Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When it comes to campus rape, Jezebel's Callie Beusman spins more than the Tasmanian Devil

Callie Beusman has another of those vapid Jezebel/Salon-type Chicken Little "the sky is falling -- rape is rampant on campus!" pieces. See here.  It's all so tiresome.

Beusman bemoans the fact that few students found responsible for campus sexual assault are expelled. She clucks that refusing to expel students found responsible for sexual assault evinces a "depraved indifference" to "victims." You read that right -- "depraved indifference." Moreover, "if someone has been sexually assaulted, seeing their assailant on campus often makes them feel deeply unsafe."

Beusman doesn't mention the "depraved indifference" shown by colleges to the due process rights of young men accused of sex offenses.

In fact, Beusman ignores a host of critical facts. Given the pitifully low standard of proof that colleges employ in adjudicating sex offenses (preponderance of the evidence) and the absence of other critical procedural safeguards, many administrators who are charged with punishing sexual assault are reluctant to impose the potentially life-altering punishment of expulsion. If you want to have severe penalties, Ms. Beusman, and if you want those penalties to be enforced, you gotta give the accused meaningful due process and a higher standard of proof.

Let's pause to mention something here that isn't mentioned enough. The geniuses at the Department of Education have mandated that incredibly low "preponderance" standard for sex offenses because it mirrors the standard used in civil litigation for Title IX offenses. What the Department of Education forgot is that in civil cases, the defendant is afforded all manner of evidentiary protections that colleges routinely deny young men accused of sex offenses. In civil cases, defendants are permitted to vigorously depose prior to trial, and vigorously cross-examine during trial, the accuser and any other pertinent witnesses. They are also permitted to engage in all manner of discovery besides depositions, including proffering requests for admissions, requests for production of documents, and interrogatories. And in civil cases, if the plaintiff fails to respond to proper discovery requests, she is sanctioned by the court, up to and including dismissal of her case and requiring her to pay the other side's attorney's fees. None of that is available in kangaroo campus sex proceedings.

Beusman also ignores the fact that most college students are commuters and that a significant percentage of alleged college sexual assaults occur off-campus. Expelling a student will not in any sense prevent him from frequenting the same off-campus hang-outs where the alleged rape certainly might have occurred. If you want victims to feel safe, Ms. Beusman, urge them to go to the police instead of resorting to the alternate justice system of campus. Anything short of that is "depraved indifference" to their well-being.

Then Beusman writes: "Contrary to what some conservative pundits might argue, campus rape isn't the result of poor communication or some drunken misunderstanding . . . ."

When Beusman talks about "conservative pundits," most people probably assume she's talking about folks who insist that young women shouldn't dress provocatively because, hey, boys will be boys, and if the women get raped, they deserved it.

Of course that's not who Beusman is talking about. She's actually referring to writers who bemoan the de rigueur hostility to due process on campus when it comes to young men and sex accusations.

Stupid me. Until I paid attention to feminist-speak, I always thought that defenders of due process were "liberals." But now that I've been properly indoctrinated, I realize that anyone who dares to defend the due process rights of young men accused of sex offenses is, in fact, a "conservative pundit," which is feminist-speak for "misogynist" and "rape apologist."

When Beusman says that "conservative pundits" talk about campus rape as being "the result of poor communication or some drunken misunderstanding," that's typical straw man stuff from gender warriors who write for outlets like Jezebel. The fact is, people who bemoan the hostility to due process when it comes to college men accused of sex offenses (Beusman's "conservative pundits") do not want rape to be excused because of "poor communication and some drunken misunderstanding." What "conservative pundits" are actually saying is that such circumstances often make it impossible to know whether rape occurred in the first place -- and that it would be unjust to assume it did if there is not sufficient clarity. See? That's a big difference, but one that is almost certainly lost on anyone at Jezebel.

And by the way, contrary to Beusman's "conservative pundits" label, this isn't some "conservative" or "men's rights" argument. No less an authority than feminist Brett Sokolow has explained that in many cases of mutually drunk college sex, the male is unfairly slapped with sexual assault charges. That's not my opinion, that's the opinion of the person who has done more to advance rape victims' rights on campus than anyone alive, including anyone at Jezebel. Sokolow also said that in the drunken "hook up" culture, the evidence is often too murky to warrant charging and punishing the male accused of sexual misconduct, but that's exactly what too many schools are doing. He said that "in a lot of these cases, the campus is holding the male accountable in spite of the evidence – or the lack thereof – because they think they are supposed to, and that doing so is what OCR wants." And in "case-after-case . . . sincere victims believe something has happened to them that evidence shows absolutely did not . . .." And: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen."

But, hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good victim fetish. That's what rape advocacy has become. Due process be damned.

'Media Matters' doesn't like Time's attacks on the one-in-five statistic

. . . but can't say why the attacks are wrong. It's unhappy that Time stigmatizes a crime that is already underreported. See here.

This is typical of the feminist narrative on rape: anyone who dares to insist on accuracy is hurting women if the accuracy doesn't comport with a radical feminist narrative.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Students justify blog naming alleged rapists with the rhetoric of the lynch mobs at the hanging trees of the Old South

Professor Alan Dershowitz once wrote: "As one civil-liberties lawyer, who is concerned about the sometimes vigilante attitude toward accused rapists, puts it: 'Some people regard rape as so heinous an offense that they would not even regard innocence as a defense.'"

A group claiming to be current and former University of Chicago students created an anonymous Tumblr blog called the "Hyde Park List" listing the names of six male students and alumni who allegedly have perpetrated "gender-based violence" against other students. The blog was followed by fliers with the names taped around campus.

The students stated that the effort is a response to the shortcomings of the university’s alleged sexual assault policy. "The University has failed to protect the community, sexual assault is historically deeply underreported, and we have failed as a campus to have a real and serious conversation about sexual assault on campus," the Tumblr says.

This effort needs to be condemned by all persons of good will. It is but one more example of a disturbing hostility to due process when it comes to young men and alleged sex offenses. Progressives who otherwise have fought to protect the rights of the presumptively innocent accused of crimes are eerily silent when it comes to young men accused of sex offenses. Many of them side with the anti-due process forces, and that is chilling in the extreme.

The "Hyde Park List, is nothing new. The same attitude has animated other such efforts. For 17 years, the University of Maryland famously sanctioned a Clothesline Project where alleged rape survivors were permitted to publicly display shirts with the full names of men they accused of rape written on them. There was no discussion about even the possibility that any of the men named might have been innocent, much less a national outrage over it. The university stopped the practice not out of respect for the men named but only because it realized the practice subjected it to liability.

And there was the infamous Brown bathroom wall "rape list."

Feminist icon Germaine Greer called for an online rapists' register "because we know the courts can't get it right."

