False accusations and Title IX

Originally posted on April 27, 2013

Feminists have a sordid response to false accusations. While some will admit that they occur, most feminists seem opposed to considering them a serious problem. When presented with examples of false accusations resulting in arrests, public humiliation, imprisonment, and even death, many feminists treat those as outliers. Nothing to be concerned with, nothing to focus on. Instead, those feminists accuse advocates for the falsely accused of supporting and excusing rape.

This was the response to men’s rights activists when they opposed a recent change to Title IX that allowed for easier prosecution of students accused of sexual assault. The Obama administration changed the language of the law so that colleges need only rely on a “preponderance of evidence” to expel a student for sexual assault. This is the same standard used in civil court cases, and only requires the accuser to show that it is more likely than not — essentially that it is possible — the accused committed the act.

This set off a wave of complaints about the law violating due process rights. Yet, few of those complaints came from feminists. Feminists tended to support the change as it would result in more punishment for those accused of rape.

However, there is a problem: what if the accusation is false? What if it is malicious? And what if one of those feminists who supports such changes to the law found her son falsely accused of rape? Judith Grossman recently found out the answers to those questions:  Continue reading

Post-Conviction DNA Testing and Wrongful Conviction

Originally posted on March 4, 2013

Over on Feminist Critics, Clarence linked to a piece The Spearhead featured concerning the wrongful conviction rate in homicide and sexual assault cases. The Post-Conviction DNA Testing and Wrongful Conviction report reviews sexual assault cases from from 1973 to 1987 in Virgina. The report found that between 8 to 15 percent of sexual assault cases resulted in wrongful convictions:

DNA testing produced a determinate outcome for 230 of these cases, in which there were 250 convicted offenders. In 56 of those convictions the convicted offender was eliminated as the source of DNA evidence, and for 38 convictions that elimination supported exoneration. Thus, we find that in Virginia cases resulting in a convicted offender between 1973 and 1987 where evidence was retained in an unbiased sample of 715 homicides and sexual assault convictions—

  • The convicted offender is eliminated as a contributor for a probative evidence item in 8 percent (n=56) of convictions.8
  • The convicted offender is eliminated as a contributor for a probative evidence item, and that elimination is supportive of exoneration, in 5 percent (n=38) of convictions.

For nonsexual assault homicide cases, a determinate finding about a convicted offender being a source of a DNA profile was reached in only 23 out of 293 convictions (8 percent), making it too rare to make declarative statements about the likelihood of potential wrongful conviction in those homicide convictions.

We find that DNA testing of items in these cases leads to a determinate conclusion in more than half of the sexual assault convictions (including homicides with a sexual assault). Thus, we focus much of our analysis on the sexual assault offenses. We find that in convictions in Virginia between 1973 and 1987 where evidence was retained in a sample of 422 convictions for sexual assault

  • The convicted offender was eliminated as the source of questioned evidence in 40 out of 422 convictions (9 percent).9
  • The convicted offender was eliminated as the source of questioned evidence in 33 out of 422 convictions (8 percent) and that elimination was supportive of exoneration.
  • The convicted offender was eliminated as the source of questioned evidence in 40 out of 227 convictions (18 percent) where a determination could be made from the DNA analysis.10
  • The convicted offender was eliminated as the source of questioned evidence in 33 out of 227 convictions (15 percent) where a determination could be made from the DNA analysis, and that elimination was supportive of exoneration.

The two most important numbers in the bullets above show the rate at which convicted offenders were eliminated as the source of questioned evidence and that elimination was supportive of exoneration. This occurs for 8 percent of all sexual assault convictions in the sample and for 15 percent of all sexual assault convictions where a determinate finding was made. We note again that additional facts about the case not included in the forensic file may ultimately include the convicted offender. However, given that these are sexual assault cases where the profile was determined to be male and excluded the convicted offender, we anticipate this will be relatively rare. (p. 5-6)

Continue reading

Bulletin Board v218

Brave Worcester man who was raped speaks out — A COURAGEOUS father has spoken of his rape ordeal in the hope other male survivors of sex attacks will come forward. Pete Shirley, of Bromyard Road, St John’s, Worcester, refuses to let the attack destroy him and hopes that by waiving his legal right to anonymity he will encourage other men to report rape.

CAPS offering Male Survivors therapeutic support group this spring — Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Penn State is offering a group this spring for male students who have had unwanted, abusive or confusing sexual experiences at some point in their lives, which may still be affecting them.

