Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"Guidelines to curb campus sexual assaults raise concerns for accused"

From the LA Times:,0,5146969.story#axzz30NmjaPK8

Timothy M. Phelps This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
April 29, 2014, 7:12 p.m.

Reporting from Washington—
The White House on Tuesday announced detailed guidance for colleges on how to deal with sexual assaults, winning praise from advocates of victims and some higher education officials, but renewing concerns from others about protections for the rights of the accused.

Victims of sexual assault on campus and their advocates have become increasingly vocal in demanding tougher action, more protection and better reporting since the Obama administration first called attention to the issue in a 2011 letter putting administrations on notice that changes were necessary.

But college administrators and lawyers who advise them warn that the circumstances of such assaults are often murky, involving too much alcohol, uncertain recollection and no impartial witnesses. Some school officials are wary that the pendulum not swing so far that students accused of assaults are denied a fair hearing.

The steps put forward by a White House task force include clarified rules governing confidentiality of accusers, surveys to gauge the extent of sexual assaults, guidance on model policies for handling allegations, plans to develop prevention efforts and a website with college data on sexual assaults.

Advocates for victims said the Obama administration's proposals, while they may appear modest, clearly spell out steps that colleges must take to respond to allegations of sexual assault.

"What I really see is basically no more excuses," said Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women’s Law Center in Washington. "The tools are there and the administration is trying to make it as easy as possible for schools to do right by their students."

Graves said the recommendations did not infringe on the rights of the accused. "No one wants to trample over any rights," she said. "But up to this point there has been a laser-like focus on the rights of the accused and very little attention to the rights of survivors. We are pretty far from the pendulum actually swinging."

College officials, under pressure from the federal government to respond more aggressively to reports of assaults, have worried that the intense focus on victims could impinge on the rights of the accused.

"The kinds of incidents that we see are not always clear-cut," said Ada Meloy, general counsel of the American Council on Education, a Washington group that represents colleges. "We must be helpful to the victim but also have to be fair to both the accuser and the accused."

Mark Hathaway, a Los Angeles attorney representing several students accused of sexual assault, said he remained concerned that those accused in campus cases are not given the rights to an attorney, to remain silent and to confront witnesses against them.

"Greater education about the problem is always useful and helpful to prevent sexual assault,” he said. “But at the same time, we cannot forget the rights constitutionally afforded each of us. You shouldn’t have to give up those rights just because you go to a college that receives federal funding."

The White House report, noting a study that found 1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted in college, said the proposals were intended "to turn this tide" and "help schools live up to their obligation to protect students from sexual violence."

The 1-in-5 statistic, which comes from a survey conducted at two large public universities in 2007, includes attempted sexual assaults. The survey found that 4.7% of female students reported being forcibly assaulted and 8% reported that they had had an unwanted sexual encounter while they were too intoxicated to consent. Those encounters ranged from touching to intercourse.

"Colleges and universities can no longer turn a blind eye or pretend rape or sexual assault doesn't occur on their campuses," Vice President Joe Biden, who chaired the task force, said Tuesday. "This is the measure of who we are as a society. Everyone has a responsibility to act — from college presidents to college students. Every woman and man has a God-given right to be free from sexual violence."

University of California President Janet Napolitano, until recently President Obama's secretary of Homeland Security, applauded the White House focus on a "serious and urgent issue." She said the system had already completed the campus survey called for in the report and had implemented key recommendations, including anti-sexual violence awareness campaigns and strict confidentiality protocols.

That survey found that about 6% of undergraduates said they experienced some unwanted sexual contact in the last five years.

Dana Bolger, an Amherst student who has said publicly she was raped on campus when she was a sophomore, said the White House measures included important steps but added that the Department of Education should publish a list of schools under investigation and legislation should be passed to allow the department to impose fines.

"I think this is an opportunity for legislators to step in and fill the gap," said Bolger, co-director of Know Your IX, which helps students report incidents of sexual assault under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a leading advocate for assault victims, called the White House measures "a meaningful first step."

But she said that more needed to be done, particularly to make sure that rapes are reported to prosecutors. She said "only a minute fraction of these crimes are currently being prosecuted" because victims are not properly supported and don’t feel confident that they will be protected if they do file charges.

"There is a sense that this isn’t really a crime, that there is no harm, no foul," McCaskill said. "Well, it is a felony, it is harmful."

Christina Hoff Sommers, a former college philosophy professor who taught ethics, has criticized the Obama administration for pressing colleges to lower the standard of evidence needed to convict a student of sexual assault. She has also called the survey of college sexual assault that the administration routinely cites flawed and noted that another study estimated the number at 1 in 40.

"Getting drunk and having sex, that’s not necessarily a crime," said Sommers, who is now a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “I worry about due process and the lack of clear definitions and the poor quality of the studies that the White House is using.”

[For the record, 11:11 a.m., April 30: An earlier version of this article said Dana Bolger, an Amherst student, wanted legislation passed to allow the Department of Education to publish a list of schools under investigation. Bolger said the department should publish a list. It already has the authority to do that.]

Kathleen Hennessey and Lalita Clozel in the Washington bureau contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times,0,5146969.story#ixzz30OiaZf9d

COTWA supports the effort to include sexual-assault stats in U.S. News & World Report college rankings

Some members of Congress want the venerable magazine U.S. News & World Report to start ranking colleges on the number of sexual assaults reported and by how well they prevent and respond to those assaults.  COTWA supports this effort because it should lead to at least two positive effects: (1) college administrators will get more serious about stamping out sexual assault, and especially the conditions that breed sexual assault (primarily the unchecked abuse of alcohol on campus), and (2) college administrators will hold the sexual assault number-crunchers accountable for their numbers.

The first point should not be controversial to any sane and rational person. Let's focus on the second point. At present, it is all-too easy for college administrators to pay lip-service to the problem of sexual assault on college campuses in general. If the iconic magazine were to start singling out colleges specifically, college administrators will have a financial interest in making sure the numbers are accurate. They are not likely to sit still if U.S. News & World Report tosses out phony numbers that make it appear rape is rampant on their campuses if it isn't.

