Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I served on the Atlanta Crime Commission for twelve years, two years as chairman. One area I specialized in was sex crimes and rape crisis programs. My wife was a double rape victim, kidnapped at gun point from a large shopping mall and forced to drive to our house where the assailants ransacked the house and took turns raping her. We responded by getting a major media company to give us grant which allowed us to produce a video called: "Rape: What happens Next?"
I was not a one interest commissioner. I even went and witnessed an electrocution as part of preparing information seminars on Capital Punishment: "Yea or Nay." Back to rape, as a layman I found the great body of experience in this field tells anyone dealing with rapes that it is a very difficult process to handle - from both sides, the accuser and the defendant. We tracked hundreds of cases in the Metropolitan Atlanta area over a period of ten years and with very few exceptions was any case an open and shut situation.
But here is the one thing that bothers me most about anyone thinking the Durham DA was approaching this case objectively and honestly. All people in the legal community who are professionals learn to take a long hard look at, and a long hard listen to, the accuser before bringing charges. This is standard procedure. Creditability is critical. Professionals listen to the accuser's story, look at her personal background (has she done this before, is she an upstanding member of the community, what are her personal relationships like, is she living a life that would expose her to the possibility of rape more than the average person, a prostitute, a stripper, an exotic dancer, a homeless person, versus a school teacher, a nurse, an office worker and so forth).
Without question a true professional would have taken a hard look at the Duke accuser and said all charges may be true. But the tremendous contrast between her seamy (like it or not) background, the multiple horrific charges she was bringing, and the pool of defendants who may be wise asses, cocky SOBs, rough and tumble jocks but they were not classic cases of men about to commit multiple rapes with other young men present all around, in a short space of time in a tiny space where the acts took place and so forth. This is not to say that they might not have done it, it just simply defies all professionalism for this Durham DA to accuse the pool of Duke athletes of multiple rapes WAY BEFORE he had any shred of evidence other than the word of an accuser with a highly suspect profile.
I don't think the DA is stupid. The explanation is very simple. The DA is a VERY SELFISH MAN. His election meant more to him than the lives of Duke athletes and their families, Duke University's reputation, Durham as a good community, and the American legal system as a fair and just process. And as a footnote, he has also rushed headlong down the road to prosecution possibly pushing the accuser into quicksand that she could not get out of had she wanted to. Now it appears even she has found the truth and is trying desperately to get out. It never should have gotten this far. All it would have taken was a real hard look at the accuser in the beginning and then a real hard look at the defendants as well as the evidence. It would have taken longer to bring charges, if at all. Ah, but then the election would have come and gone with the voters choosing another DA. Not something a SELFISH man would have wanted.
A PS, my wife's assailants were eventually caught and convicted, sentenced to long prison terms.