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.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Woman lied she was raped by soldiers to hide a threesome from her boyfriend

Nicole Richess, 20, is in jail today, and she'll be there for two and a half years because she told a rape lie that caused two innocent soldiers, aged 23 and 24, to be arrested.

Richess and a friend named Laura Hillwood met a group of soldiers at a nightclub. They went back to Hillwood's house, and Richess and two of the men slipped into a bedroom and started having sex. Hillwood walked in on them in a state of undress and ordered them to leave, so they headed over to Richess’s home where they continued to have sex. The following morning Richess drove the soldiers to their barracks.

Hillwood told mutual friends she had walked in on the threesome, and Richess’s boyfriend found out and asked Richess what was going on. Richess lied because she didn't want her boyfriend to know she had cheated on him. She went to the police and, in a 65 minute tearful interview, Richess concocted a detailed story of rape that made a police officer feel sorry for her. The two innocent young men were arrested, leaving them distraught and petrified.

The police interviewed witnesses and figured out Richess was lying. Two weeks after the incident, the soldiers were told they wouldn't face charges, but not before their lives were turned upside down with worry and fear. Richess pled guilty to perverting the course of judgment.

In pronouncing sentence, the judge told her: "The impact on these victims cannot be understated . . . ." The two men told the court that the incident had been life-altering, in a very negative way.

News report here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Woman's second rape lie sent an innocent man to jail for eight months

A woman sent an innocent man to jail for eight months on a false rape claim. The false accuser met the innocent man while he was tending bar. "We went to go shoot pool after I got off at 5pm, shot a couple of games. We left to go back to my house. Then, I dropped her off . . . ." said the man. A few days later, he was jailed.

During the man's preliminary hearing, the dramatic rape liar collapsed, and a news report about the hearing declared that "testimony proved to be too much for her to handle." (The news report of that hearing also referred to the false accuser as "the victim.") The false accuser described the attack that never happened as traumatic and brutal. She said: "I sat in my room for two days. I didn't eat nothing. Didn't drink nothing. Couldn't sleep, couldn't do anything." Another news report revealed she said this under oath: "I tried to go to the bathroom my bottom was bleeding."

What was the state's evidence to support the rape lie? According to a news report: "Chattanooga Detective Victor Miller took the stand. 'The crime scene investigator used a light that showed there were substances on the bedding.'" And a medical "expert" told the court that the victim had physical injures that were "consistent with rape." (Were the injuries "consistent" with other explanations for the purported injuries?)

The judge bought it. "She was so terrorized by this man having him sodomized her, rape her, and then sitting there telling her that he was going to kill her."

Except it never happened. The judge was wrong, and the DA was wrong. The woman lied. The man is free now. DNA evidence cleared him last week.

This was not the false accuser's first rape lie, according to the man's attorney.

The news reports about the incident don't name the woman who lied. This blog will not name the innocent man.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The other hunting ground: college men wrongly accused of rape--watch this video

Joshua Strange is well known to readers of this blog. See here. His story is one of many conveniently omitted from the propaganda film "The Hunting Ground." Joshua's mother helped start Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), an organization that seeks to raise awareness about the injustices faced by presumptively innocent college students accused of sexual misconduct. FACE today released this press release. Please visit its site often.

Ashe Schow writes about this film here.

A whirl around the world of the sexual grievance industry: a little reading for the weekend

*In the Los Angeles Times, Meghan Daum takes the campus grievance culture to task.

*In the "date rape drug" case at Brown, it turns out there's no evidence of a date rape drug, but the anti-due process forces are outraged because the school won't hold a hearing against the accused student. And the frat is still suspended.

*Emily Yoffe explains why the propaganda film "The Hunting Ground" doesn't present a fair picture.

*Gadfly John Stossel -- no stranger to the sexual grievance industry -- pulls no punches in explaining that rape culture is a myth.

*The discredited Rolling Stone rape story led the government to launch its own investigation. Tax money well spent.

*Witness says accuser made up rape claim and thought it would be "funny."

