauty school, and by friends.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Marie Severance false sexaul assault claim

Perhaps if we brought the focus of false reporting to the damage it does to those falsely accused, and not put all of the focus on the person who did the false accusing, it wouldn't be such a drain. And really, the punishment, if enacted in full, for the false report, is only the possibility of a year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. That needs to be higher. If someone had been convicted, based on her false claim, would the punishment have been comparable?

The cynical side of me says that one of the main reasons that the rape crisis/domestic abuse shelters push so hard on the "believe the accuser," based on nothing more than the claim, is that they are aware of just how many accusations are false, and don't want the accusations looked at too closely. The empathetic me realizes that there are likely people who work at these locations who are genuine, caring, thoughtful people who want to help.

It's a fine line, and one we should all be concerned about. Help the accuser, but blind belief should have no place when it comes to accusations of this type.

Police say Marie Severance, who resides outside of Vermont, falsely reported that she was raped at the Main Street Park Gazebo in Rutland. Police say providing false information to law enforcement is a frequent reality.

"People lie to us all the time and sometimes that includes people who say they are victims," Rutland City Police Cpl. Sam Delpha said.

But police say falsely reporting a sex assault is rare. Police say the most common incident of false reporting is when people get pulled over for traffic violations, they'll show a fake ID or they'll give a name of a neighbor or somebody else they know, and provide their name and information.

False reporting wastes time and money. In this particular case, Delpha says 26 man-hours were used to investigate the case, which the department says is time they don't have. The Rutland Police Department is currently short five officers.

"It can be a drain," Delpha said.

And victim advocates say false reporting hurts real victims of domestic or sexual violence, who already have the odds stacked against them when it comes to getting justice.

"Many times the perpetrator has control over the victim, threatens the victim that if she calls the police, he will do her more harm," said Marianne Kennedy of the Rutland County Women's Network & Shelter.

Kennedy says real victims struggle with coming forward and making a report. They often feel like reporting the crime is not necessary or that they can't report it due to their domestic situation.

"Victims tend to minimize the danger because usually they are in a relationship with an intimate partner, someone they care for," Kennedy said.

Kennedy says the Rutland County Women's Network & Shelter works closely with law enforcement to guide victims on making reports to police. But police need the time to investigate.

"Certainly we need to devote our time to true reports of crime and help the true victims," Delpha said.

False reporting is a charge that carries up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, if the false report implicates another person.

If a victim contacts police about a crime, they do not have to file a report. Police tell us that victims can always come to law enforcement to ask questions. They are not obligated to make a report if they just want advice.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

While what we focus on cannot, in the best terms used, be described as lighthearted, please remember to appreciate your friends and family, and all of the blessings you have in your life.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Colleges have an absolute duty to investigate anoymous reports of sexual assault, and may have a duty to attempt a 'remedial response'

The following is an excerpt taken from here:
If you are not successful in encouraging the victim, directly or indirectly, to file a formal complaint, your legal duties are not over. In fact, they may just be starting. Once you have actual notice under Title IX, your duty to investigate the report is absolute. There are no exceptions. Yet, investigation is a very broad term, and may indicate merely a preliminary inquiry, or it may include a much more elaborate inquisition into the facts. With an anonymous report, your ability to investigate is more limited. You would satisfy your legal duties of due diligence by checking the report against other recent anonymous and formal reports, to determine if a trend or pattern may be apparent. If so, you might decide to take some action based on the composition of assaults, rather than on just the one anonymous report you have received. You may even gain information on repeat perpetrations in a single location, and this may allow you to target a high-risk population or location with enhanced enforcement, patrols, lighting, cameras, timely warnings, etc. 
In addition to the duty to investigate, you may have a duty to attempt some form of remedial response, even to an anonymous report. For example, if you learn of multiple perpetrations by the same individual (anonymous reports sometimes include the name of an alleged perpetrator or enough detail for you to figure out who the alleged perpetrator is), or multiple perpetrations at the same event, you may decide to alert the alleged victim to this information to see if this makes him/her more willing to file a formal complaint, or 3you may decide to launch an investigation into the campus event that produced multiple reports (such as a party at which multiple drinks were laced with GHB).

Natasha Leatherman Conviction for False Sexual assault and Fraud

One has to wonder, if there is a level of mental illness at play, for someone to not only claim to have leukemia, but to also claim to have been sexually assaulted.

A woman who conned people into believing she had leukemia, defrauded the state government out of thousands of dollars in medical benefits and falsely claimed that she had been sexually assaulted, took a plea deal last week in Superior Court and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Natasha L. Leatherman, 30, pleaded guilty to one count each of fraudulent schemes and artifices, obtaining a narcotic drug by fraud, and false reporting to a law enforcement agency. She accepted a plea agreement in the case that cut back the charges from four counts of fraudulent schemes.

Leatherman, who just over a year ago told The Daily Courier the story of how leukemia had affected her life, simply made up the illness, a news release from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said.

"I lied about being sick," she told Prescott Police. "I lied about everything because I was just... it was the pills," the release said.

In the Courier story, she was highlighted as a resident of the Prescott Area Women's Shelter, being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

"Being here as long as I have, I know the value of this place and the volunteers," she said in the November 2012 interview. "I see life in a whole new light, thanks to them and really appreciate all they do to help."

Executive Director of the Prescott Women's Shelter Carmen Frederic said she could not immediately comment.

The release noted that she also had defrauded "many in the community who generously offered to help" her with donations of time and money.

Horne said she had defrauded the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) out of "tens of thousands of dollars in benefits."

Leatherman's second case dealt with falsely accusing a man of sexual assault in April. However, a police probable cause report said, she "could not provide a lot of detail" about the attack, except that the man had a knife.

In June, Leatherman called the officer and "admitted that she had lied about the whole event and had not been sexually assaulted," the report said, and she claimed that she had been under the influence of narcotics at the time.

She had made the same claim in March 2011, and said the suspect she named - a different man - had raped her twice. Again, her story was inconsistent, with an officer writing that her "description of the incident changed virtually each time she described it."

She was found guilty in that case as well and received probation.

A pre-sentence report prepared by the Adult Probation Department in 2011 said Leatherman had a "medium-low" risk of re-offending.

"We are giving a high priority to prosecuting those who defraud the AHCCCS program," Horne said. "Taxpayers need to be protected from this kind of fraud."


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Spamming Occidental College: the progressive conniption

Progressives are having a bona fide conniption over the Reddit Men's Righters who spammed Occidental College's anonymous rape reporting system with fake "rape" claims (from what we can tell, they were not really false rape claims, just snarky comments about the injustice of anonymous reporting). The righteous indignation from feminists is deafening. The spam attack, they tell us, is typical men's rights hysteria, the result of an undeservedly privileged class being stripped of its power.

The men's righters were out to prove that it’s too easy to abuse the college’s anonymous reporting system. We disagreed with the men's righters and said we weren't much concerned about the anonymous reporting system, but the more we read the progressive take on the incident, the more we wonder if we blew the call -- maybe we should be concerned..

The progressives dismissed any notion that the on-line system would pose a threat of false rape claims to innocent young men. Theoretically, fine. But we need to look at the track record of the folks giving us such assurances.  Do these progressives have a track record of concern for the rights of the wrongly accused? In fact, when it comes to sex claims, the feminist left has an unfortunate history of dismissing the interests of the presumptively innocent in the name of outing and punishing rapists, and of ridiculing anyone who dares to speak for the wrongly accused. A few prominent examples:

▲For 17 years, the University of Maryland Clothesline Project allowed purported rape survivors to publicly display shirts with the full names of men they accused of rape written on them. Jennifer Pollitt-Hill, the executive director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said a sexual assault survivor "can feel empowered by naming the perpetrator . . . ." Many of the women who scrawled names on shirts felt the justice system -- both the courts and the university judicial board -- was too lenient on perpetrators. "Victims feel like these things silence them," Pollitt-Hill said, "and there's no justice . . . ." The public discourse on this issue focused almost exclusively on the value to rape victims of writing names on shirts. Absent was an acknowledgment of even the possibility that there might have been more than one side to the story for at least some of the alleged rape claims. The university-sanctioned practice of branding presumptively innocent men "rapists" without the pretense of due process was only stopped when the school realized that the practice subjected it to civil liability.

