Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday, and the most famous wrongly accused man in history

Today is Good Friday, the day Christians around the world observe what they believe to be the central fact of history: that God's son, sent to live among us, willingly offered himself as a sacrifice for the transgressions of all mankind.

In order to vicariously atone for mankind's sins, Christ allowed himself to be subjected to trumped-up charges, a wrongful conviction, and an unjust death penalty. He was brought before the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate, who promptly declared him innocent. But to appease the angry mob, Pilate ordered Christ to be flogged. When that wasn't enough for them, Pilate allowed Christ to be crucified.

Jesus is the most famous wrongly accused and wrongly convicted person in history, and his death holds lessons for modern men and women.

The sacrifice of innocents to answer a public outcry, fomented by persons with a political agenda, is a phenomenon likely as old as civilization, and it still happens today. Mark A Godsey of the Innocence Project recently said that "the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases."

It is well to remember that with Jesus, the mob used the state to carry out its vile deed on Good Friday. God allowed his son to be tried, convicted, and executed by the state in order to make a critical point. Being subjected to a criminal act by individuals acting on their own would not have manifested the community's rejection of the Messiah. The Divine Plan recognized that, all other things being equal, misconduct by the state in punishing an innocent is qualitatively different from, and more significant than, misconduct by persons acting on their own. That is one of the bases for celebrated English jurist William Blackstone's assertion that it is better that ten guilty men escape punishment than that one innocent suffer at the hands of the state.

Just as Christians believe that all of us ultimately bear responsibility for Christ's death, all of us, figuratively speaking, have blood on our hands for the mistreatment of the modern day wrongly accused.

We are the mob shouting "Crucify him!" and leading an innocent man off to Golgotha.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ex-school official faces possible life in prison for sex acts with girl, but girl also made sex accusations against another man around the same time she accused the school official

A former middle school official is heading to trial for allegedly committing repeated sex acts with a female student more than six years ago. But the trial court has held that the jury will be permitted to hear evidence that the alleged victim made an accusation to police against a different man around the same time she first accused the former school official last April. That second man was never arrested or charged with a crime (we assume that's because law enforcement knew that the accuser would not be believed). Under Michigan’s rape shield law an alleged victim’s sexual history is barred from evidence, but the defense may present evidence about previous false accusations of rape.

Rape of teenage girl in Bury cemetery a false allegation, say police

As reported here:

Detectives investigating the rape of a teenage girl in a cemetery say it was a false allegation.

It had been reported the victim was walking from Market Street through Bury cemetery,south of Bury town centre, when she was attacked.

Police were told that on the afternoon of Thursday, March 7, a man grabbed hold of her and pulled her away from the footpath before raping her.

Officers have since confirmed that it was a false report, and no attack took place.

Detective Inspector Ian Harratt, of GMP's serious sexual offences unit, said: “On this occasion the rape that was reported to have taken place in Bury cemetery earlier this month has proven to be a false account.

"However, this does not change the fact that we take all reports of rape seriously and investigate thoroughly and without prejudice, which can be demonstrated by our significant investment in relation to this report.

"I hope this incident does not deter victims from coming forward to police. We have specially-trained officers who give a tremendous amount of time and support to anyone who has been a victim of rape and we work extremely closely with the St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre.”

Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault can contact Greater Manchester Police on 0161 872 5050 or 999 in an emergency. GMP has specially trained officers in place to provide a first class response to victims and help support them through the criminal justice process.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'GPS tracking system repeatedly fails, registering false alerts and landing the offenders in jail although they have done nothing wrong'

Read the story here:

More horrific details revealed in the Matt Folino false rape case

Here is a  follow-up to the horrific story we reported here.

Watch the video on the WPXI site here. The news report provides some very disturbing details about a sick and twisted rape lie that put a young man and his family through "pure hell" for nine months. It is now clear that this was nothing more than a "he said, she said" case, and that law enforcement gambled with a young man's life solely because the false accuser was a convincing witness. Defense counsel Bill Difenderfer, a superstar criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania, said this: "When it's his word against her word, you have to pause: you need more."

At the start of the television news report, the anchorwoman correctly exclaims: "He said he didn't do it, but no one was ready to believe him . . . ." And that's typical in virtually every case involving a rape claim.

We also learn here that Matt spent four days in jail for a crime he didn't commit before he was released; that there was no DNA evidence (how could there be? Neither Matt nor the false accuser were with each other when the rape supposedly occurred); that at the time the false accuser said she was being raped, she was at a dance club, and that she spent the night with another guy (for his part, Matt was home with his parents); that she admitted she lied about Matt so she wouldn't get in trouble because the other guy gave her "sucker bites" -- as Matt's defense counsel correctly said: "Get out of trouble with my dad and let a kid go to jail for five or ten years"; and that Matt's family has had to pay $20,000 in legal fees. Mr. Difenderfer said this: “I have never seen such a fabrication as this. It’s such a sick thing to do.”

Here is the story from the WPXI site:

Teen admits to faking rape at South Park wave pool

CANONSBURG, Pa. — An 18-year-old Venetia woman is facing perjury charges after investigators said she lied about being raped in the parking lot of the South Park wave pool last year.

According to the criminal complaint, Katelyn Webster told authorities she raped by Matthew Folino while sitting in the pool’s parking lot in June 2012.

Webster told police that Folino put his hands around her neck to hold her down. There were marks on her neck to validate her story.

Folino, who adamantly denied the claim, spent four days in jail and was then placed on house arrest. Despite no DNA evidence, Webster was so convincing that the case headed for trial.

“I have never seen such a fabrication as this. It’s such a sick thing to do,” Folino’s defense attorney William Difenderfer said.

A few weeks before the trial, two of Webster’s friends came forward and said Webster wasn’t at the wave pool that day. They said she was at a dance club and spent the night at another guy’s house. They said the marks on her neck were ‘sucker bites’ from that guy.

Authorities said Webster admitted to making the false report earlier this month.

“It’s hard to understand why or how someone could sit there and lie for that long. This isn’t a white lie. It’s complete disregard for somebody’s well-being,” Difdenderfer said.

The complaint said she made up the story so she wouldn’t get in trouble with her father for having the marks on her neck.

All charges against Folino were immediately dropped.

“It was a great feeling to know they were dropped. What should have been done in the first place was done,” Folino said.

Webster faces charges of perjury, false reports to law enforcement authorities and false swearing.

The case has cost the Folinos more than $20,000 in legal fees, in addition to the damage to Matt’s reputation. The family said they plan to file a civil suit against Webster.


PITTSBURGH - A Pittsburgh-area teen has been arrested and charged with falsely accusing a young man of rape.

TV station KDKA reported Monday that 18-year-old Katelyn Webster of Venetia has been charged with perjury and making false reports.

Webster allegedly falsely told police that 22-year-old Matthew Folino of Canonsburg raped and choked her in June, 2012.

Folino was arrested and charged with multiple felonies. But two of Webster's girlfriends refuted her whole story, saying she was trying to hide another relationship and that the choke marks came from another boy.

The charges against Folino were dropped earlier this month.

George Bills Jr., Webster's attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Webster was released from jail after posting $20,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 8.

The story has even appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle website: Funny, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review have not covered the story.



An 18-year-old woman is charged with perjury after police say she lied about being raped while under oath.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Allegheny County police in district Judge Robert Wyda's courtroom, Katelyn Webster, of Venetia, went to the Washington Hospital in June 2012 and reported she was raped by Matthew Folino while sitting in the South Park Wave Pool parking lot.

Webster told police Folino placed his hands around her neck and held her down in his vehicle, according to the complaint. Police stated Webster had "noticeable marks on her neck and back."

Folino was held for court after Webster testified against him at his preliminary hearing in August 2012, according to Wyda.

As Folino's trial approached this year, two female witnesses that were going to testify came forward and stated that Webster asked them to tell people they were at the pool with her on June 3, according to the complaint.

