Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Feminist lawyer’s son falsely charged by university kangaroo court

From the Wall Street Journal. (H/T Stuart Schneiderman)

It starts like this:

I am a feminist. I have marched at the barricades, subscribed to Ms. magazine, and knocked on many a door in support of progressive candidates committed to women’s rights. Until a month ago, I would have expressed unqualified support for Title IX and for the Violence Against Women Act.

But that was before my son, a senior at a small liberal-arts college in New England, was charged—by an ex-girlfriend—with alleged acts of “nonconsensual sex” that supposedly occurred during the course of their relationship a few years earlier.

What followed was a nightmare—a fall through Alice’s looking-glass into a world that I could not possibly have believed existed, least of all behind the ivy-covered walls thought to protect an ostensible dedication to enlightenment and intellectual betterment.

It began with a text of desperation. “CALL ME. URGENT. NOW.”

That was how my son informed me that not only had charges been brought against him but that he was ordered to appear to answer these allegations in a matter of days. There was no preliminary inquiry on the part of anyone at the school into these accusations about behavior alleged to have taken place a few years earlier, no consideration of the possibility that jealousy or revenge might be motivating a spurned young ex-lover to lash out. Worst of all, my son would not be afforded a presumption of innocence.

In fact, Title IX, that so-called guarantor of equality between the sexes on college campuses, and as applied by a recent directive from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, has obliterated the presumption of innocence that is so foundational to our traditions of justice. On today’s college campuses, neither “beyond a reasonable doubt,” nor even the lesser “by clear and convincing evidence” standard of proof is required to establish guilt of sexual misconduct.

These safeguards of due process have, by order of the federal government, been replaced by what is known as “a preponderance of the evidence.” What this means, in plain English, is that all my son’s accuser needed to establish before a campus tribunal is that the allegations were “more likely than not” to have occurred by a margin of proof that can be as slim as 50.1% to 49.9%.

How does this campus tribunal proceed to evaluate the accusations? Upon what evidence is it able to make a judgment?

The frightening answer is that like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, the tribunal does pretty much whatever it wants, showing scant regard for fundamental fairness, due process of law, and the well-established rules and procedures that have evolved under the Constitution for citizens’ protection. Who knew that American college students are required to surrender the Bill of Rights at the campus gates?

My son was given written notice of the charges against him, in the form of a letter from the campus Title IX officer. But instead of affording him the right to be fully informed, the separately listed allegations were a barrage of vague statements, rendering any defense virtually impossible. The letter lacked even the most basic information about the acts alleged to have happened years before. Nor were the allegations supported by any evidence other than the word of the ex-girlfriend.

The hearing itself was a two-hour ordeal of unabated grilling by the school’s committee, during which, my son later reported, he was expressly denied his request to be represented by counsel or even to have an attorney outside the door of the room. The questioning, he said, ran far afield even from the vaguely stated allegations contained in the so-called notice. Questions from the distant past, even about unrelated matters, were flung at him with no opportunity for him to give thoughtful answers.

The many pages of written documentation that my son had put together—which were directly on point about his relationship with his accuser during the time period of his alleged wrongful conduct—were dismissed as somehow not relevant. What was relevant, however, according to the committee, was the unsworn testimony of “witnesses” deemed to have observable knowledge about the long-ago relationship between my son and his accuser.

That the recollections of these young people (made under intense peer pressure and with none of the safeguards consistent with fundamental fairness) were relevant—while records of the accuser’s email and social media postings were not—made a mockery of the very term. While my son was instructed by the committee not to “discuss this matter” with any potential witnesses, these witnesses against him were not identified to him, nor was he allowed to confront or question either them or his accuser.

This reminds of exactly what Ari wrote about in his novel “Bias Incident“.

Dr. Schneiderman adds his comments:

The process rests on a sad irony. Many years ago feminists decided strong, independent liberated women do not need to be protected by men. Not by their fathers, not by their brothers, not by their husbands.

As a matter of fact, a gentleman who offered a small courteous gestures of respect was routinely denounced by feminists as a gross insult. He was treating a woman as a member of the weaker sex.

If a man opened a door for a woman, he was called a sexist for assuming that the woman could not open the door herself.

The feminist message was clear: modern women can take care of themselves.

