Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Police to charge girl for falsely accusing Hispanic man of rape

Here are three news stories about an alleged rape near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:

APRIL 8, 2015

Girl says she was assaulted, raped at Cross Creek park

A 17-year-old Avella girl told state police that she was asssaulted and raped Monday afternoon at Cross Creek County Park in Cross Creek Township by a man she met earlier the day on a social networking site.

The girl told Trooper Thomas Kress she met the man on the Tango social networking website and agreed to meet him at the park.

“He saw her posts about being from Avella,” Kress said. “He seemed familiar with the area because he mentioned about the park being there.”

The 17-year-old walked to the park and met him. They walked down a path when he reportedly hit her on the head, dragged her into a wooded area and raped her.

After the alleged assault, he ran. A woman with graying hair who appeared to be in her 50s wearing a sundress may have heard the assault.

“She came over to the girl’s aid as soon as he ran,” Kress said. “She may have seen part of the assault. The girl told me she thought she heard someone screaming.”

Kress said the woman tried to call police on her cellphone but could not because there was no reception. The good Samaritan offered to give the girl a ride home, but she declined, Kress said.

The teen described her attacker as a light-skinned, Hispanic man in his 20s. He was about 6 feet tall, weighed 200 pounds with blue eyes, brown, shoulder-length hair, mustache and short-cropped beard.

The teen told police her assailant spoke in English with slurred speech or spoke in Spanish. He had yellow teeth with gaps.

The 17-year-old also told police he had a tattoo of the letter “A” on his right hand between his index finger and thumb. The letter “L” was tattooed on the same area of his left hand. The girl told Kress the “A” was italicized while the “L” was cursive. He also had a tattoo of a skull without a lower jaw on his left shoulder blade. A cross was tattooed on the right part of his chest.

The girl’s attacker wore a black ball cap with a purple bill, black T-shirt with a silver marking on it, blue jeans, black belt and tan Nike shoes with white soles. He drove a 2008 or 2009 Ford Explorer with a lift kit and a loud muffler.

The girl, who also was bitten on the neck during the assault, was taken to Washington Hospital for treatment of injuries that also included abdominal pain.

Kress is asking anyone who may have seen the man or the vehicle, or knows the woman who assisted the teen, to call 724-223-5200.

APRIL 24, 2015

State police identify man accused of raping teen in Cross Creek Park
No charges filed; investigation is continuing

The man has been located and questioned, but no charges have been filed, police said in a report released Friday. His name was not released by state police, who said the investigation is ongoing.

The girl told police she met the man on the Tango social networking website and agreed to meet him at the park. They walked down a path when he reportedly hit her on the head, dragged her into a wooded area and raped her. After the alleged assault, he ran.

The teen described her attacker as a light-skinned, Hispanic man in his 20s. He was about 6 feet tall, weighed 200 pounds with blue eyes, brown, shoulder-length hair, mustache and short-cropped beard. The teen told police her assailant spoke in English with slurred speech or spoke in Spanish. The 17-year-old also told police he had a tattoo of the letter “A” on his right hand between his index finger and thumb. The letter “L” was tattooed on the same area of his left hand. He also had a tattoo of a skull without a lower jaw on his left shoulder blade. A cross was tattooed on the right part of his chest.

The girl, who also was bitten on the neck during the assault, was taken to Washington Hospital for treatment of injuries that also included abdominal pain.
APRIL 29, 2015

Avella teen who claimed she was raped to be charged

The 17-year-old Avella girl who claimed she was raped earlier this month at Cross Creek County Park will be charged by state police after she allegedly lied about the incident to investigators.

The girl will be charged in a juvenile allegation with unsworn falsification to authorities and false reports to law enforcement.
Trooper Thomas Kress talked last week with the man against whom the allegations were made. Kress said the man, who is not being identified, committed no crimes and will not be charged.

The girl told state police that she was raped at the park on April 8. She claimed that she met the man online earlier that day on a social media site and made arrangements to meet him.

The 17-year-old claimed that the two talked briefly before walking toward a wooded area. She told police that the man hit her in the head, dragged her into the woods and raped her. She gave police a detailed description of the man she claimed attacked her. The teen also told police that she was assisted by a woman with graying hair and wearing a sundress, telling Kress that the woman offered to give the girl a ride home.