"It wasn't until they (the witnesses) learned of an upcoming trial that they realized the nature of Webster's request," police stated.

Webster was not at the wave pool, she was at Club Zoo with the two girls and they all spent the night at another guy's house, according to the complaint. That is where Webster got "sucker bites" on her neck from another man, according to police.

Police stated they interviewed Webster on March 6, 2013 regarding the new information and that she admitted to making the false report against Folino.

"She stated that she fabricated the story so that she would not get in trouble with her father for having 'sucker bites,'" according to the complaint.

Webster is now facing one count of perjury, one count of false reports to law enforcement authorities and one count of false swearing. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday in Wyda's courtroom.



Police: Woman admits making false rape claims
By Terri Johnson
Staff Writer

A Venetia woman was charged with numerous offenses, including perjury, after she allegedly admitted accusations she made of rape and sexual assault against a Canonsburg man never happened.

Katelyn Webster, 18, of 189 Irishtown Road Extension, was charged March 11 by Allegheny County police with one count each of perjury, false reports to law enforcement and false swearing for an incident she told county police occurred June 3 at South Park in Bethel Park.

Webster, police said, accused Matthew Folino, 27, of 118 Sunset Drive, Canonsburg, of raping her in a car in the parking lot of the wave pool. As a result of Webster’s accusations, Folino was charged with rape, sexual assault, simple assault and two counts of indecent assault. Those charges have since been dropped.

Initially, the charges against Folino were held for court following a preliminary hearing before District Judge Robert Wyda of Bethel Park on Aug. 6, during which Webster testified to the alleged event.

Folino’s criminal trial was set for March 20 in Allegheny County. But before the trial, two female witnesses came forward saying Webster asked them to say they were with her at the wave pool June 3. Both witnesses said they had been with Webster June 2 and 3, but the three were never at the wave pool.

On March 6, police say, Webster admitted that she had made a false report against Folino.



Concerned Citizen
10:25 pm on Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Why can't everyone just mind their own business? I feel terrible for the boy, yes! This is a terrible situation, but hasn't everyone done something wrong? Maybe not to this extent. Just let it go. Her and her family are gonna go through enough problems. Who are we to judge? Only God should judge her. Also, don't attack her family! They weren't in on it with her! Yes, it's wrong, but JUST LET IT GO!

10:58 pm on Tuesday, March 19, 2013
obviously 3 of the people, including myself, have had a personal connection to this story... I'm sorry if its a little difficult to just "let it go" but I think your missing the big picture. This innocent man lost valuable time with his family. yes, he was on house arrest, but he was forced to stay in Allegheny county with his two elderly grandparents, instead of his own home in washington county. how you feel not being able to go to your own home for 9 months? how would you feel not having any contact with friends for 9 months? how would you feel having to prepare yourself for a 5 year jail sentencing for something you didn't even do? please try to look at the bigger picture of things before you tell people to just "let it go". I'm sure if this were your son, brother, or friend you would have a little more understanding. so maybe it would be best if you took your own advice and minded your own business.

11:44 pm on Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Hey, lets face it, both of these kids have fallen victim to the "world." Yeah, maybe from the human standpoint this young man was falsely accused and unjustly treated, and now, this young lady will be put through an even worse situation. However, from God's standpoint, what both individuals are facing is the consequences of their sin. I feel for both of these individuals because somewhere along the line they were mislead to believe that pre-marital sexual relations is ok. This kind of stuff doesn't happen when sex is contained within the marriage relationship. However, I think moving beyond the blame game is necessary at this point. We obviosuly have two young adults going through something that many of us find unimaginable and the last thing they need to see is hateful speech directed at one another. Again, my heart goes out to both individuals involved in this matter and I pray that in these weeks leading up to Easter many of you would choose to show the same Grace that God gave to you when he allowed His son to die on the Cross for your sins.

What a "Twit"ter
1:04 pm on Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I was going to post a link to her twitter page, just so everyone could see how much fun she's been having, but ironicly, the page hage been shut down...

Concerned Citizen
10:16 pm on Thursday, March 21, 2013
Why are you so obsessed with this girl? Unless you are related to the two kids involved, this is no one's business! So many people in this township act like vigilantes. Get a life off the Internet and mind your own business! Let the court do their job!

Karma is a b*tch
7:41 am on Friday, March 22, 2013
@Concerned Citizen: Obviously you are neither related, nor personally involved in this situation, so perhaps you should take your own advice. We all have lives, many of them disrupted by this piece of garbage. You have no idea the emotional damage and stress this girl has caused. The Folino's waited for "the court to do their job," waiting for the paperwork to be processed for Matthews ankle bracelet to be removed once it came out that she lied.

It took the Police four hours...Just FOUR hours with no evidence to back up her story to hunt him down and take him in.

It took over three weeks...Three freaking weeks while the paper work sat idle on the judges bench for his bracelet to be removed. It was only after repeated calls by his father to the DA's office and several heated conversations that there were advised, "just cut if off."

So unless you know what they went through, maybe you need to keep your thougts & opinions to yourself.

By the way...The story will be airing on KDKA early next week. ; )

Concerned Citizen
2:58 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013
@Karma is a b*tch: You really don't know who you are talking to because we are connected. I feel very badly for Matthew. I see you are only out for vengeance. So may the courts do what's necessary, but don't belittle people in the process.

Karma is a b*tch
4:55 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013
@Concerned "Let the court do their job!" That is the problem...the court was not doing their job...So where does that leave us? It leaves the Folino's doing 95% of the leg work and investigation to clear their son's name.

The police "had their guy," their job was done, case closed...Move on to the next perp.

The system is broken, "guilty until proven innocent" is how things are, not the other way around.

Karma is a b*tch
3:10 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013
This article doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what this young woman did. I wonder how bad her home life must be to weave such a wicked story just to hide from her parents where her "sucker bites" came from.

Within mere hours of her going to the police and fabricating her story, the police swarmed like angry hornets around the neighborhood looking for Matthew. Seven hours later around one or two in the morning while Matthew was playing video games, the police parked a block away and eight (8)
police came to the Folino residence to arrest Matthew with their weapons drawn as they were searching for a fugitive wanted for armed robbery.

I can't even begin to imagine the nightmare that followed...


Karma is a b*tch
3:17 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013
It took the police only four hours based on a fictitious statement backed up by absolutely ZERO evidence to be on the hunt for Matthew and arrest him a few hours after that.

FACT: The "noticeable marks" on her neck & back were from a bra strap! There were NO other scratches or bruises.

On top of that she got two of her friends in on the lie and tweeted to them about sticking to the story they talked about.

Yet, when the police were made aware that this false rape accusation was completely fabricated it took several WEEKS for Matthew to get his ankle bracelet removed...

It seemed as if no one cared and just dragged their feet. The paperwork just sat waiting to be signed…Where was the sense of urgency to right a wrong for the real victim of this crime?

It was only after repeated calls by the Folino's to the prosecutor’s office that Matthew was told to cut off his ankle bracelet off with scissors just days before his last birthday...What a present!

It's a real shame the police NEVER apologized to Matthew for the way this was handled, especially after it came to light that this was made up.

Karma is a b*tch
3:25 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013
The system appears to be stacked against men, just hearing from the Folino's personal experience. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine being told by someone that runs in the legal circle that deals with this court that it's referred to as "castration court."

This young woman and her family need to know what they put the Folino's through. I don’t think until they feel the financial squeeze of retaining a lawyer, the legal fees and court costs associated with mounting a legal defense will they truly understand what the Folino’s went through. All of the heartache, the pain & suffering the Folino's have had to endure fighting to save their son from a potential FIVE YEAR jail sentence.

Matthew’s crime? Playing video games in his house the night he was picked up by police, all because of a selfish woman's lie. Not a little white lie, a lie that was going to ruin the rest of this man's life.

I have no sympathy for this woman, and can only hope that she enjoys the same hospitality the system showed to the Folino's.

Matthew IS the victim of a horrible crime that had the potential to ruin the REST of his life. He would have gone to jail, had to register as a sex offender and had that black mark on his record for the REST of his life!