*Student cleared of alleged rape where the accuser has an incomplete memory of the event, but anti-due process activist insists her incomplete memory is proof she couldn't consent -- so the accused should be found responsible.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The general counsel of a large university equates students accused of sexual assault with perpetrators

The student newspaper at Indiana University in Bloomington quotes the University's Vice President and General Counsel Jackie Simmons on IU's new sexual assault policy. Her language is troubling and offensive -- read what she says, and try to keep your head from exploding: “Most effort went into how we wanted to protect the rights of victims, how to make sure they get the right care and how to protect the due process rights of the perpetrator.”

Read her quotation again. Simmons not only has declared accusers "victims," but her words evince a palpable contempt for the presumptively innocent men who are accused: they are "perpetrators."

Language matters, especially the language used by the general counsel of a large university on a subject as important, and as politically charged, as sexual assault. Simmons' comments signal an unmistakable hostility to the presumption of innocence when it comes to accusations of  sexual assault.

Due process is the greatest bulwark against tyranny ever devised by man. It wasn't devised to protect "perpetrators" but the innocent, and in order to protect the innocent, it must be applied to everyone. Ms. Simmons' background suggests that she ought to know better than to make reckless comments that manifest contempt for the presumptively innocent, at least some of whom have been wrongly accused. She owes the wrongly accused, and the men of IU, an apology.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February was this blog's biggest month by far, and the stories that drove the uptick were about feminist hostility to fairness

February was by far this blog's biggest month ever in terms of viewing stats, and the uptick wasn't driven by one or two stories -- there were a bunch of them.

The stories that did best were the ones involving hostile reactions to basic fairness for men accused of rape. The hostility is an epidemic, a sort of national pathology, driven by Women's Studies professors on campuses across America. February was, in fact, a cavalcade of lunacy on this blog -- a breathtaking parade of the worst of modern feminism, all in just one month. And friends, I wasn't trying very hard this month -- I was pulled away on a personal issue for a chunk of days and couldn't devote much time to blogging.

I ask in all seriousness, doesn't the feminist community pay attention to these stories? Aren't the feminist leaders embarrassed by these things? Ask yourself how an average American would view these stories -- my guess is they'd assume feminism is a joke. I seriously wish I had nothing to blog about.

Women, as a class, have serious issues that ought to be addressed, and to the extent feminist activists are diverting attention to this looniness -- this man-hating (and there is no other term for it) -- they do women a grave disservice.

The stories that got the biggest audiences on this blog in February were the following:

*Sorority sisters at Univ. of Virginia now realize the 'war on rape' treats women like children -- they were the last to find out

*Former Columbia student newspaper editor admits the paper would have been excoriated if it had covered Emma Sulkowicz's "rape" story impartially

*Feminists have a conniption because someone publicized the "he said" side of a major "he said-she said" rape claim

*Five male university students accused of sexual assault are suing the school -- and you will enjoy the school's response

*Is mattress-toting Emma Sulkowicz a rape victim or a woman who manufactured her own victimhood with a story that's a moving target? Here's the timeline.

*"I believe Emma Sulkowicz" -- because her story is so full of holes

*Jessica Valenti tries to justify her hostility to due process for men

*Angry protest: Ohio University students declare that due process for college men is "bullshit"

*16 Penn Law Professors say sexual assault proceedings are unfair to the accused

Woman falsely accuses man she barely knew of rape in order to reconcile with her mother, turns his life into a living hell

*Angry Penn law students lash out at law professors' call for fairness: COTWA's response

*Students at Berkeley protest against fairness for college men accused of rape

*University of Wisconsin panel discussion: men accused of rape should not be innocent until proven guilty

Yale student: Forcing the accused to prove consent in rape cases does not violate his due process rights

