Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Craigslist Used Again To Setup Rape

From the LA Times:

The advertisement appeared on Craigslist in early December. "Need a real aggressive man with no concern for women," read the posting on the Internet classified advertising forum. Its purported author was a Casper, Wyo., woman, whose photo also was posted.

One week later, a man accepted the offer, forcing his way into the woman's home, tying her up and raping her at knifepoint. "I'll show you aggressive," he allegedly said, according to court testimony.

In fact, authorities say, the woman had nothing to do with the ad. Instead, they say, a former boyfriend had posted it, soliciting her assault.
Here's a clue for anyone who sees an ad like this and doesn't want to be arrested and convicted, talk to the person who allegedly has the violent fantasy face to face prior to beginning to act out the requested fantasy. Anyone who doesn't verify with the person who allegedly wants to act out a violent fantasy that they are in reality the person who created the ad should be treated as just as guilty as the person who created the ad.

Feeling like the ad was legit and having no proof that the ad was placed to facilitate a rape is not good enough and should never be an allowable defense.

If the law in any jurisdiction allows people who respond to these types of ads to not always be held legally accountable for their actions then the law needs to change immediately. If the law doesn't view placing these fraudulent ads as a felony then that too needs to change. Soliciting someone to commit murder is a crime and soliciting someone to commit rape must be a crime as well even if the person being sought may not consider what they are doing to be rape.

This isn't the first time someone set up a fake Craigslist ad in order to see someone raped. It must be the last however.

Being caught setting up this type of ad should be a felony whether or not anyone answers the ad. The information in the original ad compromised this woman's safety.

The victim in this case learned about the ad a few days after it was placed and contacted the police but the man who set up the ad wasn't arrested and while Craigslist took the ad down they should have redacted certain information and then broadcast that this ad was a hoax and that anyone who did as the ad requested would be committing a felony.

Currently, owners of websites are protected from liability for actions taken by those who use their website and while websites shouldn't be liable for the actions of others they should be liable for their own actions and for their failure to act with due diligence when they learn someone has misused their site to commit a crime or to harm someone.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:20 PM   3 comments links to this post


At January 13, 2010 7:21 PM, Anonymous m Andrea said...

I hope she does sue Craigslist, because it seems that the owners of that site would have a responsibility to broadcast that a previous ad soliciting rape was in fact fake. They failed to take reasonable and necessary precautions, which makes them negligent.

I bet their liability insurance is sky high, and with good reason. She wouldn't even have to show up in court. It's unfortunate that being sued is the only way that craigslist will get a clue, but being sued is apparently the only thing which gets their attention.

INAL but it seems open and shut to me. If this were any other type of solicited crime, the ambulance chasers would definitely be all over it.

At May 19, 2010 11:09 AM, Anonymous Social Worker said...

It's probably too late to respond to this, but I saw the case was in the news the other day. Ty Oliver McDowell, the attacker, changed his plea from not guilty to guilty.
From what I've read, this is consistent with his statements that he believed he was really carrying out her fantasy. He must have been so horrified to find out he actually harmed her, he's trying to do the right thing.
In this case, it really does sound like there are two victims here.
The man who set them up should be charged with all the counts thrown at McDowell.
Apparently, this has become a hotly debated consent case in legal circles. I found an interesting analysis of the case here:http://factoidz.com/revenge-rape-and-reason-is-ty-oliver-mcdowell-a-rapist-or-a-victim/

At May 19, 2010 11:49 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

I'm glad the man who answered this ad pleaded guilty, but I don't view him as a victim in any way.

Ty Oliver McDowell had the ability and the responsibility to verify that the woman who allegedly placed the ad was in fact the person communicating with him before he fulfilled the request specified in the ad. He didn't bother to do so and that means he is in no way, shape or form a victim.

For any court system to treat him as a victim is to allow deliberate ignorance to be a valid excuse for rape. It must never be a valid excuse legally or morally.


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