On and on it goes, but the rhetoric employed to justify the sort of vigilantism  in these efforts never varies. It is a chilling echo of the lynch mobs gathered at the hanging trees of the old American South. No, the Chicago Tumblr bloggers don't want to kill anyone, but like the lynch mobs of old, the so-called "Hyde Park List" is animated by a blatant disregard of the due process rights of the presumptively innocent. These bloggers are waging the war on sexual violence with the memes of the hangman, as much as they would angrily deny it.

The motivating impulse of the lynch mob was that the system could not adequately respond to rape by black men. As one writer put it, lynchings “are extraordinary measures demanded by extraordinary occasions.” Underlying the defense of lynchings was the assumption that rape accusers were “victims” just because they said so. The hangman and his sympathizers had no doubts about the guilt of the men and boys hanged –“their guilt was clear in every instance,” clucked one writer. Another explained: “. . . the utmost care is taken to identify the criminal and only when his identity is beyond question is the execution ordered.” And: “As the most careful precautions are taken against this result it is not a likely thing lest the wrong man is executed.”

Due process wasn’t just unnecessary to the fair administration of justice when rape was alleged, it was a hindrance to the fair administration of justice. The criminal justice system was “incapable” of meting out the punishment that was needed, a punishment that spared the victims of “negro” atrocities the humiliation of testifying in courts.

What was the lynch mob’s reaction to those who denounced lynchings? To malign them as “fanatics” and victim blamers, of course. The folks who called for due process never “say[ ] or do[ ] anything to discourage the crime which provoked” the lynchings in the first place, said one lynching sympathizer. Indeed, these “fanatics . . . have assailed the victims of the brute’s lust . . . .”

Does any of this sound familiar? In fact, all of it should sound familiar. The echoes of those shrill voices resonate in the "Hyde Park List" and a thousand other places.

In his State of the Union Address of 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt condemned the hanging of blacks by vigilantes. He quoted a religious leader of the day: “As Bishop Galloway, of Mississippi, has finely said: ‘The mob which lynches a negro charged with rape will in a little while lynch a white man suspected of crime. Every Christian patriot in America needs to lift up his voice in loud and eternal protest against the mob spirit that is threatening the integrity of this Republic.'”

Sadly, more than 100 years later, Teddy Roosevelt was right. The “mob spirit” is alive and well, and it isn’t targeting just black men. It has wrapped itself in the mantle of political correctness and gussied itself up with PhD’s in Women’s Studies programs, and it uses justifications about having a "serious conversation."

But all of the noble intentions in the world to eradicate rape can’t whitewash their appalling hostility to the rights of the accused. The lynch mob is alive and well, and the time is long overdue for all persons of good will to condemn it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

If we want the NFL to be a role model, we need to insist it respect due process

Due process -- that elusive concept that, at its core, says a person should not be deprived of his liberty or property interests without notice and a fair opportunity to be heard -- is a bogeyman, a hindrance to justice, we are told, when it comes to offenses against women. The hostility to due process is most pronounced on campus. Need some recent examples?

●Earlier this year, Dartmouth administrator Amanda Childress was speaking about alleged sex offenses when she said this: "Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?" Dartmouth defended the comment.

●Occidental College professor Caroline Heldman was quoted in a Ms. Magazine blog entry about the spate of lawsuits filed by men who claim their colleges denied them their due process rights in connection with sexual assault claims: "These lawsuits are an incredible display of entitlement, the same entitlement that drove them to rape."

●Sen. Claire McCaskill's sexual assault survey sent to 350 college and university presidents classifies persons who make accusations of sexual misconduct as “victims,” and in one place calls persons merely accused of sexual misconduct “offenders.” Then on page 14, it contains this query: "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 . . . ."

This isn't just indifference to due process, it's downright hostility, and the mainstream news media is largely tolerant of it. In what other setting would the news media give a pass to comments that assume guilt based not on the facts of a given case but on the nature of the accusation and the gender of the accused?  It's as if we can't be intolerant of heinous wrongdoing against women while also respecting the principles of fairness that underlie due process. That's insane by any measure.

Now the news media is injecting the same puerile rush-to-judgment sensibilities into accusations of domestic violence in the NFL. The principles of  fairness and orderly procedure that underlie "due process" are readily dismissed as legal technicalities that shouldn't interfere with taking a zero tolerance stance toward domestic violence, we are told.

The 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald allegedly beat his pregnant fiancee. He was arrested and is out on bail. McDonald continues to practice and play for San Francisco while being investigated on suspicion of domestic violence. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 29. Coach Jim Harbaugh properly said the 49ers would let the legal process play out before making a determination about McDonald's future. Harbaugh said: "Our response would be, we have two principles at play here, and one is respect for due process, and we're not going to flinch based on public speculation."

Harbaugh is right. In days gone by, progressives would have applauded his stance as courageous in the face of a public outcry by the mob that assumes guilt based on nothing more than an accusation. Alas, those days are over, at least when it comes to accusations by women against men.

The once great New York Times,  among many others, does not approve of Harbaugh's stance. It harrumphed that Harbaugh "might have been reading from the N.F.L.’s handbook on crisis management in the concussion age, circa 2008." The implication is as jarring as it is childish: due process is some unenlightened concept that's invoked by patriarchal Neanderthals looking to protect rapists, misogynists, and wife beaters. With all the snark that's fit to print, the Times continued: "[Harbaugh's] stance drew sharp rebukes from the likes of Jerry Rice and the California lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, San Francisco’s former mayor. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution denouncing the team’s handling of the situation. But most of them probably watched the game anyway."

I ask in all seriousness, in what other setting would the New York Times denigrate due process?

Another writer wrote: "The 49ers, so far, have held their ground in regards to McDonald. Do they know something that we don't? Coach Jim Harbaugh has reiterated that it's 'due process' but as MediaNews Group columnist Tim Kawakami has pointed out, 'Due process is a legal term, It is not relevant to whether someone plays in a football game.'"

Yeah, I mean, who needs silly things like "fairness" to insure that the innocent aren't punished with the guilty? "Due process" is a legal "technicality" that has no place in the real world when a man is accused of a crime against a woman, even when the stakes are so high that man's life could be ruined by a trumped up accusation.

Except Harbaugh is right. The New York Times and all the rest are wrong. It's easy to kowtow to the public outcry and punish based on accusations -- most societies since the dawn of man have done exactly that. What separates our culture from most of the cultures in history is the impulse to be fair, to be just. It's much harder to insist that the accused be afforded a fair hearing of the charges against him, but it's the hallmark of a civilized people.

Fairness does not require that due process necessarily be administered by courts. It is possible, for example, for the NFL to defer to a retired judge to give a fair hearing to an accused player. Unfortunately, colleges have shown that when due process is administered by persons outside formal courts, it doesn't go well. I merely say it is possible.

