Monday, December 2, 2013

Please, don't tell me this is the way things are supposed to work . . .

The photograph of a completely innocent man was splattered across the June 24th edition of the Manchester Evening News. It said police were looking for him in connection with an alleged rape.

Only the Manchester Evening News didn't act like it was just an allegation. The newspaper wrote the following:
The victim, a 24-year-old woman, was raped by a man as they walked through Hurst Cemetery off King’s Road on Saturday, June 22. 
She had previously met him a short time before the offence took place. 
The offender is described as white, about 34 years old, 5ft 8in tall, of medium to chubby build with short blonde hair. He had stubble on his face and a tattoo of a swallow on his left hand."
. . . .
Detective Sergeant Gareth Jenkins, said: “The offender has subjected her to a serious and horrific sexual assault in an isolated cemetery, only stopping when disturbed by a passerby. 
"We have been supporting the victim, who is clearly distressed, as best as we can since this happened.'"
Sounds like both the police and the newspaper knew that a rape occurred, didn't it? Did the newspaper do its own independent investigation, or was it just acting as stenographer for the police?

The hapless "offender" turned himself in and was quickly arrested. He lived under a cloud of suspicion for months, until now. The police finally have determine it never happened. Detective Constable Laura Orton said: “We are now confident that no crime has occurred . . . ."

Really, Detective Orton? No crime? What about false reporting of rape?

Does anyone really think this is the way things are "supposed" to work?

An innocent man is arrested and found himself under a cloud of suspicion for months based on nothing more than the word of the accuser, and the newspaper, and the police, act as if a rape had definitely occurred?

The Manchester Police and the Manchester Evening News can do their jobs without rushing to judgment, without convicting innocent men in the court of last resort, the court of public opinion.

They can treat allegations seriously without assuming the accuser was a "victim," that the accused was an "offender," and that "a serious and horrific sexual assault" definitely occurred before they know if it did.

The Manchester Evening News and the Manchester Police failed the public and unnecessary hurt an innocent man. And we haven't even talked about the architect of this injustice, the accuser. If there is a reasonable basis to believe she lied, she needs to be charged, convicted, and given a custodial sentence of significant length.