Well, not exactly. Since men are predators, prone to abuse and molest strong, independent women, these women need an extra level of protection: they need to have an extra-judicial procedure that can inflict serious punishment on any male who would see fit to ill-treat them.

No one needs to worry that women might abuse the privilege by bringing unfounded charges against certain men. No, it can’t happen. Women always tell the truth.

Apparently, the problem of violence against women is so bad that the criminal justice system cannot deal with it. It is so out-of-control that the civil justice system cannot do the job.

That’s the real problem: feminism.

When you have a group of feminists who set out to destroy the traditional gender roles of men, and who criminalize the traditional virtues of men, then you should NOT be surprised that government has to grow to fill the void. They told women that chastity was out, and chivalry was out. Traditional male roles of protector, provider, and moral/spiritual leader are out. What kind of men do women choose if they want to avoid all of those traditional male virtues? Bad men. And when bad men aren’t doing what the feminists want, they resort to big government to coerce and punish them. Every other man looking on to this situation is going to be reinforced not to pursue relationships with women, out of fear that they could be hit with false accusations for upsetting her – even if he hasn’t done anything at all!

Eventually, men will just opt out of all contact with women in order to have their freedom to say and do what they feel like. I will look forward to the day when feminists spent the last 40 years of their lives alone in their apartments, talking to their cats. What man in his right mind would want anything to do with these nutcases and their weird ideology?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New York TV meteorologist admits rape accusations were false

From CBS News.

Excerpt:

A TV meteorologist admitted Wednesday she’d made up claims of being repeatedly attacked by a stranger on the city streets, allegations that sparked an extensive investigation before police said she told them she’d invented the story to get attention.

Heidi Jones, who has worked for stations in New York and Texas and filled in on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false-reporting charges.

Her plea deal calls for three years’ probation, continuing psychiatric counseling and 350 hours of community service — the amount of time police spent looking into her phony claims, prosecutors said. Jones is due to be sentenced Oct. 26.

[...]Jones, 38, told police Dec. 1 the same man attacked her while she was running in Central Park last September and again outside her Manhattan apartment in November, authorities said.

After she provided a detailed description — including the alleged attacker’s race, height and clothing — detectives spoke to possible witnesses and canvassed the area to look for a suspect.

Ultimately, when a detective interviewed Jones again around midnight on Dec. 13, she admitted she’d concocted the assaults, according to a court document prosecutors filed in January.

“I made it up for attention. I have so much stress at work, with my personal life and with my family,” she said, according to the document.

What I find alarming about these stories is how often the accuser is not charged, or not given jail time. But men can spend years in jail on a false charge, (see links below), for which there could not be any evidence, of course.

Studies show about 40-50 percent of rape accusations are false

False accusations of rape or sexual assault are commonly used by women to get attention and sympathy, or to get an alibi when they’ve done something wrong, or to get revenge on someone.

Here’s a Fox News article from a prominent equity feminist, Wendy McElroy.

Excerpt:

“Forty-one percent of all reports are false.”

This claim comes from a study conducted by Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University. Kanin examined 109 rape complaints registered in a Midwestern city from 1978 to 1987.

Of these, 45 were ultimately classified by the police as “false.” Also based on police records, Kanin determined that 50 percent of the rapes reported at two major universities were “false.”

Although Kanin offers solid research, I would need to see more studies with different populations before accepting the figure of 50 percent as prevalent; to me, the figure seems high.

But even a skeptic like me must credit a DNA exclusion rate of 20 percent that remained constant over several years when conducted by FBI labs. This is especially true when 20 percent more were found to be questionable.

False accusations are not rare. They are common.

If you would like to get an idea of how false rape accusations are handled by the police, here is an example. Usually no charges are filed, or if charges are filed, then they get off without jail time. (But the accused men can go to jail for years, see below)

False accusations in divorce trials

False accusations of domestic violence and sexual abuse are also commonly made during divorce settlements in order to get custody of the children, and the attendant benefits.

Consider this article from Touchstone magazine, by Stephen Baskerville.

Excerpt:

Today it is not clear that we have learned anything from these miscarriages of justice. If anything, the hysteria has been institutionalized in the divorce courts, where false allegations have become routine.