At present, many believe that the studies on college sexual assault are largely driven by ideology. And, truth be told, it is doubtful that many people aside from gender ideologues take the stats very seriously. When it comes to the sexual assault of women, the stats make college campuses seem like "The Purge" all year round.  Do parents really think there is a 25% chance that their daughters will be sexually assaulted in college? That's not likely.

If the numbers are, in fact, accurate, then college administrators will have a difficult time hiding the truth, given the current climate where the Department of Education is watching schools closely on how they handle sexual assault claims. If the numbers are not accurate, then the college will have a financial interest, and the financial resources, to debunk the numbers.

That's the bottom line: at present, there is no one -- repeat, no one --  with a strong financial interest in debunking the claim that rape is rampant on college campuses. If  U.S. News & World Report starts to unfairly paint colleges as rape pits where a quarter of the women are assaulted, the colleges that are unfairly stigmatized will fight back. For the first time, there will be some accountability for the numbers being tossed out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

And now, a word from the chronically offended . . .

According to Jenny Davis, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at James Madison University, use of the word "seminal" is "blatantly sexist" and "perpetuate[s] inequalities or marginalization."

Right! I mean, what's thousands of years of etymology in the face of the grievance industrial complex?

The learned professor can't resist telling us that, for her, the word conjures up a crude act of male masturbation: "It evokes (at least for me) the image of some dude splooging his ideas all over everything."

What that description tells us about Prof. Madison's view of men is not exactly clear, but it doesn't sound especially good.

But give her credit. While women across the world are being murdered, brutalized, and truly oppressed by male-dominated cultures and regimes, Western feminists are fighting the good fight against Latin roots.  It's our guess that Prof. Davis could find "inequalities" and "marginalization" in a ham sandwich.

From the "rape culture" silliness, to the conniptions over the sleepwalking man statue and snow penises, to accusing people of "rape apology" when they want to keep an open mind in rape cases, to the college administrator who wants to expel on the basis of a sex accusation, to the writer who brands parties "rapist" and "victim" solely on the basis of gender and not conduct -- is it any wonder that so few people, including so few women, identify as feminist?

COTWA, RAINN and Brett Sokolow Versus The Feminists

Yikes! Brett Sokolow, the undisputed leader of the sexual grievance industry with respect to American colleges, is sounding like COTWA.

No, we're not joking.  First, Brett Sokolow's letter is referenced in this Wall Street Journal piece.

Then read what COTWA wrote a couple of months ago here.

That's not the first time we've agreed with Sokolow. He has actually testified as an expert for a wrongly accused man in court. Sokolow, more than anyone else in America, establishes the guidelines colleges use in sexual assault matters.

Sokolow's comments are disturbing because they show that too often, colleges kowtow to a feminist tyranny that wants to punish men.

In any event, COTWA's piece is wholly consistent with Brett's. To us, it's just common sense, and Sokolow seems to agree. Sadly, the feminist community doesn't agree.

Hmm. Are you noticing a trend here? 

Just a few weeks ago, RAINN was sounding like COTWA, remember? And the feminists had a conniption about that, too.

So now the feminists can denounce COTWA, RAINN, and Brett Sokolow.

Tell me, who's the extremist in this discussion, and who are the adults at the table?

"Woman made up rape claim - and stood by her story even when man was arrested"

As reported here:

A woman falsely told police she’d been sexually assaulted to get sympathy from her husband after a row.

Tracy Kent ripped her own clothes to make her bogus story more believable, Teesside Crown Court heard today.

Her lies led to a man being arrested and detained by police for three hours.

Kent called 999 claiming she’d been attacked by a stranger who’d tried to rape her.

She said she was approached from behind and punched to the ground by a man who tried to undo her belt.

Kent told officers she took a swing at her assailant and he grabbed and ripped her T-shirt, said prosecutor Emma Atkinson.

Her report of the supposed sex attack in the Wellington Square car park, central Stockton went to Cleveland Police’s major crime team.

Holes appeared in the 35-year-old’s story as a suspect was arrested, detained and bailed for further inquiries.

Kent stuck by her account when challenged over inconsistencies and spoken to by investigators seven times.

She knew someone had been arrested and that the police were preparing a press release.

The false report led to a police warning to the public over the potential dangers of walking home alone late at night.

It took a week - and extensive examination of CCTV - for Kent to admit she’d made up the allegations.

She said she and her husband had argued that night while out drinking.

She called him from a payphone, concocted the story and ripped her clothes.

Ms Atkinson told the court: “She said what she’d done had been with the aim of obtaining sympathy from her husband.

“She said she became too afraid to tell the truth, but finally realised she had to do so.”

She had wasted 64 hours of police time investigating her report to a total cost of £3,716.

Kent, of St John’s Way, Ragworth, Stockton , admitted perverting the course of justice.

Graham Brown, defending, said it was not a malicious targeted allegation.

He said Kent never expected anyone to be arrested and she was “hoist by her own petard”.

He told how Kent had suffered stress and pressure from the court case, made worse by the fact it took eight months to charge her after her confession.

He said she had mental health issues, with long treatment for depression and brain surgery three years ago.

Judge Howard Crowson said such a medical condition had to be verified by a doctor, and adjourned sentencing for this to be done.

He had received a letter saying Kent acted out of character following misfortunes in her life.

But he said: “My whole impression is that immediate custody is almost inevitable.”

Even confirmed health difficulties might only affect the length of a jail term, rather than persuade him to suspend the sentence, the judge added.

He told Kent: “I’ve always felt it would result in you serving a prison sentence.

“I don’t want to give you false hopes about that.

"I have no reason to think that I would do anything other than pass a prison sentence on you.”

Kent was bailed until sentencing on June 23.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Off-topic: on Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling, and Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown"

One day a couple of weeks ago, I was trapped in the car driving across state to take depositions when I heard Cliven Bundy defending his refusal to pay the government fees that similarly situated ranchers pay without protest. Bundy came off like a first-class weirdo. And that was before he said that black people were better off as slaves. His racist implosion did the country a favor because it took the wind out of the sails of his kooky followers.

Now we have Donald Sterling. Sterling criticized his mistress for associating with black people. What more can be said about such idiocy, especially from a man who owns a professional sports team in a sport dominated by  blacks?