After the alleged assault, she was taken to Washington Hospital for treatment of injuries including abdominal pain.

Crime Stoppers of Pennsylvania had also offered a reward for information on the alleged assault.

Kress would not comment on why the girl lied about the incident. He said he would file charges against the girl in juvenile court at a later date.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Straight white men: this person really showed you!

Do you think this person--whoever she is--is going to have difficulty coping with life after they let her out of whatever institution she's presumably in?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A student who sometimes awoke his long-term romantic partner with a kiss was found guilty of sexual assault

If you have the slightest doubt that colleges don't have the foggiest idea how to handle claims of sexual assault, look no further than Brandeis University.

A male student was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student, with whom he had been in a nearly two-year romantic relationship. The couple eventually broke up, but remained friendly. Then, suddenly, in January 2014, the accuser alleged that the accused had initiated non-consensual interactions dating to 2011. Based on a vague allegation of sexual assault, the accused student was placed on “emergency suspension.”

Bradeis skipped its regular hearing proces--who needs fair processes?--and called in a big gun to investigate: Elizabeth Sanghavi, one of the authors of the Department of Education's dreadful “Dear Colleague” letter. Sanghavi interviewed both parties, but elected not to put anyone under oath or record the interviews. According to Prof. KC Johnson, "The accused student had no right to counsel, and no right to see his accuser’s testimony, much less to cross-examine the accuser."

Sanghavi concluded that the first time the two students had slept together, the accused committed sexual assault. The fact that this "assault" led to a 21-month relationship did not raise red flags for Sanghavi that perhaps the interaction really was consensual.

Sanghavi also found the accused guilty of nonconsensual sexual conduct because he sometimes awoke the accuser with a kiss, the same as countless couples in intimate relationships do every day around the globe. No matter, Sanghavi held. The accused waking the accuser with a kiss counted as “sexual assault because sleep is a ‘state of incapacitation’” and, hence, the accused student took “sexual advantage of incapacitation,” according to a lawsuit suit filed by the accuser.

Brandeis punished the "rapist" with a Disciplinary Warning, and no suspension. But the accused student claims in a lawsuit that Brandeis allowed the investigator’s findings to be made public, and as a result, he was let go from an internship with a “high-ranking elected official” and had job offers withdrawn.

Now the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is investigating Brandeis for potentially violating the accused student's Title IX rights. That's a positive thing, but why would OCR go to bat for an accused male? It may have something to do with the fact that the accused student is gay, said the College Fix. I failed to mention that both the accuser and the accused here are male.

No matter. The investigation is a good thing, and perhaps it will lead to a positive precedent for all students. Because at some point, someone has to put a stop to this madness. Schools can't tackle accusations of sexual assault by checking their common sense at the front door, and that's what the sexual grievance industry insists they do (and that's one reason schools shouldn't be in the business of adjudicating sexual assault claims.)

Yes, it is beyond dispute that kissing a sleeping person can constitute offensive contact. But shouldn't it be viewed in context, and in light of all the surrounding circumstances?  Are we supposed to simply ignore the fact that this particular couple was involved in a long-term sexual relationship, where partners negotiate boundaries in myriad, often subtle ways, and where they typically develop a course of conduct that is qualitatively different, and far more complex, than the barnyard rutting of couples who've hooked up for a one-night stand? Newsflash: long-term couples generally are perfectly fine--I dare say they like--being awakened by a kiss. If this were sexual assault, it is fair to assert that a significant percentage of people in long-term relationships, probably most, are every bit as guilty. To suggest that such interactions are in the same galaxy as sexual assault is not just silly, it borders on pathology.

And that goes to the crux of the matter. The people who now dominate both public policy and the public discourse on sexual assault seem to lack the common sense, the personal experience--dare I say "maturity"?--to have such responsibility. It is time for them to take their rightful place at the kids' table and to yield the floor to adults who aren't driven by an angry, hysterical, political agenda.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A whirl around the world of false rape claims

They do happen, and all too frequently. Here are some in the news right now:

Police say woman lied about rape because her lover was "ignorant" to her

Police say that at about 2:15 a.m. on Sept. 10, Amanda M. Wertz, 26, reported that she was forcibly raped by a man inside a home. When interviewed, the man accused of the crime told investigators he met Wertz on an Internet dating site and that the two had consensual sex on two occasions. The man also showed police sexually suggestive text messages Wertz sent to him, police said. A police officer said he spoke with Wertz on Feb. 26 and, at that time, she said she was telling the truth about the forced rape and that she believed the man’s wife sent the sexually suggestive messages from her cellphone.