From the Land of Happy Little Trees...
3:54 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013
The system appears to be stacked against men, just hearing from the Folino's personal experience. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine being told
by someone that runs in the legal circle that deals with this court that it's referred to as "castration court."

I don’t think until they feel the financial squeeze of retaining a lawyer, the legal fees and court costs associated with mounting a legal defense will they truly understand what the Folino’s went through. All of the heartache, the pain & suffering the Folino's have had to endure fighting to save their son from a potential FIVE YEAR jail sentence.

Matthew’s crime? Playing video games in his house the night he was picked up by police, all because of a lie. Not a little white lie, a lie that was going to ruin the rest of this man's life.

Maybe she will get to enjoy the same hospitality the system showed to the Folino's.

Matthew IS the victim of a horrible crime that had the potential to ruin the REST of his life. He would have gone to jail, had to register as a sex offender and had that black mark on his record for the REST of his life!


From the Land of Happy Little Trees...
4:12 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013
What a scary world we live in where your life can be destroyed so easily by a lie. She needs to be punished to the FULLEST extent that the law will allow and made an example of.

Maybe she will do actual jail time, vs. just having house arrest...Nine months would be a good start, that's what the Folino’s lost and will never get back.

Not only did she almost ruin an innocent man’s life, she is wasting your tax dollars by filing a false report. She took police (a finite resource) away from dealing with actual crimes. More of your tax dollars will be spent prosecuting her now. In addition, gumming up the already overburdened legal system with a bogus case…Although not bogus anymore…Now she is the one being charged with a real crime.
How many other innocent men are in jail because of similar circumstances?

Lastly, this type of thing does not help the cause of people that actually were raped, if anything it has the potential to make it more difficult for actual rape victims.

Three women were paid to falsely claim they had sex with Menendez, Dominican police say

As reported here:

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Three women were paid to falsely claim in videotaped interviews that they had sex for money with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in the Dominican Republic, a spokesman for the police said today.

Imagine if the genders were reversed . . .

Elizabeth "Leigh" Garner, 42, A former NFL cheerleader followed a 12-year-old boy into the bathroom of his parent's house during a party and fondled his penis and tried to pull down his pants. She asked if he'd "ever been with a woman," and he bolted and told his mom.

The New York Daily News ran the story, and the reader comments under the story are disturbing. Imagine if the genders were reversed:

Kid…someday you're going to regret telling your mother.

My goodness, women are becoming more and more rambunctious these days.

I'll say the same thing when I see these female teachers sleeping with their students.... Damn where was she when I was 12!!! LMAO

Why do I always get stuck going to the house parties where the biggest draw is the 3 - bean salad? Dang.

ha ha ha... can't fix stupid.

This 12 year old better be Ron Jeremy or he just missed the chance of a lifetime.

wow, if that happened to me when I was 12, I would have though I had hit the jackpot.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Writers upset that news outlets cover the news -- at least when the news is horrific false rape stories

Edit: 5:05 PM Eastern Time: In the Matt Folino case, the writer "martha" has responded to critics. My reply to her response to me:

You have excluded yourself from the public discourse on a very serious issue with your shrill odium. Matt's family and friends are reading these comments, as is Matt, I am sure, and your your insistence that his story should be censored the way the Soviet Union used to censor news stories is hateful. Moreover, it smacks of "patriarchy"-smashing gender get-even-ism. Mature adults have no room for such silliness in 2013. Matt can't help that he was born male, and that someone chose to victimize him in this fashion. Get over it.

Instead of sweeping problems like this, and Brian Banks' false rape claim and a thousand others, under the rug, you would do well to tell young women not to make false rape claims. They destroy innocent young men and do a disservice to rape victims.

This story isn't about "rape" or Steubenville or you. It's about a young man who suffered a grievous wrong. So nice of you to have compassion!


The way to battle false rape claims is not to pretend they don't happen, it's to join us in battling false rape claims.

Here's a trigger warning for the community of the wrongly accused: below are two comments, reposted verbatim, that appeared under two recent horrific stories about false rape claims. The writers in both comments expressed anger that the television station and the television network, respectively, dared to actually air the stories in the aftermath of the Steubenville rape case. The first comment appeared under the KDKA-TV story about a false rape claim near Pittsburgh.  The second comment appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes" site under the video of the Brian Banks story that aired this past Sunday.

Horrifying details emerge in false rape case near Pittsburgh

The news report below is truly horrifying -- and it could happen to any young man. He was hauled out of bed in the middle of the night and arrested almost exclusively on the word of a false rape accuser. His attorney, Bill DiFenderfer, a seasoned and well-respected defense attorney in Western Pennsylvania, bemoaned the absence of a more thorough investigation before subjecting Mr. Folino to what could have been a life-altering arrest. While County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt defended the arrest, any suggestion that the system worked as well as it could, or should, is simply morally grotesque. We wonder if the Police Superintendent would wish such a horrible fate on his son?  The people of Allegheny County should not tolerate this:

(If you are having trouble seeing the video, go here)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Imagine police showing up at hour house in the middle of the night, taking you out of bed and arresting you for a crime you know you didn’t commit.

If that sounds more like a movie than real life, you’d be wrong. A man from the South Hills says it happened to him.

Not only that, but the woman who accused him of raping her now faces charges that she made it all up.

Last June Matthew Folino was asleep in bed at 2 a.m. when there was banging on his door and people shouting his name.

“It was the police, they had their guns drawn, they were shining their flashlights through the windows and they took me,” Folino said.

A young woman named Katelyn Webster told investigators that Folino had stalked, choked and raped her, and she showed them neck bruises to prove it.

The only problem is that she made it all up.

By then, Folino was in jail looking at five to 10 years of hard time.

“It was scary. I had never been arrested, I’d never been in trouble in that way, but I figured, I was innocent so they’re going to figure this out in a day or so and I’m going to be out of here. They’re going to do their job and this is going to be over, but that never happened,” Folino said.

Folino said he met Webster only weeks before and after a brief fling, he decided to end it.

“I just told her this really wasn’t working out,” he said. “I didn’t know where it was going and I thought we should move on.”

But then Webster went to the police with a story she would later tell in court — that Folino came to the South Park Wave Pool and called her out to the parking lot. He then drove her to that parking lot where he choked and raped her, stopping only when they were discovered by her two girlfriends.

Then, she said he shoved her from the car and took off.

“She made me seem like this horrible person and I’m not that person. And I’m not that person at all. I would never do something like this. And I can’t believe someone would accuse a person of this,” Folino said.

Attorney Bill DiFenderfer said police arrested and charged Folino almost strictly on the basis of the woman’s statement.

When his investigator contacted the two girlfriends, DiFenderfer said the women refuted the whole story, saying Webster was in a new relationship and didn’t want her father to know. The women said those choke marks on her neck turned out to be from that other boy.

“It came right to light that none of this even happened. They told about sucker bites and none of them were at the wave pool. They were with the alleged victim the night before and she wasn’t even at the wave pool,” DiFenderfer said.

The Folino family’s anger doesn’t end with the girl.

“It’s very disappointing to me in these cases that can clearly destroy people’s lives that more wasn’t done to investigate it,” DiFenderfer said.

County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt defended his detectives on the case.

“They did what they could do in an instance like this,” he said. “We had a girl at the hospital saying she was raped, she had marks around her neck.”

Moffatt said the detectives did try to corroborate Webster’s account, but she said she didn’t know the last names of the two other girls and couldn’t provide their phone numbers. That — says DiFenderfer — should have been another red flag.

“To me, the public should be aware that this does happen,” DiFenderfer said. “And for the women who really are victims, it really hurts their case and to me, that what’s so outrageous about it because it damages the true victims.”

After interviewing the two girlfriends, County Police dropped the charges against Folino and arrested Webster.