The good thing is that the intolerance to Bundy and Sterling's remarks was widespread and seems far more indicative of our culture than the hateful views of Bundy and Sterling.

That's not to say all is well with race in the United States. We've come a long way, but we still have a ways to go. The greatest victims of injustice in the criminal justice system now and for as long as this country has existed are black men. Race was an animating factor in the injustice to Brian Banks and, we think, the Hofstra falsely accused. We can name many others, too, but those are the most prominent false rape cases in recent years.

The most dangerous strain of racism isn't the wealthy white nutcase who talks about the good old days when "the negro" picked cotton. Those nutcases are rarer and rarer with each passing year, and their views are widely renounced. The most dangerous strain of racism is the kind that isn't blatant, that isn't renounced, and that you sometimes can't put your finger on. It's the kind that tells black boys they'd damn well better plead guilty because no juror is ever going to believe they didn't rape that girl. Ask Brian Banks. Views like that are tough to change.

There is a rather intriguing footnote to the Sterling case. According to this site: "Jesse Jackson appeared on ESPN and called for a boycott of Clippers games by the players, their families, black fans and by white people who view blacks and whites as equals. Jackson also said Sterling should be suspended immediately for an length of time to be determined."

What do they say about glass houses? This is the same Jesse Jackson who, in 1984, referred to Jews as "Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown." Then he said he had no recollection of saying it. Then he denied saying it. Finally, he admitted it and apologized to the Jewish community for it.

Donald Sterling is Jewish.  Just sayin'.

Off-topic: Woman who struck and killed boy on a bike sues the boy's parents

There was a time when the legal profession was a real profession -- noble, dedicated to service and to furthering justice. Now, for too many lawyers, it is a money-making racket. There may be more to this story, but if this all there is, the legal profession is in trouble.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"I don't want my kids sitting next to a man on a plane"

This should not be considered acceptable in any setting.

In an era when we tell men they need to unshackle themselves from their masculine stereotypes and spend less time being breadwinners and more time being fathers, somehow this writer thinks it's perfectly okay to perpetuate the ugly stereotype that men can't be trusted around children.

If a male writer opined that he wouldn't trust women to handle a difficult engineering project, you can imagine the (quite proper) outrage. Well, this is outrageous, too. It is astounding that we have to come out and say that in 2014.

I can just hear the author telling a black person in the 1950s: "It's really awful that I have to feel this way, but I really don't want my daughter being in the same school as your child."

Here's the reality. A child is more likely to choke on pretzels than to be sexually molested by a man, yet we more readily ban men from our children's lives than pretzels.

Student expelled for sexual assault alleges the college used him as a scapegoat because of his gender

As we wait to start a new era for COTWA that will bring it to a much larger audience, we wanted to bring this important development to your attention.

A former male student of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, who was expelled for sexual assault, sued the college alleging gender discrimination under Title IX. The college filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, and now, attorneys for the accused student have filed a memorandum in opposition to the college's motion to dismiss.

The memorandum filed by the accused paints a very disturbing picture that suggests the school used the plaintiff as a scapegoat to atone for perceived injustices against other female students. The memorandum explains: ". . .in its zeal to show the Department of Education and its critics that the College was determined to correct one wrong – its past unresponsiveness to female complainants – it committed another wrong against [the accused] based on his gender. He was a male accused of sexual misconduct at the wrong time and in the wrong place."

This case could have a significant ripple effect across the nation and ought to raise eyebrows among Swarthmore alumni. If the accused's argument is credited, it might even help stem the witch-hunt mentality that puts wrongly accused male students at risk across America.

According the memorandum filed by the accused, after he was accused of sexual assault by a female student, the school conducted its self-prescribed two-month investigation into her complaint. Swarthmore then closed the case without charging the male student with any misconduct.

But then, five months later, Swarthmore was subject to growing negative publicity for its perceived mishandling of sexual misconduct complaints brought by female students against male students. Shortly after two female Swarthmore students filed Title IX and Clery Act complaints with the Department of Education alleging, among other things, that the College fails to appropriately discipline male sexual offenders, the President of Swarthmore announced a new 'zero tolerance' policy for any form of sexual assault or abuse. . . . ."

The school suddenly re-opened its investigation of the accuser's case and proceeded to charge him with the most serious sexual misconduct charge, sexual assault, nearly two years after the date of the alleged incident. The school conducted the hearing during summer break, when none of the accused's peers would have been available to testify on his behalf, and when it would be virtually impossible to locate student witnesses who might have been able to refute the accuser's story that she was inebriated on the night of the alleged assault.

The accused's lawyers argue the following:
When viewed collectively, the above-cited allegations are more than sufficient to state a claim that the outcome of the hearing was both erroneous and motivated by John’s gender. In the wake of public criticism, the federal complaints, and the DOE investigation, the College rushed to judgment against John; found him guilty of serious sexual offenses two years after the alleged assault based on nothing more than “she said, he said” testimony; and meted out the most severe punishment in order to show the DOE and the College’s detractors that the College’s perceived past insensitivities to female complainants would no longer be tolerated as part of its new “zero tolerance” policy. 
There is precedent for the accused's argument. In Wells v. Xavier Univ., 2014 WL 972172, at *1, 5 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 12, 2014), the court found that male student’s claim that the university and its president made the plaintiff “into a scapegoat so as to demonstrate a better response to sexual assault” survived the university’s challenge on motion to dismiss. In Williams v. Franklin & Marshall College, 2000 WL 62316, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 13, 2000), the court denied a college’s motion to dismiss a Title IX claim, where plaintiff had been expelled for an alleged “date rape” and plaintiff alleged the college had “foment[ed] a witchhunt against male students on a totally unfounded belief that date-rape activities were rampant on campus, and that this crusade culminated in utterly false allegations of misconduct against plaintiff."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday, and the most famous wrongly accused man in history

This blog is going on hiatus for awhile, as it transitions to new ownership. I can't think of a better post for this occasion. Today is Good Friday, the day Christians around the world observe what they believe to be the central fact of history: that God's son, sent to live among us, willingly offered himself as a sacrifice for the transgressions of all mankind.  In order to vicariously atone for mankind's sins, Christ allowed himself to be subjected to trumped-up charges, a wrongful conviction, and an unjust death penalty. He was brought before the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate, who promptly declared him innocent. But to appease the angry mob, Pilate ordered Christ to be flogged. When that wasn't enough for them, Pilate allowed Christ to be crucified.

