Presumption of innocence and the Duke rape case false accuser.

April 20th, 2011

Seems as if Crystal Magnum, the false accuser in the Duke rape case, is now accused of Murder.

I hope she is treated with the presumption of innocence that the media failed to give the young men she falsely accused. I hope the courts are allowed to do their jobs and I hope, if guilty, she is punished accordingly.

Just sayin…

The presumption of innocence and Title IX

April 14th, 2011

The Department of Education under Obama has sent a “Dear Colleague Letter” to colleges and universities regarding their responsibilities under Title IX when it comes to sexual harrassment (including claims of sexual violence).

Now, I was prepared to write a lengthy blog post describing the PDF (that is rather large) but I have found another article that basically describes my displeasure with this letter. I highly suggest you read the link. However, if you do not feel the need to read even that, I will give you the very short version.

Even though Title IX only applies to schools, it is requiring that compliance with Title IX requires that any claim of sexual assault by one student on another be treated quickly, take place regardless of law enforcement involvement, and be treated under the lower “preponderance of the evidence” standard than the “clear and convincing standard” that is used in criminal procedings.

Now, I have no problem if claims against a school for sexual discrimination are decided via the lower standard. However, to require that students accused of sexual assaults be punished swiftly under preponderance standards is horribly unjust.  The requirement that the school protect the accuser from retribution during the investigation is reasonable. However, instead of creating a duplication of resources, the Department of Education should just require that all claims of sexual violence reported to the school to be reported to the local police and then require the school to help the police in their investigation of the alleged crime.

Of course, the “Men’s Rights Activists” (MRA) have jumped all over this one. And nobody should blame them for being angry. They should just blame them for how they respond. Posts like the one I shared earlier describing the letter are reasonable. Responses to the initial post here just go too far and are not helping. Yes, some are correct that it seems like the mere accusation could enough to get a kid kicked out of school and that is absolutely wrong. However, it is not schools who are coming up with this horribly flawed set of guidelines, it is the current administration who  (for reasons I cannot determine) are rejecting the presumption of innocence. They are absolutely wrong about this and if you care about the presumption of innocence you should contact the Department of Education and share your displeasure with this letter in a clear, concise and rational way (i.e. not like many MRA will).

Defending what you shouldn’t.

April 14th, 2011

A while ago I got a letter from a lawyer. That lawyer is a friend of my false accuser. I had notified my false accuser, after seeing her career choice as an advocate for rape victims, that I found her career choice ironic. The lawyer sent me a big bully lawyer letter, meant to intimidate me. Of course, I knew he had nothing because (as several lawyer friends of mine have said) I have a good understanding of the law for a lay person.

Well, I did some research on this lawyer to see what he was all about. He is a lawyer who has focused on fighting child abuse and rape. So it is no shock that he would happen to know my false accuser as they are in the same field.

Then the irony came. In the discussion about the video about raising males to be  good men, I had made several points in response to the MRA at “a voice for men“.  Look at that site for the name “Roger Canaff”. He actually defended a post of mine (I posted there under lj4adotcomdan). Well, can you imagine the shock that I had when the person who wrote the big mean lawyer bully letter would then defend me? I thought two things. He was either stalking me and seeking to bait me OR he really had no clue that i was actually the same person he had mailed months prior.

Well, he also started a topic of discussion on his blog to discuss that video.  I responded, asking if he realized the irony of his defense of me. He could never figure it out until I told him. Well, once I did, he removed all my posts from his board.

Fortunately, that last link contains a screen shot of my last post. How can a guy who claims to stand up for victims be supportive of someone who would make false accusations about sexual assault? For a supposed defender of victims, he is sure defending something (or someone) here that he should not be.

Can you tell me what is wrong with this video?

February 10th, 2011

There is a “Men’s Rights Advocate” (MRA) site that posted this video:

The author of the post claims that the video is a “piece of misandric garbage”.  I do not see how this ad is in any way hateful to men. It just encourages parents to raise their children to not be rapists.

I have created the tag “not helping”. It will be reserved for those people who claim to be supportive of certain causes but whose actions give those causes bad names. It is not limited to MRA but from what i have seen so far, it is likely to include many examples from MRA websites. Claiming that a video like this is hateful to men is not helpful to the cause of spreading the word about false accusations of rape. All it does is make you look hateful of women,. Why? Because there is nothing wrong with teaching your kids to not rape. Period.

What is a false accusation of sexual violence?

February 9th, 2011

There is a lot of debate over what makes an accusation of sexual assault false? There are people who are so called “men’s rights activists” who will go as far as to say that it might not be an actual rape unless the woman attempts to physically fight off her attacker.  There are others who believe that false accusations are fantasies and that people who bring them up are in some way a “rape apologist”.