She now faces charges of making false statements and perjury for a rape that never happened.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

This week on '60 Minutes' -- the story of the year

'60 Minutes' will cover Brian Banks' story. "Let bygones be bygones" is how his false accuser put it -- read about it here.

This Sunday on CBS's '60 Minutes': The Story of the Year

'60 Minutes' will cover Brian Banks' story. "Let bygones be bygones" is how his false accuser put it -- read about it here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The final word on the Steubenville rape case: I'm sick of treating the perpetrators as the victims, and the victims as responsible for their harm

I've had enough.

I'm sick of hearing about the perpetrators' personal story. The only story is the victims' story, yet the news media devours every morsel of information about the perpetrators.

I'm sick of being told the perpetrators should be treated with "compassion."

I'm sick of the perpetrators being portrayed as "stupid," "vulnerable," and "troubled" instead of what they are -- evil -- and of hearing that a vile act that might have destroyed the life of an innocent victim should be blamed on the perpetrators' "backgrounds" and their "personal issues." I even heard someone describe the crime as "a very human story and in a way understandable."

I'm sick of hearing how the perpetrators need "therapeutic intervention" more than they need a custodial sentence.

I'm sick of the victim blaming, and of hearing how there are "lessons to be learned all around" -- including on the part of the "sleezy" victim. I'm sick of hearing how this would not have occurred if the victim's conduct hadn't allowed it. One commentator said this was the "good scare" the victim "well deserved." Someone even said that the perpetrators might be guilty, but that doesn't mean the victim was "innocent."

I'm sick of the news media treating the perpetrators' vile acts as "unusual" and "rare."

And, finally, I'm sick of hearing how "we really don't know what happened" here, and that the perpetrators might actually not be guilty, even after the verdict.

You think I'm talking about Steubenville, right?  Guess again.

Regular readers of this blog and our predecessor blog have seen every one of the things that I'm sick of, some of them many times, in news stories about a false accusation of a vile sex act. Some of those cases had disastrous results for the wrongly accused.

The people who dominate the public discourse about sexual assault have flooded the Internet with vituperative rants over stupid comments made in connection with the Steubenville rape case. I, too, am thoroughly appalled by much of what I've seen in connection with the Steubenville case.

Then it dawned on me, we are accustomed to seeing such things in the community of the wrongly accused. When the Hofstra falsely accused were booed on a national television show, who bothered to stick up for them? When newspapers quote supposed "experts" who say that false accusers should never get custodial sentences, when a columnist in a major U.S. daily writes that men falsely accused of rape got "the good scare they deserved," when news report after news report after news report talks about false accusers as "troubled," when a judge says a rape lie was "understandable," who besides us complains about it? Certainly very few of the folks complaining about the comments in connection with the Steubenville case.

In fact, some of the people upset about comments made in connection with the Steubenville case are the same ones who say the things I'm sick of when it comes to the wrongly accused.

Self-proclaimed liberals cheer rolling back due process rights, but only for one class of citizens

We have long been perplexed by self-proclaimed progressives who cheer on the Dept. of Education's mandate to roll back the due process rights of one class of our citizens -- male students on campus (the "Dear Colleague" letter's mandate is ostensibly gender neutral, but it openly admits that the draconian changes it set in motion were to benefit women who are sexually abused by college men).  It is difficult to recall an instance in our recent history where self-proclaimed progressives favored anything along these lines. The problem is that reducing the standard of proof enhances the possibility of getting it wrong and punishing an innocent student.  This is almost always a concern to progressives, but not in this case.

Prof. KC Johnson, the blogging guru of the Duke lacrosse non-rape case, provides an illustration that is chillingly apt.  He describes how New York Times' reporter Richard Pérez-Peña "gushed over" a student sexual assault advocate named Dana Bolger at Amherst. Bolger's "activism" includes bemoaning the "impossibly high" standard of proof for men accused of sex offenses in criminal proceedings and applauding the Dept. of Education's mandate to roll back the due process rights of men on campus by lowering the standard of proof to a mere preponderance of the evidence (50.001%). Prof. Johnson asks, rhetorically, if the Times would ever tout an activist who sought to roll back the due process rights of other groups:
Though he gushed over her status as an activist, Pérez-Peña couldn't find space to describe what sorts of things Bolger has actually demanded in her activism. He needn't have looked too far: in a "Room for Debate" item the Times published a few days ago, Bolger proclaimed that "the criminal justice process," with its excessively lengthy pre-trial proceedings, "revictimizes rape survivors," in part because "the standard of proof is impossibly high." By contrast, "the college disciplinary system offers survivors a shorter process and quicker remedy," and accused students can be judged "based on a preponderance of evidence standard."  
Imagine the Times--in a straight news article, no less--soothingly presenting an "activist" who backed military tribunals for suspected terrorists on the grounds that there's a need for "a shorter process and quicker remedy"; or because, in the criminal justice system, "the standard of proof is impossibly high." But when the subject is a figure whose goal is to make campus convictions easier, Pérez-Peña didn't even see fit to mention Bolger's extraordinary attack on a basic principle of American due process.

Bulls-eye. This is not liberalism; it is a manifestation of fealty to group identity politics. We are witnessing a chilling kind of political correctness that cheers when due process rights are rolled back -- but only when it comes to young men on campus.

That is sick beyond measure.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Off topic: A good start for Pope Francis -- reaching out to the lowliest of the low

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will hold a major ceremony next week in the chapel of a youth prison instead of in the Vatican or a Rome basilica where it has been held before, the Vatican said on Thursday. Francis will conduct the Holy Thursday afternoon service at the Casal del Marmo jail for minors on Rome's outskirts.

In 'he said/she said' sexual assault claim, newspaper writer decries 'victim blaming' that assumes the accuser is lying -- but has no hesitation in making the accused look guilty

Several months ago, Ryan Romo, a high school baseball standout, was arrested on his front lawn after a classmate accused him of sexual assault in a "he said/she said" claim. Subsequently, a grand jury failed to find  probable cause to indict Ryan, and he was cleared of the charges. As a result of the charges, Ryan says he lost his college baseball opportunities and is no longer a potential Major League Baseball prospect.

Now Ryan is back in the news. He and his parents are suing the still-unnamed girl and her parents and step-father for defamation. We discuss the suit below. Of course, we have no first-hand knowledge about whether the rape claim was a lie, but if the assertions in the suit are factual, they are disturbing in the extreme. Before we discuss the suit, we highlight one of the most odious aspects of the accusation against Ryan Romo.

A writer for the Dallas News named Jacquielynn Floyd took offense at the reaction of some Dallas News readers who, she said, engaged in "victim blaming." In the course of denouncing them, the writer did something even more unjust: she made Ryan Romo look guilty (don't take my word for it -- her column is reprinted at the end of this post). That's unpardonable for a writer at a major newspaper.

First, Floyd recounted the "facts" as shown by the affidavit of arrest warrant, which related only the girl's story, not Ryan's. Here is what the Dallas New writer wrote -- read this carefully:

"The basic facts are known. Romo, who will turn 19 on Tuesday, ran into the girl at a concert Saturday night. After the show, the pair took a cab back to his Chevy Tahoe. They drove to his home and parked outside, got in the back seat and began kissing. According to the affidavit, when Romo began physically pressing for sex, the girl told him 'no' and 'stop' several times. She later told her mother, 'I said no but he didn’t care,' again according to the affidavit. A hospital rape exam, and a second examination by the girl’s own doctor, both found physical trauma consistent with forcible assault."

Floyd wrung her hands: "I was genuinely poleaxed with disbelief at some of the crazy, cruel scenarios some people are spinning to explain this particular set of facts."

Remember, Floyd prefaced the above rendition of purported events by asserting "the basic facts are known." But note how she slips in assertions from the arrest warrant affidavit without bothering to relate that "this particular set of facts" did not tell Ryan's side of the story. Didn't her readers deserve to know that the accused's side of the story was not included in "the basic facts" that she claimed were "known"? Or would that simple assertion have undermined the point she was trying to make? (When Floyd sees this -- and she will -- I would ask her if the police even bothered to ask Ryan a single question before they came for him on his front lawn.)

