The Washington Post ran an article in December titled No matter what Jackie said, we should automatically believe rape claims. Zerlina Maxwell penned the article following the fallout from media coverage of the University of Virginia fraternity rape case, specifically the revelation that the accuser’s story had many factual problems.
Maxwell, prompted by the numerous claims of false accusations in the U-VA case, wrote that a false accusation is not that bad for the accused:
The accused would have a rough period. He might be suspended from his job; friends might de-friend him on Facebook. In the case of Bill Cosby, we might have to stop watching, consuming his books, or buying tickets to his traveling stand-up routine. These errors can be undone by an investigation that clears the accused, especially if it is done quickly.
She should tell that to Kirk Odom. As the Washington Post reported:
When he was first sent to the federal prison in Lorton, Va., for a crime he did not commit, Kirk Odom was warned never to tell other inmates about his rape conviction. If he did, the information could make him prey to inmates seeking vengeance.
It was 1982 when a fellow inmate walked up to him and whispered, “I know what you did,” Odom recalled. Two days later, Odom was raped in his cell. It would be the first of more than a half-dozen sexual assaults Odom would endure during two decades in prison.
Some 15 years later, Odom took an HIV test. It was negative. Months later, a fellow inmate again sexually assaulted Odom. After that attack, he took another HIV test. This time, it was positive. “I was devastated,” Odom testified Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court.
Over two days on the witness stand, Odom has been recounting his time in prison, his sexual assaults, his suicide attempts, his depression and his estranged family relations; all of that is attributed, he says, to his false imprisonment for a 1981 armed robbery, burglary and rape conviction. He is suing the District for emotional and physical pain and distress from his time at the Lorton prison.
Yet according to Maxwell this can be “undone by an investigation that clears the accused, especially if it is done quickly.” How can the District of Columbia undo the rapes, the HIV infection, the suicide attempts, the depression, and the torn family relations? Odom certainly does not consider this an easy fix: Continue reading