Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ESPN analyst says men need to be reprogrammed

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

It's all so tiresome. And wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know who doesn't stereotype? You know who understands that the issues aren't so black and white? People well-versed in the issues. Earlier this year, RAINN, the nation's leading anti-rape organization, debunked the "rape culture" trope: "Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime." This is what we've been preaching here for years. RAINN decried the "inclination to focus on particular . . . traits that are common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., 'masculinity'), rather than on the subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape." The usual pundits had a conniption, of course.

Monday, September 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deputies have not released the woman’s name.

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

It's a start

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘She is truly sorry.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woman asks to be rape, lies about it

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

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Princeton to young men: drop dead

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


Friday, September 5, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are two overriding problems with most of these efforts:

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harvard Crimson to men accused of sexual assault: drop dead

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

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

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

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

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

The answer at Harvard is a resounding "yes."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Since no one can say what constitutes "consent" under the new California law, it must be invalidated

The California legislature has passed SB-967 Student safety: sexual assault, the infamous "affirmative consent" bill. This has prompted a national conversation about "consent" and sexual assault, but it seems nobody writing about it has the first idea what they are talking about. I don't say that lightly.

The question is, what evidence of "consent" is necessary to satisfy California's new law? The co-author of the bill in the Assembly, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, was asked how an innocent person is supposed to prove consent: “Your guess is as good as mine," she said. I don't know about other lawyers in the audience, but if I'm challenging the constitutionality of this law, I am going to cite that statement.

The law is not a guessing game. A statute proscribing conduct is supposed to put the public on clear notice as to the conduct that is forbidden. William Lawrence Clark et al, A Treatise on the Law of Crimes at 59 (1996). This is a component of due process. “The test is whether the language conveys sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by common understanding and practices.” Jordan v. DeGeorge, 341 U.S. 223 (1951). A law that does not meet that standard is unconstitutionally vague. Laws governing sex can't be free-floating standards of purported wrongdoing and should never punish criminality “in the air.”

Cue feminist writer Tara Culp-Ressler, who has written perhaps the most asinine piece on the subject of consent I've ever seen. She chides critics of California's "affirmative consent" law who are concerned about what constitutes legal consent under the law. She essentially tells them that it doesn't matter: so long as the woman is happy, she won't accuse you of rape. Here is what she wrote:
The people who are worried about affirmative consent standards are typically preoccupied about the people who may be penalized for failing to ask questions every step of the way. What if a college student starts passionately kissing his girlfriend without getting her permission first? What if a couple enjoys explicitly consensual foreplay and then moves on to intercourse without a verbal agreement beforehand? 
But those hypothetical situations aren’t necessarily breaches of an affirmative consent standard. If both partners were enthusiastic about the sexual encounter, there will be no reason for anyone to report a rape later. So if college students are worried about protecting themselves from being penalized, it’s not hard — all they have to do is stick to engaging in physical contact with people who are clearly receptive to it at the time.
Wrong, Culp-Ressler.

"Consent" is an agreement, free of duress, that is evidenced by a party's outward manifestations. It's not enough to say "you're safe if the woman is subjectively happy." A trier of fact must be able to examine evidence of alleged assent at the time of the act to determine if a reasonable person in the position of the person seeking consent would have understood that the other party consented. If that sentence is too complicated for you, read it again, and again, and again until you understand it, because that's the law, and it's the only test that works.

Whether the woman is subjectively happy or subjectively unhappy is not pertinent if her subjective state did not coincide with her outward expressions. The only question that matters is whether her outward manifestations of assent indicated to the man that she assented to the sex act. Period. And historically, consent can be manifested in an infinite number of ways.

Since no one can seem to say what evidence of "consent" will suffice under this strange  new law, let's hope it is challenged in court very soon and ruled unconstitutionally vague.

California college men need to understand the new "affirmative consent" law -- and to use it when they are victims of sexual assault

The "affirmative consent" bill

The California legislature has passed SB-967 Student safety: sexual assault, the infamous "affirmative consent" bill. Now California has a criminal statute that regulates sexual assault in society at large and it will soon have one that regulates sexual assault on college campuses. When Gov. Brown signs it, it will be the first statute ever enacted to define "consent" for college students. "The bill defines consent to sex as the presence of a 'yes' rather than the absence of a 'no,' a cultural shift that victim’s groups have long advocated." See here. The law will codify the use of the low “preponderance of the evidence” standard (50.01% likelihood) in campus sexual assault cases and mandate “affirmative consent” at every step of a sexual encounter.

There are a host of problems with the new law. The co-author of the bill in the Assembly, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, was asked how an innocent person is supposed to prove consent: “Your guess is as good as mine," she said. Will it be implemented along the lines of Antioch College's infamously absurd sexual assault policy, so nutty that it was mocked in a Saturday Night Live skit? For those who don't remember Antioch's policy: "The persons(s) who initiate[d] the sexual activity [was] responsible for asking for consent." And: "Each new level of sexual activity requires consent." The Antioch policy was rightly skewered for the part about "each new level of sexual activity requir[ing] consent." Is it a stretch to think that young men who got consent for intercourse at the outset will be expelled for not asking whether it's okay to continue if it has gone on for "too long"?