The Romos’ lawsuit does tell Ryan's side of the story -- and it is markedly different than "the basic facts" related by the Dallas News writer: Ryan asked the girl point blank if she wanted to have sex in the backseat of his car. She reportedly answered “yes” and even gave Ryan “instructions” on how to proceed. The girl told Ryan to “put it in all the way” and then to “wait” because she was in pain, and that Ryan only resumed when she told him, “Okay, I’m good.” After the teens had sex, Ryan allegedly declined the girl’s offer to sleep over and drove her home.

Second, let's look at the "victim blaming" that Floyd found so terribly offensive. She was upset that some readers dared to question the "particular set of facts" related in the warrant affidavit. "Their automatic disbelief is so sad, so utterly lacking in compassion, that they sound like savage animals tearing at the flesh of a wounded member of their own pack."

Among the comments Floyd found so repugnant: "Several writers characterized the case as 'he said/she said,' as if conflicting stories make it impossible to get at the truth." And: "One woman wrote The Dallas Morning News that the accused attacker 'should not be put in the paper with his mugshot like a rapist who breaks into homes and preys on women.'”

How crazy, savage, and cruel these people are!

Then, Floyd's coup de grâce: Although she bemoans what she terms "victim blaming," she, herself, is guilty of something even worse. This is a quote from her piece: "What’s unfortunate about this case — wait, scratch that. What’s revolting, what’s sickening about this case, is the outpouring of comments on public forums vilifying the victim, an unidentified teenage girl." (Emphasis added.) She also complained about a reader "who shares a little forensic gynecological expertise by explaining the victim’s physical trauma as being 'most likely from the intense sex that they just had in a car.'” (Emphasis added.)

The hypocrisy is breathtaking. In a piece where a Dallas News writer bemoans that some readers have rushed to judgment and assumed the innocence of the accused, she, herself, declared the accuser a "victim."

Words matter. In this context, calling the unnamed girl a "victim" can only mean that Ryan Romo must be guilty. This would have been unjust at any time prior to an adjudication of guilt, but here, Ryan hadn't even been charged with a crime, much less convicted. The grand jury subsequently couldn't find even probable cause to charge him.

As a professional writer for one of America's major dailies, shouldn't Floyd be held to a higher standard than those casual readers she compares to "savage animals"? Or is it okay to rush to judgment and assume guilt but not innocence in rape cases? Branding the accuser a "victim" does a grave disservice to (1) the presumptively innocent young man who, unlike the accuser, is named in the Dallas News, and (2) Dallas News readers, who are entitled to accurate reporting but receive something less than that when she transforms an accuser into a "victim."  People reading the newspaper assume the people who write for the Daily News are writing responsibly, and the writer shows elsewhere in her piece that she is capable of being responsible -- sometimes she does refer to the "alleged" victim and the "alleged" perpetrator. But slipping in "victim" without the "alleged" is unpardonable.

Cathy Young recently talked about a new kind of "sexism" where "any man or boy accused of a sex crime is presumed guilty." We see symptoms of that in too many newspaper accounts. "Victim blaming" is wrong. But even worse is assuming that a young man is guilty of a heinous sex crime on the basis of nothing more than an accusation, without even bothering to consider his side of the story.

As noted above, Ryan and his parents have filed a defamation lawsuit against the 16-year-old girl who accused him of rape, and her parents and stepfather. Again, we are not in a position to opine if the suit states a valid claim for relief. If the claim was a lie, by any measure, the suit is justified. The Romos' attorney Mark Senter says the girl “was used as a pawn to further her parents’ ‘get rich quick’ scheme.” The Romos claim the defendants coerced their daughter into making false statements to the police for their own financial gain. Before the case went before the grand jury, and after Ryan had submitted to a four-hour polygraph test, the Romos claim that the defendants approached the Romos and offered to drop the criminal charges in exchange for money and other demands. The Romos declined, preferring instead to see their son’s name cleared.  The lawsuit catalogs reports of several other alleged sexual encounters between the girl and other Highland Park students, as well as her parents’ reported knowledge and acceptance of such activities.

We have no idea if any of this true. If it is, it is disturbing in the extreme.  The leading contract law treatise of the past century states: ". . . any bargain for the purpose of stifling a criminal prosecution . . . is always contrary to public policy and unenforceable." (Corbin on Contracts, Section 83.1.) How terribly odious to the fair administration of justice that the parents of a teen girl might have tried to trade the prosecution of a fabricated sex offense like commodities in the marketplace. We will be watching this case closely.

Here is the story on the lawsuit. And below is the offensive Dallas News column.

'Woman, 78, in false rape storm'

As reported here:

Limpopo - A man was arrested after a 78-year-old Limpopo pensioner reported that she had allegedly been raped.

After identifying a suspect 26 years younger than the complainant, the police pounced.

But hours later, police released the 52-year-old man from custody and dropped the rape case.

Police have now charged the septuagenarian from Nkowankowa township outside Tzaneen with perjury.

Limpopo police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said she had lied about the rape.

Police investigations seemed to indicate that the pensioner had fabricated the rape allegation after the man spurned her advances.

He said the medical doctor who examined her at Tzaneen Hospital confirmed that she had not been raped.

“She reported the case on Sunday morning, saying that the man had broken into her house on Saturday night and raped her,” said Mulaudzi.

He said police had substantial evidence that confirmed she had not been raped.

Mulaudzi said the case would be handed over to the director of public prosecutions.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Forcing women and girls to report rape can lead to false rape reports

In the UK, in 38% of investigations linked to allegedly false claims referred to the Crown Prosecution Service between January 2011 and May 2012, the initial complaint of rape or domestic violence was made by someone other than the suspect. That's a shocking statistic, but it is consistent with what we know about false rape claims. Among those under 18 it was 50% and often involved a parent. "It was a feature of these cases that the suspect later reported that the whole thing had spiralled out of control and he or she had felt unable to stop the investigation," the CPS report says. Source.

We know that false rape reports are often prompted by a loved one. A woman or girl will tell to a loved one -- a parent, spouse, or boyfriend -- that she was raped in order to cover up an illicit sexual encounter, and the loved one will either directly report, or urge the purported victim to report, the accusation. This is common among teen girls whose parents don't approve of her sexual activity. The girl fears her parents will find out (e.g., if she becomes pregnant, or the boy brags about it and word gets out), so she does a preemptive strike by telling her parents that the boy forced himself on her.  The parents' insistence that the police be contacted may be prompted either by anger about the boy's act, but it may also be prompted by an impulse to disbelieve the girl and to punish her by subjecting her to a miserable process of defending a false rape claim and destroying her young boyfriend for good measure.  That is simply wicked.

Feminist gadfly Amanda Marcotte 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." Columnist Amanda Hess similarly talked about women who make false claims to defend their "femininity."

In an ideal world, when a girl reaches an when she can make her own decisions about sex, if she tells her parents she was raped, the parents should offer support and advise her that if she chooses to report it, they will stand with her. They should not, however, insist that the act be reported if she doesn't want to report it. Forcing her to report that she's been raped might subject her to an ordeal she doesn't want, and if it is false, it might destroy an innocent boy and get her in a lot of trouble for making a false rape claim.

Girl admits she falsely accused man of rape to avoid getting in trouble for having 'sucker bites' on her neck from another man

Reported by Becky Brindle here.

An 18-year-old woman is charged with perjury after police say she lied about being raped while under oath.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Allegheny County police in district Judge Robert Wyda's courtroom, Katelyn Webster, of Venetia, went to the Washington Hospital in June 2012 and reported she was raped by Matthew Folino while sitting in the South Park Wave Pool parking lot.

Webster told police Folino placed his hands around her neck and held her down in his vehicle, according to the complaint. Police stated Webster had "noticeable marks on her neck and back."

Folino was held for court after Webster testified against him at his preliminary hearing in August 2012, according to Wyda.

