Thursday, February 28, 2013

Case against NGO for forcing woman to file false rape case

A city court has asked the Delhi Police to conduct an investigation into the role of a prominent NGO after a "rescued rape victim" told the court that a worker from the NGO had "tutored" her and told her to falsely depose that she had been raped by her employer, a businessman.

Additional Sessions Judge Nivedita Anil Sharma on Saturday acquitted the businessman — a Punjabi Bagh resident — of the charge of rape.

The court also noted that though the NGO Shakti Vahini had been associated "in over a thousand cases", this case was the first instance in which the NGO had gotten involved to the extent of filing an application for the cancellation of bail of the accused.

The businessman had been granted bail to conduct the last rites of his mother, after spending 72 days in jail. The NGO had filed an application seeking the cancellation of bail.

The court dismissed the application and noted that the NGO had no locus standi to file a petition regarding the bail of an accused.

During arguments, the court found that the woman, who was sent to the Nirmal Chhaya women's home, had written to superintendent of Nirmal Chhaya and that her employer had not raped her.

The prosecution said the woman, who hails from Assam, was a minor and was "rescued" by the NGO and police from the Punjabi Bagh home of the businessman in October 2012.

It said the woman had told police that she was being forcibly kept at the businessman's home for three years with very little pay.

The prosecution had chargesheeted the businessman for rape and under the anti-human trafficking and anti-bonded labour laws.

The chargesheet also said the woman had given a statement that she had been raped numerous times by businessman, who had also "given her some tablets" after raping her.

However, the woman testified before the court that she had made false allegations after the NGO worker had told her that she would receive a lot of money if she filed a complaint of rape against her employer.

The woman told court that she was over 20 years old and had come to Delhi to find a job, along with a person known to her, with the knowledge of her family.

The court noted that "more than normal interest" was shown by the caseworker, who according to her own testimony, and the woman's statement, had remained with the woman all through the rescue proceedings as well as the medical examination, and had also remained present when police and the magistrate had recorded the statement of the woman.

Sahni's advocate R N Vats told the court that the accused did not have any access to the woman at the shelter home and could not have manipulated or bribed her.

Noting that "instances of apparent nexus between the placement agency, the NGO and police have been noticed, where a poor tribal woman has been used by any or all three to extort money", the court lodged a case of perjury against the woman.

Senate approves innocence bill

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) - A bill that could make it easier for the wrongly convicted to prove their innocence is one signature away from becoming law.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's amendment to the Writ of Actual Innocence bill would loosen the stringent demands for defendants to prove their innocence and allow the attorney general to provide evidence of innocence, not just guilty.

This comes just months after Johnathon Montgomery was granted a conditional pardon by Governor Bob McDonnell. A Writ of Actual Innocence needs to be filed in his case to fully clear his record.

Montgomery was falsely imprisoned for more than half of his 7-year sentence on a rape charge. His accuser backed off her accusation last year, and charges were dropped against Montgomery.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Advice columnist's diagnosis of "rape" a little premature

Here's advice columnist "Ask Amy" fielding a question about rape:
Dear Amy: Recently I was shopping and ran into one of my older brother's friends. He is 19 years old. I am 16. I was attracted to him. He invited me to his house and I went. He kissed me. I wanted to make out with him, but I did not want to go all the way and told him so. We made out. I wanted to stop. I wanted only to kiss him. We ended up having sex. I didn't say "stop" out loud. I kept thinking, "Stop! Stop! Stop!" But I didn't say it. I don't know why. I felt scared and shy. He didn't do anything to scare me. I just felt too scared to say stop. I felt stupid too. My mom's friend said I was raped. She said: "You told him you didn't want to go all the way. He's older than you. He should know better." She said a girl has to say "yes," and if a girl doesn't say yes and has sex, then she was raped.

Was I raped? I don't want to go to the police. I just want to know the answer. — Super Sad

Dear Sad: Your mother's friend is right. Though there are different legal definitions of rape in different states, you did not give your consent to have sex. And in some states, you are younger than the age of consent. In fact, you said — out loud — that you didn't want to, and you were raped. You were scared. You were in his house, he is older than you — I'm assuming he is bigger than you, and I'm also assuming you have never had to deal with anything like this before.
Your mother's friend sounds kind, smart and supportive. Please let her help you now. You need STD and pregnancy testing. (Planned Parenthood can provide testing and counseling; check plannedparenthood.org for your local clinic.)
I urge you to go to the police to get their advice about what to do, legally and otherwise. I realize you don't want to do this, but this guy must not walk around thinking that what he's done is OK.
I am certain that your willingness to tell your story will help many people.
For more support and information, you can check the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network hotline at rainn.org or by calling 800-656-4673. They now have an "online hotline" where you can chat with a counselor 24/7.
COTWA's TAKE: "I did not want to go all the way and told him so" evidences an absence of consent. Thereafter, they made out, and she says that, subjectively, she wanted to stop at kissing. But then she says, "We ended up having sex." We would need to know the circumstances surrounding how they "ended up having sex."  Did her outward conduct manifest a willingness to go all the way? For example, did she guide his penis into her, indicating she'd changed her mind? Or did he just plunge ahead without her consent? We can't conclude that a rape occurred without knowing what happened, and it is irresponsible for Amy to tell an impressionable young woman that a rape occurred without more this critical information. It is well to remember that women can change their minds -- either after giving consent or after saying they don't consent. And, of course, we couldn't possibly declare definitively whether a rape occurred without hearing his side of the story, but in terms of telling the girl what to do, "Ask Amy" was a little premature and a little irresponsible.

Amy's advice about statutory rape is good -- depending on the state, this might be a crime regardless of whether the girl actually consented.

Fair and balanced report in Cornelly Daily Sun about the falsely accused, cites our blog

After False Report, Cornell Defends New Rules for Sexual Assaults 
By Jeff Stein
http://www.cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2013/02/26/after-false-report-cornell-defends-new-rules-sexual-assaults

A recent false report of attempted rape should not stoke fears about Cornell’s new policy for handling sexual assault accusations, several high-ranking administrators have said in defense of their controversial decision to lower the burden of proof in these proceedings.

In Spring 2012, over the dire warnings and desperate pleas of many law professors and local attorneys, the University pushed through a series of changes to its sexual assault policy.

The new system, which is motivated in part by a contested directive from the U.S. Department of Education but also by a desire to reduce the number of campus rape cases, makes it far easier for students to be found guilty of sexual assault.

But does the new policy make it too easy for innocent Cornell students to be wrongly found guilty? That is the objection vociferously raised by opponents of the change, who say that false reports of sexual assault — including one high-profile announcement this November by Cornell police — highlight the perils of stripping the accused of certain traditional safeguards.

Under the new sexual assault system, accused students’ attorneys cannot cross-examine the accusing party, defendants must only be found guilty on a “preponderance” — or 51 percent — of the evidence to face punishment, and students can no longer appeal decisions to a hearing board that includes students. The previous, higher standard for these cases was “clear and convincing evidence.”

“False reports ... serve as a reminder of the dangers of Cornell’s policy, and of the eternal need for procedural protections, no matter how well-intentioned the authorities are,” Prof. Kevin Clermont, law, said. “The University should provide protection to the accused as a matter of fairness.”

Several key defenders of the change, however, say the allegedly false sexual assault report does not weaken the rationale behind the policy change. Going further, they say that the rationale for the new policy is affirmed, even strengthened, by Cornell police’s determination in November that a sexual assault claim was invented.

“I thought the fact that this incident was investigated carefully and professionally, that we figured out what the story was, was a terrific example of the system working,” President David Skorton said in an interview with The Sun. “That doesn’t mean that it wasn't upsetting … But, right now, I'm convinced the way we're doing it is the right way.”

On Sept. 27, police said in a mass email alert that a female student barely escaped after a man dragged her into the woods and tried to rape her. The attempted rape was reported to have occurred on the Trolley Bridge near the Engineering Quad, on a Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.

Two months later, police announced that they had “irrefutable evidence” — supported by video footage — that the attempted rape report was invented. Although she has not faced charges for what is considered a criminal offense, the student who filed the report is no longer enrolled at the University, according to Police Chief Kathy Zoner.