The police officer said he re-interviewed Wertz on March 15, at which time she said she spoke about the matter with her mother who told her to be truthful. Wertz then told him she had consensual sex with the man and that she made up the rape charge because she was mad at him, and at herself, for cheating on her boyfriend. Wertz provided a written statement that she made up the rape charge, saying she was mad because after the two had consensual sex the man was ignorant to her and called her names. The man who Wertz claimed committed the crime was never charged, Zimmerman said.

Woman makes up false rape claim after boyfriend finds out about her threesome

A woman accused a married couple of rape after her boyfriend found out she'd had a threesome with them. Hannah McWhirter, 21, engaged in the midnight ménage-a-trois with a friend and her husband. She even exchanged texts with the couple after their threesome telling them how much she enjoyed herself.

But she soon changed her tune when the husband told her boyfriend about their steamy hook-up and claimed she had been raped. McWhirter appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where she admitted wasting police time with false rape claims.

Fiscal depute Elaine Ward: "The couple and the accused spent a lot of time together socially. The nature of their relationship became more intimate and in June 2013 they discussed having a threesome and booking a hotel for that purpose." The court heard that on July 13 the three met up and engaged in a night of passion in a Travelodge in Aberdeen - while McWhirter's boyfriend was on a night out, oblivious to what was going on.

Ward said: "On the following day the accused and [her friend] exchanged several text messages saying that they had both enjoyed the previous night." The fiscal depute said McWhirter and the couple continued to meet socially and appeared "happy" in each other's company. However, the court heard, things took a turn for the worse several months later. Mrs Ward said: "On October 11, the accused's boyfriend was standing outside her place of work when [the husband] advised him of the threesome and showed him text messages from the accused. This later resulted in the accused being confronted by her boyfriend. She initially denied that the incident had taken place, then admitted it but said it was forced."

The court heard their relationship ended and McWhirter, of Banff, returned to live with her mother - continuing to claim that the couple had raped her. Police then started investigating her claims. McWhirter claimed she had been on a night out with friends before bumping into the couple. Mrs Ward said: "She stated that at the end of the night she had to use the bathroom so went to their hotel room and then gave police details of a forcible rape." The couple were interviewed under caution by police on October 16.

However McWhirter's friends did not back up her night out story. And after a further mobile phone analysis took place in November 2013, McWhirter admitted she had been a willing participant in the threesome. Yesterday she admitted wasting police time and rendering the couple to suspicion under the sexual offences act between October 13 and November 14, 2013. Sheriff Graham Buchanan deferred sentence until next month for the preparation of reports. McWhirter, who was released on bail, wept as she left the dock.

Woman lies about rape in order to get a ride home

A young woman falsely claimed she was raped in order to get a lift home with police, a court heard. Judge Melody McReynolds told Dungannon Crown Court that Emma Louise Gallagher of Ardnalee Park in Strabane had made a "gratuitous and lightly-made allegation to secure a free police lift home". The 23-year-old made a false report to police on September 16, 2013 that she had been raped shortly after arriving at a house in Castlederg, an area she was not familiar with.

A man, whose identity can't be revealed for legal reasons, was questioned for four hours by police the following day. The Strabane woman told police originally that she had fallen in an alleyway and a man had pulled her trousers down and she thought he had raped her on two occasions. She then said the more she thought about it, she did not think anything had happened and the complaint was withdrawn. Gallagher yesterday pleaded guilty to the charge of perverting the course of justice and was given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for two years. Gallagher's lawyer said she had learned a salutary lesson from an incident borne out of a drunken desire to get a lift home from the place she had found herself.