What is ironic about these witch-hunts is the fact that it is easily demonstrable that the child abuse epidemic—which is very real—is almost entirely the creation of feminism and the welfare bureaucracies themselves. It is well established by scholars that an intact family is the safest place for women and children and that very little abuse takes place in married families. Child abuse overwhelmingly occurs in single-parent homes, homes from which the father has been removed. Domestic violence, too, is far more likely during or after the breakup of a marriage than among married couples.

Yet patently false accusations of both child abuse and domestic violence are rampant in divorce courts, almost always for purposes of breaking up families, securing child custody, and eliminating fathers. “With child abuse and spouse abuse you don’t have to prove anything,” the leader of a legal seminar tells divorcing mothers, according to the Chicago Tribune. “You just have to accuse.”

Among scholars and legal practitioners it is common knowledge that patently trumped-up accusations are routinely used, and virtually never punished, in divorce and custody proceedings. Elaine Epstein, president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, writes that “allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage” in custody cases. The Illinois Bar Journal describes how abuse accusations readily “become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.” The UMKC Law Review reports on a survey of judges and attorneys revealing that disregard for due process and allegations of domestic violence are used as a “litigation strategy.” In the Yale Law Review, Jeannie Suk calls domestic violence accusations a system of “state-imposed de facto divorce” and documents how courts use unsupported accusations to justify evicting Americans from their homes and children.

The multi-billion dollar abuse industry has become “an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice” writes David Heleniak in the Rutgers Law Review. Domestic violence has become “a backwater of tautological pseudo-theory,” write Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo in the scholarly journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. “No other area of established social welfare, criminal justice, public health, or behavioral intervention has such weak evidence in support of mandated practice.”

Makes you want to run right out and get married, doesn’t it? Me too!

Domestic violence rates

Here’s a recent article in the liberal UK Guardian that summarizes the evidence.

Excerpt:

Domestic violence has traditionally been understood as a crime perpetrated by domineering men against defenceless women. Research spanning over 40 years has, however, consistently found that men and women self-report perpetrating domestic violence at similar rates. Professor John Archer from the University of Central Lancashire has conducted a number of meta-analytic reviews of these studies and found that women are as likely to use domestic violence as men, but women are twice as likely as men to be injured or killed during a domestic assault. Men still represent a substantial proportion of people who are assaulted, injured or killed by an intimate partner (50%, 30% and 25% respectively).

If the empirical research is correct in suggesting that between a quarter and half of all domestic violence victims are men, a question follows: why has women’s domestic violence towards men been unreported for so long, and what has changed in the last five years to make it more visible?

One reason may be the feminist movement. Feminism took up the cause of domestic abuse of women in the 1970s, with the world’s first women’s refuge being opened by Erin Pizzey in 1971. Feminism understood domestic violence as the natural extension of men’s patriarchal attitudes towards women, leading men to feel they had the right to control their partners, using violence if necessary. Feminists campaigned successfully to bring the issue into the public arena, thereby securing resources to establish services to help victims. This activism and advocacy led to governmental and public acceptance that “domestic violence” was synonymous with violence against women.

[...]The dual stereotypes of the violent man and passive woman have undoubtedly obscured the existence of male victims of domestic violence in the past. Men were also unlikely to view their own victimisation as either domestic violence or a criminal assault, and so were unlikely to seek help.

Large sums of money have been spent on educational campaigns to encourage female victims to seek help. Until there are similar campaigns for men, it is unlikely that the true number of male victims needing help will be known. If the current trends continue however, women may find themselves increasingly likely to be charged with domestic assault, and men more likely to be offered help and protection.

I wonder how many women believe the official feminist line on domestic violence? The raw numbers are so rarely discussed.

More domestic violence studies from multiple countries are discussed here.

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Christina Hoff Sommers takes on sexual harassment hysteria on campus

Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers writes about feminism gone wild in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Excerpt:

American courts take exacting precautions to avoid convicting an innocent person of a crime. It was therefore startling to read the April 4, 2011, directive on sexual violence sent by the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for civil rights, Russlynn H. Ali, to college officials across the country. In an effort to make campuses safe and equitable for women, Ali, with the full support of her department, advocates procedures that are unjust to men.