Citing student confidentiality, Zoner declined to comment on several other aspects of the case, including whether or not the student has since admitted to fabricating the report, whether or not she was expelled by Cornell and whether she named an individual as her attacker.

Like Skorton, Cornell Judicial Administrator Mary Beth Grant J.D. ’88 said the apparently false sexual assault report is evidence that Cornell police are careful about not charging innocent students.

“I think the false sexual report demonstrates that the Cornell police did their job: they worked hard to determine if there was evidence to support a case of sexual assault, and they worked hard to determine if there was evidence of a false report,” Grant said, noting that she cannot comment at length about the case due to student confidentiality laws. “I think people who are worried there’d be more false complaints should take stock in the fact that police really worked hard and did not charge someone when the evidence did not support the allegations.”

Clermont sees it differently. Like other legal experts, he blasted the University for vesting too much adjudicatory power in the hands of those investigating the accusations.

"The University’s attitude is, ‘Trust us.’ A good part of the American legal system has grown up because centuries of experience have shown that trusting authority does not provide sufficient protection,” Clermont said. “For the accused, a lot is at stake.”

Clermont and other law professors, including Prof. Cynthia Bowman, law, have focused their complaints on Cornell’s new policy. But the dispute may stem from a more fundamental divergence in perspectives. Whereas Clermont and other critics of the change cite statistics that recognize the potential for false rape accusations, proponents of the lower burden of proof typically — but not universally — downplay the prevalence of false rape reports.

This world-view can be found on websites like that of the Cornell Women’s Resource Center, which vocally supported the new policy, saying it would create a fairer process and better protect students who have been sexually assaulted.

Citing national studies, the WRC website says that one in four women on college campuses are victims of rape or attempted rape.

It also says that “women do not lie about experiencing sexual harassment.”

Estimates about the prevalence of false sexual assault reports vary.

In 2009, the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women released a study that said “methodologically rigorous research” finds that between two and eight percent of rape reports are false. However, other organizations, such as the False Rape Society, often cite an article in the Columbia Journalism Review that says statistics on false rape “depends on who you ask” and that some estimates are much higher.

Whatever the precise percentage of false reports is, for William Shaw ’69, an Ithaca attorney and vocal critic of the revised policy for sexual assault cases, the rights of students accused of sexual assault should never be ignored.

Shaw said he has represented dozens of Cornell students both falsely accused and overcharged — with both sexual assault and other offenses — and worries the University does not fully recognize the “severe emotional trauma” that comes with a false accusation or the serious interim consequences pending the dismissal of the charge, including temporary suspension and removal from campus.

“The new policies have denied fundamental rights to the accused,” said Shaw, who despite his criticism, stressed that he believes Grant and the J.A.’s office is working with good intentions. “The University’s policies deserve to be criticized and should be changed because of their lack of concern for the rights of the accused."

Plainfield man wrongfully imprisoned for child murders to appeal loss in lawsuit against city, investigators

PLAINFIELD — Byron Halsey is more familiar than most with how injustice looks and feels.

And after spending more than 20 years in prison for hideous crimes he didn’t commit, he’s convinced it’s happening all over again.

The city man, who was wrongfully convicted for a pair of child sex assaults and murders committed in 1985 before being exonerated by DNA evidence in 2007, will appeal a federal judge’s decision to toss the lawsuit he filed against the city and the police officials who spearheaded a woefully flawed investigation, according to his attorneys.



“We were shocked and disappointed,” said Nick Brustin, a partner with the powerhouse New York City-based law firm NSB Civil Rights. “We have already filed a notice of appeal, and we’re confident, based on other decisions around the country, that this decision will be reversed.”

U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh on Thursday granted summary judgment to the city and co-defendants Frank Pfeiffer and Raymond Lynch, ruling against Halsey in his bid to illustrate that law enforcement representatives violated his constitutional rights.

The lawsuit had alleged that a 24-year-old Halsey, still suffering the effects of a night of heavy drinking, was taken by officers into a small room at police headquarters and questioned “aggressively and in an accusatory manner” for 12 hours on Nov. 15, 1985. That was just after the bodies of Halsey’s girlfriend’s two young children, 8-year-old Tyrone and 7-year-old Tina, were found in the basement of a boarding house at 209 E. Seventh St., the small boy with nails driven into his skull and Tina’s body exhibiting clear signs of sexual assault.

Halsey never made an admission of guilt during the first round of interrogation, according to his suit, but was never left alone and never told he was free to leave. The next day he was returned to police headquarters to endure another 12 hours of interrogation, the entire saga representing a chain of events Halsey claimed ultimately led to his own false confession (Halsey was freed in 2007 when DNA accessed on appeal pointed to a neighbor, Clifton Hall, as being responsible for the sex assaults and murders).

Yet Cavanaugh ruled Thursday that police broke no laws during their bid to uncover what happened, noting that the police officials who conducted the investigation are entitled to what is known as “qualified immunity” for their roles in Halsey’s eventual wrongful imprisonment.

Brustin declined to talk at length on the record about the basis for Halsey’s pending appeal, but repeatedly expressed confidence that Cavanaugh’s decision will be overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. A full brief is expected to take about three to four months to write and file, he said.

City Corporation Counsel David Minchello, reached by telephone Tuesday, said the news didn’t come as a shock.

“It’s what I expected,” he said. “As it stands now, we don’t know the merits of it (the appeal) ... but we’ll address the matter more when the brief is filed.”

Minchello said he plans to inform the City Council of the pending appeal during a closed session scheduled for Monday. Gauging from similar cases, the city could be liable for anywhere between $1 million and $20 million in damages if Halsey prevails on the appeal and a subsequent reconsideration.

A 53-page counterstatement filed on Halsey’s behalf in October 2012 may shed some light on the basis for his appeal. The filing indicates that investigators not only went after the wrong man but also did so in spite of the fact that “there were numerous factors pointing to Hall as the perpetrator.”

“These defendants ignored multiple factors consistent with Mr. Halsey’s innocence and sought to manufacture a case against him,” the filing reads. “Defendant Pfeiffer subjected Mr. Halsey to three lengthy interrogations in a two-day period, arranged for him to take a polygraph examination subject to an utterly one-sided stipulation, and confronted him with his alleged failure of that examination — despite the fact that the results of the examination could not reasonably be read to demonstrate deception.”

“In the face of Mr. Halsey’s repeated assertions of innocence, defendants Pfeiffer and Lynch fabricated the ‘confession,’ which, after nearly two full days of interrogation, Mr. Halsey signed,” the filing added.

According to the counterstatement, throughout the course of the prosecution and trial of Halsey, Pfeiffer and Lynch failed to disclose to prosecutors or to the defense the fact that the confession had been fabricated; as a result, the confession was presented at a suppression hearing and at trial as having originated with Halsey himself.

That filing and others paint a sympathetic picture of Halsey as a man who bounced from foster home to foster home as a child and struggled with drug abuse as an adult. His life finally seemed to have turned a corner by late in 1985, when he had lived with his girlfriend of more than a year and reportedly came to love her two children as his own.

However, when he got home from a night of drinking, the children were gone, his girlfriend broke up with him over the phone, and hours later, the children’s bodies were discovered in the basement of the building where they all lived together.

“It’s just another blow,” Brustin said of Thursday’s decision. “He (Halsey) doesn’t have a sense that things are going to work out right because they didn’t in the past.”

Citing the pending nature of his appeal, Brustin said his client will not be speaking with the media for the foreseeable future. But he and another attorney described Halsey as busy getting his life back together, having earned a supervisory role with a company that performs work out of Newark Liberty International Airport.

“Byron’s very upset with (the decision),” Brustin said. “But he’s doing well, he’s working, he’s spending time with his grandchildren. As far as people who have been through something like this go, he’s doing extraordinarily well.”

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20130226/NJNEWS/302260026/Plainfield-man-wrongfully-imprisoned-child-murders-appeal-loss-lawsuit-against-city-investigators

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Off topic: A tad over-sensitive . . . .

From Us Weekly, on Seth MacFarlane hosting the Oscars:

"MacFarlane also made a misogynistic joke when introducing Kathryn Bigelow's epic Zero Dark Thirty. 'The film was a triumph and also a celebration of every woman's innate ability to never ever let anything go,' he chuckled as the audience groaned." http://omg.yahoo.com/news/seth-macfarlane-says-theres-no-way-hell-host-154500542-us-weekly.html

That line evinces a hatred for women? Really? Seems pretty mild to me, on par with the "men-refuse to ask for directions" jokes.