Jesus is the most famous wrongly accused and wrongly convicted person in history, and his death holds lessons for modern men and women.

The sacrifice of innocents to answer a public outcry, fomented by persons with a political agenda, is a phenomenon likely as old as civilization, and it still happens today. Prof. Mark A Godsey of the Innocence Project said that "the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases."

It is well to remember that with Jesus, the mob used the state to carry out its vile deed on Good Friday. God allowed his son to be tried, convicted, and executed by the state in order to make a critical point. Being subjected to a vile deed by individuals acting on their own would not have manifested the community's rejection of the Messiah. The Divine Plan recognized that, all other things being equal, misconduct by the state in punishing an innocent is qualitatively different from, and more significant than, misconduct by persons acting on their own. That, of course, is one of the bases for celebrated English jurist William Blackstone's assertion that it is better that ten guilty men escape punishment than that one innocent suffer at the hands of the state.

Just as Christians believe that all of us ultimately bear responsibility for Christ's death, all of us, figuratively speaking, have blood on our hands for the mistreatment of the modern day wrongly accused. We are the mob shouting "Crucify him!" and leading an innocent man to Golgotha.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Woman continued false sexual assault claim even when CCTV contradicted statement to police

As reported here.

An innocent man spent 12 hours in custody after being falsely accused of sexually assaulting a young mum.

Joanna Robertson also cost police 69 man hours — at least £1,380 — investigating the complaint that the man had stalked her and forcefully touched her, Dundee Sheriff Court heard.

Robertson, 25, of Leith Walk, pleaded guilty to a charge of wasting police time on July 6 last year.

After admitting she had made up the sex attack, Sheriff Richard McFarlane deferred sentence for reports and granted her bail.

The court heard Robertson went to police HQ in Dundee and claimed she had been stalked through the city centre before being pushed against a wall and attacked.

She said the man had tried to strike up a conversation with her outside a bank before following her into Coutties Wynd, off Nethergate.

Robertson claimed he had forced her against a wall between two wheelie bins before touching her private parts over her tights then attempted to further assault her.

But when police carried out a CCTV review they found her story did not add up.

However, when police re-interviewed her she was “adamant” that it was true. When the inconsistencies were put to her she then demanded her clothes back and said she did not want any more police involvement.

Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told the court the cost of the investigation to the police was at least £1,380, although she added that the overall figure would have been much higher as fees for a doctor who examined Robertson and an interpreter who appeared and assisted the accused man had not been factored into that amount.

She said: “As a result of the allegation (the man) was detained by police for 12 hours and was also interviewed with the assistance of an interpreter.

“An extensive CCTV review was carried out following the accused’s allegation which quite simply showed that what she was telling police did not add up and actions were shown which showed the contrary and that the complainer had not entered the area of the alleged locus.

“In addition to being detained and interviewed the complainer had DNA taken and was medically examined by a doctor.

“She was asked to give her version again and confirmed her position as it had been previously.

“The total police hours spent investigating this was 69 hours at a cost of £1,380 which doesn’t include the doctor or interpreter.”

Solicitor Kevin Hampton said: “There’s a lot going on in her life and she has recently separated from her partner.

“I’d ask for background reports to be prepared.”

Sheriff McFarlane deferred sentence until April 24 for social work reports.

Girl charged for making false rape claim that sent a man to jail for four nights

As reported here.

A teenage girl has been charged over allegedly lying about being sexually assaulted in a toilet block at a Sydney train station.

The 17-year-old claimed to have been dragged off a train and into the toilet block at Strathfield station about 1pm on January 22 this year, police allege.

Investigators were told a man struck up a conversation with the girl as she travelled from Redfern station to school.

But the girl has now been charged with making a false statement with intent to subject others to investigation and was ordered to appear in the Children's Court next month.

Police withdrew a charge of sexual intercourse without consent against Ben Kooy, 34, late in January.

The Kellyville man was initially refused bail and spent four nights in custody but police found fresh evidence and released him before an appearance at Burwood Local Court.

Mr Kooy told reporters at the time the ordeal had been "very stressful" and he was "very relieved".

On January 29, he appeared in Burwood Local Court where the charges against him were withdrawn by police.

On Wednesday, police issued a statement saying they had charged the girl.

Woman charged with falsely accusing ex-husband of sexual assault

As reported here.

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON – A woman who stabbed herself and told police she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by her ex-husband and two other men was charged with filing a false report, officials said.

Christine Capurso, 49 — whose ex-husband is Robert Capurso, an assistant fire chief in Yonkers — turned herself in to police and was to be arraigned in Village Court late Wednesday.

"Even though this is only a misdemeanor charge against (Christine) Capurso, we felt it was very important that we fully investigate this case because of the serious implications of her false allegations of being kidnapped, sexually assaulted and stabbed," said Westchester County police Capt. Christopher Calabrese, who investigated the case.

"Her ex-husband could have faced up to 25 years or greater in prison if found guilty of these false allegations," Calabrese said. "We felt it was important to be fully investigated and proved to be false so that it would not happen again, as it has happened numerous times in the past."

Capurso called 911 on Jan. 16 to allege she had been kidnapped on Long Island by a gunman and forced to drive to Westchester where she said she was sexually assaulted in the woods near her ex-husband's home. She and her vehicle were found in the woods off to the side of Farragut Parkway in Hastings.

Discrepancies in her accountand hesitation marks in the shallow stab wounds found on her body led police to question whether Capurso was telling the truth, officials said.

Investigators also determined her ex-husband was alone for only about 10 minutes that day from when he left work at 3:55 p.m. and drove to his children's school.


Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sen. Clare McCaskill's nationwide survey to colleges suggests that affording students accused of sex offenses due process might discourage accusers from reporting

Sen. Clare McCaskill has sent out an extensive survey about sexual assault to 350 college and university presidents. The survey is being promulgated by McCaskill's Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, which is charged with "ensuring that the federal government spends taxpayer money as wisely and effectively as possible." What that has to do with sexual assault on American college campuses is anyone's guess, but in any event, McCaskill has identified herself with the problem of sexual assault in the military and on American college campuses.