As Folino's trial approached this year, two female witnesses that were going to testify came forward and stated that Webster asked them to tell people they were at the pool with her on June 3, according to the complaint.

"It wasn't until they (the witnesses) learned of an upcoming trial that they realized the nature of Webster's request," police stated.

Webster was not at the wave pool, she was at Club Zoo with the two girls and they all spent the night at another guy's house, according to the complaint. That is where Webster got "sucker bites" on her neck from another man, according to police.

Police stated they interviewed Webster on March 6, 2013 regarding the new information and that she admitted to making the false report against Folino.

"She stated that she fabricated the story so that she would not get in trouble with her father for having 'sucker bites,'" according to the complaint.

Webster is now facing one count of perjury, one count of false reports to law enforcement authorities and one count of false swearing. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday in Wyda's courtroom.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cathy Young cautions about a new sexism -- where any man or boy accused of a sex crime is presumed guilty

Recently, Megan E. Jones-Williams, Rape Crisis Services Program Coordinator for The Women's Center, Inc. wrote to this blog to respond to one of our posts. Among other things, she posited the following: "In a culture that overwhelmingly believes men over women, this results in 'her' side being diminished. When a victim tells us that she did not want what happened - that she said 'no' - we believe her."

"We believe her." Jones-Williams' words resonated when I read Cathy Young's latest piece that cautions about a new sexism -- about assuming guilt of men and boys accused of rape on the basis of nothing more than an accusation. Here is an excerpt:
. . . many feminist activists and bloggers who have made Steubenville the latest emblem of America's "rape culture" have often promoted their own brand of sexism, in which any man or boy accused of a sex crime is presumed guilty. The unfortunate truth is that -- particularly in cases involving young, reckless, intoxicated people -- the facts can be very difficult to sort out. Incapacitation clearly rules out consent; but if every person who has sex when his or her judgment is alcohol-impaired is a victim, millions of men and women alike should be behind bars. To treat only men and boys as responsible while under the influence is not only unfair to them, it's patronizing toward women and girls.

The mix of sexual politics and online vigilantism can lead to a lynch-mob mentality that gravely undermines the presumption of innocence -- a cornerstone of justice that some feminist crusaders openly scorn. A few years ago, Wendy Murphy, a former sex crimes prosecutor and law professor at the New England School of Law, declared, "I'm really tired of people suggesting that you're somehow un-American if you don't respect the presumption of innocence, because you know what that sounds like to a victim? Presumption you're a liar."

As it happens, Murphy was talking about an accusation of rape against members of the Duke University lacrosse team that was later exposed as a hoax -- after three young men spent a year fighting false charges and being stigmatized as rapists. Today, the ubiquity of social media could make such wrongful accusations even more damaging.

Thanks to the women's movement, we have seen major gains in the treatment of rape victims. Yet even in the 1970s, pioneering feminist legal scholar Vivian Berger, now a Columbia University emerita law professor, cautioned against "sacrificing legitimate rights of the accused person on the altar of Women's Liberation." It is a warning we should heed.

Criticism of CNN unwarranted in Steubenville rape case

Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond are the architects of their own dissatisfaction. But when news of the verdict of their delinquency was read aloud in the courtroom, and these two seemingly callous young jocks broke down in uncontrollable sobbing, one would have to be fairly cold-hearted not to feel some measure of compassion for the destruction they've brought on themselves. They are, after all, still boys.

Alas, following the verdict of delinquency in the Steubenville rape case, CNN reporters were criticized in some quarters for pointing out that the two boys had "promising futures," that they were "star football players, very good students," and that being registered sex offenders "will haunt them for the rest of their lives" -- in short, for humanizing them, and for verbalizing the scope of the tragedy they had brought on themselves. See hereCNN is now under pressure to apologize. See here. I am unaware that CNN ever, in any manner, suggested that the two young men found delinquent, were, in fact, innocent, or had been unjustly deprived of due process, or were being subjected to a sentence that was excessive. CNN was guilty merely for daring to treat these boys as human beings.

One writer summed it up: "While they're [CNN] not necessarily rooting for the rapists, even the slightest bit of sympathy didn't go over well . . . ."  Read that again. "Even the slightest sympathy" is too much sympathy. That is twisted beyond measure.

If anything, CNN's treatment of the rapists not as animalistic strangers lurking in the bushes to prey on women, but as real, live boys -- boys who actually go to school and play sports and have families --might be a wake-up call for other real, live boys who actually go to school and play sports and have families. It is easier to dismiss the crime, and its consequences, if we imagine it was committed by faceless sociopaths who must be rotten to the core merely by virtue of the crime they committed. Other boys, and their families, across America who saw that report, and who saw the convicted boys sobbing, might be jolted by the reality that -- these kids look a lot like them.

One point that has been overlooked: CNN was precluded from talking about the victim other than in general terms because she was anonymous in these proceedings. Members of the news media know they aren't allowed to talk about her specifically, and they are always careful not to reveal rape accusers' and victims' identities by inference.

In contrast, while juveniles like Mays and Richmond accused of rape are typically granted anonymity, but the news media made an exception to its general rule in this case and publicly identified them because social media had widely reported their identities. As a result, the news media has not hesitated to show their faces, and their personal stories have been reported. If they had remained anonymous, it is our guess they could not have been humanized so easily.

Let us make this clear. We are unaware of any infirmity in Mays' and Richmond's judicial proceeding that would warrant anger at the victim for subjecting the young men to a wrongful conviction. While we, too, think that underage drinking is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, this is not the time to talk about it. A far greater evil, rape, intervened, and that's what needs to be the focus of attention in this case.

While we understand the disgust over the Steubenville rape sympathizers, that scarcely warrants the criticism heaped on CNN for pointing out the human tragedy that Mays and Richmond brought on themselves.

Rape accused kills self after ‘victim’ admits false charges

Reported here:

A man facing a rape trial committed suicide in Indore days after the complainant reportedly admitted that he had only tried to hold her hand after a fight over money.

Roopkishore, 53, was found dead in his home in Palasia locality on Sunday, four days after the woman, 33, admitted during trial that she had falsely charged him with rape to avoid repaying the money her husband owed him.

The woman, who is Roopkishore's tenant, had accused him of raping her on December 26. The police booked him under Section 376 of the IPC and arrested him.

In his defence, Roopkishore, a moneylender, said he had lent some money to the woman's husband for buying a vehicle, and she had framed him to avoid repaying it.

After spending over two months in jail, Roopkishore was released on bail on March 8. During the next hearing on March 13, the woman admitted that the rape charge was false.

On Sunday, Roopkishore left his home in Shubhlabh Residency, where he lived with his wife and daughter. He was found hanging in his other house in Ganeshdham Colony.

Roopkishore reportedly left a suicide note blaming his tenant and her husband.

ACP Ramji Shrivastava said the police were yet to verify the suicide note. He said the suicide note was not found on his body, it was handed over by Roopkishore's family members. He said the police would submit the note to the court.

The police have not registered any case so far against the woman or her husband.

UK Defense Lawyers Warn of Smear Campaign Following Child Sex Abuse Crackdown

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM, Mar 15, 2013 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- One of the country's leading criminal defence solicitors' firms, DPP Law, slams proposals from the CPS to overhaul the way in which alleged sex offenders in England and Wales are investigated, claiming it will result in a smear campaign.

The nationally based practice sternly opposes the recommendations made today by the Director of Public Prosecution, Kier Starmer, who claimed that there is currently an "overcautious" approach with victims rather than suspects in most, if not all, child sex abuse cases.

The crackdown on the investigation process comes at the back end of the Jimmy Savile scandal, alongside the increased coverage and exposure of recent gang-led grooming incidents.

Severe knee-jerk legislation if introduced, could potentially leave many a lives blighted by the unnecessary stigma of grave crimes says Paul Lewis, Partner and Criminal Defence Expert at DPP Law.

"Experience shows us that when allegations of this nature are made and unsubstantiated, lasting damage can occur to an individual's reputation.