A girl used TV show plots to make a horrific false rape claim against a male teacher

A teacher who was fired over allegations of rape and torture is suing the independent investigator hired by the school district, whose report resulted in his dismissal and "embarrassment and humiliation." The investigator had been hired by the school district to look into claims made by a female student that the teacher had abused her in horrific, sadistic sexual ways when the student was in grades 5 to 8. The student claimed the teacher stuck knives and branches in her vagina, waterboarded and electrocuted her, and nearly suffocated her through burial.

The teacher sued the school board and an arbitrator ruled in his favor, noting there was "overwhelming" evidence the claim was made up. The arbitrator explained that despite the "horrific" allegations, the student was "never once attended an emergency clinic, hospital or walk-in clinic to treat her injuries. Nor did her attentive parents notice a thing — not the torn clothing, the burns; neither the bleeding to the extent that blood dripped into the swimming pool, nor her midnight foray. Not the filth from being buried or being soaked wet from waterboarding. Nothing. How likely is it that she could suffer the indignities she says she did and then go home for dinner and homework?"

It turned out, all the scenarios the student described came from episodes of the long-running TV drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." The arbitrator concluded "the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that the teacher is the victim of false allegations. The grievance must be upheld and the teacher made whole as soon as possible."

And finally: Professor Alan Dershowitz was accused of rape in court papers filed in a case brought against someone other than Dershowitz.  That allegation has been stricken from the record of the case--but Dershowitz is not happy that news of the court's action striking the accusation is not nearly so well known as news of the initial rape accusation. "I understand—really understand—why it is so important to protect the innocent as well as to punish the guilty. Now I feel the need to redouble my efforts on behalf of the falsely accused, as I have been one of them."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Campus "sexual assault" tidbits

*Cathy Young nails it again on campus "sexual assault." Read it here.

*Stanford may be rolling back the tide that threatens male students' civil liberties: see here.

*Student sues San Diego State University over due process violations: see here.

*In Virginia, a bill is kicking around the state legislature that would require public and private universities to mark a student’s transcript if the student was suspended, dismissed or withdrew while under investigation. It is designed to ensure colleges were alerted when an applicant left a college under a cloud of suspicion. Now some amendments are kicking around: (1) to narrow the notation to (you guessed it) sexual offenses (which would be a bad change), and (2) allowing colleges to expunge notations of a student’s dismissal or withdrawal after a two-year window (which would be a good change). The legislators are grappling with balancing concerns about safety and due process and have correctly grown grew "increasingly concerned about pinning a scarlet letter to a student without offering an appeals process." Moreover,"[i]nternal hearings held by colleges can be flawed, Albo said, noting some don’t allow the accused to ask questions and the judicial panel may consist of fellow students." See here.

*Kathleen Parker suggests that the same zeitgeist that led to the Duke false rape case can be seen in the Rolling Stone rape lie: "Erdely was willing to believe the worst about the frat boys because this is part of today’s zeitgeist, especially in the context of rape statistics, which some social scientists have found to be grossly inflated. It seems the writer found a story she was predisposed to believe because it dovetailed with her purposes and, perhaps, with assumptions we’ve seen before, as on the similarly false story of rape by members of the Duke University lacrosse team in 2006." See here.

*A writer named Gail Rosenblum buys into discredited stats about the prevalence of campus sexual assault and false rape claims and paints a dire sexual picture for women on campus. See here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Feminists, be careful what you wish for--if journalists thoroughly investigated the typical college sexual assault claim, it would be the end of 'rape culture'

Salon's Katie McDonough says that the Rolling Stone "rape" debacle exposes the flaw in the way society thinks about rape. You see, Rolling Stone zeroed in on a "victim" and a "rape" that "fit neatly into our preconceived notions about victims and sexual assault," and that's the problem, McDonough concludes. She suggests that outlets like Rolling Stone ought to stop inventing victims and go after the stories more reflective of "rape culture"--where the victims are not perfect and where alcohol is involved. After all, McDonough says, false reports are rare, so she suggests that journalists ought to show the world what campus rape really looks like. It's a refrain other feminists are repeating, in various ways, in the wake of the Rolling Stone non-rape.

We wholeheartedly agree that journalists ought to thoroughly investigate typical sexual assault accusations. But McDonough and her ilk ought to be careful what they wish for. If journalists did what McDonough wants them to do, not only would the "rape culture" balloon burst, the reports would engender outrage that our sons are being subjected to a politicized witch hunt.

