Friday, June 23, 2006

Duke Rape Case Hush Money: Help or Harassment?

Wilmington Journal (hat tip to Krystal)

The cousin of the alleged victim in the Duke University lacrosse rape case says "alums of Duke" quietly offered the accuser lots of money - a staggering $2 million - early on to drop the charges, and go on with her life.
With what's at stake, I find this reported offer believable. It becomes downright probable after the statement made by Sam Hall, communications director for Duke University Alumni Affairs, who couldn't confirm the offer but also didn't deny it.

What's more interesting is the report that black leaders were approached with an offer of money for them and for the alleged victim "if they could influence her to retract her allegations." This goes beyond offering a private settlement to drop the charges and takes these actions smack into what I believe is witness tampering.

Anyone who participated in such an offer stepped over the line into immoral and possibly illegal behavior.

What it also tells me is that many of the wealthiest expect to be immune from prosecution when they or their own commit serious crimes while the poorest, including those who are innocent, may have trouble getting a public defender. But of course it is horribly wrong for anyone supportive of this woman's case to bring class into the discussion.

Yeah, right. Looks like I have 2 million reasons to bring class into this discussion.

The stage for this alleged abhorrent behavior was set when many people (bloggers and others) stated that they knew in their hearts (from the moment the story broke) that the alleged victim was an extortionist who had carefully plotted every step of this entire scenario. It hasn't mattered to these people when key elements in their supposed plot proved to be false.

Those who were publicly supportive of the Duke lacrosse players, but less naive about how "good" boys can treat "bad" women, may see the university's reputation as more important than justice. To them a large sum of cash to settle a criminal case wouldn't be any different than offering a large sum of cash to settle a civil case and with the agreement that all details of the case remain sealed.

Never mind that in some of those sealed civil cases, the information locked away prevents the public from learning about dangers that still exist because cash was the only corrective action taken.

The offer to the alleged victim in the Duke lacrosse rape case might have been made with no intention of giving the alleged victim a dime, but with the intention to use it to prove that this women lied specifically to make some "easy" money.

The money is the carrot while the systematic character assassination of the alleged victim is the stick. But alleged rape victims should never be treated like they aren't as human as the rest of us.

And oh, yeah, for those of you who call the alleged victim a gold digger because of Jesse Jackson's offer to pay for the rest of her education. She didn't take that money or other offers of money from those groups who believe her and want to support her.

With the death threats and the harassment this woman has faced, she has as much right to accept help as the family's of the defendants have to ask for financial help (lowered bond.)

For being a scheming *** only out for her own personal gain, she's either doing a lousy job -- or she's like many victims who believe that fighting for justice will impact more than their own case. Maybe fighting for justice will keep other men from believing they can get away with raping and assaulting someone they see as nothing more than a scheming ***.

Not that they will call or even think about what they do as rape or even sexual assault. That implies taking something you acknowledge that you don't have the right to take.

Rosa Parks wouldn't give up her seat on the bus and many rape victims won't give up their rightful position in the pursuit of justice.

It speaks volumes about people if they say Rosa was a hero while vilifying alleged victims.

And for those convinced that every sensible person now knows that the charges are false, I have to point you to one who has taken your side. Hey, I'm just a rape survivor and a victim advocate who answered victims calls for help and stood with them during their evidentury exams. That makes my critical thinking skills non-existant, right?

With that weakness in mind, here's your informed, opposing position:

ABC News
Monks [Republican candidate for Durham county prosecutor] said he would reserve judgment about the Duke lacrosse investigation if and until he is elected. However, he said, if he is elected and determines that the Duke case is weak, he would dismiss the charges. "I would review the facts and find out what it is that Mike Nifong has on these kids, and I'd try it
if there's a case and dismiss it if there isn't,'' Monks told ABC News.
So even this attorney (with experience in family law) who is determined to take control of this case (by his own admission, it's the only reason he's running) doesn't know that this case is without merit.

With all of the defense team spin and news coverage based on that spin, that tells me a lot.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:44 PM   3 comments links to this post


At June 26, 2006 10:16 AM, Blogger Pirouette1196 said...

Hi, Marcella,

Thanks a lot for posting this. I think it is so important to share the side of the alleged victim in this case. She needs a voice, and this blog helps to give voice to many victims of abuse.


Krystal (who sent the email)

At June 26, 2006 10:46 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Krystal, you're welcome.

I find it interesting that with all the pages of evidence the prosecutor gave the defense, how little of that is being shown to the press by the defense teams. Yet the public is supposed to believe that these carefully cherry-picked pieces of evidence are an accurate picture of the prosecution's case.

If the prosecution's case were truly as weak as the defense wants everyone to believe, they wouldn't have to work so hard to spin the media in their favor.

At June 27, 2006 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Due to the sensitive nature of this issue, I won't post links, however Wikipedia has recently unlocked the biographical article that names the accuser and cites the website of one of the defense lawyers as the source for her name. Further, Wikipedia has listed the biographical article for consideration of deletion and has a discussion page to present arguments for and against deletion. The accuser's name is also revealed in other Wikipedia articles associated with the event.

Although Wikipedia is not "mainstream media", it is a widely read and often cited website that deals with current events. Anyone with a strong opinion about revealing an accuser's name prior to the conclusion of any trial can assist in forming Wikipedia policy concerning this issue.


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