A Yale student named Lauren Davila has written an article dutifully trotting out the feminist memes du jour about sexual assault. Most of her blather is well-trodden ground, but here's a new one:
Another misconception opponents have of affirmative consent is that it will deny due process to those who are accused. But that line of attack is wholly unrelated to the debate around affirmative consent. Simply changing the question from 'Did you get a no?' to 'Did you get a yes?' does not change the amount of evidence needed to bring forth disciplinary action."
This is simply wrong. First, the question has never been "Did you get a 'no'?" The burden has always been on the prosecutor/the school to prove the absence of consent. Second, the new affirmative consent laws sweeping the nation shift the burden of proving consent in rape cases to the accused (see here.) Third, forcing a man or boy accused of rape to prove that his accuser consented does raise due process concerns. Here's what the Washington Supreme Court recently wrote when it overturned some bad caselaw that shifted the burden of proving consent in rape cases to the defendant: "Requiring a defendant to do more than raise a reasonable doubt is inconsistent with due process principles. . . . . The defendant cannot be burdened with proving consent . . . ." State v. W.R., 181 Wn.2d 757 (2014). The court held that prosecutors must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt -- including lack of consent -- and placing the burden on a defendant to prove consent has it backward. (The case is a good primer on this issue -- check it out.)

Allow me to digress. Not only is shifting the burden of proving consent in rape cases unconstitutional, it is an idea long pushed by extremist victims' advocates. Linda Brookover Bourque's Defining Rape said in 1989 that the ultimate objective of rape reform is shifting the burden of proof from "the victim" to "the offender." Mainstream feminist extremist Jessica Valenti advocates that America look to Swedish law as its legislative model for rape, and "activists and legal experts in Sweden want to change the law there so that the burden of proof is on the accused; the alleged rapist would have to show that he got consent, instead of the victim having to prove that she didn't give it."

Serious feminist scholars have written extensively on the subject in an effort to change the law. Criminal law professor and feminist Michele Alexandre would make the sex act a presumed crime whenever a woman cries rape. See M. Alexandre, ‘Girls Gone Wild’ and Rape Law: Revising the Contractual Concept of Consent & Ensuring an Unbiased Application of ‘Reasonable Doubt’ When the Victim is Non-Traditional, 17 American Univ. Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 1, 41, 55-56 (2009). In Addressing Rape Reform in Law and Practice (2008), Professor Susan Caringella of Western Michigan University's Sociology Department, not only refused to pay lip service to insuring that the innocent aren't punished with the guilty, she goes so far as to declare that men accused of rape are "overprotect[ed]." She writes: "It is high time to give victims a fair shake, to dismantle the zealous overprotections for men accused of this crime, which have been buoyed up by the myths about false accusations, ulterior motives, and so on, commonly embraced when rape charges are levied." Prof. Caringella advocates a shift in the burden of proof by enacting affirmative consent laws.

Shifting the burden of proving consent would transform the act of lovemaking -- something that occurs every second of every day around the world -- into a presumptive crime whenever a woman cries rape. That legislatures are now making new laws to allow this sea change on campus ought to be alarming to every thinking person.

Back to Davila's article. She declares, with no authority beyond her serene ipse dixit: "The undisputed point is that sexual assault on college campuses is at crisis levels." She cites the debunked "one in five" stat, apparently unaware that it unraveled last year. The lead author of the principal one-in-five study, Christopher Krebs, told Emily Yoffe that it simply is not a representative statistic that can be relied upon when discussing American college women in general. Earlier last year, the Washington Post concluded that the stat couldn't be relied on as representative. Then, at the end of the year, the Washington Post said it is "misleading to suggest that [the one in five stat] is representative of the experience of all college women." The New York Times declared the stat as "flawed." And even Scott Berkowitz, head of the national advocacy group RAINN, says the 1 in 5 stat "is probably too high." Most important, late last year, the Department of Justice said that it's not 1-in-5 college women who are sexually assaulted, it's more like 1-in 52.

Then Davila declares that "these staggering numbers" (she means the debunked one-in-five) "do not include the many more victims who do not report incidents of sexual assault." Sigh. Um, yes, Davila, they do. That's the whole point of the one-in-five. You see, Davila, reported figures show that sexual assault is extremely rare -- one in hundreds or thousands -- and the whole point of the one-in-five canard is to supposedly capture unreported rapes.

Sadly, if I tried to address every article like this, I would spend my every waking moment and still not be able to address all of them. All persons of good will need to stand ready to correct errors like these whenever they rear their ugly head.

Philadelphia Inquirer tells it like it is about college kangaroo sex courts

Law Review: Campus sex-assault trials bypass rights to pass judgment

Article posted here:

Justin Dillon, former federal prosecutor and now a white collar defense lawyer, knows all too well the ways campus sexual abuse investigations can go wrong.