However due process is administered, this isn't something that should be at all controversial. The people criticizing Harbaugh and the 49ers can't justify their rage with anything resembling a coherent rationale. And, no, fuming about how domestic violence is a problem of epidemic proportions does not justify assuming guilt in a given case. You are an idiot if you think it does. (Or worse, you are pandering to angry women's groups for political or economic reasons -- you'd be better off being an idiot -- at least idiots presumably act with good intentions.)

The same unjust sensibilities informed the lynch mob in the Old South. The motivating impulse of the lynch mob was that rape was an offense so heinous, it demanded “instant and severe punishment” — vigilante justice — without waiting for due process. As one writer put it, lynchings “are extraordinary measures demanded by extraordinary occasions.” Underlying the defense of lynchings was the assumption that rape accusers were “victims” just because they said so. The hangman and his sympathizers had no doubts about the guilt of the men and boys hanged–“their guilt was clear in every instance,” clucked one writer. Another explained: “. . . the utmost care is taken to identify the criminal and only when his identity is beyond question is the execution ordered.” And: “As the most careful precautions are taken against this result it is not a likely thing lest the wrong man is executed.” And due process wasn’t just unnecessary to the fair administration of justice when rape was alleged, due process was a hindrance to the fair administration of justice. The criminal justice system was “incapable” of meting out the punishment that was needed, a punishment that spared the victims of “negro” atrocities the humiliation of testifying in courts.

We have reached the stage where we are told colleges and the NFL should be motivated by the same rush-to-judgment impulse as the one that motivated the lynch mob.

If we really want the NFL to be a role model, we'd insist that it do the right thing, the hard thing -- the apolitical thing -- and institute a policy that respects due process in all cases.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Ray Rice affair: should assaults on women be afforded a greater penalty than assaults on men?

Recently, a bipartisan group of 16 female senators wrote a letter to the NFL urging a zero-tolerance policy on violence against women. "If you violently assault a woman, you shouldn’t get a second chance to play football in the NFL," the senators wrote. “It is long past time for the NFL to institute a real zero-tolerance policy and send a strong message that the league will not tolerate violence against women by its players, who are role models for children across America.”

The implication is curious: the severity of punishment can vary depending on the gender of the victim. Implied but not stated: zero tolerance is reserved for female victims, and if an NFL player violently assaults a man, he can get a second chance, for all these 16 female senators care.

What happened to Ray Rice's then-fiance, now wife, was unacceptable by any measure. The NFL suspended Rice indefinitely.

What happened to the bar employee allegedly punched in the mouth by Bengals running back Cedric Benson was also unacceptable by any measure. Benson entered a plea deal that sent him to jail for a few days for that assault. How did the NFL respond? NFL Commissioner Goodell got very tough with Benson: he gave him a good talking-to, that's what he did -- and no suspension. "Like most public figures," the very understanding Commissioner Goodell explained, "Cedric and other NFL players occasionally may find themselves facing risks that other individuals do not. They must exercise good judgment and restraint when confronted with those risks."

Not long after that, what happened to Cedric Benson's former roommate was also unacceptable by any measure. Police say Benson repeatedly hit the roommate in the face, causing him to bleed from the mouth and possibly lose teeth. This time, the NFL got really tough on Benson: it suspended him for three whole games. See here and here. Wow.

The Ray Rice story made headlines across America, but chances are, you never heard of either of the alleged assaults involving Cedric Benson.

Is violence against women something we should be concerned about? Of course it is. It happens far too often.

Is violence against men something we should be concerned about? Of course it is. But we aren't, despite the fact that it, too, happens all too often. The talking heads of mass media and our elected officials trip over one another to out-zero-tolerance-talk one another when it comes to violence against women. Those same yakety pundits and politicians are strangely silent when it comes to violence against men, unless, of course, there's a good racial story to be concocted from it, and only if the black teen male victim is actually murdered.

In this culture, intimate partner physical abuse is regarded as a significant public health concern when its victims are women, but as a punch line when its victims are men. Some women's rights bloggers and feminist activists even spend a good deal of time trivializing domestic violence against men because, they think, acknowledging it somehow hurts women. This, despite the fact that a significant body of credible scholarship shows that women and men inflict comparable levels of domestic violence. Men are stigmatized into not reporting their victimization because complaining about it isn’t considered “manly.” When men do seek help, they are often discriminated against by domestic violence service providers and law enforcement systems. It surely doesn't advance the cause of domestic violence against men when the only domestic violence that U.S. senators care about is that committed against women.

Put all that aside, exactly why are we compartmentalizing violence? A bash to the head is a bash to the head whether it's inflicted on a fiance, a roommate, or a complete stranger -- and regardless of whether it's considered "domestic violence" or just plain old "violence." A blow of the the same severity still requires the same number of stitches. And when we look at violence overall, men win the Oppression Olympics by a long shot. "Men are 150 percent more likely to be the victims of violent crimes than women are. . . . Men are more likely to be victimized by a stranger (63 percent of violent victimizations) . . . ." J. Friedman, J. Valenti, Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape at 23 (2008).

So it doesn't work to say that domestic violence against women is deserving of a zero tolerance approach because only women are battered. Men are battered more.

Should assaults by men against women warrant a greater penalty than assaults by men or women against men?  What message are we sending our children when we elevate one class of victims over another, or when the only violence that is considered a national crisis is that committed against women (with the aforementioned rare exception of black teen males murdered by a white cop or white vigilante). When it comes to violence, most men are invisible -- especially black males killed in the inner city by other black males. Shouldn't we be promoting a violence-free society for all citizens? Shouldn't we be teaching our children to be respectful of all people? Should victims be afforded less recognition, less deference -- indeed, less justice -- merely because they were born male?

Let's put it in real terms: when Cedric Benson's victims were assaulted, it surely gave them no consolation that they were born with penises, and they surely would not have cared if the person who inflicted the assaults was male or female.

Spilled blood doesn't flow faster or slower based on group identity politics.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Finally, the mainstream news media gets it right about false rape claims

In the Morning Links of a Washington Post blog, the following appears -- read both links:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Rape Culturists": zealots who don't need silly things like facts

I want you to read two pieces -- the first is by a former Colorado University student who claims "rape culture" pervades the school's philosophy department. It's called Patriarchy and rape culture in philosophy department.

If you are fair-minded, as you read the article, you will be asking yourself, "what evidence supports these conclusory allegations?"

One of the comments under the article chimes in with this bizarre assertion: "I can affirm that almost all of my female-identified friends have been sexually assaulted in our lifetimes, myself included."

I shudder to think how that writer and her female-identified friends define "sexual assault," but the claim is so silly no rational person can take it seriously.

Now read the rebuttal of a recently retired professor, who makes the author of the first piece look downright delusional here.

