David Evans. Collin Finnerty. Reade Seligmann. Don’t be surprised if the names sound only vaguely familiar, though not so long ago they were the subject of national headlines. Perhaps the mention of another name will jar your memory.
Yes, Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann were the accused in the stridently publicized Duke Lacrosse rape case. A rape that never happened. A case that never should have been.
In a supersonic rush to judgment, these three young men were subjected to a virtual lynching at the hands of the media, the Duke administration, the prosecutors office, police and every other public institution that could help toss a rope over a tree branch. Dukes administration canceled its lacrosse season, fired coach Mike Pressler, and ignored death threats against Pressler and the team.
Indeed, the university administration fanned the flames of public outrage and hysterical student protests against the players by publishing a letter that addressed the accusations with the following:
“The students know that the disaster didn’t begin on March 13th and won’t end with what the police say or the court decides…To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.”
Duke reacted to the allegations without the least regard for the concept of assumed, or even actual innocence or for the rights of those three members of their student body. Instead, they lit torches and incited the mob.
All these actions were given inertia by the knee jerk outrage of a public that didn’t have the facts and appeared not to want them.
It may be too generous to say that the public didn’t have the facts. The public did have enough to question the cases integrity, but ignored it. It was understood from the beginning what this “woman” did for a living. I know, I know, in this all too enlightened world we live in, I am supposed to take great pain to point out that ones profession isn’t an excuse for rape.
Consider it pointed out.
But let me also point out that her life as a pathological liar, stripper and drug addled hooker didn’t diminish her credibility for a moment, and it didn’t take the railroading of those young men off the fast track. Such is the power of accusation when it comes to men and women.
It is a power that has unjustly ruined the lives of untold thousands; a power that goes unchecked and unchallenged, all because we live in a culture that cannot imagine women as anything but victims; men as anything but perpetrators.
The results of this cultural psychosis are written in statistics that should outrage anyone remotely interested in justice.
Charles McDowell, a researcher in the United States Air Force Special Studies Division studied 1,218 cases of rape that were reported between 1980 and 1984 on Air Force bases around the world. Initially, 27% of those cases were found to be fraudulent because the alleged victims admitted to lying when asked to take a polygraph or after just having failed one. Another 212 of the cases were exposed as frauds with no polygraph involved, as the alleged victim convincingly recanted the accusations early in the investigation.
In other words, 45% of all the rape charges were proven to be hoaxes. The great majority of those did not recant until they were caught in the lie.
A 1996 study published by the U.S. Department of Justice revealed 28 cases in which men were exonerated by DNA evidence of rapes for which they had been convicted and sent to prison. The men were released after having served an average of seven years behind bars.
Former Colorado prosecutor Craig Silverman is quoted as saying. “For 16 years, I was a kick-ass prosecutor who made the most of my reputation vigorously prosecuting rapists. I was amazed to see all the false rape allegations that were made to the Denver Police Department. A command officer in the Denver Police sex assault unit recently told me he placed the false rape numbers at approximately 45%.”
The Innocence Project, which seeks to secure the release from prison for those falsely convicted of crimes, reported that “Every year since 1989, in 25% of sexual assault cases referred to the FBI where results could be obtained, the primary suspect has been excluded by forensic DNA testing.” And those men freed were just the ones lucky enough to have DNA evidence available. There are certainly more who remain incarcerated.
And by the way, the crime for which The Innocence Project has had the most success in freeing the wrongfully convicted?
Men, scores of them, have been Nifonged, robbed of freedom and reputation, all on accusations that no one bothered to scrutinize. Or worse, as in the Duke case, their innocence was known and they were prosecuted anyway.
This problem has infested the criminal justice system, which marches on like a Nazi battalion while the masses throw ticker tape.
Unfortunately, it doesn‘t stop there.
False accusation has become the WMD for modern women who choose to use it, and by the frequency it happens, that is no small number.
I know, I know, in this all too enlightened world, I am supposed to take great pains to point out that not all women falsely accuse men of wrongful actions.
Consider it pointed out.
But let me also point out just how pervasive the problem is. It happens in family courts where allegations of spousal abuse, child abuse, sexual misconduct and the like are routinely fabricated to facilitate restraint orders that are dispensed with no corroboration. In those courts, the lie is just another tool for winning a case.
It also happens in the workplace, where accusation alone of sexual harassment or discrimination can snuff out a career and generate huge legal settlements that companies feel compelled to pay to keep the allegations out of the press, truth and justice be damned.
Allegation has become the fiat currency of social power over men, and it is working in spades. Corporations cave in, shrinking from the bad press of lawsuits that go to trial. Prosecutors that cannot politically afford to be seen as soft on sex crimes, or hard on women, run innocent people through with grinding wheels of injustice without compunction.
And John Q. looks the other way, unwilling to take an honest assessment of this behavior and the women who commit it.
Vindication is of little solace. This is not innocent till proven guilty. It isn’t even guilty until proven innocent. It is guilty until proven innocent, but still guilty in the eyes of the world, even if your only crime was to have a whore point a finger at you and cry rape.
Try a Google search on any one of the Duke three. Their connection to rape charges will be there for life.
What does a man released from prison for a rape he didn’t commit tell an employer?
“Yeah, I did seven years on a rape, but they cleared me.”
What does he tell a woman in which he might be interested?
It isn’t the accusers that pay the price for their criminal deception, it is the accused, exonerated or not.
The reason that these travesties continue is obvious. It can be summed up in one word.
The reality is that there are no real consequences for destroying the life of a man if you ruin him with a fraudulent charge. There are indeed laws on the books against it, but they are not enforced. It is a crime without a criminal, mainly because the perpetrators are women, or men acting in their behalf, and we all know they don’t lie about such things.
Crystal Gayle Mangum, the street walker who ruined the lives of those three young men wasn’t prosecuted. She was referred to counseling, and eventually graduated college herself, with a degree in police psychology.
I wish I made that one up.
But the fact is that the world not only tolerates this stuff, it embraces it. Or as Catherine Comins, a former assistant dean at Vasser College said, “Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes benefit from the experience.”
I wish I made that one up, too.
Mike Nifong, the rogue prosecutor who broke every canon of legal ethics and more than a few laws, to further himself by prosecuting young men he knew to be innocent, was fired, disbarred, and spent one day in jail.
I am sure all this strikes terror into the hearts of the Mangum’s and Nifong’s of the world.