Editorial: The war on young boys — The Obama Administration, through Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U S. Attorney general Eric Holder, have issued new guidelines designed to end or at least restrict “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies in schools. Continue reading

Bulletin Board v215

Another 90 Years In Prison For Ex-L.I. Air Marshal In Child Porn Case — A former air marshal from Long Island, already serving 20 years in prison for sexually abusing young boys has now had another 90 years added to his sentence for asking one of them to help destroy child pornography. Michael McGowan, 41, was sentenced to the added time Monday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to child sexual exploitation. McGowan was already serving 20 years on his 2005 sexual abuse conviction.

Billings judge who gave rapist-teacher 30-day sentence won’t seek re-election — A Montana judge said he plans to retire at the end of the year after drawing widespread condemnation for saying that a 14-year-old rape victim appeared “older than her chronological age.” District Judge Todd Baugh said his decision to step down after 30 years on the bench was unrelated to the public uproar over his actions in the case of Stacey Rambold, a former business teacher convicted of raping a freshman student at Billings Senior High School.

‘Jihad Jane’ gets 10-year sentence for terror plot against cartoonist — A Pennsylvania woman known as “Jihad Jane” who became a follower of radical Islam and sought to kill a Swedish cartoonist was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison. Colleen LaRose, 50, had faced a potential life term. But U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker accepted a government request to reduce the sentence, because of her extensive cooperation with investigators. Prosecutors still sought decades in prison, fearing she remains dangerous.

Last of Fabricated ‘Satanic Ritual Abuse’ Prisoners Finally Freed — Among the atrocities that Frances and Dan Keller were supposed to have committed while running a day care center out of their Texas home: drowning and dismembering babies in front of the children; killing dogs and cats in front of the children; transporting the children to Mexico to be sexually abused by soldiers in the Mexican army; dressing as pumpkins and shooting children in the arms and legs; putting the children into a pool with sharks that ate babies; putting blood in the children’s Kool-Aid; cutting the arm or a finger off a gorilla at a local park; and exhuming bodies at a cemetery, forcing children to carry the bones.

Natalie Webb Accused Of Raping Own Kids, Charging Adults To Watch — Natalie Webb, an Oklahoma mom, stands charged today with raping three of her own four children — and a police affidavit says other adults paid her for the privilege of watching. The fourth child escaped the abuse only by hiding in a dumpster, the affidavit says. Authorities in Beckham County say they were alerted to accusations against Natalie Webb in August of 2013 when an Oklahoma Department of Human Services investigator reported that Natalie Webb was “selling sex” with children to other adults, according to KOKH TV News in Oklahoma City.

Penn State abuse scandal: Jerry Sandusky tries to get his pension back from university — Jerry Sandusky described his career and retirement from Penn State by video link Tuesday as testimony began in a hearing into whether he can get back the retirement benefits he lost after being convicted of child molestation. The proceeding at the headquarters of the State Employees’ Retirement System in Harrisburg involves the pension he earned while working for decades as a Penn State assistant football coach.

Roast Busters outrage ‘open season on men’ — November 2013 was a sorry month for us Kiwis. We were noted internationally as the rape culture capital of the world when the Roast Busters story broke. Having the annual White Ribbon Day campaign launch on the horizon was just sheer bad luck in terms of timing. A national campaign focusing on violence against women at the same time as a national scandal the likes of Roast Busters is a recipe for disaster.

Survey finds high rate of rape, sexual assault at Montana State Prison — A nationwide survey of prisoners found Montana State Prison has one of the highest rates of rapes and sexual assaults, but state corrections officials questioned the report’s methodology and said Wednesday it’s unlikely the problem is as bad as it seems. The U.S. Department of Justice survey of inmates in 233 state and federal prisons and 358 jails released last year identified Deer Lodge prison as one of 11 with high rates of sexual victimization of inmates.

Twitter trolls: women are abusers too and we ignore them at our peril — Today two people have appeared in court charged with sending abusive and menacing tweets to the feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez. They have both pleaded guilty. Last July, Criado-Perez made headlines, after she became the focus of a huge outpouring of abuse on Twitter. She received some 50 rape and murder threats every hour for two days. Her trolling was that bad it started trending. She had originally come to prominence having successfully campaigned to keep a woman on British banknotes and this mini victory has irked some in the digital ether.

When Good People Do Nothing: The Appalling Story of South Carolina’s Prisons — In two months, America will observe the 50th anniversary of one of its most dubious moments. On March 13, 1964, Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was brutally murdered in Queens, New York. What made her case infamous—legendary, even—was that nobody responded to her cries for help. “Please help me, please help me!” she cried, over and over, and at least 38 people in her neighborhood who heard those cries did nothing to help her.