Don't we water down words like "misogyny" when we insist that gentle jabs about "women" evidence a hatred for an entire gender?  The same goes for men's rights activists who find "misandry" oozing from every crevice.

We all need to lighten up a little.

Woman jailed after 11th false rape claim in a decade

Elizabeth Jones, 22, was sentenced to 16 months in prison after she lied that a man raped her because she "did not like him." The man was arrested, taken into custody, and questioned for nine hours. CCTV of the house in which Jones claimed to have been attacked did not support her story. Contrary to her tale, it did not show her being forcibly taken there. Jones admitted to one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice. The story is reported here.

This was Jones' eleventh false rape claim in a decade. She made her first complaint in 2004 when she was just 13. In 2009 she was given a ten month detention and training order for a similar offence. Between 2005 and 2007 she had made eight other allegations, which police investigated, but she was never charged.

Judge Derwin Hope said her offences had caused a "terrible emotional experience" to her alledged attacker. But he also said it struck at the heart of the criminal justice system. Megan Topliss, defending, said her client had endured a disturbed childhood and had been left traumatised after being taken into care.

Jones is the latest in a long line of serial rape accusers in recent years. The following are a few examples -- the proverbial tip of the iceberg:

Jayne Stuart made eight false rape claims but apparently never served a day behind bars. Four of the men were acquitted in trials, and each of her victims suffered a terrible stigma. After her latest false claim, "Judge Peter Bowers said it was unfortunate that there was no anonymity for the men."

Serial false accuser Emily Riker made four false rape claims, three in 2010 alone.

A four-time serial false accuser targeted British men vacationing on the island of Kos. British newspapers wouldn't even print her name.

A serial false accuser tried to destroy a man for not giving her a beer.

Heather Brenner falsely accused a number of men of rape, including her husband.

Michaela Britton made a wide variety of bizarre allegations, including rape, against a number of individuals.

A serial false accuser falsely accused David Jansen in a widely publicized case: a pizza deliveryman stopped by his Mr. Jansen's remote cabin in mountains and saw a woman tied up on the couch mouthing, "Call 911." It turns out that the woman (1) enjoyed bondage, and (2) had a history of filing false rape claims.

Kelly Walsh made up at least two claims of assault against different men.

John Grenier sat in jail for 74 days despite evidence that his accuser had a lengthy history of making false rape claims as shown by at least a half dozen earlier police re­ports.

●A man in his 40s was jailed for one year following his conviction for sexually assault a 13-year-old. His name was cleared only after evidence surfaced that the 13-year-old had previously made up false rape allegations – one just months after those made against the man.

●A man convicted of raping a 46-year-old woman spent nearly four years in prison and was freed after his accuser admitted in court that, not long that alleged rape, she falsely accused another man of a similar crime under similar circumstances. The woman said she made up the the false claim that she was forced to have sex so that her son wouldn't think poorly of her. The incident occurred the same night the woman's son's roommate tried to end his sexual affair with the woman.

●A woman allegedly cried rape eleven times -- against the same man to avoid taking the bar exam.

●A woman falsely accused her brothers, her father, a neighbor and a paramedic of sexual assault

●A woman repeatedly falsely cried rape on her ex-boyfriends.

If you are interested in understanding the issues that affect the wrongly accused, see here and here

'My life was hell, says man falsely accused of rape'

By Donna Deeney, reported here:

A 25-year-old man falsely accused of rape says he spent the past 18 months “in a living hell”.

Gerard Doherty now wants the law changed to protect the identity of men accused of sex offences.

He also says that, while he feels sorry for his accuser, women who make false claims of rape should be named and face prosecution.

Mr Doherty said he had never been in a police station or inside a court in his life until a woman he was in a hotel bedroom with said she was raped by him.

The father of one always denied raping and sexually assaulting the woman and this week a jury in Londonderry agreed that he did not commit the offence.

He said: “Being accused of something like this is just about the worst thing any man can face because mud sticks... and that is something I am left with.

“I went back to the hotel room with the woman, but I thought there would be other people there, but she came on to me and when I pushed her away she hit me and said she was calling the police.

“I left but was waiting on the police to come because as far as I was concerned I had been assaulted, but instead I was the one who was being handcuffed (and) put in the back of a police car.

“I have never been in a police station in my life and there I was, being asked to strip naked and they took my clothes. It was the most humiliating and degrading thing I have ever experienced and to say I was terrified was an understatement.”

The ensuing months have taken the toll, not only on Mr Doherty but but also on his entire family.

He continued: “This has been a real nightmare for more than me. It has affected my partner, my parents and my brothers and sisters and I feel so sorry about that.

“One of the first things that happened after I was charged was that I lost my job and that's a thing that I have found hard to deal with.

“You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but the reality is you are treated as if you are guilty until you are found innocent,” he said.

SOURCE: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/my-life-was-hell-says-man-falsely-accused-of-rape-29091560.html

Monday, February 25, 2013

“You've got African Americans, you've got Hispanics, you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you — a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, 'This is a drug deal?'”

As reported here:

In a rare move, two U.S. Supreme Court justices today called out a federal prosecutor in San Antonio for what they called a racially charged comment he made while cross-examining a black defendant in a drug trial in 2011.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer released the statement as part of the court's decision not to hear the defendant's appeal, making clear that despite the ruling, they didn't tolerate the remark.

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Ponder, told the San Antonio Express-News that the question came as part of establishing the totality of the scenario surrounding a drug deal, and wasn't meant to be construed as racially charged or reflective of who he is as a person.

Ponder was questioning defendant Bongani Charles Calhoun about his claim that he did not realize a friend was engaging in a drug deal when they were arrested in 2008.

Calhoun has maintained his innocence, and argued that he thought he was simply on a road trip when federal agents caught his friend trying to buy cocaine at a San Antonio hotel room.

“You've got African Americans, you've got Hispanics, you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you — a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, 'This is a drug deal?'” Ponder asked.

His trial lawyer “inexplicably” never objected, the justices wrote.

Sotomayor, joined by Breyer, wrote that Ponder “tapped a deep and sorry vein of racial prejudice that has run through the history of criminal justice in our Nation.”

They referenced past court cases where prosecutors have insinuated that the race of defendants alone proved their guilt.

Calhoun appealed his guilty verdict up to the Supreme Court, arguing that Ponder's question violated his constitutional rights.

The justices agreed with the majority of the court in declining to hear Calhoun's appeal on procedural grounds, but released a separate statement critical of Ponder.

“It is deeply disappointing to see a representative of the United States resort to this base tactic more than a decade into the 21st century,” the justices' statement said. “We expect the Government to seek justice, not to fan the flames of fear and prejudice.”

They added that the Justice Department's response to the incident was inadequate, citing its actions when the case was in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Before the Fifth Circuit, the Government failed to recognize the wrongfulness of the prosecutor's question, instead calling it only 'impolitic' and arguing that 'even assuming the question crossed the line,' it did not prejudice the outcome,” Sotomayor wrote. “I hope never to see a case like this again.”

Ponder said he was just trying to put into context for the jury the scenario Calhoun was describing and to point out how his story didn't add up.

“It was just one of those throw-out questions based on the people he described being in the room,” Ponder told the Express-News. “It could have been phrased a little better.”

Houston attorney Tom Moran, who argued the appeal to the Supreme Court on behalf of Calhoun, said, “It looks like two Supreme Court justices decided to spank one of the U.S. attorneys pretty hard.

“It's something that should never happen. Race should never, in an American court, be used as an indicia of guilt, ever. It has no place.”

Woman who sent innocent man to prison for four years charged with perjury

This is a follow-up to the story we reported on herehere, and here:

HAMPTON -- The woman who was at the center of the case of a wrongly-convicted man was in Hampton District Court Tuesday on a perjury charge.

Elizabeth Coast waived her right to a preliminary trial for felony perjury charges. It will now go to the Grand Jury to be certified for trial.

Coast recanted her sexual assault allegation against Johnathon Montgomery, saying she lied at the 2008 trial to avoid scrutiny by her parents after she was caught looking for sexually explicit websites.