▲Women in a feminist art class at the University of Maryland once plastered the campus with fliers last week listing the names of virtually every male student under the heading, "NOTICE: THESE MEN ARE POTENTIAL RAPISTS." The women also set up large posters containing all of the names on the grassy mall at the center of the campus. The project angered some men on campus. Several advocates of the signs, however, declared that the men's anger was the point. "I think it's admirable that men in this school have been saying the word 'rape' and are being angry at the same time," said Jessica True, 23, a freshman from Takoma Park.

▲A group at Oberlin College once posted signs identifying its first "rapist of the month" -- a male freshman -- despite the fact that the targeted youth had not been charged with any crime and was mortified by the signs because, he explained, he was not even sexually active. A female freshman told a reporter that she knew the male and didn't feel he did anything wrong, "but there's a part of me that is questioning him" because of the signs. The New York office of the Legal Defense and Education Fund of the National Organization for Women declined to comment on the issue.

▲Once at Brown University, a ''rape list'' scrawled on the wall of a library women's room named some 30 ''men who have sexually assaulted me or a woman I know.'' Some women were not happy that university janitors continually erased the names. One woman told a reporter that erasing the names reinforces the idea that ''women are to blame for their rapes. . . . I think the writing on the wall was these women's way of taking control, of taking action and saying what they needed to say.''

▲Some years ago, zealous victim's advocates insisted that women must have the unilateral right to define rape in whatever manner they see fit, regardless of the harm to the person accused. This attitude was manifested in Catherine Comins' quote: "To use the word ['rape'] carefully would be to be careful for the sake of the violator, and the survivors don't care a hoot about him.'" What Comins didn't bother to consider was the harm to innocent people when the word "rape" is not used carefully.

▲Katie J.M. Baker, who claims she is someone who "writes and thinks about rape culture all day" defended the injustices created by the Steubenville Internet vigilantes to battle sexual assault. "Sure," Baker writes," internet vigilantism has some serious drawbacks — [one anonymous vigilante] has 'outed' numerous Steubenville residents whom they believe are involved with the case and deserve to be punished, and we currently have no way of knowing if many of their accusations are true — but . . . ." The "but" is chilling. To Baker, the injustice of outing possibly innocent people is worth it (to her, at least -- certainly not to the innocent who are outed) because it has focused the attention of many people on the rape atrocity in Steubenville.

▲In Columbus, Ohio, a Web site was set up to give rape victims a forum to post information about their alleged attackers. Flyers were passed out that said "Expose your rapist" and directed people to a Web site where they could list details about their attacker, including their names. The local prosecuting attorney gave this effort his quasi-imprimatur.

▲Feminist icon Germaine Greer is on record advocating something similar: "Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival she said yesterday: 'I wish there were an online rapists' register and that it was kept up to date, because we know the courts can't get it right. When I say that to people, they get so scared, and say 'Oh you can't. What about privacy? Years ago I knew we would never get convictions in a court of law for date rape, so I suggested women kept an online dossier, so if a woman had a date with a guy and he did something to her, or frightened her, and she asked him to stop and he didn't, then instead of going to the police she should put him online. Other women could check this dossier, look up a guy and see that he has form. Then she can say no, or if she does go, goes knowing it's a high risk strategy.'"

Back to the spamming incident. To prove how downright evil men's righters are, Think Progress goes on to cite the incident where men's rights activists supposedly harassed an innocent woman last October, after a different woman, an Ohio University student, was photographed receiving oral sex in public and later filed a report saying she was assaulted.

What Think Progress doesn't tell us is that the young man accused of assault likely was falsely accused in that incident. The question in that case was whether the woman was too drunk to consent, and here's what the prosecutor said:  “A reasonable person would think that she was not intoxicated beyond the ability to consent.” He added: “Being able to walk down the hallway carrying her own burrito and into the apartment, she was able and not being escorted. It didn’t appear to us or the grand jury that she was not able to give consent.”

Think Progress doesn't tell us any of that. And while it talked about the poor woman unfairly harassed, it forgot to mention that the young man involved in the sex act was unjustly physically assaulted after the incident.

Yep. The more we read, the more we wonder if we blew the call on the Occidental College incident. I know one thing: we should take the progressives' assurances that the innocent won't suffer with a huge grain of salt.

Friday, December 20, 2013

'Wicked' Grimsby woman falsely accused man of kidnap and another of sexual assault

A "WICKEDLY dishonest and manipulative" teenager falsely accused a man of kidnapping her and another of sexual assault.

Student Xantya Ashton, 18, of Abbey Road, Grimsby, admitted perverting the course of justice between December 22, 2011, and September 2012, by accusing Saman Adlohb of kidnapping her.

But a court heard that on the night she claimed she was kidnapped by Mr Adlohb and sexually assaulted by another man, she was actually having sexual relations with a third person.

Humberside Police investigated her claims over a number of days, spending many hours studying CCTV footage of the alleged route taken through Grimsby town centre.

At Grimsby Crown Court, Judge David Tremberg said the offence "struck at the heart of the criminal justice process".

He said: "No person should think they can use the criminal justice system for their own purpose."

Judge Tremberg said false complaints involve wasting scarce public resources.

He said: "The police expend extensive resources to unpick the lies. Police officers studied CCTV throughout Grimsby town centre. All those man hours were wasted because of your lies."

He said it was a "malicious" complaint against Mr Adlohb.

Judge Tremberg said such offences were all the more serious when they were persisted with until October this year, when Ashton admitted the accusations were false.

He said the most serious consequence of her action was to "devalue" genuine cases.

"It causes juries to doubt genuine complaints from real victims who have taken the trouble to give evidence in court, because they know people like you exist. That is quite unforgivable."

He slammed her "wicked lies" and described her as "wickedly dishonest and manipulative".

He sentenced her to six months in a young offenders' institute but suspended the sentence for 12 months.

He ordered her to undergo 12 months supervision from the probation service and 80 hours of unpaid work.

She will also be electronically tagged and subject to an 8pm to 6am curfew for 28 days.

When Ashton unsuccessfully applied to have the time extended to 11pm in order to work at a restaurant, Judge Tremberg said she was "lucky to have work at all".

Patrick Palmer, prosecuting, said Ashton had made a rape allegation against Mr Adlohb in November 2011, but no action was taken.

Then, on December 22, 2011, she called from a phone box to claim she had been kidnapped by Mr Adlohb in a van near Grimsby railway station and sexually assaulted by another man at a house where she was held.

Police studied CCTV of the route she was alleged to have taken through the town. But no evidence was found, and phone records showed she had met up with a man named in court as Dan Freeman.

He had agreed to meet her and told police they had gone back to his home and had sexual intercourse.

Police discovered the initial phone call claiming the kidnap had been made from a phone box near his home.

Mr Palmer said Mr Adlohb had spent five hours in police custody following his arrest.

For Ashton, Richard Butters said his client had been "to hell and back" and suffered mental health problems akin to post-traumatic stress disorder reaction.

He added: "Her regret is enormous."

References supporting her were handed in by her parents, a hair and beauty school, and by friends.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Woman's claim of sexual assault doesn't add up, say police

WEST FARGO – A woman’s claim that two men tried to sexually assault her over the weekend in her apartment completely fell apart Tuesday during an interview with investigators, according to West Fargo police.

On Sunday evening, officers were sent to the woman’s apartment in the 400 block of Sixth Street East to check on her. She had been texting with a friend and had stopped replying after her messages mentioned that two men she did not know were knocking on her door, police said.