It is a worthy impulse to gather information about the ways American institutions of higher education treat serious criminality, but this survey is troubling in several critical respects and should be recalled and rewritten. We will focus on just two problems.

First, the survey repeatedly classifies persons who make accusations of sexual misconduct as "victims," and in one place, it calls persons merely accused of sexual misconduct "offenders." That should be unacceptable to all persons of good will.

Words matter, and we can only assume that McCaskill and her staff know better than to brand persons accused of sexual misconduct as guilty merely by virtue of the accusation. This, of course, does a grave disservice to the presumptively innocent who are accused of sexual misconduct. We take offense when newspapers do it (we once complained to the New York Times for calling a rape accuser a "victim," and the Times reporter immediately removed the word "victim" in the on-line content of the story), and it is all the more offensive when our elected representatives do it. Sen. McCaskill represents not just accusers but persons who are accused as well. The survey should be recalled and, where appropriate, the word "victim" should be changed to "accuser."

Second, the survey contains a most troubling, and frankly bizarre, query on page 14:
Below is a list of policies and procedures that may discourage victims from disclosing and reporting assaults at some schools 
1. Disclosure of offender’s rights in the adjudication process
. . . .
The survey asks the college to identify whether or not it adheres to this policy.

The survey's clear implication is that it is somehow improper to insure that students accused of serious sexual offenses are aware of their rights. Advising the presumptively innocent of their rights is both a fundamental and immutable aspect of due process long enshrined in the laws of every enlightened civilization. A student's due process rights should never be considered a candidate for elimination or compromise because they might "discourage" an accuser from making a formal report, and to suggest otherwise is both appallingly insensitive to the young men accused and offensive to long-settled principles of fairness. It should have no place in a survey promulgated by a United States Senate subcommittee.

This survey is but the latest manifestation of hostility to the rights of young men accused of sexual offenses on campus. College administrators, already skittish about federal oversight of their handling of sexual assault, need to be assured by Senator McCaskill and her subcommittee that disclosing the accused's rights in the adjudication process is not merely acceptable but mandatory.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Student protests playing the song "Blurred Lines" in order "to create a safe space in the Carolina Community"

A UNC student didn't like that a disc jockey at a bar played the song "Blurred Lines." Her protest led to a boycott, an apology from the bar, and the bar's banning of the offending DJ.

The student said: ". . . all I was aiming to do is to create a safe space in the Carolina community . . . ."

35 years for a rape and other crimes he didn't commit

Read it here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Scorned woman falsely cries rape

As reported here:

A spurned lover whose cry of rape cost police coffers £10,000 was jailed for nine months yesterday.

Belfast Crown Court heard that Lisha Tait cried rape after being given the “cold shoulder” in a Belfast nightclub by a man she had a previous liaison with.

The 22-year-old, from Laurel Lodge in the Flush Gardens area of Lisburn, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

The charge relates to making a false report and two false written statements to police on dates between July 6 and August 15, 2013 claiming she had been raped.

Crown prosecutor Simon Jenkins said the series of events began in the early hours of July 7 when police received a call from the Ambulance Service in relation to a distressed woman who claimed she had been raped outside the Odyssey complex in Belfast.

After making the claim, Tait was taken to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Antrim, where she was examined.

At this stage, she made a formal complaint claiming a man she knew had penetrated her without consent at billboards outside the Odyssey.

Mr Jenkins said that on August 13, Tait made a written statement claiming the man had spoken to her in the Beach Club before grabbing her and sexually assaulting her outside. She made a second written statement the following day, claiming that due to her level of intoxication, she had been confused about the details of the incident.

The court heard that on September 4 the man Tait accused of rape attended a police station voluntarily, where he was questioned for around two hours. He admitted he had spoken to her in the club but said he didn’t leave the premises and denied her allegation that he had sexually assaulted her outside.

He also told police they had “been together consensually that week” and had stayed in a hotel.

The prosecutor said the man gave a DNA sample, and that during the police investigation – which amounted to £10,000 – officers examined CCTV footage that showed Tait exiting the Odyssey complex alone in an intoxicated state and leaving by herself in a taxi. Witness statements also supported the man’s claim that he didn’t leave the club at any stage.

Tait was again interviewed by police and on September 16 she said she wanted to “tell the truth”. Mr Jenkins said the following day Tait made a statement to police “confirming that she made the entire story up and the male had not sexually assaulted her at any stage”.

When she was interviewed about the false statement on September 25, Tait said she made the allegation up “on the basis that the male had given her the cold shoulder in the club”. The prosecutor said Tait had expressed remorse and apologised for wasting police time. He did, however, point out that despite making the allegation, she “didn’t come clean for some two months”.

Defence barrister Mark Farrell cited the incident as “tragic”, telling the court “this is a case of a woman scorned” who initially felt she could develop a relationship with the man in question.

He said: “It is the case that the defendant, with alcohol on board, decided that she had been rejected and she turned to one of the meanest false allegations to make against a male by a female.”

Mr Farrell added: “She felt rejected by the injured party, but she now has a high level of empathy for what she did to him.”

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland said he accepted Tait had displayed “genuine remorse” but said the case fell within the category of “the incrimination of an innocent person”.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

College hockey player being punished for the alleged actions of others

It is unfathomable that in 2014, after Duke lacrosse and a thousand other atrocities, a college administrator doesn't seem to care that it is unjust to punish a student for an alleged sex offense he didn't commit.

According to this source: "The University of Ottawa suspended the Gee-Gees men’s hockey program indefinitely at the beginning of March after learning of what it called allegations of “serious misconduct” by some players on the team. The university says the program will remain suspended at least until an internal review of the allegations and policies regarding the team’s conduct, supervision and coaching is complete."

One member of the team, Pat Burns, hasn’t been found to be connected in any way to the allegations of misconduct, but he's being punished. Not only has the entire team been suspended for the alleged actions of one or a few, but his invitation to a reception last week honoring graduating Gee-Gees athletes was revoked due to the hockey team’s suspension. In addition, he has been uninvited to the university’s annual athletic banquet this Friday.