His litany of bizarrely skewed hearings is fraught with the potential for harm and tragic outcomes.

The college student brought up on charges of giving his girlfriend an unwanted kiss, more than a year after the relationship ended; an alleged rape victim who said friends had information the accused had raped others, but then declined to identify the friends; the hearing panel, composed of a librarian, a student dance major, and a professor of romance languages, whose job was to decide whether a sexual assault had occurred.

"It feels oftentimes that every new case I get is more absurd than the last. Sometimes you get people who are not old enough to drink, but are old enough to decide whether someone is a rapist," says the Harvard-trained lawyer, based in Washington.

Due process is a venerated constitutional right, but apparently not on many U.S. college campuses. For nearly four years, the Office for Civil Rights at the federal Department of Education has been bluntly threatening colleges and universities with the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding unless they crack down on what the feds say is a wave of sexual violence. No matter that the data on this problem are in dispute.
The latest institution to fall victim is the University of Pennsylvania. Under pressure from the OCR, Penn has adopted a policy for sexual-abuse complaints that bars accused persons from cross-examining their accusers, a fundamental due-process right in criminal trials. Campus sex-assault investigations are not criminal probes, of course, but the information they generate can easily make its way to law enforcement.

Lawyers for the accused, moreover, may not make statements in defense of their clients, and the hearing panel is composed of employees of the university, itself under pressure to crack down on sexual violence.

Penn's new policy at least requires that three faculty members serve on its hearing panels. But there is no one outside this self-contained system to make independent judgments about the facts. Complaints about the process are coming not only from the accused and their lawyers. Nearly one-third of the Penn law faculty released a letter criticizing Penn for its policy, saying it undermines traditional safeguards for accused persons.

Penn declined to say whether pressure from OCR and the potential loss of federal funding figured into adoption of its new procedures. University spokesman Ron Ozio maintained that the procedures are fair.

Sexual assault is, of course, a hideous crime, and there is reason to believe that at some colleges, the problem has been swept under the rug for years. But the denial of fundamental rights to people accused of it breaches important traditions and has caused untold suffering. Dillon says clients - and they are always young men - can expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars to prove their innocence in a proceeding that is stacked against them. Sometimes there is a finding in their favor, but not before their finances - or their parents' - have been wrecked.

When things don't go well, Dillon says, the consequences are even more catastrophic. One client was forced to leave a top university in his last semester and finish his studies abroad. He had planned to attend a top medical school in the United States, but now will have great difficulty realizing that dream, Dillon said.

"The really competitive schools are just looking for a reason to say no," Dillon said. "There is going to be a whole generation of young men mowed down by this system."

The push to crack down on campus sex assaults began in earnest in April 2011 when the OCR issued a "dear colleague" letter pressuring colleges and universities to establish procedures that greatly increase the difficulty for the accused to vigorously test accusations against them. The Penn Law School faculty letter takes the OCR to task because its instructions were not adopted under normal rule-making procedures, which provide for comment by all the parties who might be affected.

"Congress has passed no statute requiring universities to reform their disciplinary procedures," the Penn letter noted. "Instead, OCR has issued several guidance letters whose legal status is questionable. . . . In addition, OCR has used threats of investigation and loss of federal funding to intimidate universities into going further than even the guidelines require."

Meantime, OCR has intensified its probe of schools' policies for sexual-abuse complaints, citing the federal Title IX law barring gender discrimination. Since May 2014, the number of probes has nearly doubled, from 55 to 102. Among the schools targeted by OCR are the University of Delaware, Franklin and Marshall College, Allegheny College, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania State University, and Temple University.

The process might be more defensible if the consequences weren't so dire. "Most couples are not going to play 'gotcha,' " said Joseph Cohn of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia-based group that advocates for free speech and due process rights on U.S. campuses. "But anyone who has spent time in divorce court knows how vicious people can be when things go south."