Governor Bob McDonnell issued a conditional pardon for Montgomery in November, 2012 and ordered his immediate release from the prison.

Montgomery spent 4 years in Greensville Correctional Center after being wrongfully convicted.

http://www.wvec.com/my-city/hampton/Woman-who-recanted--191839501.html

Saturday, February 23, 2013

CBC radio host: Currently, the accused is not anonymous, yet rape is said to be rampant and underreporting the norm -- so naming the accused hasn't solved those problems, has it?

Last week, on CBC radio, Anna Maria Tremonti hosted a balanced discussion about the possibility of  anonymity for the accused. The Web site for the show cites our blog.  You can listen to the discussion from the Web site here. (The following link should take you directly to the audio: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2336796064.) 

One of the guests was Sandy Onyalo, the Executive Director of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, who repeated the canard that only two to three percent of sexual assault claims are false. We recently discussed the prevalence of false claims here.

Ms. Onyalo insisted that under the current system, sexual assault is rampant and very rarely reported, and that it rarely leads to convictions. At the 15:08 mark, the show's host Anna Maria Tremonti made one of the most astute comments we've heard on this subject: right now we do name the accused, but you're saying the problem still exists -- so naming the accused hasn't solve the problem, has it?  http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2336796064

This has been one of the themes of our blog: all manner of reforms and policies have been adopted in the interest of encouraging women to report their rapes and of getting more convictions in rape cases. These reforms and policies often chip away at the rights of the presumptively innocent. We are at a loss to think of one success story, or at least one success story that sexual assault victims' advocates have ever publicly acknowledged. (We are carefully monitoring the "Dear Colleague" letter's effect -- it was supposed to solve the same two problems, but our guess is that in five years, we will continue to hear that the problems remain unchanged or that they are worse than ever.  By that time, we are reasonably certain that a fair number of innocent young men will have been expelled for offenses that never occurred.)

Also on the show, Bruce MacFarlane, a federal prosecutor and a professor of law at the University of Manitoba, feels that anonymity should be granted at the discretion of the court.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fox News personality: 'If your date is a rapist... you shoot them'

In Colorado, lawmakers resorted to good-old-fashioned fear-mongering in an effort to stop a bill aimed at keeping concealed firearms off campus. Female Republican lawmakers said that without the right to bring concealed weapons on campus, young women would be more at risk of sexual assault and other violent crimes. "A rapist entering a women's dorm will not be stopped by a whistle or a call box," said Rep. Lois Landgraf, R-Fountain.

This is not a post about the Second Amendment; nor are we agreeing or disagreeing with the bill banning firearms on campus. Those are subjects beyond the scope of this blog. What COTWA objects to is the inappropriate politicization of rape in ways that harm the presumptively innocent. It is a theme that runs throughout this blog.

Rep. Landgraf played the rape card because of its intense emotional appeal. But, in this case, rape was a monumentally bad choice. Why? Because the vast majority of rape on campus is committed by an acquaintance when the woman is drunk. Moreover, for most claims of college rape, it is impossible for outsiders to know for certain what really happened; they fall into that infamous gray hole.  To suggest it is somehow appropriate to actively encourage young women to bring concealed firearms into that setting  doesn't just border on irresponsible, it crosses the line in a mad dash.

It gets worse. Kimberly Guilfoyle, on the Fox News show The Five, might just get the prize for most inane comment of the decade. The show's panel was debating how female college students should defend themselves from sexual assault on campuses that have been deemed "Gun Free Zones." Democrat Bob Beckel initially wondered if rapes really are that much of a problem on the grounds of American's universities:
Bob Beckel: When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus? 
Eric Bolling: What are you talking about? It's rampant! 
Bob Beckel: It's rampant? 
Eric Bolling: Rapes on campus! 
Dana Perino: In particular, date rape on campus. 
Bob Beckel: Date rape, well that's one thing... date rape... well, what are you gonna do? You gonna take, take, take your gun out and shoot your date? 
Greg Gutfeld: Maybe you should! 
Kimberly Guilfoyle: If your date is a rapist... you shoot them.
So much for silly things like due process, trials, and the rule of law -- vigilantism is the way to go, according to Fox News.

Then, when a lawmaker tries to say the right thing, he's excoriated if he says it sloppily. Colorado Rep. Joe Salazar (D) explained why guns on campus are a bad idea to battle sexual assault:
It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody.
Salazar was trying to say that other methods to prevent rape are preferable to vigilantism, because they are. But politicians looking to score points twisted his comment beyond recognition and claimed he thinks women are too irrational to know if they are being raped. The fact that Salazar said nothing of the kind was irrelevant.

When it comes to rape, it's politically incorrect to call for the rule of law, but perfectly okay to lapse into an O.K. Corral moment, as Kimberly Guilfoyle did when she urged young women (likely drunk) to take the law into their own hands (likely on a date) whenever they decide they've been raped (even if they are wrong).

Guilfoyle makes the Duke lacrosse pot bangers look humane by comparison -- all they wanted to do was castrate young men accused of rape.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Case for Anonymity for Men and Boys Accused of Rape: The Final Word

Introduction

Maura McGowan, the UK's deputy High Court judge, has recommended that men and boys should be granted pre-conviction anonymity in rape cases. COTWA agrees, for the reasons explained below.  Judge McGowan's suggestion has already come under fierce, emotional, and unjust attack.

There seems to be an implicit belief among rape victims' advocates and women's groups that granting anonymity to men and boys accused of rape would be a victory for rapists because it would spare them the punishment of public disgrace unless they are convicted. A UK newspaper reader summed up the feeling when she wrote: "Yes sometimes women lie but an overwhelming number of rape cases result in no sentence so there are men getting away with rape and the least they deserve is for their names to be dragged through the mud."  The chilling implication is that the "few" innocents who might also be dragged through the mud are acceptable collateral damage in the war on rape.

The nooses are long gone from the hanging trees of America's Old South, but human beings retain their eons-old, visceral desire to punish, and to punish harshly, any man or boy who is merely accused of rape, without bothering with due process of law. It is a hallmark of a civilized society to control that desire -- to strive to eradicate heinous criminality by punishing offenders, but also to insure that the innocent aren't punished with them.  Sadly, the entire sexual assault milieu has become so terribly politicized that, too often, emotional reaction has become public policy, and the public discourse occurs in the shade of the hanging tree.

Anonymity Not Necessary Because False Claims Are a 'Rape Myth'

Rape victims' advocates turn a blind eye to wrongly accused men and boys because most don't think the wrongly accused are worthy of anyone's concern. One of their mantras is that false rape claims are a "rape myth," no more common than false claims of any other crime.

This, of course, simply is not true. See note below.*  The fact that the canard is frequently repeated doesn't lessen its dishonesty. In fact, rape lies are told much more often than lies about other crimes, and the stigma of a false rape claim, as explained below, is unique in its severity.

Even if the statistics pumped out by rape victims' advocates on the prevalence of false rape claims were accurate (and they are not -- their stats are notorious for minimizing the prevalence of false rape claims), the number of men falsely accused of the most heinous crime short of cold-blooded murder would still be staggering. Writer Peter Lloyd explained: "Even UK charity Rape Crisis admit that almost 1 in 10 rape allegations are fake. This means that, out of every 10,000 cases that go to trial [in the UK], around 800 men will be named and shamed in the media. All of them innocent sons, nephews, husbands and fathers." Mr. Lloyd believes that blithely opposing anonymity for the presumptively innocent is "sinister" and "smacks of some darker" agenda.

Many Men Accused of Rape Already Have Anonymity: Rape Victims Aren't Being Harmed

Victims' advocates posit a cavalcade of horrors that would befall rape victims if the presumptively innocent were anonymous. In fact, there is real-world evidence indicating that these fears are unfounded. Many accused rapists are already afforded at least limited anonymity, and we are not aware of any reports that any of the hypothetical disasters have been visited on rape victims.

In the UK, anonymity orders under Section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act (1933) are frequently granted to teen boys accused of sex crimes.  In the U.S., boys who will be tried as juveniles are often anonymous in the press.

Men whose identities cannot be revealed without necessarily revealing the accuser's identity are usually treated anonymously in both the UK and the U.S.