California college men take heed: it is the responsibility of both parties to insure consent

But the other part of the Antioch policy quoted above -- it was the responsibility of the "initiator" to insure consent -- was also very problematic. Determining who is the "initiator" is often no easy task in the horny, murky world of college sex, but in a culture where males are assumed to be the initiators of sexual activity and females are assumed to be reticent about engaging in sex, it is not difficult to imagine which party usually will be singled out as the "initiator." Putting the onus on the "initiator" alone to insure that consent exists for the entire endeavor was code for "policing male behavior."

When the new California bill was first introduced last February, it contained a similar, onerous requirement:
An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by a complainant. . . . . It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the consent of the other person to engage in the sexual activity.
But when the bill got to the state Assembly, it was changed, and the bill that just passed and that is heading to the governor for signature makes clear that the responsibility for insuring the other party consents is on both participants:
An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity. . . . . It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity.
The language in the California bill is critically important because sex policing on campus is premised on the antiquated belief that sex is something men do and that women have done to them. Duke University Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek recently was asked what would happen if two students got drunk to the point of incapacity, and then had sex. "Assuming it is a male and female, it is the responsibility in the case of the male to gain consent before proceeding with sex," said Wasiolek. This sort of attitude can be deadly, especially in a culture where college administrators think it is perfectly fair to ask whether young men should be expelled on the basis of nothing more than an accusation.

On the basis of the revised language in the California bill, if a couple is in the throes of passion, and if the male fails to inquire if it's okay to proceed, he is no more responsible for sexual assault than the female if she fails to inquire. Any application of the new law that puts the onus solely on the male to insure that ongoing consent is present would be grounds for legal challenge -- and for the male to legitimately claim he, too, was the victim of a rape.

Even more important, if a male student, drunk or not, is not the one who escalates the activity to the next level without bothering to make sure if this is okay, he's the victim and she's a rapist. California men need to know that the burden is on the woman to insure he consents in that scenario, and we need to break down the cultural taboos for men to report their victimization. The reason we don't have a lot more men reporting they've been raped by women is because the very notion doesn't fit society's assumptions about men, women, and sex.

A few months ago, Wall Street Journal writer James Taranto wrote about sex partners who engage in mutually reckless drunken sex where both parties are intoxicated and mutually decide, in their drunken states, to have sex. Both of them engage in precisely the same conduct; the only difference is that one has a penis and one has a vagina. Mr. Taranto said it is unjust to hold only the man responsible when two drunks mutually decide to have sex. The male is every bit as much a "victim" as the female, and the female is every bit as much a "rapist" as the male. In Mr. Taranto's scenario, the parties' genders, not their conduct, is the only thing that differentiates them.

That didn't stop the usual suspects from having a conniption over Mr. Taranto's article. Tara Culp-Ressler wrote: ". . . conservative commentator James Taranto argued that a 'balanced' approach to the college sexual assault crisis involves placing equal blame on rapists and their victims, if both of them were drinking alcohol." Even though that's not what James Taranto argued. David Futrelle attacked the premise of Tatanto's scenario: "Huh," clucked Futrelle. "I'm pretty sure we determine the victim of a rape not on demographics but based on WHICH PERSON RAPED THE OTHER PERSON."

In contrast, Brett Sokolow of NCHERM thinks that in too many cases, colleges do determine the victim of a rape on the basis of demographics and not on which person raped the other. Mr. Sokolow, who has done more to advance the rights of rape survivors on campus than anyone we are aware of, cautioned colleges that when a man and a woman engage in mutually tipsy sex, the school shouldn't single out the guy for discipline, but they do. Shortly after that, Mr. Sokolow elaborated in an open-letter that raised very serious concerns about the hostility on American college campuses to the rights of men accused of sexual violence. Sokolow said that in the drunken "hook up" culture, the evidence is often too murky to warrant charging and punishing the male accused of sexual misconduct, but that's exactly what too many schools are doing. He said that "in a lot of these cases, the campus is holding the male accountable in spite of the evidence – or the lack thereof – because they think they are supposed to, and that doing so is what OCR wants." And in "case-after-case . . . sincere victims believe something has happened to them that evidence shows absolutely did not . . .." And: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen."

College men need to know that they are being unfairly singled out for sexual assault chages (don't rely on me -- that's what Brett Sokolow said), and California college men need to know they will soon have a law that says women have a responsibility to get the guys' consent, too. And they need to use that law when they have been victimized.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

If college men accused of sexual assault had a group like the NFL Players Association -- or anyone -- fighting on their behalf, things would be different

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's announcement yesterday that he is getting tough on domestic violence -- any NFL employee found to have engaged in assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involved physical force will be suspended without pay for six games for a first offense, banned for life for a second offense -- was hailed by women's groups as a "big win" and by progressive news outlets as "stunning in its earnestness and clarity."  Even with this announcement, NFL players will still have more rights than college men accused of similar sex offenses.