In the milieu of campus sex--where raging hormones and alcohol can be a deadly concoction--the typical sexual assault accusation is a "he said-she said" murky mess. College administrators routinely bemoan the difficulty in charging and adjudicating sex claims that are not marked by bright lines and where the truth is elusive. If the story of a typical college sex accusation were told objectively and thoroughly, the public would see that usually there are two sides to the story, that there are no black and whites--and that too often, college men are being charged when they shouldn't be charged. If that last point sounds radical, read on -- it's not my opinion, it's the opinion of a feminist named Brett Sokolow who has done more to craft the sexual assault policies of colleges than anyone.

Last year, Mr. Sokolow, the head of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM), wrote a landmark letter to his clients called "An Open Letter to Higher Education About Sexual Violence" in which he painted a chilling picture about the hostility on American college campuses to the rights of men accused of sexual violence. The letter goes into detail about cases NCHERM has investigated, illustrating that, in the "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. Among many other things, the letter states 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." In chilling words that almost seemed a premonition of "Jackie's" rape claim, Sokolow wrote:
We fear for the mental health issues impacting many students, but in particular for those whose reality contact issues manifest in sexual situations they can’t handle and campuses can’t remedy. We hate even more that another victim-blaming trope – victim mental health – continues to have legs, but how do you not question the reality contact where case-after-case involves sincere victims who believe something has happened to them that evidence shows absolutely did not? How do campus and community mental health resources help someone who is suffering from real trauma resulting from an unreal episode?
Read that again: in "case-after-case," the evidence "absolutely" shows that nothing happened despite the claims of an accuser. Is that not chilling, coming from someone like Brett Sokolow?

Law enforcement generally will not prosecute the typical "he said-she said" college sex case--and for good reason--the evidence is entirely too conflicting. Once in a while, a prosecutor will roll the dice with a college man's life even when the evidence is murky, and the jury usually acquits quickly. Here is just one of innumerable examples: the case where a 21-year-old college man was charged with raping a 20-year-old female classmate at a fraternity party.The accuser claimed she was high on alcohol and marijuana, and that she blacked out at a frat party only to awaken with the accused on top of her. She said she tried to push him off but that he held her down by one arm while her other arm "got caught underneath him." The accused, on the other hand, told an investigator that the woman had attacked him by pushing him down on the couch and telling him he was going to have sex with her. Three witnesses testified under oath that they peeked behind the curtain and saw the accused and the accuser, but they said they saw nothing that pointed to a struggle. One man said he glimpsed a woman on top of the accused. "They seemed to be engaged in sexual contact," he said. It took a mostly female jury just one hour to acquit the man--and not because of "rape culture" or because the jurors engaged in victim blaming. The evidence was too murky to decide whether she consented. Again, the general public wants rapists strung up by their balls, but it has no taste for punishing a young man when there a good chance he's innocent.

Another example: the University of Virginia's Sexual Misconduct Board presented a mock trial as part of a weeklong sexual assault advocacy program, Take Back the Night. Assoc. Dean of Students Nicole Eramo, the board’s chair, opened the event by describing a typical trial, which often lasts an entire day and involves multiple witnesses. The mock trial was a rape case in which the complainant, the accused and three witnesses testified. After each testimony, the board — comprised of three faculty members and two students — asked clarifying questions, most of which sought to determine whether the complainant had the capacity to “effectively consent.” The Cavalier Daily, the school's student paper, reported: "After the trial, most felt there was not an obvious answer to the case — highlighting the difficulty in reaching a verdict using contradicting statements and a lack of detailed evidence."

The real world is much different than the one that exists in the Salon offices, where the "rape culture" meme is alive and well (RAINN, be damned) and the one-in-five campus sexual assault survey still holds sway (even though that survey came under fierce fire last year and only zealots still rely on it). The "rape culture" fiction only thrives in a climate where every rape claim is uncritically accepted and none are carefully scrutinized or tested against competing claims of innocence. Our guess is that Katie McDonough, for one, would not be happy if the typical college sexual assault claim was subjected to the Klieg lights of a thorough investigation by a seasoned journalist acting without a political agenda. The resulting story will not advance the narrative the sexual grievance industry wants to peddle.