Cohn's point is simple; the potential for abuse in these cases is enormous. And that makes it all the more critical for universities to employ a credible system for passing judgment.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

University of Wisconsin panel discussion: men accused of rape should not be innocent until proven guilty

The anti-due process voices on campus aren't bothering to sugarcoat their message anymore. At Berkeley last week, students protested the very notion that their classmates accused of rape should be treated fairly. At Ohio University the week before, angry protesters called due process for college men accused of rape "bullshit." At Penn, angry law students objected to the very idea that 16 of their law professors would go to bat for fair procedures in sexual assault cases.

Last night, anti-due process voices dominated a panel discussion on campus rape at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. According to The College Fix:
A woman who identified herself as a teaching assistant stood up and said she did not feel that the notion of innocent until proven guilty should apply to rape cases because it only helps protect the rights of the accused instead of the victim.

Only one of the panel members spoke out in disagreement with this statement. Klingele, the law professor, said that because she was a legal scholar, she had to disagree with this premise.
One student said she was "horrified" to discover that her accused rapist had due process rights. The rights that troubled her included the right to a hearing and the right to have a written summary of allegations from the accuser. She also decried the fact that "he was not required to speak in his defense."

According to one account, a purported rape victim said UW's policy is designed to protect the rights of the perpetrator. I am fairly certain this is not UW's policy -- a university's policy should be to protect the rights of the presumptively innocent (since they may be factually innocent) but we know that colleges aren't doing that. See here and here.

The impulse to eradicate sexual violence is a noble one, but sadly, the rhetoric employed by modern feminists in pursuit of that goal is animated by a disturbing hostility to the due process rights of the presumptively innocent. This is anything but a "liberal" or a "progressive" position. It is, in fact, a chilling echo of the lynch mobs that gathered at the hanging trees of the old American South for whom due process was a luxury society could not afford when it came to black men accused of rape.

Anyone who believes that the war on rape can't be waged without dispensing with fairness for the accused is woefully unschooled in concepts that are foundational to our traditions of justice, concepts that pre-date even Magna Carta. We don't require fairness in tribunals to protect rapists but to protect the innocent, and Blackstone's Formulation is a cornerstone of a civilized people. Dispensing with fairness for the accused not only hurts the innocent, it undermines trust in the system, which hurts rape victims.

Yet, last night at a major university, supposedly educated people openly disagreed with a notion that until recently seemed beyond debate -- innocent until proven guilty. At least they disagreed with it when it comes to one class of citizens accused of one type of offense. The discourse borders on pathology.

We are sometimes told that "not all feminists are like that." If that is so, where are the sane and rational voices of feminism to condemn this Star Chamber mentality? All persons of good will need to stand up and declare "enough is enough."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Students at Berkeley protest against fairness for college men accused of rape

At a national conference on campus sexual assault and violence hosted by UC Berkeley, students protested a panel discussion on ensuring fair processes for sexual misconduct investigations. See here and here.

Read that again: students protested the very idea that their classmates accused of rape should be treated fairly. This is becoming a disturbing -- indeed, otherworldly -- trend. Recently, college students in Ohio protested due process for men accused of sexual assault by branding it "bullshit."

The Bekeley protesters put duct tape over their mouths and surrounded the perimeter of the room, holding signs of purported survivor testimonies. This was all intended to raise awareness about the insensitive treatment campus rape survivors receive.

My guess is that not one of the speakers on the panel suggested that the kangaroo campus rape process works for anyone -- including accusers. But this particular panel discussion wasn't about the accuser, it was about the accused, and that's what infuriated the protesters. On modern American campuses, there is no room in the public discourse for even one panel discussion about fairness for presumptively innocent men accused of campus rape. Any such talk distracts from the narrative scripted by the sexual grievance industry. It's all about them. If someone dares to talk about the need for silly things like "fairness" or "due process" for the men accused, they are being "insensitive" to rape victims, or they are a "rape apologist," a "victim denier," or a misogynist. In days long gone, insuring fairness in adjudicating guilt or innocence was a Constitutional mandate and a civic virtue. On modern American college campuses, it's "rape culture."

The comments that most annoyed the protesters were the ones that raised the specter of the hanging trees of the Old South, where lynchings were also animated by a disturbing hostility to the due process rights of the presumptively innocent. It is ironic that the protesters don't realize that they, too, are waging the war on sexual assault with the memes of the hangman.