When officers arrived, the woman told them that about an hour earlier, she had opened her door and the two men had forced their way inside and attempted to sexually assault her. She said she fought back and screamed, and the men soon left, according to police.

The next morning, a West Fargo officer issued a news release based on the woman’s report. A couple of hours later, the department sent out an email asking news outlets to disregard the release. Assistant Chief Michael Reitan said the release had been issued prematurely, before police had sufficiently investigated the woman’s report.

On Tuesday, officers spoke with the woman a second time and determined that the information she gave them did not support her initial report, Reitan said.

“It appears that there wasn’t anything that occurred as described,” he said.

Reitan, who could not explain why the woman told police a fabricated story, said she will not face criminal charges as a result.

“We don’t believe that the information that we have currently and under the circumstances of the case that we would be able to successfully prosecute her for a crime,” he said.

The case has led West Fargo police to tighten their policy on issuing news releases.

Previously, officers could send out a release without clearance from a superior, but now officers will have to receive approval from a sergeant or someone further up the command chain, Reitan said.

Story: http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/421398/

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

COTWA can't get excited about Occidental College's anonymous rape reporting form

Occidental College has instituted an anonymous rape reporting system. The school encourages members of the Occidental College community who have experienced or have been witness to sexual violence (sexual assault, rape or sexual battery) to use the form.

The form is not being used to punish alleged perpetrators. Here is what the school's website about the form says:
"If a perpetrator is named, a member of the Dean of Students Office will meet with that person to share that the person was named in an anonymous report, review the Sexual Misconduct Policy, and inform the person that if the allegations are true, the behavior needs to cease immediately. Information shared in this form alone will not result in anyone going through the grievance process."
With respect to justice for the accused, the form does not suggest that the school automatically believes the accuser, and it will not result in any negative repercussions for the persons named.

It is well to note that anonymous reporting under the Clery Act is a widespread and accepted practice on college campuses. Ironically, it became news at Occidental College only because it was discovered that the school was not counting anonymous reports in its Clery Act statistics. Anonymous reporting for Clery Act purposes has been going on for some time now, and it is somewhat amusing to us that it is now being treated by some in the men's rights community as a problem unique to Occidental College.

The problem with anonymous reporting is that, for purposes of determining the extent of the sexual assault problem on campus, every anonymous report of a sexual assault is accepted as a sexual assault. We know that when sexual assault is actually reported and tested against competing claims of innocence -- that is, when the evidence surrounding the incident is actually examined -- a significant percentage of claims are deemed to be unfounded (not -- underscore "not" -- necessarily falsehoods) even using a preponderance of the evidence standard. So anonymous reporting inflates the rape problem on campus, and that, in itself, is a problem for a host of reasons.

But it is well to note that even with anonymous reporting, rape is not an epidemic on campus, regardless of what the gender alarmists insist.

Why allow anonymous reporting? The problem is that sexual assault is under-reported, and actual reports (where the accuser isn't anonymous) alone don't tell the whole story. Some women don't report that they've been raped for the same reason some women lie about rape: because they are reluctant to admit having put themselves in situations where sexual activity without emotional intimacy often occurs. For example, many college woman are loathe to publicize, and thus be forced to admit to a parent, boyfriend, or friend, that they were in some random guy's apartment after a party at 2 a.m. -- even if the sexual encounter that occurred between them really wasn't consensual. Women both under-report rape, and they lie to say they were raped when they weren't, to "defend their femininity," because there is a stigma about women engaging in random hook-ups.  This is due to a phenomenon we talk about a lot: the "regret asymmetry."

So anonymous reporting may be a necessary evil to learn what's really happening on campus. Of course, to really learn what's happening on campus, the evidence surrounding every incident anonymously reported would need to be carefully examined instead of just accepting as true every claim of sexual assault. But that would necessarily destroy the anonymity of the report.

These aren't simple questions, but from the perspective of this blog, innocent young men are not being punished on the basis of anonymous reports, and anonymous reporting is not a major concern. We aren't aware of widespread problems where young men are being harassed based on anonymous reports that they are rapists -- if there were reports of such problems, we'd be among the first to jump on them.

Perhaps the real problem that needs to be addressed is that we aren't adequately educating our daughters and our sons about the "regret asymmetry" that divides the sexes.


Report: Male Students Use Title IX Discrimination Laws To Fight Campus Sexual Assault Claims


WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – A series of sexual-assault cases on college campuses have spurred a backlash from accused male students who are now using anti-gender discrimination laws under Title IX to make their case that such accusations are biased against men.

A Bloomberg report finds a chain of male college students who have been disciplined through campus sexual assault investigations, and are now filing discrimination cases against universities across the country.

Title IX is a 1972 education amendment that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance.

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” Title IX states.

In the last two years, men disciplined or expelled for sexual assault reasons have filed their own discrimination cases against Xavier University, Vassar College, Williams College, Bucknell University, St. Joseph’s University, and College of the Holy Cross among others.

Nicole Colby Longton, an attorney who sued Holy Cross on behalf of a male student accused of sexual assault stated that the increasing risk of such accusations is combined with a biased school-run justice system.

“One sexual encounter that involves alcohol, and the next thing you know you’re accused and expelled and branded for life,” Colby told Bloomberg. “Schools are going to push kids to have signed waivers before they have intercourse.”

The report cites a “parallel criminal-justice system run by school officials without legal training in which evidence and the burden of proof are scant and punishments harsh,” Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, told Bloomberg.

The most recent national data from the Education Department showed that sexual assault reports increased by 30 percent from 2009-11 – a total of 3,771 in 2011. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports that there is an average of 237,868 victims of rape and sexual assault each year – an average of someone being sexually assaulted every two minutes. Eighty percent of victims are under the age of thirty.

There have been an increasing number of assault victims filing complaints against their universities in the past year, with the Education Department receiving 30 Title IX grievances alleging schools’ inability to prevent sexual assaults.

The RAINN data shows that about 10 percent of sexual assault, abuse and rape victims in the US are male.

However, the RAINN report cautions that 60 percent of sexual assaults are never reported to authorities.

According to a 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 19 percent of undergraduate women experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college.

The Bloomberg report also cites the Obama administration “Dear Colleague Letter,” which pressured and reinforced that schools would be violating Title IX by not actively pursuing sexual assault claims on campuses.

See also here.

DSU student who was cleared of rape charges sues school: Student says he wasn't given due process

Story found here

A Delaware State University student who was kicked off campus for 45 days while the college considered a rape charge is suing the school for damages, saying his civil rights were violated.

In a federal lawsuit, Andre L. Henry, 21, said the school did not provide him due process while it reviewed criminal charges that already had been dropped.

“We found out yesterday that his on-campus disciplinary charges were found to be ‘not responsible,’ ” his attorney, Daniel C. Herr, said Tuesday, referring to DSU’s General Judicial Council’s investigation.

“We are still moving forward for damages because he was suspended for a total of 45 days pending a full investigation and full hearing, which we allege is a violation to his right to due process,” Herr said. “For 45 days he was kicked out of his home, ... he was kicked off campus, he was kicked out of school, all based on an allegation.

“You can’t do that for 45 days and then finally say ‘Oh, we’ve come to our decision. He was found not guilty.’ ”

School officials said they were aware of the lawsuit but would not comment on it. University spokesman Carlos Holmes added that the criminal case has been closed.

Henry, who is majoring in accounting and finance and is on the school’s track and field team, was charged with second- and fourth-degree rape on Oct. 24, according to the lawsuit, filed Dec. 6 in Wilmington’s U.S. District Court. According to the suit, the charges came three days after he had consensual sex with another student at his college apartment.

The criminal charges were dismissed Nov. 1, according to the suit.

About that time, the lawsuit said, DSU’s director of Student Judicial Affairs, Paula Duffy, informed Henry he was prohibited from entering any university facility or adjacent property pending the outcome of a university judicial case, in which he had been charged with “Sexual Assault/Rape.”