Mr. Burns has taken his case to the public with this open letter to the school's president:
An Open Letter to Allan Rock, President, University of Ottawa.

By way of introduction, I am a 5th year student-athlete, set to graduate at the end of this term. I have spent the duration of my time at the University of Ottawa completing an honours degree in psychology as well as playing for the varsity men’s hockey team.

I have many fond memories of my time as a Gee-Gee, and I have been proud of my many accomplishments, both individually and while representing the school. For two years, I served as an Assistant Captain for the team. Following the 2012-2013 season, I was nominated by the school as a candidate for the Randy Gregg Award, recognizing nationally excellence in athletics, academic and community involvement. In 2013 I received the Canadian Cancer Society’s Mike Collingwood Award. I have spent time over three years volunteering with the Boy’s and Girls Club of Ottawa. I have for three years, as a representative of the Gee-Gees, organized and facilitated Christmas hampers for under privileged families in our community. I have spoken at numerous schools to the importance of continued education. I was, for two years, head of the athletic council at the university. I have also spent my last three summers working on behalf of the Sports Services department, developing the Gee-Gee brand, promoting the brand within the community and developing community partnerships through running camps, fundraising, and volunteering.

However, as my graduation approaches, I leave feeling frustrated, and betrayed by the very school, and athletic department I have spent the last half-decade serving and representing.

On March 3rd 2014 I was informed, as a result of allegations of misconduct said to have taken place during a road trip in Thunder Bay, that the entire team was suspended indefinitely. This prior to any sort of investigation had even begun, let alone be completed. For the past month, I have been fully co-operative with any and all requests made by police, as well as the university, in aiding the investigation in any way that I can, despite being assumed guilty by my fellow classmates and the general public as a result of the predetermined assumption of guilt bestowed upon all 26 members of the hockey team by the University. I, personally, as a result of police interviews, etc. have not been found to be, in any way, connected to any allegations of misconduct.

On March 26th 2014, the Sports Services department held a reception to honour and recognize the contributions of graduating Gee-Gee athletes. I was informed that I was no longer invited to attend the reception due to suspension of the programme. In protest of this decision I submitted a formal letter on March 17th to the Assistant Athletic Director asking to have my attendance be reconsidered. Despite the reception date having come and passed, my letter has yet to be acknowledged. I also attempted to speak with the University President, Mr. Allan Rock in hopes he would rectify the situation. On March 24th I spent two hours waiting in his office only to be told, “He wouldn’t be in today.” On March 25th, I hand delivered a written request for an appointment with Mr. Rock, and once again my request has yet to be acknowledged by his office.

As is customary, graduating players are awarded their jerseys, and this year as well, at the graduating athletes’ reception, were presented with a memento in recognition of their dedication and commitment to representing the university. On March 28th, I was told, by Athletic Director Mr. Luc Gelineau, after indicating my growing frustration as a result of the constant loss of rights and privileges, despite having been fully co-operative for a month and completely innocent of all allegations, that he stood by the decision to revoke my invitation. In addition, I have been “un-invited” to the annual athletic banquet to be held on Friday April 4th.

Mr. Gelineau responded to my request for my graduating memento by stating, “The university will mail it, if and when deemed fit.”

In addition, Mr Gelineau advised me, in effect, that the Universitys’ objective was to keep as low a profile as possible regarding the alleged incident, with the hope that media attention would go away. But what about the exoneration of those found to be innocent? Those who have had their name and reputation tarnished as a result of the University’s decision to suspend the entire program prior to any investigation. Or are we just collateral damage?

It is my opinion, that after five years of commitment on ice, dedication to bettering the standing of the hockey programme through community development, volunteering and committed work to developing the establishment of the Gee-Gee brand locally I leave University’s sports services department in better standing than when I began.

Unfortunately, my years of dedication and my good name have been smeared by the very university I spent so much time working to promote. As this semester ends, I leave the University not having been recognized for my accomplishments, but having had the door slammed behind me. And I am not the only one.

Yours, with great disappointment,

Pat Burns

Woman allegedly cried rape 11 times to avoid taking the bar exam

Rhiannon Brooker, 30, is on trial for allegedly falsely accusing her boyfriend of repeatedly raping and assaulting her -- the prosecution says she cried rape 11 times -- which caused him to be arrested, charged and held in custody for 30 days, according to this source. She purportedly used the allegations as “extenuating circumstances” in a failed attempt to dodge her exams, according to the prosecution. According to a news report: "After withdrawing her allegations Brooker confirmed they were false, and admitted that injuries seen by witnesses, including her friends and doctors, were self-inflicted, the court heard." Yet, she is still denying that she committed an act tending, and intended, to pervert the court of justice. It is not clear what her defense might be.

If the prosecution is correct, add this case to the list of outrageous reasons for rape claims that we've reported in the past few years:

▲The accuser’s boyfriend took too long to buy cigarettes, so she falsely accused him of rape.
▲A woman's rape lie sent a man to prison for five years because she said she was bored.
▲A man refused to give a woman a beer, so she falsely accused him of rape.
▲Two women in Washington state claimed they were raped by ghosts. The specters only forced the women to have intercourse on weekends.
▲A girl falsely accused a man of rape for throwing a flower at her.
▲A woman modeled her false claim against a priest after a rape in a novel -- she admitted she identified with characters in novels featuring violent rape.
▲In various cases, women didn’t want to pay cab fares, so they simply accused innocent cab drivers of rape.
▲A maid falsely accused her employer of rape because she didn’t like her workload.
▲A woman caused three men to be interrogated for rapes they didn’t commit because she wanted a day off from work.
▲And then there was the 18-year-year-old man who was hauled out of class, arrested, and jailed for a month -- a girl he had never even met randomly accused him of rape for no apparent reason.

And then there are the cases involving outrageous revenge rape lies over petty things; rape lies to get attention; rape lies told by serial false accusers who are permitted to continue to terrorize innocent men and boys because their crimes aren't taken seriously; and rape lies told to "explain" an illicit sexual encounter.