"Current and prospectus job opportunities for instance, may be affected due to the nature of the allegation.

"The starting point, in all complaints that are made of this nature, is to assume the accusation is true - of course very many are but there are also those that are not. Take for instance the case of Elizabeth Jones, 22, who last week was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment for attempting to pervert the course of justice, after filing 11 false rape accusation claims, the first of which was issued in 2004 when she was just 14 years of age."

Mr Lewis explains that the plans to be drawn up by the new College of Policing will not only include a replacement of the current 19 sets of guidelines on the investigation process but will also propose the implementation of a review panel, which would effectively assess cases that have previously been dropped before they reach prosecution. The latter potentially causing significant disruption to acquitted individuals.

"If cases are reopened subsequent to review panel decisions, additional stress and trauma may unnecessarily be brought upon a suspect who, at some point must be entitled to know that the decision not to prosecute them is final."

Monday, March 18, 2013

False rape claims 'devastating' say wrongly accused

Two people a month are being prosecuted for making false allegations of rape and wasting police time, new figures show.

By By Declan Harvey & Anisa Subedar

It's the first time details for England and Wales have been compiled, showing how unusual the problem is.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) looked at a period of 17 months finding that in that time 35 people were charged.

Keir Starmer QC, head of the CPS, called the cases "serious but rare".

Jason, 21, was accused of raping his ex-girlfriend.

"It was devastating," he said. "I was getting harassed outside of work, harassed in work, it's just terrifying.

"Someone approached me and told me to stay away from my ex or basically he'd come back and finish me off completely. He punched me twice in the face and once in the stomach."

There have been calls to allow those accused of rape to remain anonymous, until they are found guilty but the government has ruled that out.

Criminal record

Nottinghamshire Police have successfully prosecuted two women in the last 18 months for making false rape allegations.

One was Rosie Dodd, 20, who was jailed for two years after accusing three men of raping her.

Police say she made the claim because she was embarrassed she'd slept with them in one night.

Support groups for men falsely accused say the problem doesn't end when the accusation is proved untrue, as the claim remains on their criminal record until they apply to get it removed - which can take several months.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) confirmed that details of an accusation and the fact it was proved to be a lie, would remain on a police record for six years.

However, they say it would not be revealed to anyone doing a background check.

Dianne Whitfield from Rape Crisis England & Wales says the number of men wrongly accused is small compared to the number of women who are actually being raped.

She believes false allegations aren't as common as people think.

"There is a difference between 'false accusations' and 'not enough evidence'," said Dianne. "False accusations account for only 5% of all reported cases."

Dianne says young women should feel sure their story will be believed when they come forward.

Supt Helen Chamberlain, who leads investigators in Nottinghamshire, says they will always believe the story they are told by a victim, but warns every detail will be investigated.

If you are, or think you may be, a victim of rape you can get help and advice from Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and in Scotland on 08088 01 03 02.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

'False rape claim hindered Elgin murder investigation, police say'

Comment: In report after report after report about false rape claims, police say that diverting law enforcement resources to the false claim hinders police officers' ability to investigate other crimes. These assertions are generally made in the abstract. Here is a case where police are pointing to a real life investigation that was hindered because of a false rape claim, and it underscores that police aren't kidding when they complain about misdirected resources.

By Elena Ferrarin
Reported here:

Elgin police, investigating a 2-week-old murder, say they wasted valuable time and resources looking into a report of a nearby sexual assault that turned out to be false.

A Larkin High School senior who lives on the same block as murder victim Lisa Koziol-Ellis made the false report to cover up the fact she lost a dog she was watching, police said.

Katrina R. Sedlock, 18, of the 0-100 block of Garden Crescent Court, was charged with felony disorderly conduct and making a false crime report. She appeared Friday in the Elgin branch of Kane County bond court, police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault said.

Sedlock is a senior at Larkin High School, where she played volleyball in the fall, a school employee confirmed.

Investigators spent time looking into any connection between the alleged sexual assault and the March 2 murder of Koziol-Ellis, who was found stabbed to death, also on the 0-100 block of Garden Crescent Court, Theriault said.

"It was significant," Theriault said of the amount of wasted resources on the false claim, "due to the area it was reported in, and any potential connection to the homicide investigation."

In the meantime, he said, police will be seeking restitution for the costs incurred checking out the assault claim.

Police initially responded to a call just before 7 p.m. Wednesday about a woman lying on the ground and crying at Tyler Creek Plaza in Elgin.

Sedlock was with two friends, a male and a female, and told police her dog had been stolen while they were in an ice cream shop, Theriault said. About 9:20 p.m., he added, Sedlock and the dog owner went to the police department to report the alleged sexual assault. The owner said Sedlock called him to tell him the dog went missing during the attack she spoke of.

Sedlock told police she was walking the dog near Garden Crescent Drive and Wing Street when she was approached by black man who asked her for a cigarette, then punched her in the head and dragged her to a secluded area where he sexually assaulted her, police said. Sedlock said the dog ran away during the assault, Theriault said. Sedlock was taken to Sherman Hospital for an examination.

The next day, police reinterviewed Sedlock's friends. The female said she had been with Sedlock the entire afternoon, while the male said Sedlock didn't mention the assault while they were looking for the dog.

Sedlock's father, who was out of town at the time, said his daughter told him the dog went missing while she was at an ice cream shop, police said.

Police also reinterviewed Sedlock, who eventually admitted to lying, Theriault said. She was arrested at the police department.

"We had some suspicions early on. There were some inconsistencies," he said. "We were able to verify and clarify what did happen."

Sedlock's bond was set at $5,000 on Friday morning in Kane County bond court in Elgin. She is next due in court on April 5.

Friday, March 15, 2013

At the University of Michigan, data is in on the school's first year using the 'preponderance of the evidence' standard for sexual assault: for most claims, the school did not disbelieve the accused

For a long time, many rape survivors' advocates have unjustly trivialized the victimization of the wrongly accused by insisting there aren't enough of them to worry about. These advocates deftly discount exonerations and jury verdicts of "not guilty" in rape cases by pointing to the high standard of proof, "beyond a reasonable doubt," and saying -- correctly -- that it doesn't prove that a rape didn't occur.

But now, they will have a more difficult time invoking the standard of proof when a college student is cleared of sexual assault in college disciplinary hearings in light of the Department of Education's instruction that schools adjudicate sexual assault cases by using the lowest possible standard in our jurisprudence -- a preponderance of the evidence. This standard means that a school must find guilt if the evidence is even 50.001% tilted in favor of the accuser's story.

It is too early to say that the University of Michigan is a microcosm of the way American universities handle alleged sexual assault cases under the preponderance of the evidence standard, but in the first year that the school used the lower standard, there are some very interesting findings.

Of the 38 sexual assault violations reported to the school last year, six students were found responsible and seven students were cleared of wrongdoing. In 19 cases, officials didn't have enough information to move forward. Source.

At the University of Michigan last year, even with a preponderance of the evidence standard, fewer than 19 percent of reported claims could be proven.

Let us briefly analyze. First, let us look at the 19 cases that the school couldn't move forward on -- this was the majority of cases. It is probably fair to say that in most cases, the decision to not pursue these cases was not due to their "he said/she said" nature because the purpose of lowering the standard of proof was to allow schools to adjudicate "he said, she said" claims without worrying about obtaining corroborating evidence to buttress a disputed claim against a male student. It is fair to say that these claims generally didn't qualify as sexual assaults for a variety of reasons, including possibly false reporting, but without more information, it would be reckless to posit a definitive conclusion. It would, however, be grossly unjust to the community of the wrongly accused to assume that these claims were actual instances of sexual misconduct.

Set aside the nineteen reported claims that the school summarily dismissed due to insurmountable infirmities, of the claims that were actually adjudicated under the new "preponderance of the evidence" standard -- where, essentially, if the school believes the accused, the accused is cleared, and if it believes the accuser, the accused is punished -- the school found for the accused 54% of the time.