This is a microcosm of the "rape culture" meme: wild, man-hating conclusions posited as truth. What personal dysfunction fuels these beliefs, I don't know, and I don't care. It's time for all persons of good will to stand up and say, "Enough, enough, enough. This is asinine."

DePauw sexual assault injustice

KC Johnson writes about the DePauw case here.

Johnson writes: ". . . Judge Lawrence nonetheless granted a preliminary injunction, arguing that DePauw violated its contract (the university bulletin) with King."

Actually, we should not talk about the judge as "arguing" a point he decides. In writing a judicial opinion, a judge does not "argue" -- he is not an advocate for one party or another.

Here is the most important aspect of the decision, a point that Johnson doesn't discuss: the standard employed. The judge writes: “. . . in the area of academic services, our approach has been akin to the one used in the case of contracts conditioned upon the satisfaction of one party.”

There is a crucial distinction between commercial contracts where goods and services are bartered and sold as opposed to contracts involving artistic taste or “personal satisfaction.” Both employ a “good faith” standard for any contractual obligations where discretion is employed, but the "good faith" standard is not the same in both. While both require honesty in fact, contracts involving artistic taste or “personal satisfaction” do not require a party to employ commercial reasonableness, while other commercial transactions do. (Example: consider a contract calling for a novelist to write a book. The editor reviewing the novelist's manuscript is not required to exercise commercial reasonableness in deciding if it is satisfactory, just honesty in fact.)

In light of the standard announced by the judge in the Depauw case (where the school, apparently, is not required to act in a way that is objectively reasonable), the result is a little surprising. That's what's important here.

I do not think it is helpful to classify this contract decision, on a preliminary motion that does not reach the ultimate merits of the case, as another victory for due process.

Damn Princeton


Damn feminists


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ESPN analyst says men need to be reprogrammed

The Ray Rice domestic violence incident has given the usual loons cover to show their true colors. ESPN analyst Kate Fagan says that society needs to reprogram men by spending a ton of money to train boys to respect women. CBS sports anchor James Brown used the Rice incident to boldly -- and bizarrely -- proclaim that when men say "you throw the ball like a girl," it leads to domestic violence against women.

It's all so tiresome. And wrong.

Any time any high profile, senseless violence is committed by a young man, a certain class of media pundits -- H.L. Menken-wannabes who know nothing more about "gender" than the average person on the street (and probably a lot less) -- deem it a moral imperative to use their platforms to churn out de rigueur commentaries tying the atrocity du jour to maleness. Their hand-wringing pronouncements happily reduce young men to caricature and pass off outlier attributes as "cultural norms." They are smugly content to do to young men the very thing most of them vehemently object to whenever a conservative pundit ties a terrorist act committed by a Muslim to Muslims in general. Young men are the favorite piƱatas of the enlightened know-it-all set, the source of all ills of society.

We see it over and over and over. They are ready to pounce any time a troubled young man goes berserk and shoots up a movie theater or a school. His act, they declare, is a manifestation of masculinity that needs to be reprogrammed.

Of course, for every young man who commits such acts, there are always a lot more heroes who risk their lives to keep people they don't even know from harm. And, yes, these heroes are almost always male, too, but the know-it-all pundits never bother to tie their actions to their "maleness." Funny how that works.

And therein lies the problem. Ray Rice is not a stand-in for "males." His actions do not fit cultural norms for masculinity. Just the opposite, his actions are widely deplored and condemned. Ray Rice committed a criminal act.  But for every Ray Rice, there are countless young men ready to do selfless things, noble things, and often incredibly heroic things. Why aren't these also seen as "cultural norms" that define masculinity?  Because that doesn't fit the stereotype.

Let's be clear: boys need to be taught to control their aggression. Every sane person understands that boys are not little girls with penises. Every sane person also knows that young black males are more likely to commit violent crimes than young white males. The latter social pathology is not caused by "too much" masculinity, it's caused by the absence of proper male role models -- a product of, among other things, the mid-60s "man-out-of-the-house" government policy that paid poor women to rid the household of adult males.

Yes, men and boys face innumerable problems that are unique to males and that are largely -- and outrageously -- ignored. But the drive-by media pundits who are ever-ready to toss "maleness" onto  the scrapheap of history aren't helping matters. We need to insist that the idiotic stereotyping be stopped.

You know who doesn't stereotype? You know who understands that the issues aren't so black and white? People well-versed in the issues. Earlier this year, RAINN, the nation's leading anti-rape organization, debunked the "rape culture" trope: "Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime." This is what we've been preaching here for years. RAINN decried the "inclination to focus on particular . . . 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." The usual pundits had a conniption, of course.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sorry, the college sex tribunal is not "bizarre and cruel" for women who cry rape, it's "bizarre and cruel" for the presumptively innocent accused of rape

A former Philadelphia prosecutor who now works for a company dedicated to "increas[ing] victim safety and offender accountability" said that Franklin and Marshall College's protocol for handling sexual assault hearings is “bizarre and cruel." We agree, but not for the reasons the former prosecutor thinks. He thinks it is "bizarre and cruel" to the accuser. Why? Because "it requires victims to sit at the same table as the person who raped them and basically try their own case. It demonstrates a shocking lack of understanding of the impact of sexual trauma on victims.”

The former prosecutor's failure to mention that sometimes accusers are not "victims" betrays his bias and should banish him from the adult table on this very serious issue.

Let's talk about "bizarre and cruel," shall we? At Franklin and Marshall College, the Policy on Sexual Misconduct makes clear that men who never dreamed of raping a women are to be viewed right off the bat with suspicion. It cautions students about the "warning signs" or ”red flags” that indicate "a risk of sexual misconduct." These include: if the person you are with "interrupts" you (yes -- interrupts -- and, no, we're not making that up), or "drinks too much or uses drugs" (by this standard, when a women drinks herself into oblivion, isn't that a warning sign that she's engaging in sexual misconduct -- or is that "victim blaming"?), or "wants to be alone with you before getting to know you" (you see, it isn't possible that someone wants to be alone with you in order to get to know you).

When an accuser decides she's been sexually wronged, Franklin and Marshall assures her that "students who report . . . sexual misconduct involving students will not be disciplined by the College for any violation of the College’s drug or alcohol possession or consumption policies in which they might have been engaged in connection with the reported incident." This is an echo of the Department of Education's infamous April 4, 2011 "Dear Colleague" directive that instructs college administrators to consider whether punishing students (almost always women or gay men) for alcohol offenses will have a "chilling effect on victims' . . . reporting of sexual violence offenses." In contrast, if an intoxicated underage male reported he'd been beaten badly, he would be charged with underage drinking because his victimization isn't the right kind of victimization. While charging for intoxication might have a chilling effect on reporting rape, announcing immunity for charges of intoxication for students who cry rape might provide a handy excuse for intoxication.

At Franklin and Marshall, when the woman decides to file a complaint, she's assisted by an advisor she selects from the school's roster of Title IX approved advisors.