Henry was told he could bring witnesses to a Nov. 6 hearing before the General Judicial Council, the suit said, but he was not informed of his right to have an attorney present.

During that hearing, Henry said, he was not advised of his right to remain silent or his right against self-incrimination. He also did not get the chance to face his accuser, who was not present.

Henry’s roommate, Jesse Allen, testified at the hearing that he had been in the apartment’s common room the evening Henry and the woman had sex, the suit said.

Allen testified the woman did not scream for Henry to stop, as she “previously alleged that she had.”

The General Judicial Council planned a separate hearing where the woman would testify, the suit said, but did not inform Henry at that time.

That hearing took place on Friday, and Henry was present, Herr said. He did not say whether his client testified.

Following the hearing, Henry’s suspension was lifted.

Named in the lawsuit are Duffy; Kemal Atkins, DSU’s vice president for student affairs; DSU President Harry L. Williams; and the woman who accused him of rape.

It is the policy of The News Journal not to name suspected victims of sexual assault without their consent.

The 17-page complaint also claims university officials maliciously prosecuted and defamed him.

In addition to monetary relief, Henry wants the university to implement constitutional policies, procedures, customs and training to prevent a recurrence of his experience.

The university already has such polices and procedures in place, Holmes said.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The community of the wrongly accused thanks Cathy Young and Roxanne Jones

These are must-reads:

Cathy Young's brilliant take on campus injustice when it comes to men and sex.

Roxanne Jones' wonderful piece about the wrongly accused.

Vassar Hoax

The two former Vassar College students who were expelled for creating hoax bias incidents and then filing false reports about them were also actively involved with the college’s Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention committee, which currently faces a lawsuit for prosecuting a wrongful rape conviction.

The Daily Caller first reported that Genesis Hernandez, a transgendered student and vice president of the student government, had been named as one of two perpetrators in a string of hoax bias incidents on campus. The perpetrators wrote hateful messages on students’ doors — including “Hey Tranny. Know Your Place” — and then filed false reports to the Bias Incident Response Team, of which Hernandez was the only student member.

Watchdog Wire recently reported that Henandez’s partner in crime was her girlfriend, Imani Wong. Both were expelled, and could not be reached for comment because their university email addresses are no longer active.

Given the nature of their dishonesty, some are asking questions about the couple’s involvement in Vassar’s sexual assault adjudication process, which was recently criticized by a former male student who is suing the college for wrongfully convicting him of rape.

Peter Yu was a Vassar student and member of the rowing team. In February of 2012, Yu engaged in what he later described as consensual sex with another rowing team member, Mary Claire Walker. Yu was a virgin at the time. Over the course of the next year, Walker sent him several polite Facebook messages, and even wrote that he she had had “a wonderful time,” with him.

A year later, Walker filed a rape claim against Yu — on the very last day that Vassar procedures permit her to do so, according to Minding the Campus.

Yu had little time to prepare a defense. Within three weeks of Walker filing her claim, Yu was convicted by Vassar’s Interpersonal Violence Panel and expelled.

Despite Yu’s request to have a student sit on the adjudicating panel, his guilt was determined solely by three members of the faculty — a significant fact, given that Walker’s father is a professor at the college.

As an adjudicative body at a private university, the IVP is not required to follow typical criminal court proceedings. It denied Yu the use of an attorney, prevented him from cross-examining Walker and utilized a “preponderance of evidence” standard rather than a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

Yu has filed suit against Vassar for discriminating against men, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

IVP’s procedures are not made public, but a flowchart image explains the general process for reporting and adjudicating sexual assault on campus. The image, which can be found on SAVP’s website, was created by Imani Wong.

The extent of Wong’s involvement with SAVP isn’t clear, but it seems that Hernandez was actually a member of the committee until her expulsion. She is still listed as a 2013/2014 committee member.

The fact that at least two people with authority in shaping Vassar’s sexual assault investigation policies were expelled for committing fraud would seem to undermine the college’s response to Yu’s suit, in which administrators claim that “Vassar acted in good faith at all times in its dealings with [Yu] and did not engage in willful, wanton, malicious, or reckless conduct so as to justify an award of punitive damages.”

Vassar did not respond to a request for comment.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Camille Paglia indicts second and third wave feminism for 'stereotyping, belittling, or demonizing men'

See here.

'Woman made up 'knockout game' story after boyfriend hit her, St. Louis police say'

Story reported here: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/woman-made-up-knockout-game-story-after-boyfriend-hit-her/article_3d614541-f78d-51e8-95a9-98bcd8507e61.html

ST. LOUIS • Police say a reported “knockout game” attack that recently attracted national attention to St. Louis is false.

Ashley DePew, 23, and her boyfriend Justin Simms, 25, were charged Friday with falsifying a police report. The pair had claimed DePew was the victim of a random attack outside a St. Louis bar last month, police said.

Police now believe she was actually injured by her boyfriend and the pair fabricated the “knockout game” story as a cover for her injury.

Dotson said the damage false reporting causes is widespread.

“We had to spend a significant amount of resources unraveling the lies they told,” Dotson said. “That’s resources that could have been spent on other crimes and it damaged the perception of the city. I hope these two individuals get help in their relationship.”

DePew told police she and her boyfriend had gone to The Trophy Room early on Nov. 17 to pick up a friend who was intoxicated, but became separated in a crowd. She said she had been punched in the eye by a group of young men outside of the bar.

She reported the alleged attack to police two days later.

But authorities say witnesses and evidence from the bar indicate the couple wasn’t there that night, and there was no attack. Police said detectives interviewed the male friend the couple claimed to have picked up. He told police he was never with Depew or Simms that night.

The woman and her boyfriend admitted on Thursday that they had fabricated the story because they feared repercussions from police and their families, police said in court documents. They told investigators that they were traveling on Interstate 55 and began arguing. When the woman tried to put her hand on her boyfriend’s, he told police, he flung it back violently, inadvertently punching her in the eye.

After going to a hospital, they told the woman’s parents that she had been punched at random by a stranger. The parents noted that the scenario sounded similar to the “knockout game,” in which groups of young teens target people at random, punching them for no reason and often not taking anything of value.

The woman’s attorney, Ethan Corlija, said before the charges were filed that he hoped his client wouldn’t be charged.

“I don’t want this to detract from the fact that she’s still a victim,” he said. “She sustained pretty serious injuries. No matter how the circuit attorney chooses to view it, it still boils down to her being a victim and we can’t lose sight of that fact.”

The woman’s story went viral after a local television station aired her story, garnering thousands of hits on Facebook, Twitter and other websites. The Post-Dispatch did not report on the “knockout game” claim at the time, pending resolution of inconsistencies in the story.

Joel Currier of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

Our issue is going mainstream


And then there's the twist.

A University of Connecticut student accused of rape, had his charges dismissed Wednesday in Superior Court in Rockville.

Izzy Himmel of Chicago was arrested in September 2012 and charged with rape, kidnapping and breach of peace.

He was accepted into a diversionary program a year ago; the program required him to write a letter of apology to Uconn's police chief (not the victim), make a $500 charitable donation and do community service. If he completed the program successfully, he was told, the charges would be dropped.

"I was pleased today that the court did dismiss the charges against my client," his lawyer,  said Wednesday. "At no time did he make any admissions of any wrongdoing in the matter."

It was claimed that Himmel raped a woman the weekend of August 25 and 26, 2012 — the weekend students moved onto campus.

It was stated that he grabbed her from behind by her hair on Route 195, or Storrs Road, and held her down, according to the warrant for his arrest, and that he may have hit her in the face with a skateboard, he said.

After he raped her, he left her there and ran back to his apartment near campus, the warrant stated.

Later, police reviewed surveillance video of Himmel walking on Route 195, and while he wasn't always in view, they never saw him attacking, or running away, according to the warrant.

He eventually told police he did not assaulted anyone at all, the warrant states.

Hard to believe, isn't it? A person accused of rape who, while not admitting any wrongdoing, goes into a diversionary program, writes a letter of apology and donates time and money to charity?