You see, NFL players have a very powerful union that advocates for them. College men have nobody to speak for them.

The NFL's Personal Conduct Policy provides that personnel found in violation of a policy who appeal are entitled to a prompt hearing pursuant to Article 46 of the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement. According to Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, "the Commissioner shall, after consultation with the Executive Director of the NFLPA, appoint one or more designees to serve as hearing officers."

This is in marked contrast to the procedure on college campuses, where there is no requirement for consultation with any group that represents the interests of presumptively innocent men accused of sexual assault. One young man accused of a sex offense recently sued his school claiming "that the university refused his request to have a student on the hearing panel, which was made up of three colleagues of the victim's father, a Vassar professor." So much for fair play, the rule of law, and the bare semblance of justice.

Wait. It gets better. The NFL rules provide: "In any hearing provided for in this Article, a player may be accompanied by counsel of his choice."  (Article 46, Section 2(b).) The NFL even provides for hearings to be rescheduled to accommodate the schedules of players' lawyers. (Article 46, Section 2(i).)

This is in contrast to the practice of most colleges, which don't allow lawyers to advocate for the accused in sex offense proceedings. Lawyers are, in fact, considered a hindrance. The Department of Education does not require institutions to allow attorneys to attend disciplinary hearings even in an advisory role -- not even where the accused is subject to criminal proceedings and might waive important Constitutional rights in his college hearing.

There's more. The NFL rules provide: "The [NFL Players Association] . . . have the right to attend all hearings provided for in this Article and to present, by testimony or otherwise, any evidence relevant to the hearing." (Article 46, Section 2(b).) Immediately after the new rule was announced, the Players Association sprung into action and made it clear they will participate in appropriate cases: "We were informed today of the NFL's decision to increase penalties on domestic violence offenders under the Personal Conduct Policy for all NFL employees," the NFLPA said in a written statement. "As we do in all disciplinary matters, if we believe that players' due process rights are infringed upon during the course of discipline, we will assert and defend our members' rights." One news outlet took offense to the union's statement that it will seek to uphold due process rights, saying it means that "unfortunately, . . . the players can and will fight tooth-and-nail to avoid being punished under these rules." Heaven forbid we should allow due process to intrude on punishment!

Lucky for the feminist extremists and law-and-order zanies, there is no impediment to the rush to judgment on campus. College proceedings do not allow any group advocating for the accused to participate in the hearing on behalf of the accused. That's just as well, because there are no such groups.

The NFL rules also provide for the fair exchange of discovery before the hearing: ". . . the parties shall exchange copies of any exhibits upon which they intend to rely no later than three (3) calendar days prior to the hearing. Failure to timely provide any intended exhibit shall preclude its introduction at the hearing."

This is in contrast to the practice of  many colleges, some of which don't even bother to provide the accused with notice of charges or the names of witnesses against him. Hardly any schools (only 15%) employ formal rules of evidence in sex hearings, even though the majority of schools do abide by rape shield laws. See here.

Is it at all surprising that NFL players have far more rights than college men? Even illegal aliens have more rights than college men! Is there any group in America that stands to lose as much as college men accused of rape but that is afforded fewer rights? I can't think of one. And the most disturbing thing? Virtually nobody cares.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dept. of Justice opens investigation into Foley beheading -- and this man will have more due process rights than college men accused of date rape

That a terrorist in Syria who commits a savage act in the name of a savage ideology is deserving of American due process, but American citizens accused of sex offenses who happen to be male and who happen to attend college are not, tells us all we need to know about the triumph of the most twisted political correctness imaginable.

But why are we surprised? "George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf suggests that illegal immigrants surging across the southern border into the U.S. receive more due process rights than college students accused of date rape." See here and here.

Moreover, public housing tenants have the right, under federal law, to confront and cross-examine witnesses before they can be evicted, a right the Obama administration doesn't think young men accused of sex offenses deserve before they are subjected to a potentially life-altering expulsion from college.

People who are sued for insubstantial money damages have far greater protections under the law than college men accused of sex offenses. Many who defend colleges' use of the "preponderance of the evidence" standard in sex cases insist it is fair because civil proceedings for money damages generally use that standard. What they conveniently fail to mention is that defendants in civil actions are afforded all manner of procedural protections, including the right to cross-examine plaintiffs in depositions and at trial, that are flatly denied young men in college sex proceedings.

College men are pariahs in the new age.

(Still working on a major piece. In the meantime, go here.)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Working on a major piece. In the 
meantime, for more information 
pertinent to the wrongly accused, go here.