At the hearing, the accused is not permitted to confront or cross-examine his accuser. They may be seated at the same conference room table (a conference room table is generally long -- it's not like sitting across the kitchen table from your rapist), and according to this article, "a barrier may be set up between the complainant and respondent if the complainant so wishes." This is somehow "bizarre and cruel" to the accuser? In fact, it is "bizarre and cruel" to the accused. It makes a mockery of any semblance of due process. In marked contrast to criminal and civil judicial proceedings, the accuser doesn't have to answer a single question posed by the accused. While the Dept. of Education insists the preponderance of the evidence standard is appropriate for college sex hearings because that's the civil law standard in Title IX cases, what they forgot is that in civil cases, the defendant is afforded all manner of evidentiary protections that colleges routinely deny young men accused of sex offenses. In civil cases, defendants are permitted to vigorously depose prior to trial, and vigorously cross-examine during trial, the accuser and any other pertinent witnesses. In civil cases, the defendant is also permitted to engage in all manner of discovery besides depositions, including proffering requests for admissions, requests for production of documents, and interrogatories. In a civil case, if the plaintiff fails to respond to proper discovery requests, she is sanctioned by the court, up to and including dismissal of her case and requiring her to pay the other side's attorney's fees. Franklin and Marshall's procedure mirrors the procedures at colleges all across America: none of the procedural safeguards available in civil trials are afforded the accused.

Beyond that, unlike civil trials, there are no provisions (except for one) to regulate the admission of evidence at the hearing. For example, there are no prohibitions about admitting hearsay evidence against the accused or about keeping out evidence against the accused where the prejudicial effect far outweighs the probative value. The only evidentiary safeguard that the school has bothered to spell out is for the accuser; specifically, the school incorporates the policy behind rape shield laws that generally prohibits the admission of evidence about the accuser's sexual activity with anyone other than the accuser.

At Franklin and Marshall, the three-person hearing panel reaches its verdict by majority rule, and the standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence (so if two panel members are swayed even a little more by the complainant's story, the accused is found responsible). The dangers of this de minimis standard in potentially life-altering procedures are well-known -- we've written about them extensively and won't repeat them here.  Franklin and Marshall College thinks its perfectly acceptable to destroy a young man's life even if all panel members have a serious doubt about his guilty so long as two out of three panel members think he "probably" did it.

The school's procedure also contains this bizarre requirement: "Both students will prepare an impact statement describing the impact that the initial event and subsequent related events have had on their lives. The impact statement will be reviewed by the Hearing Panel only in the event of a finding of responsibility."  What on earth is the accused student who protests his innocence supposed to say in an "impact statement" -- other than that he was wrongly accused?

The reason that a former prosecutor can say with a straight face that the procedure is "bizarre and cruel" for the accused, and that newspapers print comments like that without challenge, is because there is a widespread assumption that accusers are victims and that the men they accuse are rapists. This assumption is buttressed by junk science and feminist mantras chanted with such frequency that they are assumed to be true. The widespread belief that men get away with rape too often leads these gender crusaders to the Orwellian conclusion that it's okay to assume this particular man is guilty on the basis of a mere accusation.

College sex tribunals are nothing more than window-dressing to make mom and dad think the school cares about fairness for their sons even though the proceedings to determine their responsibility are stacked against them. The public discourse on this issue has become so loopy, so topsy turvy, so downright hateful, that "up" is "down" and "wrong" is "right" and making the accuser feel safe trumps due process. And for too long, people of good will have nodded politely when gender crusaders jabber their idiocy. It's time for all persons of good will to say, "enough!"

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Women who don't attend college: your elected officials care more about keeping college women safe from rape than you

American women who don't attend college (that's most of you), wouldn't it be nice if you could accuse a man of sexual assault and, with very little evidence, have him kicked out of the apartment building where he lives, fired from his job, or permanently banned from jogging in the park he frequents, shopping in the stores he shops in, or even living in the town where he lives?  Wouldn't it be nice if every accusation of rape were treated as sufficient evidence to exact these sorts of punishments?

So, why are your sisters who attend college afforded the power to effect such punishments while you aren't? Why do they have the ability to get a male classmate expelled from school and banned from campus on the basis of an accusation alone while you don't a similar power to make your environment safe? Why are they allowed to exact a punishment with only a preponderance of the evidence and essentially no due process protections for the accused (including the right to cross-examine his accuser, to keep untrustworthy hearsay evidence from the proceedings, and to be apprised of the evidence to be offered against him in advance of the hearing) while you don't? What makes your sisters who attend college so special?

Feminists on campus have been permitted to create a woman-friendly sexual Nirvana that their female counterparts who don't attend college are denied.  From a legal, moral, and practical perspective, what is so special about college that college women should have special rights beyond those afforded to women in these other environments?  And how much longer will it be before this asymmetry dawns on feminist lawmakers and they seek to extend the protections beyond college campuses?

Mark my words: due process has been vanquished from our college campuses for men accused of sex offenses, and it will soon be under attack with respect to men everywhere.

Wrongly accused man: police 'drew the guns and told me to get down' and 'put the handcuffs on me real tight'

The following news story was reported here:
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Deputies said an Orange County woman’s fake 911 call forced an entire neighborhood into lockdown on Thursday. 
For nearly two hours, the Normandy Shores subdivision, on Silver Star Road, appeared to be under siege.

The fuss broke out after a woman called 911 and claimed she was being raped.

A resident, who did not want to be identified, said deputies thought he was the rapist.

“They drew the guns and told me to get down,” he said. “Put the handcuffs on me real tight. I fit the description because I has in a white tank top and I (am) black with dreads.”

Turns out the man wasn’t the suspect, because the whole rape claim was a hoax.

“It’s ridiculous,” said resident Eric Winspare.

Dozens of residents were stuck outside in 97-degree heat and school buses packed with children weren’t allowed in the neighborhood.

When the crime tape went down, the woman who called in the hoax was taken under the Baker Act, which allows for a person to be held for a mental health evaluation if there appears to be a danger.

Deputies have not released the woman’s name.

The man who claimed deputies wrongly held him at gunpoint said he plans to file a complaint with internal affairs.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Woman sends grandfather to jail with rape lie in bid to get inheritance early, smiles to friends during sentencing

The following news story was reported here:
A nurse has been struck off after being jailed for falsely accusing her grandfather of rape in a bid to claim his inheritance money.

Natalie Mortimer, from Aberdeen, was disciplined at a one-day standards hearing at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in London.

The 25-year-old was jailed for 22 months at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in January after being convicted of wasting 175 hours of police time by fabricating claims that her grandfather Gordon Ritchie sexually abused her.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard at the time how she had falsely accused her grandfather of raping her when she was a child so she could get her hands on inheritance money.

