« Richard Cohen on "Bush lied" | Main | More attacks on dissent in censure debate »

March 31, 2006


Please allow me to offer another non-racial example of why a premature rush to judgment in the media on rape cases is unjust and prejudicial to those accused. In 1980 a white woman reported to police in Brockton, Massachusetts, that she had attended a party at the chapter house of a notorious motor cycle gang known as the "East Coast Mother F...ers", where she claimed she had been held captive and gang raped for three days. I was employed at the time by the DA as a summer law student/intern. Based upon the woman's sworn statements warrants were immediately obtained for the arrest of more than 10 very colorful gang members who were dragged before a judge and arraigned in chains. It made sensational news. It proved to be an embarrassment. Subsequently the alleged victim's medical reports came back negative for evidence of physical abuse. Confronted with these reports, she confessed to concocting the entire gang-rape story to cover her failure to meet her sailor fiance' to get married.
As for the power of racial slurs to promote hysteria, retribution, and violence, in 1975 while a student at an Ivy League university (and where I had been a member of the ice hockey team - and previously graduated from an elite NE prep school), I had a summer job as a Teamster delivering beer around the Metropolitan Boston area. Sometimes I had to deliver in Roxbury and Mattapan which were overwhelmingly black neighborhoods. While making a delivery anywhere it was not unusual to be accosted by pedestrians (black and white) asking for free samples, or have to protect the truck from drive-by thieves. While doing a delivery in a tough Mattapan neighborhood I was approached by a black man requesting a free sample- a request I politely declined, standard company policy. Not long thereafter a car pulled up with four black men who got out and surrounded me. The largest, while repeatedly spewing language characterizing me as a "honkey" homosexual who engaged in sexual relations with his mother, screamed and accused me of calling his friend a "N....r", the heart of his grievance. He repeatedly informed me he was going to knock my head off. This "friend" was nowhere in sight, and the four of them would not listen to my polite denials of having done any such thing, and my requests that they let me finish my job and leave. Frankly, I thought I was going to die. The largest man attempted to follow through on his threat with a round-house swing at my face, and I fought off what became their collective attack with my hand-cart and made it into the package store without serious injury. The proprietor had already called the police, pulled out a shot gun, and was pointing it at the door from behind the counter. By the time the Boston tactical police squad had shown up in riot gear, a large crowd of angry black people had gathered. The crowd had been been whipped into a frenzy by the false story that I had called my attackers the "N" word, and then assaulted one of them (who was making a great show of suffering, playing to the crowd, while lying on the sidewalk). I could hear shouts, protests, and appeals outside that this was their neighborhood and I should be killed for having used this offensive word. The police didn't buy my attackers' stories, and they escorted my truck ( about fifty cases lighter) out of the neighborhood to safety.
In today's environment of political correctness, were I to have become involved in the same incident, I think it safe to say the police would risk censure and job termination for failure to give a presumption of credence to black victims' reports of hate language and assault claims. The newspaper headlines would probably read: "Ivy League Athlete/Prepster Arrested for Provoking Riot by Racial Epithets", and plenty of willing witnesses could be found to back the false story sufficiently for a newspaper to avoid a liable law suit. I could easily be charged with 1-st assault with a deadly weapon (the hand-cart), a felony. Whatever the outcome, my reputation would be irredeemably destroyed and the newspaper with the most sensational account would enjoy increased profit from sales. I would be completely innocent, but my life ruined because of the politics of our time.
I obviously have empathy for the Duke lacrosse players. The New York Times and other media have sought statements from fellow students suggesting that their "clubishness", and "aggressiveness", support the charges, and the neighbor's statements alleging bigoted remarks, amount to an attempt to convict these kids in public opinion. It certainly plays to stereotypes and prejudices. Law enforcement is not suppossed to disseminate information concerning pending investigations, so readers should consider the degree to which politics is driving this media circus. Lastly, the media have acted like escort service companies employ debutantes when, in fact, these agencies frequently are covers for prostitution rings. While sexual trauma may not be a job hazard for exotic dancers, it certainly is for prostitutes. While ripping these kids as privileged, the media reports the medical conclusions consistent with a rape having taken place, but asks few hard questions about this accuser's activities as an "escort". There is no question that if three men crossed the line and raped this woman, they should be charged - but the spinning of this story as a lacrosse team offense has gone much too far.

Obviously the poster wants to sound off about personal events in his own life and not the facts as they relate to this case.

If you look at the feuding neighbor's statement, the police arrival time (in 2 minutes), and the listen to the first 911 call - you'll see that one of the dancer's made that first call. It all fits meshes together perfectly.

The woman caller says a white guy on the Duke Wall (opposite side of the street) yelled out a racial slur and her and her black girlfriend. The neighbor saw both women leave together - a white guy on the duke wall yell out a racial comment as the pulled away. 2 minutes later the police arrived. The neighbor saw the boys leave right after the racial comment was made while they were pulling away.

The neighbor also didn't see any other confrontations with any other group of people or persons that night. No comments made to other vehicles.

One of the dancer's made that call. It's obvious.. and the woman said I wasn't hurt in any way and it's not really an emergency.

Why isn't this info in the press. The TV shows are STILL saying there was a separate corroborating 911 call, when it was part of the event - ONE AND THE SAME.

The comments to this entry are closed.