Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Reality, Experimentation, and Consequences

Addressing recent allegations that a Duke student was raped at an off-campus party last Sunday, Duke VP for Student Affairs, Larry Moneta appears to downplay the alleged crime as not being indicative of the atmosphere at Duke, but rather symptomatic of the realities of life and a normal result of experimentation. In an interview with Carolyn Costello of NBC-17, Moneta, incredibly, also appears to shift blame to the alleged victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"It's part of the reality of collegiate life and of experimentation and some of the consequences of students not necessarily always being in the right place at the right time."
“This happens around the country. Duke is no different in that respect.”
Moneta’s latest comments appear to echo, in part, the sentiments he expressed when addressing the issues of acquaintance rape in a 2005 interview with Duke Magazine’s Bridget Booher for her article entitled “Hooking Up”, a supplement to her feature, “The Silent Epidemic, Sexual Assault on Campus”.

"Part of the problem is who is defining social norms," says Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs. "TV shows and popular music celebrate drugs, drinking, and casual sex. Students seem to want an accelerated approach to relationships so that it becomes almost utilitarian."

While many details remain unclear on the circumstances of the latest allegations, Moneta’s comments do appear to indicate that the priority for Duke’s administration may again be public relations when addressing the latest scandal. In his interview with Costello, Moneta seems to affirm that supposition by making efforts to distance the current accusations from those that fueled the Hoax.

"People of intelligence, thoughtful people, will understand the dramatic difference here, but will hold us accountable and look to our response."

While Moneta does not clarify, for those of us lacking the required intelligence, what the apparently self-evident "dramatic difference" is, it is likely that the second half of his statement will prove true. We strongly suspect, or at least hope, that he will be held accountable for his response blaming reality, experimentation, and consequences of poor decisions.
Although Moneta did not note the differences for NBC-17’s viewers, Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown was more helpful. “It’s a different case and a different neighborhood,” he told Costello. A review of Brown’s initial take on the Hoax may help to decipher his comments:
"It's this preppy arrogance that they will never be held accountable for what they've done -- that their daddies will get them out of it," said Eugene Brown, a Durham city councilman who lives on Buchanan Boulevard, a block from the rental house.
"To use an old phrase, they saw themselves as being cool cats, and they used my neighborhood as their sandbox."
In an article in yesterday’s News & Observer , Anne Blythe points out another dramatic difference between the two cases: District Attorney Mike Nifong has not usurped the case from the Durham Police Department, despite the steady flow of news coverage it has seen over past few days.
“As news of the reported rape spread through the blogosphere Monday, many people questioned whether District Attorney Mike Nifong would show the same interest in the investigation as he did the Duke lacrosse case.”
"We haven't made any arrests or anything yet," said Maj. L.A. Russ of the Durham Police Department. "He would not get involved this early."
“But in the lacrosse case, Nifong assumed control of the investigation, according to police reports, before any charges were filed.”
DA Nifong, whose taking over the investigation coincided with the News & Observer’s infamous “Dancer gives details of ordeal” article, which was the first major media report to hype the race of the Hoax accuser and accused, explained his pre-arrest intervention at the time by pointing to the importance of the case to the community. On the day of his initial briefing on the case by police, Nifong made his first of many public comments:

“Every rape is a serious case,” Nifong told the Herald Sun. “But some speak to the community in a different manner. This is one of them.”

"The information that I have does lead me to conclude that a rape did occur," Nifong said. "I'm making a statement to the Durham community and, as a citizen of Durham, I am making a statement for the Durham community. This is not the kind of activity we condone, and it must be dealt with quickly and harshly."
"This is a case we felt we needed a quick turnaround," Nifong said. "There's a lot up in the air, and 40-some people waiting on this."
"Nifong, who said Monday that he himself will prosecute the case, said authorities may apply for more search warrants in the case and that more charges for aiding and abetting may be possible against partygoers.
"There's a good chance if someone had spoken up and said, 'You can't do this,' it might not have happened," Nifong said. March 27, 2006 WRAL
While the differences in neighborhood and Nifong’s interest noted by Brown and Blythe are telling, Moneta’s seeming attempt to downplay the accusation is relatively similar in that regard to his initial reaction to the Hoax accusation.

“Brodhead found out March 20, when Vice President Larry Moneta told him "the
accusations were not credible and were unlikely to amount to anything