I could go on and on and on, but you get the picture.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

David Guerrero, heroic college Freshman, and another example of why radical feminist criticism of RAINN is so misguided

In a dorm at the University of Illinois at Chicago, David Guerrero, 19, heard a woman scream that she was being sexually assaulted in the women’s shower.

“I opened the bathroom door and I asked if everything was OK," David said. "I heard a scream, so I entered. I saw the perpetrator in the corner and the victim was clearly scared and distraught.”

David led the attacker out of the restroom and held him in place while other students comforted the woman and called for help. The attacker, an apparent stranger to the woman, was described as disoriented.

David said: "My father raised me to be like this. If people want to call me a hero that's fine, but I don't think I did anything that anybody else wouldn't have done. I helped somebody to in need."  See here and here.

David took a chance going in that shower, and for all he knew, he might have been killed, but his instinct told him to help someone in need.

There are a lot of stories like this -- want me to start chronicling them? They could probably fill a blog ours. For every rapist, there are a ton of guys like David Guerrero, most you never hear about because they aren't called upon to act in such dramatic circumstances. David's instinct to prevent a rape is far more representative of "masculinity" than is the instinct to rape. I suspect that most people share that belief, and that most people can rattle off the names of a lot of men who could be counted on to do exactly what David did if necessary.

And that's why, I think, most people reject out of hand sentiments like those expressed by Jessica Valenti, who believes that rape is normal for even "otherwise decent" men. Valenti wrote: "Rape is part of our culture; it's normalized to the point where men who are otherwise decent guys will rape and not even think that it's wrong. And that's what terrifies me."

Recently, RAINN took issue with the "rape culture" meme in a letter to the White House. "Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime," according to RAINN.  The "unfortunate" tendency to blame "rape culture" for sexual assault, RAINN's representatives wrote, "has led to an inclination to focus on . . . traits that are common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., 'masculinity'), rather than on the subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape."

RAINN was fiercely criticized in the radical feminist community for stating something the vast majority of people know to be true. RAINN's president, Scott Berkowitz, stood by his comments when he was questioned by one of the chief critics of RAINN's letter to the White House, Jessica Valenti herself. According to Valenti, Berkowitz said "that that the term [rape culture] 'muddies' the conversation about how to help survivors and risks alienating allies. 'Many people interpret it — men in particular — as accusatory,' he said. 'We need to encourage their good instincts rather than pointing a finger.'”

"Good instincts," like David Guerrero's, need little encouragement, but it is silly, incorrect, and mean-spirited, to suggest that "decent guys" -- like David -- "will rape and not even think that it's wrong." It is silly, incorrect, and mean-spirited to insist that "masculinity" needs to be reconstructed. And it is silly, indeed, astounding, that Jessica Valenti and her devotees don't "get" what Scott Berkowitz and RAINN are saying. Maybe they're too busy preaching to the choir to realize that sentiments like theirs engender disrepute of their movement outside their echo chamber. Few people, including few women, identify as feminist, and it's likely because of these outliers who are not called out by others in the movement.

Maybe it's time to start talking more about people like David Guerrero, if only to make a point. It's definitely time to start calling out the fools who cling to the "rape culture" silliness, who have conniptions over the sleepwalking man statue and snow penises, who accuse people of "rape apology" when they say we should keep an open mind in rape cases, and who want to expel students on the basis of a sex accusation. It's definitely time to start having an adult conversation about these serious issues free of the angry baggage of radical feminism.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Off-topic: Some great Facebook sites

Prostate Cancer Awareness

Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation

Breast Cancer Awareness

(And there's the Facebook page that has gotten a lot of publicity where guys pose wearing only a sock over their privates to raise awareness for male cancers. A little too raunchy, and silly, but at least it's spreading awareness and raising money.)

Jimmy Carter is one-for-two in his discussion about sexual assault on campus

From the Huffington Post:
According to [Jimmy] Carter, [sexual assault] a problem that often goes unaddressed by university administrators. 
"They don't want to bring discredit or criticism to the universities to have an increase in reported abuses," Carter explained. "What develops on college campuses is serial rapists who know that on a college campus they can get away with it, and they do."
First, Carter is correct about serial rapists. He's echoing a point that RAINN also emphasized, citing Dr.David Lisak's work, in its recent letter to the White House. (Among other things, that letter also rejected reliance on "rape culture" as a cause of sexual assault on campus.)

Reagan to Carter: 
"There you go again . . . ."
Second, Carter is on shakier ground insisting that universities fail to address sexual assault. The assertion is curious, given that this blog is replete with examples of universities riding roughshod over the rights of the presumptively innocent accused of sex offenses. We will not bore our regular readers by chronicling these atrocities here but invite anyone interested to type "university" in the upper left search box at the top of this blog -- and prepare to have your blood boil.

Moreover, Carter's view is one that is not likely shared by many university administrators, given the incredible monetary and other resources directed to combating sexual assault on campus.

Many, if not most, of the criticisms lobbed at universities for being ineffective at handling sexual assault are grounded in the inherent difficulties in untangling messy "he said/she said" sexual assault claims. This is a thorny task even for professional law enforcement personnel, much less untrained college administrators who never attended the police academy.  The job would be very easy if university administrators simply kowtowed to extremists who don't care about the rights of the accused (and this blog has chronicled too many instances where that very thing has occurred).

But Carter and his ilk would do well to read the words of Winston Crisp, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UNC, who said the following in response to criticisms about his school's response to allegations of sexual assault:
The complaints of sexual assault heard by the University’s Student Grievance Committee . . . almost always involve charges brought by one UNC student against another UNC student. 
When you hear only one student’s description of what happened to him or her, it’s easy to pass judgment. When you listen carefully to both students, the task often becomes more difficult. 
Talk with any student who has served on a hearings panel responsible for reaching a decision in one of these cases, and I think you will hear how gut-wrenching and agonizing the deliberations can be. 
Of course, these matters are significantly more painful for the students directly involved, and we try to always be mindful of that fact while staying true to our legal and procedural requirements.