[...]Marching under the banner of Title IX and freed of high standards of proof, campus disciplinary committees, once relatively weak and feckless, will be transformed into powerful instruments of gender justice. At least, that is the fantasy. But here is the reality: Campus disciplinary committees—often a casual mix of professors, students, and an assistant dean or two—are well suited to resolving cases involving purported plagiarism and cheating, and violations of college rules on drugs and alcohol. But no one considers them prepared to adjudicate murder, arson, or kidnapping cases, or criminal assault. They lack the training and the resources to investigate and adjudicate felonies. So why are they expected to determine guilt or innocence in cases of rape?

As with murder and arson, serious charges of sexual assault should be left to the police and the courts. The Department of Education should not pressure universities to enact a system whereby a student can be found guilty of a major crime by a mere preponderance of evidence.

[...]Being a victim of rape is uniquely horrific, but being accused of rape is not far behind. If the person is guilty, then the suffering is deserved. But what if he is innocent? To be found guilty of rape by a campus tribunal can mean both expulsion and a career-destroying black mark on your permanent record. Such occurrences could become routine under the Ali dispensation.

So why is Ali taking such draconian measures? Because she asserts that rape on campuses has reached epidemic levels, citing a study that states that 19 percent, or almost one in five women, will be a victim of assault or attempted assault during their college years.

But is that figure accurate or even plausible? Research on sexual assault is notoriously hard to conduct, and the studies are wildly inconsistent. A 2003 Bureau of Justice Statistics special report, “Violent Victimization of College Students, 1995-2002,” found that among the nation’s nearly four million female college students, there were six rapes or sexual assaults per thousand per year during the years surveyed. That comes to one victim in 40 students during four years of college—too many, of course, but vastly fewer than Ali’s one in five.

The study cited by Ali used an online survey, conducted under a grant from the Justice Department, in which college women were asked about their sexual experiences, on campus and off, and the researchers—not the women themselves—decided whether they had been assaulted. The researchers employed an expansive definition of sexual assault that included “forced kissing” and even “attempted” forced kissing. The survey also asked subjects if they had sexual contact with someone when they were unable to give consent because they were drunk. A “yes” answer was automatically counted as a rape or assault. According to the authors, “an intoxicated person cannot legally consent to sexual contact.”

Surely, reasonable people can disagree on that: If sexual intimacy under the influence of alcohol is by definition assault, then a significant percentage of sexual intercourse throughout the world and down the ages qualifies as crime.

The Justice Department stamped a disclaimer on every page of the survey report, advising that it is not a publication of the Justice Department and does not necessarily reflect its positions or policies. Ali, however, treats it as an official government finding and ignores the controversies and ambiguities surrounding her “one in five” figure.

I’m a huge fan of Christina Hoff Sommers. I really recommend her book “The War Against Boys”. Must-reading for any parent. The article notes in the author bio that she is working on an updated version of that book, and you can bet this topic will be covered.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama administration paves way for false sexual harassment charges

Famous conservative professor Mike Adams explains the problem at Townhall.

Excerpt:

[T]he Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced new guidelines that will force due process to take a back seat to political correctness. These guidelines will apply to sexual harassment and felony sexual assault cases.

[...]According to the new OCR guidelines, any college that accepts federal funding or federal student loans (close to 100% of our nation’s colleges) must now employ a “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. This lowered standard replaces the traditionally accepted standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which, according to most triers of fact, is close to 100% confidence of guilt. In contrast, “preponderance of evidence” means the campus judiciary only needs to be 50.01% confident that a person is guilty of a given offense – even if that offense is rape, which, regardless of degree, is always a serious felony.

This mandate from the federal government will have profound real-life costs for real students. If we learned anything from the infamous Duke Lacrosse case it is this: Academia is quick to blame people for creating a “rape culture” on campus and slow to take responsibility for false accusations.

Unfortunately, Duke was not an isolated case. At Stanford, student jurors in sexual misconduct cases are actually given “training materials” that say things like, “Everyone should be very, very cautious in accepting a man’s claim that he has been wrongly accused of abuse or violence” and “An abuser almost never ‘seems like the type.’”

In other words, even highly respected universities like Stanford try to create unfair and partial juries prior to rape adjudications – in clear violation of the spirit of the 6th Amendment (Do you remember when liberals cared about the “spirit of the law”?). Adding a mere “preponderance” standard to such a toxic environment would be a recipe for disaster – disaster in the form of wrongful felony convictions.