McDonough, you may recall, is the writer who branded a Wall Street Journal reporter "a caveman misogynist and serial rape apologist" after he had the temerity to applaud a New York Times writer for merely acknowledging the problem of wrongful accusations on college campuses.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

University of Illinois to do away with pesky hearings to find men guilty of sexual assault

The University of Illinois is taking college sex hearings to the next level in order to protect rape victims. The school is "moving toward an investigation process that may not require a hearing so an assault victim doesn't have to testify in front of a large committee."

Finally! A school with the courage to cut through the bullshit! This ingenious plan will spare rape victims the indignity of having impartial adjudicators consider their accusations with an open mind. It will also spare schools the bother of introducing evidence to actually prove the young rapists are guilty. And it will spare the young rapists the bother of putting on a defense to avoid a life-altering expulsion.

I know what some of you are thinking: what about "due process"? Sigh. Where do I even begin with that?  See, "due process" -- that is, fair procedures to adjudicate guilt or innocence -- is a quaint concept, but it's wholly misplaced when talking about college men accused of sexual assault. In fact, even talking about due process in that context is victim blaming. A former Columbia student newspaper editor said his paper didn't cover the alleged rape of mattress-toting Emma Sulkowicz impartially, critically, or thoroughly because if he had written that "due process [for the accused] should be respected," he would have been "excoriated" and charged with "harming survivors and the fight against sexual assault." And rightly so.

The fact is, forward-looking thinkers share the feelings of the University of Wisconsin student who recently said she was "horrified" to discover that her accused rapist had "due process" rights--especially the right to a hearing and written notice of the victim's allegations, and the right to remain silent. Remember the wise counsel of Elisabeth Dee, Stanford class of '16? Ms. Dee correctly said that her school should not be focusing on "defending the perpetrator, because essentially burden of proof is a defense of the perpetrator.” Students at the University of Ohio recently summed it up: due process for men accused of sex offenses is "bullshit." When it comes to college sex accusations, we must all think like the feminists: "We must believe survivors. We must trust their stories."

Besides, the University's decision to spare rape victims the humiliation of telling their stories to people with an open mind is hardly revolutionary--in fact, this process has been tried many times and with great success. In the Old South, the motivating impulse of the lynch mob was that the rape of white women by black men or boys was an offense so heinous, it demanded “instant and severe punishment” without waiting for creaking, wheezing due process. I know what some of you are thinking: weren't innocent men and boys lynched? As one writer explained, “their guilt was clear in every instance.” How the writer knows that is none of our business. You see, 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. It worked in the Old South, it will work on college campuses across America!

But, wait, as it turns out, the University of Illinois really isn't doing away with due process after all. Dean of Students Kenneth Ballom said that "a panel will still determine the sanction, with procedures to protect due process for the accused."

Does that make you feel any better? After the young men are declared guilty by the university's investigator--using a procedure that is none of our business--the young rapists will get all the due process they deserve. The school will have a hearing to determine whether they're expelled or simply suspended for a few years. Satisfied?

What's really frightening is that I suspect some college students will read this and not recognize it for sarcasm because they see so many anti-due process pieces like it. That's how bad it is.

Hero: The unidentified person who took the video that showed an innocent man being killed by a police officer

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Rolling Stone rush to judgment wasn't "isolated and unusual," it was business as usual in our culture

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism issued a scathing report Sunday on the editorial breakdown at Rolling Stone magazine that allowed publication of a story about a purported gang rape of a woman named "Jackie" at the University of Virginia that never really happened. The magazine said it considers the whole affair "an isolated and unusual episode."

And once again, we've learned nothing from yet another in a long line of high profile rape accusations that imploded under the weight of its own prevarications. The fact that "Jackie's" outlandish rape tale was so readily believed by the article's author, by Rolling Stone's editors, and by vast segments of the American public wasn't "an isolated and unusual" phenomenon. It was business as usual in our culture. If you can stomach an example, read the chilling transcript of Bonny Ghosh's  television news report about the Hofstra "rape" case shortly before it imploded. (It's little wonder that after Danmell Ndonye swore under oath that she lied about the rape, the falsely accused young men were booed on a national television program.)