False, malicious, and unsubstantiated allegations against teachers are an enduring problem, so the British teachers' union spearheaded the law giving teachers limited anonymity until they are charged with a criminal offense. The law is prudent because the vast majority of claims made against teachers are unsubstantiated. Union data shows that fewer than one-in-20 allegations of claims against teachers in 2011, including sexual abuse, resulted in court action. See here.

In the U.S., in the state of Wyoming, the names of defendants accused of sexual assault are kept confidential by law unless and until a judge finds there is probable cause for their cases to proceed to court. A recent attempt to change that law failed because it was believed, as the Speaker of the House put it, that the stigma of being branded a rapist without a finding of probable cause can be as bad as or worse than a criminal sentence. See here.

John Worboys

Rape victims' advocates claim that anonymity for the presumptively innocent will hurt rape victims. They cannot point to any direct evidence of this, but they speculate as follows: many women feel their cases are too weak, in and of themselves, but if the name of the suspect is made public, other victims of that suspect will come forward.

In support of this conjecture, rape victims' advocates routinely trot out the case of the so-called black cab serial rapist, John Worboys, and claim that if he had been granted anonymity as a suspect, other victims may not have come forward to reveal the true extent of his crime.

Worboys' case is a slender reed on which to rest the argument that the presumptively innocent should be denied anonymity. First, it is purely speculative to suggest how Worboys' victims might have reacted if he were anonymous. Second, the fact that Worboys wasn't charged early in his crime spree was due to sharp failures in the way police handled the case, according to Baroness Stern's 2009 Stern Review at page 47. See here. If the police had done their job, seven of Worboys' subsequent victims would have been spared their ordeals, and there would be no room for speculation that they might not have come forward if Worboys had been anonymous. The solution to the Worboys problem is not to blacken the names of the innocent by branding them with indelible rape claims, it is better police work.

There is another problem with rape victims' advocates' reliance on the Worboys case that is rarely discussed but should be. If publicizing the suspect's name causes more victims to come forward, it would necessarily undermine the case for anonymity for rape accusers because there are numerous examples in recent years of serial false rape accusers who might have been brought to justice much sooner -- sparing numerous men terrible ordeals -- if rape accusers were not anonymous under the law (in the UK) or by policies of news outlets (in the U.S.).

Some examples: Jayne Stuart made eight false rape claims but apparently never served a day behind bars. Four of the men were acquitted in trials, and each of her victims suffered a terrible stigma. After her latest false claim, "Judge Peter Bowers said it was unfortunate that there was no anonymity for the men." Serial false accuser Emily Riker made four false rape claims, three in 2010 alone. A four-time serial false accuser targeted British men vacationing on the island of Kos. British newspapers wouldn't even print her name. serial false accuser tried to destroy a man for not giving her a beer. Heather Brenner falsely accused a number of men of rape, including her husband. Michaela Britton made a wide variety of bizarre allegations, including rape, against a number of individuals. A serial false accuser falsely accused David Jansen in a widely publicized case: a pizza deliveryman stopped by his Mr. Jansen's remote cabin in mountains and saw a woman tied up on the couch mouthing, "Call 911." It turns out that the woman (1) enjoyed bondage, and (2) had a history of filing false rape claims. Kelly Walsh made up at least two claims of assault against different men. John Grenier sat in jail for 74 days despite evidence that his accuser had a lengthy history of making false rape claims as shown by at least a half dozen earlier police re­ports.

Despite this, rape accusers are granted anonymity because, as a matter of public policy, the benefits of shielding their identities are deemed to outweigh the detriments. The same policy of weighing the interests at stake must be done for men and boys accused of rape, and the public discourse should not start and end with John Worboys.

It is curious that rape victims' advocates are expressing concern about women not coming forward when the Stern Review at page 45 chided rape victims' advocates because they make it appear that law enforcement is terribly, and uniquely, ineffective when it comes to rape, which could discourage women from reporting their ordeals. (They do this by citing the attrition rate for alleged rape -- the number of convictions as a percentage of number of reported crimes -- which is only 6.5%. But, the Home Office, and everyone else, uses the conviction rate -- the number of convictions secured against the number of persons brought to trial for that given offence -- for all other crimes, and for rape that rate is 58%.) The message this conveys is that women cannot get justice, and, according to the Stern Review, this "may well have discouraged some victims from reporting." Despite the Stern Review's chiding, rape victims' advocates still cite the attrition rate -- disingenuously suggesting to rape victims that they cannot get justice. Rape victims' advocates who are concerned about underreporting of rape would do well to get their own houses in order first, instead of warring on the presumptively innocent.

In addition, writer Peter Lloyd notes that few of the advocates leading the opposition to anonymity are outraged by the false accusers who betray rape victims with their lies. "Yet these women are damaging rape justice more than pre-conviction anonymity ever could," Lloyd writes. Indeed, some rape victims' advocates believe that false rape accusers should not even be prosecuted (it is unfathomable how someone predisposed to lie about rape would be deterred if that policy were adopted).

The Unique, Awful Stigma of Rape

The same stigma that would keep women from reporting their sexual assaults if they were not granted anonymity maligns innocent men and boys, and too often destroys their good names, when they are not granted anonymity. Many rape victims' advocates claim that when it comes to rape accusers, rape is a different kind of crime warranting anonymity. Yet, when it comes to the accused, those same advocates claim the stigma of rape is no different than any other crime. It seems disingenuous to want to have it both ways. There is, in fact, no justification to assume that the social evil of false rape claims doesn't tarnish men in ways false claims about other crimes do not.

For rape claims, the accusation becomes its own conviction in the court of public opinion because it is often nearly impossible to undo even the most far-fetched rape claim (that's because of the he said/she said nature of the claim). Legion are the cases where the wrongly accused have suffered unspeakable atrocities due to the vile stigma of the claim. These are just the tip of the iceberg. False rape claims have caused innocent men and boys to be killed and to kill themselves; to be beaten, chased, spat upon, and looked upon with suspicion long after they are cleared of wrongdoing. They lose not only their good names but often their jobs, their businesses, their spouses, and the affection of their families and their friends. It is often impossible for the falsely accused to ever obtain gainful employment once the lie hits the news: for the remainder of his life, a falsely accused man will have prospective employers Googling his name and discovering the horrid accusation.

Anonymity for the Accused Would Be Good For Rape Victims

More rape victims would "come forward" if the men and boys they accuse were anonymous. The vast majority of rapes, we are told, are of the acquaintance variety. When a woman accuses a male acquaintance of rape and he is publicly identified, it often isn't difficult to infer who the accuser is. Most rape victims would prefer not to have their identities revealed by inference when they accuse an intimate acquaintance of rape. It is reasonable to assume that a fair number of women are not coming forward precisely because they know their identities will become known when the identities of the men or boys they accuse are publicized.

*NOTE: FBI statistics show that false reporting of sexual assault is multiple times greater than the average for all crimes. (The Politics of Sexuality, Barry M. Dank, Editor in Chief, Vol. 3 at 36, n. 8.) While the percentage of unfounded claims for all crimes has been traditionally set at two percent, an authoritative law review article debunked the canard that only two percent of all rape claims are false by tracing this number to its baseless source. (E. Greer, The truth behind legal dominance feminism’s “two percent false rape claim” figure, 33 Loyola L.Rev. 947 (2000).) Moreover, the last time the FBI reported on "unfounded" rape claims (meaning the claim was false or the elements of the crime could not be met) was 1996 (it never reported on "false" claims per se), and the FBI found that unfounded rape claims were were 15% of all claims -- that's 7-1/2 times the rate for all crimes as a whole. (See Dr. Bruce Gross, False Rape Allegations: An Assault on Justice, Annals of the American Psychotherapy Associaton, Dec. 22, 2008.)

That 15% figure, as it turns out, is in line with Dr. David Lisak's research for his 2010 Violence Against Women study where he found that 14.2% of all claims that could be classified as false claims or that were referred for prosecution or disciplinary action were false claims. That figure represents only the claims we know are false. (The majority of all rape claims can't be classified as either rape or non-rape, much less false claims -- so the exact percentage of false claims is unknowable, but the actual percentage of false claims is likely higher than 14%, and possibly much higher because, among other things, it is reasonably certain that a portion of the claims referred for prosecution or disciplinary action were false.)