That's because the above isn't the actual story. Just a small switch of the genders, and small adjustments to the story. The real story is HERE.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


We are again enabling comments. I'm going to demand that comments be kept civil, and that they be related to the article/post -- and while it may be tempting, no gender bashing.

Pierce and I reserve the right to delete comments we feel have wandered outside of these simple rules (and we won't limit ourselves to these rules, if we feel deletion is warranted).

And please, if you feel the need to come here and call us hateful, or rape apologists, or any other vile names, simply because we advocate for anyone falsely accused of what is widely considered to be the most hateful crimes, then this may not be the place for you. We don't go to sites that support individuals that HAVE been raped/sexually assaulted, and insist that the focus not be on those victims, but rather on the victims of a completely separate crime. All we ask, is that the same consideration is extended here.

Thank you,

Pierce and Steve.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sara Ylen Convicted

Follow up to HERE and HERE

30 minutes. That's half the time it takes me to drive to work. And that is all the time needed for a jury to convict Sara Ylen for falsely accusing 2 men of rape.

This is of course, on top of her lying about having cancer, for which she is up on fraud and false pretenses, for which she still faces trial in February.

Of course, she has previously spoken publicly of being a rape victim, and the man she accused, James Grissom, spent close to a decade in prison due to that accusation. Thankfully, his conviction was overturned last year.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Could the "regret asymmetry" explain the accusation in the Jameis Winston case?

Emily Bazelon is not happy that when the state attorney in the Jameis Winston announced that no rape charges would be filed against Mr. Winston he made a point of noting that the alleged victim (Bazelon left out the word "alleged") "acknowledged having sex with her boyfriend" at some point prior to the encounter with Mr. Winston, thus accounting for another man's DNA on her clothing. Bazelon says this amounted to "slut shaming."

Then Bazelon says the following: ". . . it is hard for me to imagine that she had consensual sex with Winston and then decided to lie and say it was rape."

Allow us to connect the dots for you, Bazelon.

Before we proceed, let's clarify that Bazelon doesn't know what happened in the Winston case, and neither do we. We aren't going to call the accuser a liar, just as it's improper to suggest Mr. Winston is a rapist. No one can say except the people who were there, and they have differing accounts.

But Bazelon's incredulity that someone in this accuser's position might lie about rape is either grossly dishonest or grossly uninformed.

Bazelon's own article explains why someone in the position of this woman might have lied: false accusations often stem from the fear of being "slut shamed." It is important to know that the accuser had a boyfriend with whom she was sexually intimate because this may suggest a motive to lie about rape. It is important for the same reason it was important -- but initially ignored by law enforcement investigators -- in the infamous Hofstra false rape case. Danmell Ndonye lied about rape in the Hofstra case likely because she was embarrassed that she was cheating on her boyfriend in a way society considers very nasty.

Feminist gadfly Amanda Marcotte once wrote that "the idea that it's shameful to just have sex because you want to" is "the reason that you have false rape accusations in the first place." One of the common motives cited by experts for false rape claims is "remorse after an impulsive sexual fling . . . ." Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, S. Taylor, K.C. Johnson at 375 (2007).

In short, it is not implausible to believe that someone in the position of the accuser in the Winston case would lie about rape because of the "regret asymmetry" that divides young men and young women. We discussed it recently here.

This isn't some controversial or far-out theory concocted by women-haters or men's rights advocates. If we ever really want to have an adult dialogue about these issues, we need to get honest about it and stop ignoring the obvious -- and we need to exile people like Emily Bazelon to the kid's table so the adults can have a serious discussion.

Judge overturns Ill. rape conviction after witnesses says he was tortured into false testimony


CHICAGO – A judge Tuesday overturned the conviction of a man who spent 30 years in prison for a rape he says he falsely confessed to after being tortured by police.

Cook County Judge Richard Walsh ordered that Stanley Wrice, 59, be released from prison, saying officers lied about how they treated him. The decision was just the latest development in one of the darkest chapters of Chicago Police Department history, in which officers working under former Lt. Jon Burge have been accused of torturing suspects into false confessions and torturing witnesses into falsely implicating people in crimes.

Wrice was sentenced to 100 years in prison for a 1982 sexual assault. For years, he insisted he confessed to the crime only after officers beat him in the groin and face.

One of Wrice's attorney, Heidi Linn Lambros, said that when the ruling was announced, Wrice "squeezed my hand and looked at me with tears in his eyes and said he owed me a dollar," a reference to the bet she made with Wrice recently that she would have him home by Christmas.

The Department of Corrections says Wrice will be released from the Pontiac Correctional Center on Wednesday. It's up to a special prosecutor to decide whether to retry Wrice. The special prosecutor did not immiedately return a call seeking comment Tuesday evening.

Walsh issued his ruling after a hearing in which a witness also testified that two Chicago police officers under Burge's command tortured him into giving false testimony during Wrice's trial.

With his release, Wrice will join a number of men who in recent years have been released from prison because they were tortured into confessing at the hands of Burge's men. Chicago has paid out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits in cases related to Burge.

No Chicago police officers have ever been convicted of torturing suspects, but Burge is serving time in a federal prison after being convicted of perjury in connection with testimony he gave in a civil case involving allegations of torture.

Wrice testified at Tuesday's hearing that former officers John Byrne and Peter Dignan beat him with a flashlight and a 20-inch piece of rubber -- the same weapons, Lambros said, that others have said the two used on them to get them to confess to crimes or implicate others in crimes they did not commit.

Byrne and Dignan refused to testify, citing their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Lambros said that Walsh blistered the two former officers while making his ruling, saying the two had lied about the way they treated Wrice during a hearing in 1982. The judge also said the detectives under Burge's command did, in fact, torture suspects.

Monday, December 9, 2013

ESPN's Heather Cox ambushes Jameis Winston to ask why he exercised his Fifth Amendment rights in the investigation of his alleged sexual assault

This is an important story that hardly anyone is talking about.

Jameis Winston, a redshirt Freshman quarterback for Florida State, is the leading candidate to win the Heisman Trophy. Last week, state prosecutors announced that no sexual assault charges would be filed against Mr. Winston stemming from a sexual encounter with a female student that occurred last year.

During the course of the police investigation in the case, almost certainly on the advice of counsel, Mr. Winston refused to be interviewed by police and did not answer questions from the media. It was Winston's right to refuse to be interviewed, but that didn't stop an ESPN reporter named Heather Cox from ambushing Winston after the game last Saturday to make him look guilty.

How did she do that? By asking why he exercised his Fifth Amendment rights.


To understand why what Cox did was so terribly offensive, you might need a short refresher course: the refusal to speak to police is a right that is sacrosanct to our freedoms. It is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This right wasn't designed to shelter the guilty but to protect the innocent, and that's what most people don't get. Too often the innocent think they can just tell the truth and the police will drop the charges. That's not how it works, as every criminal defense attorney will tell you. As the Supreme Court has stated, "one of the Fifth Amendment's basic functions is to protect innocent men who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances." In a criminal case, the burden remains on the prosecution to prove a defendant's guilt, and every citizen enjoys the right to refuse to provide information that may assist the prosecution in its efforts to accuse, charge, or convict him of a crime. So important is this right that Justice Felix Frankfurter described the Fifth Amendment as "one of the greatest landmarks in man's struggle to make himself civilized."

The average person almost certainly doesn't understand the critical importance of the right of the accused to remain silent, and our courts recognize that the average person will improperly draw negative inferences from it. If a prosecutor tries to make a person look guilty by mentioning it, it's prosecutorial misconduct. In jury trials, the judge instructs the jury that no inference whatsoever may be drawn from a witness' reliance on the Fifth Amendment.