The real lesson of the UVA "gang rape" that never really happened isn't about Sabrina Erdely, Rolling Stone or its lax editors. It isn't about reporters who take liberties with the facts, and it's not about "editorial breakdowns." And it isn't about "expert fabulist storytellers" who tell rape lies but who seem like credible people. Those are pieces in a much larger puzzle.

The real lesson of the "gang rape" at UVA that never really happened is about a culture happy to reduce an entire gender to vile caricature any time an allegation of a sex offense is made. The usual suspects who write for news outlets and popular websites do it routinely. It's about a culture that happily rushes to judgment and assumes that men and boys accused of sex offenses are guilty by reason of penis without considering even the possibility that it may not have happened the way the accuser said. It's about a culture where keeping an open mind about a rape allegation is branded "victim blaming" and "rape culture."

Read this and you'll understand where the Rolling Stone article came from--you can see example after example of the twisted mentality that led that article to be written and believed every day of the week in newspapers, magazines, and on popular websites.

The sneering mob at the hanging trees of the Old South never really left us. They became the sneering mob quick to believe Ruby Bates and Victoria Price, Tawana Brawley, Crystal Gail Mangum, Wanetta Gibson, Danmell Ndonye, and too many others to chronicle. Sometimes, as at Duke University, the sneering mob gussies itself up with PhDs and tenure and assumes guilt because the accused penises are attached to white, "privileged" lacrosse players. The sneering mob invariably rationalizes its rush to judgment by citing wildly inflated statistics and pointing to other, unrelated cases and insisting that since it happened there, it must have happened here, too.

It's too easy to cluck our tongues and tsk-tsk Sabrina Erdely and Rolling Stone and pretend what they did was "isolated and unusual." The real lesson of the Rolling Stone debacle is that it's neither. It's business as usual.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday and the most famous wrongly accused man in history

See here.

Disturbing on more levels than I can count

A story reported here:

Defense: Pinal County serial rape suspect may have been set up

FLORENCE, AZ (KPHO/KTVK) -CBS 5 News has uncovered a twist in the case against a 19-year-old Pinal County man accused of 30 counts of sexual assault and abuse against 13 different alleged victims.

Court documents reveal the alleged victims might have colluded with each other and falsified their stories to police investigators.

Tyler Kost, who was 18 at the time of his arrest April 28, has been locked up in Pinal County since being indicted in 2014.

Attorneys for Kost are asking a Pinal County judge to compel the Pinal County Attorney's Office to produce records of the alleged victims' social media pages.

The defense has some of them right now, including the following group chat on Facebook between some of the girls accusing Kost. The girls are only identified by their initials.

CG: Oh well, for Tyler what were you all thinking

TS: He needs to be taught a lesson

MR: We need to come up with a plan. And yes. We should sacrifice him to Satan.

MH: We'll teach him a lesson alright.

The conversation continued with this:

MR: Lets (expletive deleted) with his mind and his car

TS: Exactly. I'm down (:

MR: Yes!! I already know this is just gonna be so much fun! <3 data-blogger-escaped-br="">
Court documents reveal the above exchange happened just a few weeks before the girls accused Kost of sexual assault.

One of the victims claims Kost raped her after a homecoming dance and that she had an abortion at Planned Parenthood in Tempe. The defense also has her social media records and they wrote this in their motion to the judge:

"Despite being allegedly violently sexually assaulted and impregnated by Mr. Kost on October 19, 2013, she (the alleged victim) posted 41 photographs to her Instagram account between October 19, 2013 and December 9, 2013, in which she repeatedly declares her love and admiration for Mr. Kost."

The alleged victim wrote things like:

"I want to marry him someday..."

"... Gosh I love you so much..."

"...Tyler is a dream come true of a boyfriend ... "

Neither Kost's defense team nor the Pinal County Attorney's Office wanted to comment.

Kost is scheduled to be in court Monday for a number of things, including the request for all the victim's social media records. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Rolling Stone debacle doesn't prove 'rape culture,' it proves ours is a culture at war with young men

Last year, Rolling Stone, a national magazine with  a big circulation, reported in great detail on a purported brutal "gang rape" that supposedly occurred at the University of Virginia. The "victim,"   called "Jackie," asked Rolling Stone, not to contact the alleged rapists to confirm the story, and Rolling Stone kowtowed to her. "Jackie" refused to report the story to police, and the school didn't care. It suspended fraternity activities anyway, without any investigation.