A leading feminist legal scholar has acknowledged this irrefutable fact: ". . . the statistics on false rape accusation widely vary and 'as a scientific matter, the frequency of false rape complaints to police or other legal authorities remains unknown.'" A. Gruber, Rape, Feminism, and the War on Crime, 84 Wash. L. Rev. 581, 595-600 (November 2009) (citation omitted). Another legal scholar has explained that the politicization of rape renders it impossible to discern the extent of underreporting. See, J. Fennel, Punishment by Another Name: The Inherent Overreaching in Sexually Dangerous Person Commitments, 35 N.E.J. on Crim. & Civ. Con. 37, 49-51 (2009).

Anonymity for men accused of rape 'a human right'

'Men SHOULD be afforded anonymity in rape trials - it's a human right': High Court judge Maura McGowan is correct, says Peter Lloyd

As posted in the Mail Online, February 20, 2012, by Peter Lloyd

Earlier this week, MailOnline reported on Maura McGowan - the deputy High Court judge who recommended that men should be granted pre-conviction anonymity in rape trials. 
In a rare example of common sense within British law, the leading figure said that men should have their identity protected unless they are convicted.

Quite frankly, I agree.

Only yesterday, MailOnline reported on the case of Sophie Hooper - a 19 year-old woman who maliciously accused an innocent man of rape.

The mother-of-one, who was photographed smirking outside Southampton Crown Court after avoiding a jail sentence, only admitted to fabricating the allegations two months into the police investigation. 
Sadly, cases like these are increasingly common.  
In April last year, Kent's Kirsty Sowden - a former John Lewis shop assistant - was jailed for just 14 months after crying rape over a fully consensual encounter with a man she'd met online. He was arrested at his workplace in front of colleagues and detained in a cell, wasting 376 hours of police time and costing £14,000. 
In May 2012, 20 year-old Hanna Byron was spared jail after falsely accusing her ex-boyfriend of rape in revenge for breaking up with her. 
In August, Sheffield's Emma Saxon was jailed for making a second false rape allegation against her boyfriend, Martin Blood. He was held in police custody for 14 hours and subjected to an intrusive medical examination - all because he'd stood her up.

Meanwhile, Teesside's Joanne Buckley was jailed for three years in September after stabbing a man because he refused to have sex with her - then threatening to cry rape if he went to hospital for treatment. 
These cases - and the many, many more like them - are exactly why men deserve protecting by the law as much as women. 

Tellingly, my opinion is shared by the majority of Britain. In 2010, a poll conducted by MailOnline showed that 67 per cent of readers want pre-conviction anonymity for rape defendants, as opposed to 33 per cent who don't. 
Originally, the law agreed. In 1976, the Labour government introduced rape trial anonymity for both the alleged victim and the accused. It operated this way until 1988, when guidelines were relaxed to help police investigations. 
At the time, the media was far less powerful, less global, less permanent than it is today. There was no internet, no slew of gossip magazines, no mobile phones with cameras, no social networking sites.

Police techniques and technology were also less refined, so a lack of anonymity helped them. 
Now, things are different. Dramatically so. And - once again - the law should change to reflect this.
Why? Because a not guilty verdict is no longer enough to repair the planet-sized crater of damage caused by weeks of daily headlines across the globe.
Perhaps more importantly, it's also a human right to be innocent until proven guilty. 
Feminists like Julie Bindel disagree. She seems to believes that men deserve the stain of rape stigma, guilty or not, simply because they are male. In fact, she once said being falsely accused wasn't so bad. 'A fair number of celebrities have been accused of rape in the past and do not seem to have suffered longer term,' she incredulously wrote in The Guardian. 'To say that an accusation ruins lives is perhaps a sweeping generalisation.' 
Perhaps she should speak to Peter Bacon. In 2009, he was cleared by a jury in just 40 minutes after being falsely accused of rape by a woman he met through a one-night stand. Although he was totally exonerated, the incident was so traumatic that he changed his name and left the country. His life was utterly destroyed.

Meanwhile, the accuser kept her anonymity - and, for all we know, went on to accuse others. 
Where's the fairness in that?Even UK charity Rape Crisis admit that almost 1 in 10 rape allegations are fake. This means that, out of every 10,000 cases that go to trial, around 800 men will be named and shamed in the media. All of them innocent sons, nephews, husbands and fathers.
To say this doesn't matter is not only patronising, but irresponsible and sinister. It also smacks of some darker gender agenda. 
Ironically, women like Bindel are enraged at the concept of pre-conviction anonymity for men, yet so few of them are equally outraged by the false accusers who betray the sisterhood (and the real victims of rape) with their lies.
Yet these women are damaging rape justice more than pre-conviction anonymity ever could.
Even Labour peer Lord Corbett, who introduced the 1976 law providing mutual pre-conviction anonymity, argued this until his death in February 2012. He told the Evening Standard in 2002: 'Rape is a uniquely serious offence and acquittal is not enough to clear a man in the eyes of his family, community or workplace. He is left with this indelible stain on his reputation. The case for matching anonymity for the defendant is as strong now as ever.' 
He was right in life and he's right in death. 
Besides, the benefit of mutual anonymity would cut across both genders, helping victims as well as conserving fair trials. For a start, it would deter anyone from making false claims out of spite, seeing the accuracy of convictions rise - not fall. 
Secondly, it could make testifying easier for those who've come forward. Identifying the accused often inadvertently identifies the victim, which adds immense pressure for them. It's all wrong. 
The issue is made even more complex when our government officials muddy the waters of truth. 
In 2010, an official enquiry report led by Baroness Stern - a prison reform campaigner - ordered Harriet Harman to stop misleading the public about rape statistics. For years she'd been pumping misinformation that only six per cent of rapists are brought to justice, when the reality is very different.

Actually, the rate is more like two in three - a figure which is much higher than comparable numbers for other violent crimes.

But Harman's creepy spin is symptomatic of another problem, because the way we criminalise rapists seems to have become political. Instead of securing robust, fair trials, people now want a system where woman have all the power - as if this would guarantee justice. 
Fortunately, women like Maura McGowan see the reality. 
Like the rest of us, she understands the abhorrence of rape and the importance of justice.  
Yet, even in discussing such an emotive issue, her response remains rational: name the convicted, not the constricted.

The overwhelming majority of men are not rapists - not by a long shot, and the law must remember this. 
Perhaps Harriet and Julie should too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

False rape claim teen spared jail

A TEENAGER who cried rape and left the finger of suspicion pointing at an innocent man for two months has been spared a jail term.

Sophie Hooper told police she had been forced to have sex against her will with a man who she had only just met in a pub, claiming he held her down by the neck on his bed after they returned to his home.

She called police who came out in the middle of the night before arresting the man and holding him in custody for more than seven hours.

But Hooper’s allegations were in fact a pack of lies which she didn’t admit for over two months, eventually telling police she was “sorry” for lying.

Southampton Crown Court heard how police began investigating and started to find inconsistencies with her story about what happened on June 25, 2011.

At the end of August that year officers told the man he would not face prosecution and a short time later police received a letter from Hooper, who has just become a mum, that said “maybe calling it rape was wrong”.

The 19-year-old was arrested in September 2011 on suspicion of perverting the course of justice but it was not until January the following year that “she fully accepted the lies she had told” said prosecutor Carolyn Branford-Wood.

Hooper revealed how in fact the pair had gone to his home from the pub, began kissing and “it just happened” adding that she didn’t say yes or no.

When she left his home she saw a picture of the man’s girlfriend and discovered they were expecting a child, and returned to the pub run by friends of her family who told her she had been raped and to call 999.

She told police: “I shouldn’t have lied, I am sorry,” adding that if she could turn the clock back she would.

The court was told how the man described in a victim impact statement how he felt “sick to the stomach”, felt anxious and unable to go out because even though he was innocent he felt he would be tarred. He said he could not sleep properly and resorted to taking anti-depressants.

Mitigating for Hooper, Fern Russell said it was not a sophisticated plot – she was in a state and made a bad decision out of stupidity rather than malice.

Handing her an eight-month prison term suspended for two years, Recorder Stuart Jones QC said she was lucky not to have gone to jail for what the court deems a very serious offence.