Rape survivor's advocates will have a more difficult time chalking up this result to the standard of proof. Even removing the 19 cases that were quickly disposed of with no charges, for most of the claims, the school did not disbelieve the accused.

It would be a mistake to assume that these seven claims where student were cleared were false reports -- we just don't know. For these seven cases, the school might have found the accuser's evidence equally compelling to the accused's.

What's ironic is this: the data that is used to prove that rape is rampant and to support efforts to minimize false rape claims largely comes from surveys that don't bother to actually test the claims by examining the evidence. This University of Michigan data is another example that, where the evidence is tested -- even using the low preponderance of the evidence standard -- there are relatively few claims that can be proven.

We know there are false claims, and we know there are actual sexual assaults, but mostly, there are claims where no one can say whether it was one or the other. For claims that are reported, it is fair to say that very few can be proven, even with a preponderance of the evidence standard.

The community of the wrongly accused needs to be at the forefront in condemning sexual assault, but we also need to insist that the persons who dominate the public discourse on this subject stop assuming that exonerations and the gray claims that no one can say were rape or false claims, were, in fact, actual rapes, because that's simply dishonest, and they do it all the time.

Prosecutors review evidence in false rape report at UC Santa Cruz

If there is a confession that she lied, I don't understand why they wouldn't bring charges. I don't think I've ever heard of a prosecutor who wouldn't press charges when a confession had been obtained. Here is the story: 

Santa Cruz County prosecutors Wednesday reviewed the 911 call of a woman who made a false rape report at UC Santa Cruz but have not decided whether to press charges against her.

"We will have a decision as soon as we get all the reports and tapes from UCSC," said District Attorney Bob Lee.

The 21-year-old woman, who authorities have not named and is not a UCSC student, said she was attacked Feb. 17.

On Feb. 28, UCSC Police Chief Nader Oweis said the woman admitted that she "fabricated" the report. The woman had bruises and described the fictitious attacker to an artist who produced a composite sketch.

If she is charged with filing a false police report, she could face 6 months in jail, counseling or restitution, prosecutors said.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Somali woman cleared in 'false rape' case

Injustice is injustice. And to convict and imprison someone for a "false accusation" is as horrendous as convicting and imprisoning someone because of a false accusation. Here is the story:

A court in Somalia has dropped charges against a woman who was given a jail sentence after alleging she was raped by security forces.

She and a journalist who interviewed her were convicted a month ago by a Mogadishu judge on charges of offending state institutions.

The appeal court said the woman would be freed but the journalist who did not report the story would stay in jail.

Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, 25, had his sentence cut to six months.

The case prompted an outcry last month from human rights groups and journalists, who said it was politically motivated. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply disappointed".

Both the woman and the journalist were originally given one-year jail terms, but the trial judge said the woman would not be imprisoned for six months as she was caring for a baby.

She had reported the alleged rape at a police station in Mogadishu and prosecutors alleged she and others had been paid by Abdinur to lie. She was convicted after the judge cited disputed medical evidence saying she had not been raped.

'Terrible wrong'

The journalist, who was detained in January, was accused by police of collecting material for an al-jazeera media report on rape in camps for displaced people. He had been working for Somali radio stations and international media but had not been involved in the story in question, the network said.

His lawyer told the BBC last month that he had been prevented from producing witnesses in court.

Human Rights Watch criticised the decision to keep Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim in jail.

"The court of appeals missed a chance to right a terrible wrong," Africa director Daniel Bekele said in a statement.

A new government backed by the UN came to power last September, after eight years of transitional rule.
Somali has seen more than 20 years of conflict which saw clan-based warlords, rival politicians and Islamist militants battle for control of the country.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Whirl Around the World of Wrongful Rape Claims in the UK

Jason, 21, was accused of raping his ex-girlfriend. "It was devastating," he said. "I was getting harassed outside of work, harassed in work, it's just terrifying. "Someone approached me and told me to stay away from my ex or basically he'd come back and finish me off completely. He punched me twice in the face and once in the stomach."

Rosie Dodd, 20, was embarrassed that she'd slept with three men in one night, so she accused each of them of raping her. She was jailed for two years.

In the UK, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) confirmed that details of an accusation and the fact it was proved to be a lie, would remain on a police record for six years. They claim it would not be revealed to anyone doing a background check.

Dianne Whitfield from Rape Crisis England & Wales said this: "There is a difference between 'false accusations' and 'not enough evidence'," said Dianne. "False accusations account for only 5% of all reported cases."

COTWA notes: Ms. Whitfield doesn't mention the fact that most rape claims fall into that gray hole where no one can say whether it was a rape or a non-rape. She seems to suggest that the 5% is the totality of false claims. What she fails to mention is that, for all the claims that law enforcement can state definitively were either rapes or non-rapes, the wrongful claims constitute a significant percentage. That's a fact.


Nelson woman made false sexual assault claim

A Nelson woman who said she was sexually assaulted while hitchhiking in the Maitai Valley last month fabricated the complaint, police say.

The 21-year-old woman said she was hitchhiking from Richmond to Nelson on February 15 when she was picked up by a man in his 70s.

She said he locked her in the car and drove to the Maitai Valley near Nelson where he sexually assaulted her.

A police investigation has revealed the complaint was fabricated.

Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne McCoy said such complaints received priority and significant time and resources had been tied up investigating it.

"To receive a false complaint is disappointing on several fronts. Resources that could have been used investigating other genuine complaints had been tied up and on top of that the public of Nelson have been led to believe they should be fearful for their safety," said Mr McCoy.

 The woman would be summonsed for making a false complaint to police.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cops in India inundated with false rape claims in the wake of high profile gang rape

Teacher fired over mystery comment

As published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

By Eric Heyl 

Published: Friday, March 8, 2013

Forgive Alan Francis for feeling as though his life resembles a Franz Kafka novel.

Until recently, Francis was a Steel Valley School District substitute teacher. He worked at the high school for seven years, filling in almost daily for teachers in almost every subject. He was popular among students and said he never did anything to warrant disciplinary action.

Then for reasons that remain oddly opaque, he lost his job.

Francis said the district fired him two weeks ago without a substantive explanation. He said Superintendent Edward Wehrer told him that a parent complained about an online comment he made to a female student.

Who was the student or parent? Wehrer wouldn't say.

What was the remark? Wehrer wouldn't divulge it, “although he told me it wasn't anything sexual or explicit or vulgar,” Francis said.

On what social media site did he comment? Wehrer again offered no details, but presumably it was Facebook or Twitter. Most high school students don't have career-oriented LinkedIn pages.

About the only specific Wehrer provided was one that appears to have driven a stake through Francis' career. The superintendent said his decision was final.

“I've wanted to be a teacher forever,” said Francis, 31, of West Mifflin. “So yes, what's happened is pretty devastating.”

Reached Thursday, Wehrer said he can't discuss personnel matters.

The situation is reminiscent of Kafka's 1925 novel, “The Trial,” in which protagonist Josef K. is arrested and prosecuted without learning the crime he is accused of committing. Francis can't confront his accuser; he doesn't even know the person's identity.

Francis acknowledged he communicates with students on social media sites, but he said he never made any inappropriate remarks. If Wehrer had evidence otherwise, the superintendent likely would have alerted police.

If Francis were a full-time teacher, the Steel Valley teachers union probably would rally around him. He isn't a union member because he worked part-time. So he is relying on supporters who started an online petition demanding his reinstatement.

“The decision of the superintendent to (fire) Alan Francis was a huge mistake,” states the petition, started by Steel Valley junior Brendan Grueser. “Steel Valley (has lost) a truly exceptional staff member.”

As of Thursday, the petition drew more than 400 electronic signatures and supportive comments.

Of this situation's many unanswered questions, the central one is this: Precisely how heinous was the transgression that prompted Francis' termination?

Absent the answer, parents and students should continue to pursue the reason a popular teacher lost his job. So should the teacher.

Said Francis: “I want to know why.”

Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or