ESPN's Heather Cox is a seasoned sports reporter and no dummy. Cox surely knows that the average person would infer that a refusal to talk to police is a sign of guilt. Yet, immediately after the Florida State Seminoles' blowout victory over the Duke Blue Devils in the ACC Championship on Saturday, Cox decided to play "gotcha" on national television with Mr. Winston who, despite his fame, is still just a teenager trying to cope with an explosion of attention.

Cox's questions focused almost entirely on the sexual assault investigation, and Winston did his best to answer them. But then, Cox ambushed the young man with the question she likely believed would expose him to the nation as guilty.

Cox asked the young man why he chose not to speak with authorities throughout the investigation: "How come you decided not to talk during the process and on Thursday?"

Cox knew damn well why Winston did not talk to the police. His attorney told him not to. She also knew damn well that when she ambushes an unprepared 19-year-old with that question, he isn't going to be able to provide an off-the-cuff tutorial about the Constitution that would to satisfy anyone. If Cox wanted a real answer to that question, she should have posed it to Winston's attorney.

Our guess is that a real answer isn't what she was after. We think she was looking for Winston to stumble around and look guilty so she could convict him in the court of last resort, the court of public opinion.

After Cox asked the question, Winston did the right thing, in fact, the only thing he could do. He walked away. It was the smartest play he made all day, and that's saying a lot.

What's disheartening is that Cox and Cox's bosses at ESPN probably think that insinuating Winston's guilt ambush-style, before a national audience, made for "good television."

It is well to note that Cox and ESPN would never dream of posing a similar question to the accuser. The police report in the Winston case reveals the following entry on February 18, 2013: "This case is being suspended at this time due to a lack of cooperation from the victim." To even consider asking the accuser why she didn't cooperate with police would be branded "victim blaming" by many. Yet it's somehow fair to ask a presumptively innocent young man why he exercised a right that many brave young men have died for.

Since we're on the subject of the police report, note that two eyewitnesses gave the police sworn statements -- their affidavits are contained in the police report. Read them for yourself. Their accounts are diametrically opposed to the accuser's story and, if true, reflect badly on the young woman who made the accusation.

Student acquitted of rape, sues college and student accuser

Stephen Zingarelli, a former Kenyon student who was acquitted last June of rape and gross sexual imposition, filed a lawsuit on Thursday, Dec. 5 in Knox County’s Court of Common Pleas against Kenyon College, the student who accused him of rape and a student Sexual Misconduct Advisor (SMA). The suit was first reported by the Mount Vernon News yesterday.

In the suit, which contains 14 individual counts, Zingarelli accuses Kenyon of breach of contract and negligence in the training and supervision of SMAs. The suit also accuses Kenyon of violating Title IX of the Education Acts Amendment of 1972 by discriminating against him based on his sex.

Zingarelli also alleges that his student accuser subjected him to malicious prosecution, infliction of emotional duress and defamation.

In the suit, Zingarelli additionally claims his accuser destroyed evidence relevant to the case, and alleges that those actions were taken "with the aid and encouragement of [the sexual misconduct advisor], and at her direction."

All three defendants are accused of civil conspiracy to damage Zingarelli in the suit, which was independently obtained and confirmed by the Collegian.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the College as well as injunctive relief. The suit also seeks damages and attorneys fees from the two student defendants.

Although the suit repeatedly seeks damages “yet to be determined,” it cites $175,000 in paid Kenyon tuition, counseling fees in excess of $500, attorney’s fees in excess of $15,000 and “lost opportunities and income caused by delay in graduating and entering the professional world.”

Director of Public Affairs Mark Ellis told the Collegian that Kenyon would not comment on pending litigation.

Mr. Zingarelli’s attorneys, who are employed by a firm in Cleveland, did not immediately return the Collegian’s request for comment.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Penn students attack this blog with the silliest of arguments

At the University of Pennsylvania, a class blog for "Gender and Society" has taken issue with a post we wrote that "argu[ed] that the use of the preponderance standard [in college disciplinary proceedings] is damaging to the human dignity of defendants . . . ."

We are by no means a leading voice in opposition to the "Dear Colleague" letter. That distinction likely belongs to Fire. Other organizations have spoken out strongly as well, including The American Association of University Professors.

The rationales of the Penn students to explain why we are wrong reads like a caricature of a stilted and irrational feminist. It would be laughable were it not alarming that a student at an Ivy League School could write such silliness. Decide for yourself:
This post shrouds victim-blaming language in the rhetoric of justice, when justice and rape culture are in fact mutually exclusive. There is justice when one understands that the stigma, confusion and social pressure that accompany sexual violence give victims no incentive to falsely report (or report, period). There is justice when one trusts the word of survivors without challenging them to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that their rape was an “actual rape.” The use of the preponderance standard is a move towards justice, towards belief in survivors of sexual violence – a move towards “committing ourselves fully to resisting and eradicating patriarchy” . . ..
The puerility of the argument is undeserving of any, much less a serious, response. We note two ironies: (1) the post of ours the blog attacks undermines the assumption that accusers should be automatically trusted -- of course the blog doesn't bother to refute the facts we cited in that post; and (2) we've recently written how the phrase "victim blaming" is lobbed at anyone who dares to speak up for the wrongly accused. Here is just more evidence of that.

COTWA invites everyone to read the post we wrote under attack, and to read the blog that attacked us. Decide for yourself who deserves to be at the adult table on these issues, and who doesn't.

Friday, December 6, 2013

If you think your son is treated fairly in college sex hearings, you need to read this

In the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto has written one of the most stinging indictments we've come across about the gross deficiencies in college justice when it comes to accusations of sex offenses lodged against male students. Mr. Taranto chronicles the blatantly unjust hearing that student Joshua Strange was subjected to Auburn University. The article is a cornucopia of unfairness, a treasure trove of injustice, and must-reading for anyone who gives a damn about young men in college.

We're not going to repeat it, and we certainly can write anything as compelling. You need to read Mr. Taranto's piece carefully.

We do want to expand on one point, however, to illustrate the injustice. If you think that your sons are getting anything approaching justice in these sorts of hearings, consider the fact that in the case Mr. Taranto talked about, the accuser was permitted to call two Auburn administrators as witnesses who vouched for the credibility of the accuser in a way that real courts would not allow.

First, Susan McCallister, an associate director with the campus police who doubles as a "safe-harbor advocate," a concierge for purported sex-crime victims. "Any kind of services that they need access to, we provide a doorway," she explained. Such services include counseling, "academic accommodations" and help in filing police reports.At the hearing, Ms. McCallister proclaimed the accuser "very credible" and attested to the belief that Mr. Strange was "a potential threat to [the accuser's] safety." Ms. McCallister made that assertion despite disavowing knowledge even of the accuser's version of events. "As a safe-harbor advocate, I really don't need to know a lot of details, and so I didn't ask her to go into great detail," Ms. McCallister said.

The accuser's second witness was Kelley Taylor, the university's sex-discrimination enforcer. Ms. Taylor also described the accuser as "credible" and added that she found the allegation "very compelling."

What's the problem with allowing these two as witnesses?

Last year, the Court of Appeals of Texas threw out the conviction when a trial court allowed the same sort of testimony and held that an expert cannot "give an opinion as to whether a person—or a class of persons to which the complainant belongs—is truthful."  Shortly after that, in Connecticut, another mistrial was declared in another sexual assault case after another expert witness improperly testified that the accuser was credible. And in an unrelated case, another court said that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing an expert witness to indirectly testify about the truthfulness of a complaint's allegations in a sexual abuse case. The expert witness testified to the effect that the complainant exhibited certain behaviors that were consistent with those of sexual abuse victims. The court said that's not allowed because the statements impermissibly vouched for and bolstered the credibility of the complainant.

Yet, Auburn happily listened to two sexual assault "experts" tell the tribunal that the accuser is truthful and that the accused is a threat to her.

Tim Dodge, presiding over the kangaroo court, wanted reassurance that Taylor's opinions were authoritative. He asked: "Are typical alleged victims' reactions present in the available literature?"