The OCR mandates are not merely confined to actions. They apply to students’ speech, too. Columbia University already lists “love letters” as a form of sexual harassment. The University of California, Santa Cruz, classifies using “terms of endearment” as sexual harassment. (Who could have ever imagined that one could be endeared and harassed at the same time?). At Yale, “unspoken sexual innuendo such as voice inflection” is considered sexual harassment. The absurdities are seemingly endless in 21st Century “hire” education.

Studies have shown that the number of false rape accusations is near 50%.

Here’s a Fox News article from a prominent equity feminist, Wendy McElroy.

Excerpt:

“Forty-one percent of all reports are false.”

This claim comes from a study conducted by Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University. Kanin examined 109 rape complaints registered in a Midwestern city from 1978 to 1987.

Of these, 45 were ultimately classified by the police as “false.” Also based on police records, Kanin determined that 50 percent of the rapes reported at two major universities were “false.”

Although Kanin offers solid research, I would need to see more studies with different populations before accepting the figure of 50 percent as prevalent; to me, the figure seems high.

But even a skeptic like me must credit a DNA exclusion rate of 20 percent that remained constant over several years when conducted by FBI labs. This is especially true when 20 percent more were found to be questionable.

False accusations are not rare. They are common.

If you would like to get an idea of how false rape accusations are handled by the police, here is an example. Here’s a very recent example.

Related posts

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Are women held to a different standard than men under the law?

I came across these 3 news stories that illustrate 3 concerns I have about how the law favors women over men in many areas.

Woman released without charges after shooting husband dead

Story here.

Excerpt:

A justice of the peace has ordered the release of a woman arrested in connection with the shooting death of her husband because no charges have been filed.

Las Vegas police arrested Ericka McElroy on Oct. 7 outside her southwest Las Vegas home. Her 37-year-old husband, Shane McElroy, died after being shot in the chest. Police said the two had allegedly been in a domestic dispute.

Woman gets 20 days of jail after making false rape accusation

Story here.

Excerpt:

A 20-year-old Valparaiso woman has pleaded guilty to falsely reporting that a Valparaiso man raped her, county police said Thursday.

Erica Donohue was sentenced to 180 days in jail, although most were suspended. She is to serve 20 days in jail and 10 days of community service.

Donohue said that on July 15, an acquaintance raped her in a rural area.

Porter County Detective Gene Hopkins investigated the case, and the evidence he gathered — including a video of the consensual act — convinced prosecutors to issue a warrant for Donohue, who was arrested Sept. 29.

She eventually admitted to making up the story about the rape, to hide where she had been from a person with whom she was in a relationship.

Woman wants $1.5 dollars in per year in child support

Story here.

Excerpt:

Sitting on a makeshift stand before the court, Nantz grew teary as he testified, blaming the marriage’s demise on his wife’s lavish spending habits, as well as what he claimed was a lack of support for his career, the paper reported.

Nantz’s wife, who is seeking alimony as well as more than $1.5 million-per-year in child support for the couple’s 15-year-old daughter, Caroline, has stated that she wants to keep the family’s six bedroom home in Westport, Conn. The family also owns a condominium at a ski resort in Utah, according to the Connecticut Post. Lorrie Nantz said that she wants to care for the child’s daughter even though she has a full-time nanny.

While court papers merely say that the marriage broke down irretrievably, Nantz told Superior Court Judge Howard Owens that while he was traveling around the country for work, his wife stayed home and went on excessive shopping sprees, the paper reported.

In nine years, Lorrie Nantz spent close to $1 million at a high-end clothing and jewelry store in Westport, Conn., the Post reported.

Last month she bought a $12,000 necklace at the posh store, but when pressed on its description, she could not remember details.

These stories are actually not uncommon. They are all from the last few days, and there are more stories like them every day. The lesson I am taking away from this is that the law is very hostile to men. It’s something that men don’t really talk about in public, and I wonder why that is the case.

Here’s my previous post on the parity of male and female rates of domestic violence, my previous post on the recent surge of domestic violence committed by women in Australia, as well as a new story on the surge in child abuse by intoxicated single mothers in Finland.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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