She eventually admitted she had made up the sex attack claims - but only after her innocent grandfather had spent time in a police cell following the allegations.

The false claims wasted dozens of hours of police time and cost taxpayers more than £3,000.

At the time, sheriff Graeme Buchanan told her: ‘False allegations of rape and other sexual offences are very serious because they put doubts in the minds of jurors in genuine cases and they subject innocent people such as Mr Ritchie to a terrifying ordeal of suspicion and investigation by police.

‘What you did to Mr Ritchie was truly evil and despicable and there is only one appropriate sentence for this behaviour and that is imprisonment.’

During her sentencing, she showed no remorse as she left the court dock in handcuffs - smiling at her friends in the public gallery.

Today, the NMC confirmed she had been struck off from her position as a staff nurse at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for the offence.

Mortimer lived with her grandfather and grandmother until July 2011 when she packed her bags and moved to London.

She later went to a police station in Chiswick on numerous occasions between August 2012 and March last year and lodged complaints with police about her grandfather.

She claimed to have been raped by Mr Ritchie over two years when she was at primary school.

When Mr Ritchie, who used to be a foster carer, was first contacted by police he was on holiday with Mortimer's 15-year-old half-sister.

He had to cut short his holiday and was asked not to have any contact with children aged under 16.

As part of the investigation, previous foster children were also questioned and inquiries had to be made with social services and the health service, the court heard.

Over the course of many months, Mortimer spoke to numerous detectives and called Mr Ritchie her abuser and a paedophile.

The court heard how officers had been made aware that she had lied only after Mortimer's mother, Susan Simpson, began to doubt her story.

Representing the former Aberdeen Royal Infirmary staff nurse, solicitor Lynne Freeland said her client was aware she had 'torn lives apart' with her greedy, selfish and cruel actions.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

'Sheriff: Woman files false rape report to cover up affair'

The following news story was reported here:
An Athens woman has been charged with filing a false report after she told deputies she was raped Monday night.

Investigator Leslie Ramsey said Rebecca Rainey told her she was raped by her husband's best friend while her husband was in the hospital.

After Rainey failed to provide details, investigators decided to look at Rainey's cell phone to see what the conversations had been between her and the alleged offender. At that point, Rainey told investigators there were texts between her and her husbands best friend where the two had planned to meet and have consensual sex.

"Rainey recanted and admitted that basically she didn't want to get caught having an affair and if she had been caught that she could explain it away as rape," Ramsey said.

Investigators said they wasted four to five hours on the case that turned out to be made up. Given the time spent and the seriousness of the false allegations, investigators arrested Rainey for filing a false report.

"Rape is one of those crimes we do see falsely reported and it's a very very serious crime," Ramsey said. "You can't come in here and use that powerful word to explain away wrongdoing."

Ramsey also said she doesn't want to discourage any actual rape victims from coming forward and this was a case where there were clear, provable facts that the alleged victim had lied.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Simple Justice" blog takes apart law prof for politicizing rape

This won't be cited by the usual pundits whose screeching has grown wearisome (I've removed some of their links from this site because I am sick of them), because it's light years beyond the tripe we usually see: http://blog.simplejustice.us/2014/09/04/campus-rape-trials-the-deep-bias-of-the-empirical-scholar/

A sponsor of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act says due process for the accused needs to be added to it

Sen. Mark Warner, one of the sponsors of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, says that the act does need some due process protections for the accused: "I do believe you do need, for the accused, you need to maintain due process rights. And then … I think this part of the legislation will probably require some additional review . . . ."

It's a start

'Girl, 16, who cried rape after cheating on boyfriend is jailed for six months'

The following news story was reported here:
A teenage girl was locked up for six months today for crying rape - after she lied to stop her boyfriend finding out she'd cheated on him.

The 16-year-old girl made up the rape allegation after going home for sex with innocent Alex Lewis, 20, on a night out.

She lied to police that she was abducted, attacked and forced to perform a sex act during a violent assault by three men.

It led to Mr Lewis being arrested and held in custody for 36 hours. He spent two months on bail until the girl confessed it was all lies.

The girl, whose name cannot be revealed for legal reasons, admitted she was worried her boyfriend would be furious at finding she had sex with another man.

Her lies unravelled when she was caught on CCTV drunkenly kissing and fondling Mr Lewis on the night out.

A judge yesterday ordered the girl should not be named - even though three innocent men she accused of rape were identified in court.

The trio, all aged 20, were arrested, quizzed and forced to give ‘intimate’ samples during their ‘terrifying’ ordeal after the girl's false claims.

Prosecutor David Pugh said: ‘She said she was pushed up a metal ladder to an attic bedroom by two men, one of whom held her down.

‘She said both kissed her all over her body and was raped by one of the men.’

But the girl's lies were uncovered when detectives viewed footage of her picking up the group in Merthyr Tydfil town centre in South Wales and kissing one of the men, Alex, before they jumped in a taxi together.

Mr Pugh added: ‘Images showed they became very close, with the girl kissing Mr Lewis and placing her head on his shoulder and getting in a taxi.’

They returned to Alex's parents' house and had consensual sex before the girl left and flagged down a police car, claiming she had been raped.

The girl was arrested and admitted making up the claims in June this year.

Mr Lewis spent two months on bail before police finally cleared him days before his 21st birthday.

Mr Pugh said: ‘The reason she said she gave the false account was she was scared her boyfriend would find out she cheated on him and it would lead to violence.’

The girl pleaded guilty to trying to pervert the course of justice.

Alex Greenwood, defending, said: ‘This is as serious an example of attempting to pervert the course of justice as one can imagine.

‘The three men were subjected to a terrifying experience in the knowledge they were entirely innocent.

‘She is truly sorry.’

He said that once she made the rape allegation, ‘a juggernaut was set in train’ - and the girl was too scared to admit she was lying.

Judge Mr Recorder Jeremy Jenkins QC yesterday sent the teenager to a young offender institution for six months.

The girl sat with her head bowed during the 20-minute hearing at Merthyr Crown Court and showed no emotion as the judge sentenced her.

He told the teen: ‘When a woman makes an allegation of rape, it has to be treated with the utmost seriousness.’

‘Rape is an absolutely vile crime and it's the duty of the police to investigate it thoroughly and carefully.

‘False allegations of rape can have dreadful consequences to the men concerned.

‘For innocent men to be confronted with an allegation like that, held in custody for 36 hours and subjected to intrusive medical examinations is a terrible experience.

‘The police spent many hours and there was a substantial financial cost in investigating your wholly false allegations.’

He added: ‘Every time somebody makes a false allegation of rape, the public has less confidence in the truth of other complaints of sexual abuse made by genuine victims.’

Barrister Mr Pugh said the girl should be named and shamed - despite her age.

He said: ‘Members of the public need to know for their own future conduct and safety.’