He said: “For him the consequences must have been traumatic in the extreme” but he added that Hooper had just come out of a difficult period of adolescence and her mental health was far from robust.

Hooper, of Tennyson Road, Eastleigh, was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/10234020.False_rape_claim_teen_spared_jail/

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Innocence March to Free the California Twelve

"Friends, on April 27 I will begin my 600 mile walk from San Diego to Sacramento to seek clemency for the California 12. There are two ways you can support me: 1) commit to walking the first leg with me from downtown to OB (8 miles) and collecting $200 worth of sponsors to help fund the 600 mile march and rallies along the way or 2) if you don't want to walk and get sponsored, SPONSOR ME for any amount you can afford. Let me know. Thanks!" -Justin Brooks (Founder, California Innocence Project)

The California 12 are persons who have been found innocent but yet remain in prison. The walk will take almost two months, with planned stops along the way. The daily walks range between 7.5 miles and 23.6 miles. There are also Rally Days planned along the way. The public is invited to walk with CIP, specifically for 3 different days: April 27, 2013 from the San Diego Courthouse to Ocean Beach, May 7, 2013 from Manhattan Beach to Santa Monica, and Jun 14, 2013 from Berkeley to Walnut Creek. The petitions will be delivered to Governor Jerry Brown's mansion on June 20, 2013.

From the Innocence March Web site: http://innocencemarch.com/

"Join us on this 600+ mile freedom march across the state. The march will include 11 rallies and 2 public walking days. Be sure to sign up for updates and keep checking back!"

"There are numerous ways you can help us. Here’s a few:

"1. Donate to the California Innocence Project. The Project must foot the bill for case investigations, office supplies, and a small team of dedicated lawyers.

"2. Come out and march with us on the way to Sacramento. If you are marching, we encourage you to obtain sponsors for your walk to help donate to the Project.

"3. Sign the Petition. We hope to turn in as many signatures as possible when we arrive in Sacramento.

"4. Go to our store to purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, and wristbands. All the proceeds go directly to the California Innocence Project."

Coral Springs Police Crack Case of False Report of Sexual Assault in Arson Incident

Coral Springs Police arrested a female in connection with an arson that occurred at a Medical Office on June 11, 2012.

Last June 2012, Coral Springs Police officers responded to a structure fire at 9750 NW 33rd Street. During the search of the building an unconscious female was found inside one of the medical suites. The female was transported to Broward Health Coral Springs for smoke inhalation.

During the investigation into the Arson the female gave a statement that she was attacked and sexually assaulted by a subject who came into the office looking for prescription drugs. After the sexual assault the female stated she was left unconscious in the burning building.

After a lengthy investigation by Coral Springs Police Department Special Victim’s Unit detectives, and Arson detectives, it was determined that the alleged victim changed her story multiple times and there were no injuries or evidence to support any of the claims that she made. After reviewing cell phone records, speaking with various witnesses, and reviewing all of the evidence, detectives determined the alleged victim was the person responsible for setting the office on fire.

The female, identified as Teresa Bennett, 40, of Coral Springs, was arrested and charged with arson and also possession of a controlled substance.

Bennett was booked at Coral Springs Police Department, and later transferred to Broward County Jail on $10,000.00 Bond.

Anyone with information reference this case is asked to contact Detective M. Savasta of the Coral Springs Police Department at (954)346-1773.

Link:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Woman falsely accused Cleveland cops of sexual assault, police say

A Cleveland woman who police say falsely accused two Cleveland police officers of sexual assault appeared in a Cuyahoga County courtroom on Friday for a probation violation hearing.

During an open container citation on March 7, 23-year-old Danielle Eggleton was arrested on a warrant by two Third District police officers for assault on a police officer, attempted harassment of an inmate and resisting arrest.

After officers transported her to the Cuyahoga County Jail, Eggleton said she was sexually assaulted by her arresting officers, according to the police report.

Officers transported the suspect to MetroHealth Medical Center, where she denied treatment or a rape kit, and became combative with staff and anyone who came near her, the police report said.

While at the hospital, Eggleton denied making any allegations of rape or sexual assault. She told police that a corrections officer implied she was assaulted and she "just rolled with it.”

Meanwhile, the two accused police officers were detained for an investigation by internal affairs. Eggleton was arrested for making a false allegation of police misconduct. The case was turned over to Cleveland prosecutors.

One of the accused officers was recently involved in the deadly Cleveland police chase that resulted in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

Link:

UK female official: grant anonymity to the presumptively innocent accused of rape--COTWA agrees

Introduction

Maura McGowan, the UK's deputy High Court judge, has recommended that men and boys should be granted pre-conviction anonymity in rape cases. COTWA agrees, for the reasons explained below. Judge McGowan's suggestion has already come under fierce, emotional, and unjust attack.

There seems to be an implicit belief among rape victims' advocates and women's groups that granting anonymity to men and boys accused of rape would be a victory for rapists because it would spare them the punishment of public disgrace. A UK newspaper reader summed up the feeling when she wrote: "Yes sometimes women lie but an overwhelming number of rape cases result in no sentence so there are men getting away with rape and the least they deserve is for their names to be dragged through the mud." The chilling implication is that the "few" innocents who might also be dragged through the mud are acceptable collateral damage in the war on rape.

The nooses are long gone from the hanging trees of America's Old South, but human beings retain their eons-old, visceral desire to punish, and to punish harshly, any man or boy who is merely accused of rape, without bothering with due process of law. It is a hallmark of a civilized society to control that desire -- to strive to eradicate heinous criminality by punishing offenders, but also to insure that the innocent aren't punished with them. Sadly, the entire sexual assault milieu has become so terribly politicized that the emotional reaction to these issues has become public policy, and the public discourse occurs in the shade of the hanging tree.

Anonymity Not Necessary Because False Claims Are a 'Rape Myth'

Rape victims' advocates turn a blind eye to wrongly accused men and boys because most don't think the wrongly accused are worthy of anyone's concern. One of their mantras is that false rape claims are a "rape myth," no more common than false claims of any other crime.

This, of course, simply is not true. See note below.* The fact that the canard is frequently repeated doesn't lessen its dishonesty. In fact, rape lies are told much more often than lies about other crimes, and the stigma of a false rape claim, as explained below, is unique in its severity.

Even if the statistics pumped out by rape victims' advocates on the prevalence of false rape claims were accurate (and they are not -- their stats are notorious for minimizing the prevalence of false rape claims), the number of men falsely accused of the most heinous crime short of cold-blooded murder would still be staggering. Writer Peter Lloyd explained: "Even UK charity Rape Crisis admit that almost 1 in 10 rape allegations are fake. This means that, out of every 10,000 cases that go to trial [in the UK], around 800 men will be named and shamed in the media. All of them innocent sons, nephews, husbands and fathers." Mr. Lloyd believes that blithely opposing anonymity for the presumptively innocent is "sinister" and "smacks of some darker" agenda.

Many Men Accused of Rape Already Have Anonymity: Rape Victims Aren't Being Harmed

Victims' advocates posit a cavalcade of horrors that would befall rape victims if the presumptively innocent were anonymous. In fact, there is real-world evidence indicating that these fears are unfounded. Many accused rapists are already afforded anonymity, and we are not aware of any reports that any of the hypothetical disasters have been visited on rape victims.

●In the UK, anonymity orders under Section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act (1933) are frequently granted to teen boys accused of sex crimes. In the U.S., boys who will be tried as juveniles are often anonymous in the press.

●Men whose identities cannot be revealed without necessarily revealing the accuser's identity are usually treated anonymously in both the UK and the U.S.

●False, malicious, and unsubstantiated allegations against teachers are an enduring problem, so the British teachers' union spearheaded the law giving teachers limited anonymity until they are charged with a criminal offense. The law is prudent because the vast majority of claims made against teachers are unsubstantiated. Union data shows that fewer than one-in-20 allegations of claims against teachers in 2011, including sexual abuse, resulted in court action. See here.

●In the U.S., in the state of Wyoming, the names of defendants accused of sexual assault are kept confidential by law unless and until a judge finds there is probable cause for their cases to proceed to court. A recent attempt to change that law failed because it was believed, as the Speaker of the House put it, that the stigma of being branded a rapist without a finding of probable cause can be as bad as or worse than a criminal sentence. See here.