We all know how that turned out. "Jackie's" story was, in the words of the Washington Post, "a complete crock." The Post wrote: "Rolling Stone propagated a biased work built on a mix of naivete and advocacy." A police investigation subsequently found no evidence that Jackie was sexually assaulted. The friends cited in the Rolling Stone article told a different story of events on that night than what Rolling Stone had reported. Cathy Young explains: ". . . the evidence against [Jackie] is damning. It’s not simply that there was no party at Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity named by Jackie, anywhere near the time when she said she was attacked. It’s not simply that her account changed from forced oral sex to vaginal rape and from five assailants to seven, or that her friends saw no sign of her injuries after the alleged assault. What clinches the case is the overwhelming proof that 'Drew,' Jackie’s date who supposedly orchestrated her rape, was Jackie’s own invention."

Despite all this, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said that "Jackie" ought to be beyond criticism. "Victim blaming or shining the spotlight on her for coming forward is not the right approach," Gillibrand said, assuming "Jackie" is a victim. It would be "inappropriate" to charge Jackie, she said. "One of the challenges with survivors of sexual trauma and rape is that they often don’t want to actually participate with law enforcement because they don’t think justice is possible. They don’t think they will be believed; they think they’ll be blamed." (This, from a woman elected to the United States Senate.)

On CNN, a legal analyst named Sunny Hostin clucked: ". . . the suggestion that ["Jackie"] just sort of made this entire thing up flies in the face of statistics." As if the facts of a serious allegation can be judge based on "statistics."

And of course, Jessica Valenti penned a thing called "Inconsistencies in Jackie's story do not mean that she wasn't raped at UVA." What more can we say about Valenti?

A writer in a college newspaper topped them all: "Instead of tackling a major magazine for slacking on its job, the media criticized the testimony of a traumatized victim who is trying to live with the effects of her trauma." And: "Rape culture is a fundamental part of this investigation. Just because the police report could not find evidence does not discredit Jackie’s experience, and we need to use this case to spark discourse rather than use it as an example of a false rape claim." The inanity speaks for itself.

We are in uncharted territory--what can we say about people who mount defenses that don't bother to defend? About "truth" where the facts don't matter? Like the kid who didn't do his homework but insists "the dog ate it," the explanations are worse than the original misdeed. Ours is a culture where high profile rape case after case after case turn out to be lies, but the lies are regarded to be as good as the truth, and our our sons are reduced to vile caricature based on absurd narratives that no sane person would believe in any other context. The real lesson of the Rolling Stone debacle is exactly opposite of the one Rolling Stone set out to teach with its bogus rape story. Instead of proving the existence of"rape culture," the fact that this story was written at all, published by a major magazine, and believed by so many is evidence that ours is a culture with an almost pathological fear and disdain of young men.

The witch hunt against young men has been brewing at the University of Virginia for years. After all, it's the school where victim blaming is perfectly appropriate -- if its directed against men wrongly accused of rape. A few years ago, its student newspaper wrote this: ". . . there are simple ways for individuals to avoid compromising situations that could lead to false accusations of sexual misconduct. Drinking responsibly at parties and respecting personal boundaries when communicating digitally, for example, would be a good start." Imagine if the newspaper had written something similar about rape victims.

It's also the school where students accused of sexual assault are offered assistance--not to defend themselves against false claims but to deal with the fact that they are abusers.

It's also the school where a council of student leaders wants to have private rape trials.

In the wake of the hysteria ginned up by the Rolling Stone article, the UVA sorority sisters were ordered by their national chapters to stay home for a weekend when they usually party. The sorority sisters had a conniption because it finally dawned on them that the animating impulse of the "war on rape" is that men are predators (they are fine with that) and that women are the pathetic children of  the federal government's "Its On Us" campaign who need daddy-surrogates to save them from the bad rapists. Silly girls! They thought they were strong and independent women.

Ironically, when students at the University of Virginia made a serious attempt to simulate a sexual assault trial, the students learned how difficult it is to arrive at the truth in that kind of case. It's much easier, and apparently a lot more satisfying for many, to simply assume that the accused is guilty by reason of penis.