But the judge ordered the girl should not be identified publicly - even though her three victims were named in court.

He said her age and ‘the long-term need for rehabilitation’ meant she should be given anonymity.

But Mr Greenwood claimed: ‘She should not be labelled for the rest of her life within the close community.’

Woman asks to be rape, lies about it

The following news story was reported here:
LARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Clarksville woman who claimed she was raped at Dunbar Cave park earlier this month has been charged with false report. 
Kayla Bowen had told police that at 2:23 a.m. on Aug. 5, she went to the park to think, and, after sitting in her car for a couple hours, a man approached her, asked for a light, then beat and raped her. 
A Clarksville Police investigation has since uncovered a Craiglist ad Bowen posted titled "Have a deep dark fantasy." In the ad, Bowen said she wanted to be raped and for anyone who responds to say how they would do it and why, according to her arrest warrant. 
Her phone records showed she made contact with two people the night she reported the rape. Texts revealed she told the individuals she wanted to be duct-taped, gagged, then sexually assaulted, which would include but not be limited to broken arms, black eyes, a broken nose, fractured ribs and other injuries. 
In a text Bowen sent Aug. 4 at 11 p.m., she said she was sitting at Dunbar Cave park in her car and it was a perfect place for the rape, the warrant said. She then texted, "I'm 100 percent consenting to be raped," according to the warrant. 
When no one came to the park, she went to an address on Cyprus Court, where she engaged consensual sex and assault resulting in bruises, abrasions, ripped clothes and a chipped tooth, the warrant said. 
Bowen, 24, was charged Friday with making a false report and booked into Montgomery County Jail on $50,000 bond.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Princeton to young men: drop dead

Princeton, formerly a model for handling sexual assault cases where the needs of sexual assault victims were fairly balanced against the due process rights of the presumptively innocent, is about to cave in to radical feminist tyranny, presumably because it's easier to kowtow to hate than to fight it.


Friday, September 5, 2014

It's orientation season at college -- and time to blame "men" for rape

It's orientation season at college campuses all over the country, and some schools are still happy to blame "men" as a class for sexual assault.

Middle Tennessee State University has launched a sexual assault program "that targets potential attackers." You can guess what that means. "The June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students will sponsor training focused on engaging men in the discussion about preventing sexual assault." They have also put up posters around campus aimed at men. "The 'Better Man' posters call attention to the importance of consent and self-control."

Why is training necessary to target men? Because there was a recent report of a sexual assault (although "details" about it are "scarce").

"There is a common denominator in sexual assault cases that has nothing to do with the victims, [said Kim Reynolds, an advocate, counselor and community educator for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program in Murfreesboro] . . .  — an offender. That is why she supports educating men, who are most often charged with sexual crimes, about their role in changing the culture surrounding sexual attacks. 'It's imperative,' Reynolds said. 'It's the only way that we're going to slow down the violence... We spend so much time telling our victims how not to get raped, and we don't spend enough time telling potential perpetrators not to rape people.'"

"We can't change things by... blaming our victims," Reynolds said.

So they plan to change things by blaming "men."

The university also offers Rape Aggression Defense classes by certified trainers that are available free of charge -- for female, but not male, students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

Over at the University of Colorado Boulder, students watch a YouTube video of a young male. He tells viewers, the girl on the couch behind him is passed out. The young man says: “Guess what I’m going to do to her?” This is how Colorado Public Radio describes the video: "The viewer feels dread at what’s about to happen next – but the man tucks the woman in with a blanket, sets a glass of water next to her and says to the camera: 'Real men treat women with respect.' That elicits applause from the students who are watching." See it for yourself:

The University of Rochester puts on a skit for freshman called "Red Light, Green Light." It depicts "a group of students partying with alcohol, the skit leads to a dorm room where a male student is making advances on a female student who has been drinking." It is intended to show how far the male is permitted to go.

At Montana Tech and Highlands College, the school staged a realistic mock trial of a date rape case. The program was "intended to heighten awareness of the issues and resources surrounding sexual assault," but the outcome heightened awareness about something more interesting: the dangers of assuming every rape accusation was an actual rape. The verdict of the students: not guilty. Perhaps this is an indication of why, in colleges across America, students are no longer permitted to sit on date rape tribunals.

There are two overriding problems with most of these efforts:

(1) The sociopaths who commit most of the rapes are immune from these sort of educational efforts according to Dr. David Lisak. Telling "men" as a class not to rape is a product of gender warrior get-evenism, not a serious effort to reduce rape.

(2) For the vast majority of college men (who, incidentally, are not sociopaths), these efforts are grossly unfair and likely a huge turn-off because they deal in that same old gender stereotypes that relegate college men to the role of perpetrator and college women to the role of victim. We now know this model is overly simplistic to the point of dishonesty. Everyone knows that most alleged campus rape occurs when the female was drinking. What is rarely mentioned is that the male is usually drinking, too. No less an authority than Brett Sokolow has explained that in many cases of mutually drunk sex, the male is unfairly targeted for sexual assault. That's not my opinion, that's the opinion of the person who has done more to advance rape victims' rights on campus than anyone alive.

So, why, in these murky situations, do women cry rape while men don't?  Men are conditioned to believe that they "want" sex even if they don't, and women are conditioned to believe just the opposite. Amanda Hess has explained that given women's adherence to their expected gender role when it comes to sex, it is "inevitable," among other things, that a woman who "had desired the sex all along . . . must defend her femininity by saying that she had been coerced into sex." Amanda Marcotte has explained that "the idea that it's shameful to just have sex because you want to" is "the reason that you have false rape accusations in the first place." This also explains the regret asymmetry that divides men and women and that is at the root of so many unsatisfying sexual hook-ups in college (these encounters include but are not limited to rape and false rape claims).

There needs to be a serious discussion about sexual assault free of old gender stereotypes that simply don't hold up. The idea that sending our daughters to college is akin to letting the lambs loose among the wolves is both puerile and wrong. It turns out that our daughters, and our sons, are typically a little bit wolf and a little bit lamb, but mostly just awkward kids trying to be adults. Let's help them grow up without saddling them with the baggage of unfair gender assumptions.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harvard Crimson to men accused of sexual assault: drop dead

The Harvard Crimson Staff has penned an opinion piece about sexual assault that is puerile even for a school that once had a conniption over a snow penis. It manifests a hostility to due process for men accused of sex offenses that is both unapologetic and jarring. There's not even an attempt to justify its conclusions with anything remotely resembling evidence.

Here's all you need to know about this sad little piece. It says this: "The addition of 'preponderance of the evidence' and the prospect of 'affirmative consent' both come down more severely on accused assailants."  Yet, elsewhere it says this: "There is little chance that the new evidentiary standard will cause scores of innocent students to be expelled from the university. Instead, it will facilitate the path to justice for survivors of sexual violence."

