Monday, June 11, 2012

Flashback to 1957: Chivalry unkind to the falsely accused

Ah, the Eisenhower years, when chivalry was king, and unbending gender roles were seared onto our nation's DNA.  Things were lots better back then, right?

Here's a news item from the Milwaukee Journal, November 17, 1957: An 18-year-old woman lied that she'd been raped by young Mexicans or Puerto Ricans (horrors!).  Police arrested two boys, 16 and 17-years-old, and a 20-year-old man in connection with the incident.

In fact, the woman lied. She later admitted that she knew one of the boys and willingly got into a car with the three falsely accused men.  She told them where they could buy beer, and after they got the beer, the guys drove to a field and parked the car.  Although she continued to maintain they wouldn't let her out of the car, she admitted he had relations with the two underage boys.

What was her punishment for telling a lie that, in many states, could have resulted in the death penalty for the guys back then?  What was her punishment for having relations with two boys?

A fair reading of the news article suggests she wasn't charged, but the guys were: the 16 and 17-year-old boys were referred to juvenile authorities, and the 20-year-old man was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor (you see, he had purchased the beer).