In one sense, Carter is correct -- some universities are too tolerant of excessive alcohol consumption among both its male and female students, which makes sexual assault more likely. Cracking down on drinking to excess is rarely a significant part of sexual assault prevention on campus, and I doubt that Carter had that in mind when he made his comments. Scott Berkowitz, who heads RAINN, said: ". . . given the reality of the risk, [telling women to be careful when drinking] is often the most effective way to prevent rape on campuses." And: "After a certain point, drinking is unhealthy for you for a variety of reasons. Rape is just one concern."  Cracking down on drinking to excess is one area where the schools are woefully deficient.

The angry reaction to the acquittal of the Dartmouth student charged with rape is evidence of what's wrong with "rape culture" advocates

The recent jury acquittal of former Dartmouth student Parker Gilbert, who was charged with raping a female student at the school, has sparked the usual cries of injustice by the usual angry voices who try to turn every acquittal of rape into evidence of "rape culture." Some of the reactions in this instance are especially egregious and represent a twisted mindset bent on punishing anyone merely accused of rape, the evidence and the verdict of acquittal be damned.

From the news reports, it is impossible to know with certainty what happened in this case because it was a classic "he said-she said" affair that is all-too common in rape cases that arise from drunken college sexual encounters. No one, except the two principals, knows exactly what happened, and it may be that the principals themselves aren't exactly sure.

But after the verdict, one juror explained that the accuser's story just didn't add up. Rick Rogers, one of the 12 jurors who actually sat through the whole thing (in contrast to persons now pontificating about it on the Internet), explained the jury's thought process: “(The woman’s) story of how the night played out, the evidence wasn’t there to support that. To the contrary, it was more in Parker’s favor. Her statement in the morning (to a friend) — that Parker stopped by and we had sex — is just not the answer that a rape victim would have.” Mr. Rogers pointed to other evidence that, he said, didn't add up for the jury: the fact that after Mr. Gilbert left the room, the woman went to sleep without even locking the door, and the woman’s decision not to alert a residence hall adviser who lived on the floor. Moreover, the testimony of Nancy Wu, the accuser's suitemate who said that she was awake and heard sounds consistent with consensual sex, was the most credible evidence for the jury. “There is tons and tons of evidence that just doesn’t add up,” Mr. Rogers said, “and to find somebody guilty of rape that will change everyone’s life, it has to be solid evidence and we have to feel that completely, and we did not.”

Mr. Rogers said he believes the accuser was misled by a friend who encouraged her to go to the hospital and get an exam, and that he feels sorry for Mr. Gilbert. “To accuse somebody of rape and to not be able to prove it. ... It just hurts, and I feel very sorry for Parker and his family.”

But there are always some angry rape pundits on the Internet who know better, who know for a fact that the jury got it wrong and that yet another rapist beat the rap. Read, for example, Lulu Chang's utter certainty that justice was not served: "As a student of Dartmouth, my first reaction [to the jury's verdict] was that of incredulity. It was quickly replaced by rage, and then followed by fear." And: "As a member of Dartmouth’s Student and Presidential Committee Against Sexual Assault, I have dedicated much of my Dartmouth career to eliminating cases like these from our campus." Chang, who had no hesitation in branding the accuser a "survivor," has convicted Mr. Gilbert on the Internet without bothering to deal with silly things like evidence and the presumption of innocence.

Worse, WISE, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower victims of domestic and sexual violence, issued a formal statement that is jarring in its certainty about Mr. Gilbert's guilt: "Today’s decision in the Dartmouth rape trial of Parker Gilbert is devastating and there is no doubt that it sends a terrible message to survivors of sexual assault. Something has got to change if we can allow a man who has no relationship with the victim to violate her in her own bed and face no consequences." And: ". . . today’s decision will no doubt impact survivors’ decisions in reporting their crime."

Another writer, commenting on the fact that Mr. Gilbert was acquitted of six counts of rape leveled by his accuser (including anal, vaginal and oral rape), called the accuser "the victim" and made the following bizarre leap in logic: ". . . when 6 charges of rape are brought in against one person, innocence seems somehow difficult to believe." This sort of analysis, of course, is unworthy of serious refutation, but it plays well to the chattering classes who know better than the people who actually sat through the trial and had serious questions about the accuser's veracity.

These comments are but the tip of the iceberg of angry rape activists and radical feminists who know better than the jury. They are an unconscionable affront to Mr. Gilbert's rights and dignity, to the jury's good faith in discharging its duties, and to the rule of law. While we don't know for certain what happened in that bedroom, that doesn't mean that justice wasn't served by the verdit, that the jury didn't do its job, or that Mr. Gilbert must be guilty just because the accuser said so.

Beyond that, the commentators do no favors for rape victims. By insisting that yet another rapist beat the rap when, in fact, it appears that the jury had ample and legitimate concerns about the accuser's story, these angry pundits are telling women who've been raped not to bother reporting their violations because they won't be believed. The Gilbert verdict does not support that conclusion, but why let the facts get in the way of a good "rape culture' rant? If they wonder why women don't report their rapes, they need only take a look at the closest mirror. It reminds me of the words of the famous Stern Review which, on page 45, chided rape victims' advocates because they insist that law enforcement is uniquely ineffective when it comes to rape, which could discourage women from reporting their ordeals.

In contrast to the persons and organizations purportedly devoted to helping rape victims but who seem intent on discouraging women from reporting, this blog, devoted to giving voice to the wrongly accused, encourages all rape victims, male and female, to report their ordeals to law enforcement.

It is always puzzling to me that the usual suspects choose murky cases, and cases where there are real questions about the accuser's veracity, to be vociferous in their insistence that rape occurred and that ours is a "rape culture" that happily lets rapists walk. They seem to not care that while the public loathes and detests even a whiff of rape, it also loathes and detests sending innocent men to prison for crimes they didn't commit. The "rape culture" pundits set back their cause with puerile incantations that assume guilt based on accusations alone. Jessica Valenti, are you listening?

And that's the real lesson of the Parker Gilbert case. The verdict furnishes no justification for assuming the system doesn't work. The reaction to that verdict, however, does expose an unfortunate, indeed hateful, side of "rape culture" advocacy that assumes every rape accusation should be automatically believed. All persons of good will need to disassociate themselves from these odious sentiments.