Ms. Taylor: "Yes. Yes. In fact, there's, um—I mean, I don't have it here to distribute, but—"

Mr. Dodge: "Right."

Ms. Taylor: "—um, there's a whole, um, host of information on victimology, um—particularly sociology. People with specialties in sociology, psychology, have written tomes about how to assess credibility, the victimology behind this kind of thing, why victims don't always report right away—the whole gamut. I haven't read them all, of course, but I've read some of them, and I've been exposed to a number of them in my training."

Mr. Dodge: "So in other words, there is professional literature out there."

Ms. Taylor: "Absolutely."

Mr. Dodge: "OK."

Good for you, Mr. Dodge. Great job.

In courts, we do not allow even the most heinous criminal to be subjected to expert testimony that vouches for their accusers' story. But in college sexual assault proceedings, we allow our sons to be subjected to life-altering hearings where the same sort of damning testimony is not just allowed but is happily credited, and hardly anyone gives a damn.

Emily Bazelon, stop! Just stop!

Emily, this obsession you're having with the Jameis Winston case is unseemly, even for an ideologue. Just stop!

At the very least, please stop calling the "accuser" a "victim."

As for your assertion that "[i]t is uncommon for victims to make false accusations of sexual assault," please tell us what that has to do with THIS CASE?

And please tell your readers the whole story. False rape claims are relatively rare in the context of surveys where every claim is accepted as true, and none are tested against competing claims, and evidence, of innocence. That's a fact. For REPORTED rape claims, where investigators are required to consider competing evidence of innocence, the percentage of claims that can be classified with reasonable certainty as "rape" drops dramatically -- underscore dramatically.

Here's an example we cited yesterday: at the University of Michigan where a "preponderance of the evidence" standard is employed for sexual assault (ever so slightly more than 50%), of the 38 sexual assault violations reported to the school in the course of a year, only six students were found responsible and seven students were cleared of wrongdoing. In 19 cases, officials didn't have enough information to move forward. Thus, even with a preponderance of the evidence standard, fewer than 19 percent of reported claims could be proven. (We suspect that reported sexual assault claims are, on the whole, easier to prove than unreported claims. What does it tell us when the vast majority of reported sexual assault claims can't even pass the probable cause test?)

In contrast, if those same 38 sexual assault claimants had been merely surveyed, it is likely that all 38, or certainly the vast majority, would be deemed to be actual sexual assaults. Now tell us, which is more fair and accurate -- relying on a survey where every claim is uncritically accepted, or relying on the real world test where the claims are subject to competing evidence of innocence?

We loathe and detest this Oppression Olympics you seem to relish -- but we're not going to sit still while you trivialize the victimization of the wrongly accused by pretending there are too few of them to worry about, and we're not going to ignore your hissy fits when a man is cleared because there isn't even probable cause to arrest him.  Yes, Emily, your readers ought to know that in the Winston case, the state attorney said there wasn't even enough evidence (meaning, just probable cause) to arrest Winston, much less charge or convict him.  Yet you seem pissed that he's not going to prison.

You do your cause no favors. People are more than happy to string rapists up by their you-know-whats. But people don't like to see the lives of young men destroyed by doubtful claims.

But you seem upset that that isn't happening here, and that's very disconcerting.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Today's announcement in the Winston case illustrates the folly of those who ponder whether athletes should be "punished" on the basis of nothing more than a rape accusation

Emily Bazelon, a self-proclaimed feminist, recently wrote about the Jameis Winston case: "Whether schools should punish athletes who have been accused but not convicted—or in Winston’s case, even charged—is a hard call."

Of course it is not a hard call, at least it's not for anyone who believes in due process, the rule of law, and fair play. Today's announcement by the state attorney underscores why Bazelon's statement was both bizarre and wholly unjust.

Prosecutors, the state attorney said, did not even have enough evidence (probable cause) to arrest Winston, much less charge or convict him.

The usual suspects who are happy to rush to judgment in these sorts of politicized cases bellyached about the delay in collecting Winston's DNA. The state attorney dismissed those concerns. Winston's DNA was "immaterial" -- Winston and the accuser had sex, there is no dispute about that. The DNA would only corroborate a fact that is not in dispute. The question was whether it was a "forceful act," and the DNA can't help answer that.

By the way, another DNA sample from a different man was found on the accuser's shorts. The state attorney revealed that the accuser "acknowledged having sex with her boyfriend, but she wouldn't tell me who her boyfriend was."

Several people were in the room on the night of the incident, the state attorney said, and all were interviewed. The accuser's blood-alcohol level when taken was 0.04%, which the state attorney said was "not very high." He further said investigators extrapolated the data to determine that her BAC was about 0.1%, slightly over the legal limit to drive, at the time of the incident. "We found no evidence of any drugs of any sort in her blood system." he said.

There was, in short, no indication Winston sexually assaulted the woman.

We've read a lot of accounts of today's press conference. A number of them call the accuser "the victim" despite the absence of any legitimate basis for doing so.

We fear that there are lots of ideologues who think that Winston should have been "punished" on the basis of an accusation. Today's announcement will not change that. That sort of thinking should be a concern to all persons of good will. Angry gender politics has no place in dealing with serious accusations of criminality.

Finally, we note that this is another in a long string of high profile rape cases where an accusation was blown out of proportion, and the case ended with no charges being filed because the evidence didn't support them. The ideologues who blow these cases out of proportion do not favors to rape victims -- these sorts of high profile resolutions only increase public skepticism about date rape accusations. It's best to let the police do their job quietly without turning every rape allegation against a celebrity into a gender passion play.

Scrap the "Dear Colleague" letter: Real world evidence is showing it isn't helping rape victims -- and the potential harm in wrongly punishing an innocent student far outweighs its benefits

The Department of Education claims that "1 in 5 women are victims of completed or attempted sexual assault while in college."  This assertion is highly controversial, but if true, it means that for a student female population of, say, 17,686, more than 3,500 will be victimized by sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in the course of their college careers. Over a four year college career that works out to an astounding 875 victims every single year.

We used that number as an example because that's roughly the female student population at the University of Maryland.

Does anyone seriously think that 875 female students at the University of Maryland are the victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault every single year? Heather MacDonald once wrote that, if true, this would be "a crime wave of unprecedented proportions."

The problem, we are told, is that hardly any college women bother to report sex offenses committed against them. To combat underreporting, the Department of Education handed down the much criticized 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter. Among other controversial mandates, that letter required schools to find students accused of sexual-related offenses guilty if the evidence showed they did it by a mere preponderance of the evidence -- slightly more than a 50% chance

Sex offenses needed to "treated differently" than every other infraction committed on campus because of underreporting. The reduced standard of proof of the "Dear Colleague" letter, we were told, was going to help solve the underreporting problem. See, e.g.here and here and here and here.

The problem with mandating a lower standard of proof is that it makes it easier to punish not just the guilty but the innocent as well. The Department of Education didn't bother to consider the innocent. Before the "Dear Colleague" letter, many schools employed a higher standard of proof (e.g., clear and convincing evidence) in order to find accused students guilty of these offenses. The only reason for having a higher standards of proof is to protect innocent students from being found guilty of an offense they did not commit. The Department of Education swept over the rights of the wrongly accused like a high speed rail. A student at the University of Maryland summed up the prevailing thinking: insuring that perpetrators of sexual assault are punished is sufficiently important that it is "worth the risk" of punishing an innocent student for an offense he did not commit.

So what happens if it turns out that the new rule does not help stem underreporting?  What happens when a principal justification for making it easier to punish the innocent turns out not to be true?

We noted above that if the Department of Education is correct, the University of Maryland has 875 cases of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault every year.

With the preponderance of the evidence standard now firmly in place, how many of those 875 women came forward to report their victimization last year?

Andrea Goodwin, director of the Office of Student Conduct at the University of Maryland, said that during the past academic year, her office did not process a single sexual harassment or sexual assault complaint. That means, of course, that no cases of sexual misconduct have progressed all the way to hearings.