Because of these very vocal extremes, and a lot of confusion in the middle, it can be difficult to have a discussion on what exactly makes an accusation a false one. In fact, it is my opinion that the only way to have a discussion on false accusations would be to firmly establish what makes an accusation false.

The very simple definition, of course, is a woman who lies about being raped when she actually wasn’t. Of course, if we could just stick with that definition we would probably be ok.

However, those pesky “men’s rights activists” (or MRA for short)  will suggest that all recantations of rape are false accusations of rape. The Attorney General of Oregon has a sexual assault task force and they put out a paper discussing the potential differences between false accusations and recantations. A woman who recants may have lied about being raped. However, some women also recant because the woman no longer wants to deal with the state for whatever reason. It is very possible that a woman who recants was actually raped and after the ordeal of being raped is tired of dealing with the state and any inadequacies they may have in offering her a support system in her pursuit for justice.

Some people will also suggest that dropped charges and/or cases that end in acquittal are examples of false accusations. This is also a false concept.  Sometimes the police just do not have enough evidence to prove the case. Sometimes the jury will not believe that there is enough evidence to convict someone of rape. This does not mean that rape did not happen. It just means that our system of justice prefers to allow a guilty man to walk free over locking an innocent man up.

So to sum up. Recantations, acquittals and dropped charges are not in and of themselves examples of false accusations.  The only time you can actually say that an accusation of rape is false is when the person has lied about being raped. So let’s try and keep that the focus on any discussion pertaining to false accusations of rape.

NC Police get it right.

January 31st, 2011

An 11 year old girl filed a false police report saying that someone tried to rape her behind her house. They are charging her for it. Good! Filing a false police report is a waste of tax dollars and a waste of time of our men and women in uniform who could be spending that time fighting actual crime.

But we need to do more than that. Somewhere along the way, either this girl learned that making false claims of rape is OK or someone dropped the ball and did not inform her that telling such lies are worse than many other lies because they hurt actual victims of rape (by placing doubt in the minds of others about their claims) and the people that they falsely accuse (though, in this case there was no specific person accused).

We need to do a better job teaching people about how filing a false police report can hurt victims and innocent people. We also need to increase the punishment for filing false police reports to act as a deterrent .

What do you do?

January 17th, 2011

Say you are falsely accused of a crime. You have nothing to hide because you have done absolutely nothing wrong. The police ask you questions and you decide that you should just cooperate because that is the best way to get yourself clear. Right?

Wrong.

Remember the movie “My Cousin Vinny”? Bill Gambini offers to cooperate fully. Sheriff Farley is very happy to hear this. During the interview he asks Bill at what point he shot the clerk. Bill repeats, twice,  “I shot the clerk”. Bill just believes that he is asking a question. The Sheriff takes this as a confession and uses it in the trial (more specifically the arraignment).

Many people think that lawyering up will make you look guilty. Well, what you say without a lawyer can also be used to make you look guilty. And sometimes the quest to make someone look guilty can blind some in the criminal justice system to the quest for actual justice.

Look at the Duke Rape case.  Prosecutor Mike Nifong  did not have justice in mind, all he wanted to do was make a name for himself by manufacturing a case. He didn’t want to see someone guilty put in jail. He wanted someone put in jail to advance his political career. Nifong was disbarred, but the damage was done to the men charged. Would cooperating with Nifong have prevented the bad behavior of Nifong? Of course not.You can also read the story of this person who says he was falsely accused of child molestation. He describes the interrogation here. The only thing I disagree with is his lesson. He states that you should not speak to the authorities without an attorney once you have been Mirandized. I say that you should play it safe and just do not talk about anything without an attorney.

The police have a very important job to do. If that job includes investigating you for an allegation of any crime, it is not your responsibility to make that job easier and it is your right to shut up and say nothing. Anything said by you can be taken out of context and used against you.

My story, the short short version.

January 16th, 2011

Day 1: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl are never alone. Girl always has a friend of hers in the same room.

Day 2: After a few hours apart, girl finds boy again and asks the friend of the boy to leave the room so they can be alone.

Day 3: Girl claims that boy sexually assaulted her on day 1.

I was fortunate. I was never actually charged with a crime. The police officer in the case stopped writing the report in the middle of a sentence. It is likely the next sentence was going to be that she went back to see me the next day.Why would someone who was raped go back to see her rapist the next day? And how could I have possibly sexually assaulted her if we were never alone and she always had friends with her. It makes no sense.

The days between the claim and the news that I would not be charged were some of the hardest days of my life. However, the experience has also impacted me for life. Whenever someone makes a false accusation of sexual assault, those memories come running back to me.

So, on top of all the other reasons to have this blog,  I hope that this blog helps me to finally get some healing over this issue and perhaps other people in the same situation can get some healing as well.