John Worboys

Rape victims' advocates claim that anonymity for the presumptively innocent will hurt rape victims. They cannot point to any direct evidence of this, but they speculate as follows: many women feel their cases are too weak, in and of themselves, but if the name of the suspect is made public, other victims of that suspect will come forward.

In support of this conjecture, rape victims' advocates routinely trot out the case of the so-called black cab serial rapist, John Worboys, and claim that if he had been granted anonymity as a suspect, other victims may not have come forward to reveal the true extent of his crime.

Worboys' case is a slender reed on which to rest the argument that the presumptively innocent should be denied anonymity. First, it is purely speculative to suggest how Worboys' victims might have reacted if he were anonymous. Second, the fact that Worboys wasn't charged early in his crime spree was due to sharp failures in the way police handled the case, according to Baroness Stern's 2009 Stern Review at page 47. See here. If the police had done their job, seven of Worboys' subsequent victims would have been spared their ordeals, and there would be no room for speculation that they might not have come forward if Worboys had been anonymous. The solution to the Worboys problem is not to blacken the names of the innocent by branding them with indelible rape claims, it is better police work.

There is another problem with rape victims' advocates' reliance on the Worboys case that is rarely discussed but should be. If publicizing the suspect's name causes more victims to come forward, it would necessarily undermine the case for anonymity for rape accusers because there are numerous examples in recent years of serial false rape accusers who might have been brought to justice much sooner -- sparing numerous men terrible ordeals -- if rape accusers were not anonymous under the law (in the UK) or by policies of news outlets (in the U.S.).

Some examples: ●Jayne Stuart made eight false rape claims but apparently never served a day behind bars. Four of the men were acquitted in trials, and each of her victims suffered a terrible stigma. After her latest false claim, "Judge Peter Bowers said it was unfortunate that there was no anonymity for the men." ●Serial false accuser Emily Riker made four false rape claims, three in 2010 alone. ●A four-time serial false accuser targeted British men vacationing on the island of Kos. British newspapers wouldn't even print her name. ●A serial false accuser tried to destroy a man for not giving her a beer. ●Heather Brenner falsely accused a number of men of rape, including her husband. ●Michaela Britton made a wide variety of bizarre allegations, including rape, against a number of individuals. ●A serial false accuser falsely accused David Jansen in a widely publicized case: a pizza deliveryman stopped by his Mr. Jansen's remote cabin in mountains and saw a woman tied up on the couch mouthing, "Call 911." It turns out that the woman (1) enjoyed bondage, and (2) had a history of filing false rape claims. ●Kelly Walsh made up at least two claims of assault against different men. ●John Grenier sat in jail for 74 days despite evidence that his accuser had a lengthy history of making false rape claims as shown by at least a half dozen earlier police re­ports.

Despite this, rape accusers are granted anonymity because, as a matter of public policy, the benefits of shielding their identities are deemed to outweigh the detriments. The same policy of weighing the interests at stake must be done for men and boys accused of rape, and the public discourse should not start and end with John Worboys.

It is curious that rape victims' advocates are expressing concern about women not coming forward when the Stern Review at page 45 chided rape victims' advocates because they make it appear that law enforcement is terribly, and uniquely, ineffective when it comes to rape, which could discourage women from reporting their ordeals. (They do this by citing the attrition rate for alleged rape -- the number of convictions as a percentage of number of reported crimes -- which is only 6.5%. But, the Home Office, and everyone else, uses the conviction rate -- the number of convictions secured against the number of persons brought to trial for that given offence -- for all other crimes, and for rape that rate is 58%.) The message this conveys is that women cannot get justice, and, according to the Stern Review, this "may well have discouraged some victims from reporting." Despite the Stern Review's chiding, rape victims' advocates still cite the attrition rate -- disingenuously suggesting to rape victims that they cannot get justice. Rape victims' advocates who are concerned about underreporting of rape would do well to get their own houses in order first, instead of warring on the presumptively innocent.

In addition, writer Peter Lloyd notes that few of the advocates leading the opposition to anonymity are outraged by the false accusers who betray rape victims with their lies. "Yet these women are damaging rape justice more than pre-conviction anonymity ever could," Lloyd writes. Indeed, some rape victims' advocates believe that false rape accusers should not even be prosecuted (it is unfathomable how someone predisposed to lie about rape would be deterred if that policy were adopted).

The Unique, Awful Stigma of Rape

The same stigma that would keep women from reporting their sexual assaults if they were not granted anonymity maligns innocent men and boys, and too often destroys their good names, when they are not granted anonymity. Many rape victims' advocates claim that when it comes to rape accusers, rape is a different kind of crime warranting anonymity. Yet, when it comes to the accused, those same advocates claim the stigma of rape is no different than any other crime. It seems disingenuous to want to have it both ways. There is, in fact, no justification to assume that the social evil of false rape claims doesn't tarnish men in ways false claims about other crimes do not.

For rape claims, the accusation becomes its own conviction in the court of public opinion because it is often nearly impossible to undo even the most far-fetched rape claim (that's because of the he said/she said nature of the claim). Legion are the cases where the wrongly accused have suffered unspeakable atrocities due to the vile stigma of the claim. These are just the tip of the iceberg. False rape claims have caused innocent men and boys to be killed and to kill themselves; to be beaten, chased, spat upon, and looked upon with suspicion long after they are cleared of wrongdoing. They lose not only their good names but often their jobs, their businesses, their spouses, and the affection of their families and their friends. It is often impossible for the falsely accused to ever obtain gainful employment once the lie hits the news: for the remainder of his life, a falsely accused man will have prospective employers Googling his name and discovering the horrid accusation.

Anonymity for the Accused Would Be Good For Rape Victims

More rape victims would "come forward" if the men and boys they accuse were anonymous. The vast majority of rapes, we are told, are of the acquaintance variety. When a woman accuses a male acquaintance of rape and he is publicly identified, it often isn't difficult to infer who the accuser is. Most rape victims would prefer not to have their identities revealed by inference when they accuse an intimate acquaintance of rape. It is reasonable to assume that a fair number of women are not coming forward precisely because they know their identities will become known when the identities of the men or boys they accuse are publicized.

*NOTE: FBI statistics show that false reporting of sexual assault is multiple times greater than the average for all crimes. (The Politics of Sexuality, Barry M. Dank, Editor in Chief, Vol. 3 at 36, n. 8.) While the percentage of unfounded claims for all crimes has been traditionally set at two percent, an authoritative law review article debunked the canard that only two percent of all rape claims are false by tracing this number to its baseless source. (E. Greer, The truth behind legal dominance feminism’s “two percent false rape claim” figure, 33 Loyola L.Rev. 947 (2000).) Moreover, the last time the FBI reported on "unfounded" rape claims (meaning the claim was false or the elements of the crime could not be met) was 1996 (it never reported on "false" claims per se), and the FBI found that unfounded rape claims were were 15% of all claims -- that's 7-1/2 times the rate for all crimes as a whole. (See Dr. Bruce Gross, False Rape Allegations: An Assault on Justice, Annals of the American Psychotherapy Associaton, Dec. 22, 2008.)

That 15% figure, as it turns out, is in line with Dr. David Lisak's research for his 2010 Violence Against Women study where he found that 14.2% of all claims that could be classified as false claims or that were referred for prosecution or disciplinary action were, in fact, false claims. (The majority of all rape claims can't be classified as either rape or non-rape, much less false claims -- so the exact percentage of false claims is unknowable, but the actual percentage of false claims is likely higher than 14%, and possibly much higher because, among other things, it is reasonably certain that a portion of the claims referred for prosecution or disciplinary action were false.)

A leading feminist legal scholar has acknowledged this irrefutable fact: ". . . the statistics on false rape accusation widely vary and 'as a scientific matter, the frequency of false rape complaints to police or other legal authorities remains unknown.'" A. Gruber, Rape, Feminism, and the War on Crime, 84 Wash. L. Rev. 581, 595-600 (November 2009) (citation omitted). Another legal scholar has explained that the politicization of rape renders it impossible to discern the extent of underreporting. See, J. Fennel, Punishment by Another Name: The Inherent Overreaching in Sexually Dangerous Person Commitments, 35 N.E.J. on Crim. & Civ. Con. 37, 49-51 (2009).