We knew that the "Dear Colleague" letter would not be a magic elixir for underreporting. The Department of Education should have asked Scott Berkowitz, President & Founder of the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), undeniably an expert on the subject. His testimony about this subject in a 2010 Senate hearing in 2010 revealed that any hopes that it would be were unwarranted. Amanda Hess summarized it here:
More victims may not be reporting their rapes, but the reasoning has changed over the past few decades. "A generation ago," the reasons were things like, "fear of not being believed; fear of being interrogated about and blamed for their own behavior, and what they were wearing. In short, they feared that they would be the one on trial." 
Today, "the perception of many victims has evolved." Now they don't report for these reasons: "they don't want their loved ones to know what happened; they're ashamed themselves; they just want to put it all behind them." Today, "fear and shame of how the police wil [sic] treat them" has moved down on the list of reasons victims provide for not officially reporting the crime.
But at other schools, sexual assaults are being reported. Is the Dear Colleague letter helping victims there? We reported earlier this year that at the University of Michigan, of the 38 sexual assault violations reported to the school in the course of a year, six students were found responsible and seven students were cleared of wrongdoing. In 19 cases, officials didn't have enough information to move forward. Thus, even with a preponderance of the evidence standard, fewer than 19 percent of reported claims could be proven.

We are now acquiring real world experience showing that the Department of Education's mandate to reduce the standard of proof in sexual assault cases isn't doing anything to help victims. The rationales used to justify the draconian reduction in the standard of proof are proving to be unfounded. If, indeed, the schools referenced above are indicative of a nation trend -- and we are fairly certain they are -- then it is clear that the potential harm in reducing the standard of proof to the wrongly accused far outweighs any conceivable benefits to rape victims. For that reason alone, the "Dear Colleague" letter needs to be scrapped.

Back in the swing

Hello everyone. After a short hiatus, I have returned. Work, family, and life in general mandated a break from the grind, and I find myself refreshed, recharged and ready to get back in the swing of things. I'll start posting stories, and this time around, I plan on putting up more opinion pieces as well, to take a bit of the load from Pierce's shoulders.
To that end, I would like to say thank you to Pierce for his understanding and patience during my time away, as well as his dedication and devotion to maintaining the site, and his perserverance through the 5+ years he’s been doing this.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

'False rape claim woman is jailed'

From the news report here.

A 23-year-old “compulsive liar”, who falsely accused a former “ungallant” boyfriend of rape after he ended their on-off relationship by text, was sentenced to three months yesterday.

Judge Desmond Marrinan told Natasha Foster from the Ballymoney Road, Ballymena, that such wicked accusations could be seen as an attack on the criminal justice system, adding to the plight of genuine rape victims, undermining their claims in the eyes of the public and also making it difficult for juries having to decide such cases.

The Antrim Crown Court judge said it was a difficult case when it came to deciding what was a fair, just and proportionate sentence. However, while a sentence of six months, if not longer, would be justified, given the mitigating factors, such as her genuine remorse, and the fact she was now a young mother, he would reduce the sentence to three months.

Foster, who admitted a charge of perverting the course of public justice, is the third woman in Northern Ireland to be sentenced for making similar claims. In 2010 Newtownabbey woman Lindsay Gorman was jailed for nine months, while last January a Dromore woman, Belinda Poots Sneddon, was given a two-year suspended jail term plus a £1,000 fine.

Judge Marrinan said that in November 2011 Foster, who had a new boyfriend, still harboured the hope of a reconcilliation with her former lover, “Mr X”. He had called at her home to collect some belongings, during which “something happened”, but a short time later Mr X sent a text message indicating he was not going to resume the relationship.

While the judge said this may well be described as a “somewhat ungallant act”, it did not warrant or justify what Foster did next, which was to inform her new boyfriend, and later the police, that Mr X had raped her.

Foster will serve half of her three-month term in custody, and the rest on supervised licenced parole.

Root cause of false rape claims: the 'regret asymmetry' between men and women

Woman: "I was so not going to do that. I was going to make you wait like 40 days." 

Man: "I was going to make you wait, too. Then I realized … I'm a dude." 

It's dialogue from "That Awkward Moment," a bromance starring Zac Efron. Here, Zac's character has fallen for a girl played by Imogen Poots. They wind up in bed quickly after meeting. In the excerpted dialogue, she's expressing regret for hopping into bed so quickly; he's acknowledging that he shared her hesitation but opted to act in accordance with the expectations of his gender. That little snippet of dialogue goes to the heart of a lot of problems that arise between young men and women, and that's not just our opinion, it's a fact.

Women, more than men, regret hopping into bed with people they don't know well. It's the "regret asymmetry" that divides the sexes, and it's a root cause of unsatisfying sexual encounters, including a sizable percentage of false rape claims. The "regret asymmetry" ought to be taught in every school to every teenager so that they might think carefully about what is going on while in the throes of passion.

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."

It's not just damage to reputation women fear, it's a fear of getting pregnant and having to tell mom and dad who don't know she's sexually active.

Another recent study has confirmed the regret asymmetry between men and women. 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." 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.

The regret asymmetry stems from societal expectations. Another study shows that women lie about having sex to be in sync with expected gender roles. When women believe they can lie and get away with it, they understate the number of their sexual partners. In contrast, when they were hooked up to a lie detector and thought they had to be truthful, they reported more sexual partners than when they felt no such compulsion to be honest. For men, the result was exactly the opposite: when men thought they could lie and get away with it, they reported more sexual partners than they reported when they thought they had to be truthful. Researcher Terri Fisher, an Ohio State University professor of psychology, explained: "Sexuality seemed to be the one area where people felt some concern if they didn't meet the stereotypes of a typical man or a typical woman."

It's really not some controversial theory. Even feminist gadfly Amanda Marcotte once wrote that "the idea that it's shameful to just have sex because you want to" is "the reason that you have false rape accusations in the first place." Marcotte noted that "women who aren't ashamed of having sexual adventures like group sex-even ones that go bad-don't use rape accusations to cover up their choices. It's the women who are afraid they'll be called sluts if it gets out that make up these rape stories."

A perceived need to cover up an illicit sexual encounter is a primary motivation for false rape claims. One of the common motives cited by experts for false rape claims is "remorse after an impulsive sexual fling . . . ." Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, S. Taylor, K.C. Johnson at 375 (2007).

Amanda Hess similarly talked about women who make false claims to defend their "femininity." She says that adherence to expected gender roles is a cause of both rape and false rape claims:
Both rape and rape accusations are products of the roles assigned by rape culture. In the traditional seduction scenario, a woman is expected to not desire to have sex, and to only submit after the man has successfully coerced her into submission. When the preferred model for consensual sex looks a hell of a lot like rape, an array of fucked-up scenarios are inevitable: the woman never wanted to fuck the guy, refuses to submit, and is raped; the woman submits to the man's coercion in order to avoid other negative consequences (like being raped); the woman had desired the sex all along, but must defend her femininity by saying that she had been coerced into sex. Thankfully, a good deal of modern men and women reject these antiquated ideas, but they're far from being banished from the sexual landscape. . . . . 
Why is it important for teenagers to know about the regret asymmetry? Because forewarned is forearmed. Wouldn't it be good for a young guy to be aware that the girl he's trying to get into bed might not feel the same way the next morning after she's completely sober? Shouldn't girls be aware that guys often act in accordance with gender expectations, and that it's common for girls to feel worse about these sorts of encounters the next morning than they did at the time they agreed to hop into bed?

[EDIT: If you need a vivid example of what this post is trying to say, here's one. A girl sneaked her boyfriend into her bedroom. When her father caught them, she lied that she didn't know him, and the father shot the boy to death.]

How about we ditch all the "Tell Men Not to Rape" and "Tell Women Not to Make False Rape Claims" posters, and start getting serious about it. It's time to teach our sons and daughters how to have mature relationships without all the angry, politicized baggage that swirls around these issues.