Friday, March 27, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

News report here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 6, 2015

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



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

Ashe Schow writes about this film here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 5, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article posted here: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150304_Law_Review__Campus_sex-assault_trials_bypass_rights_to_pass_judgment.html

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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