The News & Observer, while apparently this time finding the race of the alleged victim and wanted suspect not newsworthy, also appears to find the two cases quite similar. So similar, in fact, that, they have chosen to list their stories on the new accusations under their Duke Lacrosse index. It’s impossible to imagine that listing subsequent accusations of unrelated sexual assaults alongside the exhaustive saga of the Hoax will not result in additional unwarranted smearing of the Hoax victims by further painting their names and faces with the stigma of accusations of sexual assault. It is our hope that the N&O will reconsider their decision to attach the latest accusations to the Hoax defendants in this manner, as they subsequently regretted their decision to print the names and faces of 46 Duke lacrosse players in the front section of their Sunday, April 2, edition.
The parallels and contradictions to be found in the two cases are, indeed, striking. Perhaps it is inevitable that comparisons will be made. Certainly, the most obvious contradiction in the cases is that the race of the accuser and the accused in the new accusation is the reverse of the Hoax. One can only hope, however, that this is not the difference described as "dramatic" by Moneta and implied as an issue of "neighborhood" by Brown.
Sadly, it seems that Moneta and Brown will not be the only commentators to appear to make these comparisons based, not on an objective view of the circumstances or with a hope that some of the differences are the result of lessons learned over the past eleven months, but rather with the same tainted views with which they have measured the Hoax. Some, who were so quick to pronounce the lacrosse players guilty, will undoubtedly now point to the difference in response time by the media and the police, as an indication that news organizations and the justice system works faster when the victim is white and the suspect black. Signs of this inevitability are already evident in comments posted on this blog and on other forums.
A commentator at Court TV suggested:

“…by the alacrity of the police intervention in the case and promised arrest in a matter of less than a day, you can tell that there is a DIFFERENCE being made when the accused is a black male compared to how long it took the DPD to mosey over to the LAX house in the prior case....48 hours! They were on the scene at THIS house in under 3-4 hours,tops! As I predicted, the race of the victim determined the swiftness of the police response! Also,the race of the suspect is influencing the prediction of an arrest in 24-48 hours.....quite a difference from how long it took the LAX players to be charged and arrested as we all know!”

A regular reader here added:

“a white girl was raped at a duke party this weekend and the police were there in minutes of being called and they are going to arrest the suspect in the next 24 hours and he is black; that is totally different from the way the lax team was treated. they were not interviewed about a rape/sexual assault until 48 hours later despite the victim being in police custody immediately after the party and the police could have come back that night and investigated the scene but no, the victim was poor and black and they did not care about investigating. The white girl charged rape and the police were there within seconds and taking people in for questioning.”

Those of us who have become disenchanted with the media and the unique system of Durham justice, will likewise note the disparate treatment of the lacrosse team and the members of the self-proclaimed “Infamous” Alpha Alpha Chi Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, who reportedly hosted the party where the latest alleged assault is claimed to have occurred. When Duke University President Dick Brodhead fails to issue a statement along the lines of “whatever they’ve done is bad enough” or decrying the “highly unacceptable behavior” (or "experimentation" as Moneta prefers) of the party goers, some may not see this as a sign of lessons learned, but rather a clear double standard.
When Sam Hummell, or the like, fails to produce false facts sheets or a vigilante wanted poster, will we quietly take notice of his new found reluctance to smear individuals in order to advance his agenda, or will we point out the hypocrisy of his eagerness then versus his hesitation now?
When the News & Observer fails to hype the “dramatic” and “neighborhood” differences, will we note it as an indication that there’s no profit in selling a story devoid of salacious racial details if the involved races are reversed, or will we believe that they have learned from their mistakes of last spring?
When no Group of 88 labels this instance a Social Disaster and no Castrate! banner appears in front of this party house, will we recognize this as a sign of progress made, or as an indication that, absent rich white young men as the accused, such actions hold no appeal for the Holloways and the potbangers?
When District Attorney Nifong fails to hijack the case and say, “I’m not going to allow the world’s view of Durham to be a place where a black student from another school can rape a white Duke student,” will we be thankful that neither the alleged victim nor the suspect will be Nifonged? Will we breathe a sigh of relief that the Durham police will be allowed to conduct a full and thorough investigation devoid of manipulation? Or, will we note that it must mean there is no election looming and political danger, rather than benefit, lies in race baiting in the opposite direction?
While we have no answers to these questions, we will continue to hope that any differences in response or reaction by the University, the media, Durham police investigators, commentators, and even Defendant Nifong are, at least in part, the result of lessons learned, rather than pervasive double standards.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Liestoppers!

Certainly quite a few unanswered questions in that post.

There are many I would not want to hear the answers from, not at this time anyway.

Anonymous said...

No rush to judgement - pressume innocence. Just a side note. Can you really see 50 people drinking at 3:00AM with full bladders waiting for a rape to be over? They would be kicking and banging the doors down.

Anonymous said...


There you guys go, using reason and judgment. Haven't you learned anything?

This is RAPE! A socail disaster! Thank you for not waiting and letting your voices he heard!


The absurdity of this never stops does it? It just spins and spins in its own little universe where hypcrisy is seen as a virtue and where race and class-consciousness are the only standards needed to judge others of their guilt or innocence.

Hell, maybe we can get a post from Marcotte about how she has been victimized yet again because of this alleged rape.

"What, a few black fraternity brothers can't sexually assault a young woman in their own frat house anymore?"

Where's the justice? Maybe Reverend Al "Tawanna Brawley" Sharpton and Reverend Jesse "Family Values" Jackson will give all of those present scholarships to continue their educations.

Flabbergasted is the word that comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

The Court TV commentator is outraged that the police took so long to arrest the three INNOCENT men in the LAX hoax? Yeah, that makes sense to me. We definitely want the police to act much more quickly when they are framing people who have committed no crimes! How dare the Durham police have dragged their feet in getting the railroading started!