The suggestion that the innocent need not fear the reduction of rights for the accused is posited with no support beyond the writers' serene and politically correct ipse dixit. When you reduce the protections provided the accused, the risk of punishing innocent students is enhanced. That's not open to serious dispute. So why the cavalier disregard for men accused of rape? Because this is yet another in a long conga line of pieces that says only eight percent of sexual assault claims are false. The clear implication -- that the other 92 percent are actual rapes -- is simply not verifiable. Dr. David Lisak, a darling of feminist rape pundits, has concluded that the majority of sexual assault claims can't be classified as either rape or non-rape. But, hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good PC rant?

The piece also tries to justify use of the “preponderance of evidence” standard in college sex cases by noting that it "is the same burden of proof used in most civil cases . . . ." That is correct, but the writers left out a critical fact: in civil cases, for even relatively insignificant monetary damages, defendants are afforded all manner of procedural and evidentiary protections that are notoriously absent in college sex tribunals. Among many, many others, these critical rights include the right to have counsel present and actively participate at every stage of the proceedings; the right to confront and vigorously cross-examine the plaintiff and other witnesses at depositions and trial; and safeguards against hearsay and other evidence generally deemed unworthy of trust. That the authors don't think these are sufficiently significant to even mention is astounding. If we are going to use the civil standard in college sex proceedings, then let's use the civil standard -- it includes all those rights, and many others, that the accused in college sex tribunals are routinely denied.

I will end this post by asking again the question I posed in the Crimson to then-Harvard professor Kimberly Theidon -- I don't see that she ever answered me (if she did, she's free to write and tell me): is it "proper to trivialize the victimization of one group just because the victimization of another group might be 'more statistically significant'?"

The answer at Harvard is a resounding "yes."

Judge orders male student to reveal his name in suit against Temple University -- now how about we make it work both ways

An anonymous male sued Temple University claiming the school violated his rights when it expelled him for a sexual assault he claims he did not commit. Temple ran to court to force him to reveal his real name. Federal Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia said yesterday the student will need to reveal his name if he wants to proceed with the suit. Doe v. Temple Univ., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122427 (2014):
In this case, the potential harm to Doe and those similarly situated is not enough to outweigh the public's interest in an open proceeding. Sexual assaults on college campuses, and the measures universities are taking to respond to these incidents, are important issues commanding national attention.
Doe had claimed "the public has a strong interest in allowing those falsely accused of sexual assault to proceed anonymously. Those that have been wrongly accused will be dissuaded from vindicating their rights in court because of the increased publicity that accompanies a public proceeding." The court rejected this contention:
. . . this prediction appears unfounded. There are many examples of plaintiffs proceeding with suits in their own names protesting sexual assault discipline from universities. See, e.g., Johnson v. Temple Univ.-of Commonwealth Sys. Of Higher Educ., Civ. A. 12-515, 2013 WL 5298484 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 19, 2013), reconsideration denied, Civ. A. 12-515, 2014 WL 3535073 (E.D. Pa. July 17 2014); Dempsey v. Bucknell Univ., Civ. A. 4:11-cv-01679, 2012 WL 1569826 (M.D. Pa. May 3, 2012); Gomes v. Univ. of Me. Sys., 365 F. Supp. 2d 6 (D. Me. 2005); Fellheimer v. Middlebury Coll., 869 F. Supp. 238 (D. Vt. 1994); Ruane v. Shippensburg Univ., 871 A.2d 859 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2005).
Judge Brody is correct that some suits are filed using the men's real names, but Doe is also correct that a lot of men likely will not pursue a legal action because it will only highlight the allegations against them. We've heard from men at this blog who ask us to remove even sympathetic stories about them because they are trying to put the ordeal behind them -- and they don't want people to see their names attached to accusations that they engaged in horrid sex acts.

What is troubling is not the idea that, as Judge Brody said, the public has an interest in open proceedings. What is troubling is that this doesn't always cut the other way when alleged victims of sexual assault file civil actions for money damages against their alleged perpetrator. As one powerhouse lawyer has explained, it is standard practice to withhold the names of potential victims of sex attacks. “I do it for all of my . . . clients who are victims of sexual assault,” he said. “I think it's malpractice to identify them (in a complaint). I'm leaving it up to the judge."

And even when the lawyer for the alleged sexual assault victim files under the plaintiff's real name, the press sometimes jumps in to protect her by shielding her identity. When an employee of Harrah's Lake Tahoe hotel in Nevada filed suit claiming that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her in July 2008, the suit was filed under her real name, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette refused to reveal it -- even though it was just a civil action. It said simply: "The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does not name alleged victims of sexual assault."

One news outlet initially revealed the plaintiff's name in the Roethlisberger case, but after she claimed she was subject to harassing phone calls, the news outlet swooped in and announced it would no longer use her name. The news outlet proceeded to chide the woman's lawyer for not filing the suit anonymously in the first place, and Roethlisberger for having the audacity to publicly declare his innocence.

If the news outlet wants to know what "harassment" is, it should speak to an innocent man forced to pack his belongings and leave campus under threat of criminal prosecution for a rape he didn't commit, then have to explain to others schools why they should take a chance on a "rapist," then have to explain to a prospective employer -- who will know he was accused of rape if he dares to sue the school -- not only that he's innocent but that it won't be a public relations problem for the employer to hire him.

This blog has many times dealt with the issue of anonymity in connection with criminal matters. The case against anonymity for rape accusers is even more stark in the civil context. Unlike a criminal case that is brought by the state on behalf of "the people," a civil dispute is a private one brought by private parties. A victory by the plaintiffs will not keep a sexual assaulter off the streets or protect a single potential victim from him. In fact, a victory will do nothing more than give two people a payday: the plaintiff and her attorney. Even if you believe that maintaining the anonymity of alleged rape victims in criminal matters fosters a culture that encourages other victims to come forward for the sake of society as a whole, society has far less interest in encouraging alleged rape victims to seek personal monetary gain. When people use public courts to seek a private monetary award, they generally should not be permitted to insist that they do so anonymously.

The double standard of protecting rape accusers but not the accused is not acceptable in the criminal realm, or anywhere else. If there are, indeed, plausible reasons for keeping the names of women anonymous, there are more plausible reasons for keeping the names of men accused of rape anonymous. Many rape victims' advocates claim that when it comes to rape accusers, rape is a different kind of offense warranting anonymity. Yet, when it comes to the accused who seeks to clear his good name, those same advocates claim the stigma of rape is no different than any other crime. It is disingenuous to want to have it both ways. In fact, the same stigma that purportedly keeps women from reporting their sexual assaults if they were not granted anonymity certainly maligns innocent men and boys, and too often destroys their good names, when they are not granted anonymity.

In the end, it is probably better to err on the side of openness -- for everybody.