Viviana Gunn sentenced for gruesome torture of 13-year-old brother-in-law Jordan Gunn — AN AMERICAN woman who repeatedly tortured her 13-year-old brother-in-law by beating his genitalia with a baseball bat, sliced his skin with a heated knife and left him tied naked to a doghouse without food and water has been sentenced to 31 years in jail. Viviana Gunn, 34, was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty in August to the charges. Her husband, Brandon P. Gunn, 27, will be sentenced on January 17 for the same crime.

Bulletin Board v214

Boy alleges sexual abuse in juvenile home, child rights panel orders probe — The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has ordered an investigation into allegations of physical abuse in a juvenile observation home in Meerut. The allegations were made by a 17-year-old boy from Greater Noida, who was among 43 children who had escaped from the juvenile observation home on December 18. He alleged that the mass escape was prompted by repeated instances of physical and sexual abuse of juveniles by adult youths living in the observation home.

Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues — ‘What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” says Camille Paglia. This self-described “notorious Amazon feminist” isn’t telling anyone to Lean In or asking Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. No, her indictment may be as surprising as it is wide-ranging: The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead.

Child sexual abuse victims angry over perpetrator’s jail term — Victims of a man who sexually assaulted 11 boys more than three decades ago when he was a community leader are angry at what they consider a light jail term. Barry Francis Watson, 73, will serve a minimum of 2 1/2 years in prison for abusing boys in his care as young as seven when he was a leader in the Anglican Church’s youth group, CEBS, between 1969 and 1979. Watson was found guilty in October of 12 charges of indecent assault on a boy aged under 16.

Haqqani Network Leaders Sexually Abuse Teenager Boys — The Afghan intelligence – National Directorate of Security (NDS) accused Haqqani Network leaders for sexual abuse of children after hiring them for terrorist activities. NDS following a statement said Thursday, “Haqqani terrorist network members are sexually abusing children in training camps Haqqani’s commanders are sexually abusing teenage boys who are being trained to carry out terror acts.”

Issue of Charter right in child porn case gets sidetracked at Supreme Court — Imagine a police officer sitting downtown in his cruiser, grabbing a sandwich. As he chows down and gazes about, he sees a woman being thrown from the ninth floor of a condo, fourth from the corner. Should he be able to go and ask the doorman for the name of the owner and number of the unit, so he might have the information he needs to appear before a judge and get a search warrant? Continue reading

Defending the lie

Originally posted on October 27, 2013

Washington Monthly published an investigative piece by Stephanie Mencimer detailing the story of Jamie Leigh Jones. Jones made headlines in 2007 when she appeared 20/20 and recounted being gang-raped while working as a contractor in Iraq:

As she described the fateful evening, Jones’s tone matched her somber, conservative dark dress. “I probably didn’t even drink the entire thing,” she told ABC’s Brian Ross. “Just a few sips. And I don’t remember anything after that.” She said she woke up groggy, confused, naked, and sore. “I felt like I’d been hit by a truck,” Jones said. She stumbled to the bathroom, where she said she realized she was bruised and bleeding between her legs. “Then I knew I had been raped,” Jones said, her voice shaking. A doctor at an Army hospital, she said, examined her, administered a rape kit, and declared that she’d been gang-raped. “She confirmed that I was raped both vaginally and anally,” Jones told Ross.

That began a media blitz in which Jones discussed her experiences on numerous networks. Her efforts garnered the support of Senators Hilary Clinton, Ben Nelson, and Al Franken, the latter of whom pushed for and passed legislation protecting female contractors.

That seems a positive outcome to a horrific story, except the evidence suggests that Jones was not raped at all. As Mencimer reports: Continue reading

On people questioning the extraordinary claims about rape

Originally posted on August 27, 2013

My policy when it comes to rape allegations is to listen first and question second. I do this with every case, regardless of my gut reaction. The reason I do this is because there are plenty of accusations that sound believable yet later turn out to be false and vice versa.

This is the standard law enforcement supposedly uses. The authorities accept the person’s claim of rape, and investigate the claim’s veracity. They do not just look for proof of the crime, but look at all the evidence to determine what actually happened.

Jason Thibeault appears to disagree with that position. He wrote about his experience being falsely accused several years ago. That topic came up again when he wrote about a rape accusation against Michael Shermer, founder of he Skeptics Society. Rohn, a commenter, posted a response, which Thibeault wrote about. Thibeault’s comments reveal the inherent problem many feminists have in dealing with false accusations. Continue reading