Has it occurred to this commentator that perhaps the police acted more quickly to identify and apprehend the suspect in the more recent case because there was actually evidence of a rape in that instance, as opposed to the LAX hoax, where there was none?

Anonymous said...

In response to the last paragraph in the post ...

There's nothing wrong with hope, but just to hedge my bet, I'd double down on the side of it being the result of pervasive double standards.

Have to go with the odds, you know?

Anonymous said...

sorry, but from the police aspect of investigating the rapes at the scene, they had the exact same thing to investigate: a young woman at a party with many people says she was raped in a bathroom. That was all the evidence needed to investigate any party at the time of the complaint and yet the white girl's complaint is investigated in minutes and the black woman's comlaint is investigated 2 days later. THAT IS A BIG DIFFERENCE whether you like it or not.

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT Liestoppers! Thank you.

This latest case and the casual and docile atmosphere at Duke, the surrounding area, Durham, and the country is illustrative of their cause for outrage last spring in the Lacrosse case - these Lacrosse players were a symbol of the things the Media, much of Academia, leftist groups, and a large constituency in the country - HATE!

Many want to dodge that conversation, but it's the truth.

Where's the rampant speculation of evil motives and debased moral values? Where are the moral judgements we saw repeatedly in the Media with the Lacrosse case?
Where are those that were outraged at underaged drinking? Where are those that thought Misogyn had to be addressed and violence towards women was not being sufficiently addressed.

The professional protesters, the Media, the activist faculty, and a large segment of the black community have been shown to be fake and phony fools, by this latest episode.


Anonymous said...

The DELAY in Crystal's pleas was that CRYSTAL claimed she was unable to speak with POLICE (she was so distraught and messed up). The Police made it clear to her and her family that since she couldn't provide details - she had to call them or come to the station to do so.
CRYSTAL - NO ONE ELSE - delayed by 32 hours showing up at the Police station. She was out and about driving around her fellow EX-CON boyfriend according to her Father. She drove that morning parked her car and went out with her boyfriend for the day - leaving her kids behind. CRYSTAL made that decision. CRYSTAL.

Authorities would be sued for abuse if they made women acting hysterical, women telling medical personnel she didn't want to talk to the Police - TALK. And legal problems would arise in court with any potential prosecution if a victim was forced to make statements.

Look at Crystal if you want to know of any delay. And which one of her SEVEN stories do you start investigating?


Anonymous said...


Now damnit all, stop introducing FACTS into this discussion will you?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the call to the police to report the rape made from the house this time? Isn't that what police were investigating? Did they even know the race of the caller or her alleged attacker at that time?

Isn't the delay in searching 610 N. Buchanan and questioning the residents entirely due to the difficulty in obtaining a coherent story sufficient to obtain a search warrant?

So much of the commentary at this point is completely devoid of factual basis. It is very frustrating and it benefits no one.

Anonymous said...

Of course the guys were persecuted-so many special interest groups wanted this to be true. Still want it to be true. When I look at your replay of Mike's words, it isi even worse than I remember. No wonder the black folk of Durham got so riled up. Mike made his statements believable. HE has much to answer for,

Anonymous said...

If anyone really wants to think that the LAX players received preferential treatment, I'd like to sell them the Brooklyn Bridge. Once again, we have people making it up as they go along. People in Durham apparently have learned nothing, but why should any of us be surprised?

Anonymous said...

To 4:14pm:

Regarding riling up Durham blacks, keep in mind the fact that Nifong pushed buttons that were ready and willing to be pushed in the first place.

I simply do not understand why everybody is blaming Nifong alone for this. It takes two to tango.

Anonymous said...

This poor girl probably was raped. The black community is out for retaliation. I'd say watch out white Duke females. Parents pull your kids out of that school they are not safe their. The AA community in Durham is so twisted with Hate and revenge it is sickening. Do you want to go to bed each night wondering if your son or daughter will be attacked just because they are white and a Duke student?

Anonymous said...

I don't think the 18 year old engaging in underage drinking (Did the men in the house supply the booze and how old are they?) was raped. Time and evidence will tell. Prof.Rosenburg - help us out here - they are drinking and hookup again.

Anonymous said...

1.The av in the Duke Lax case said she was raped and that it occured at 610 Buchanon; the same place a 911 call indicated and that both the Duke security police and the Durham police investigated that night. The av is NOT therefore solely responsible for the police not following it up in a timely manner that night. The fact still remains that the white woman's complaint was investigated immediately and the av's only investigated 48 hours after the attack.

2.Nifong could only push buttons that were present in the community to begin with; Duke has a long history of mistreating blacks and of preferential treatment of its students in law enforcement in the past. It would take too long on this post to detail all the ways the arrogant Duke family/business and university have pissed off the black community in Durham over the years. Duke is called the Plantation for good reason. Nifong did not create the racial distrust; it was already there and had been there for decades.

3.the latest is that only one black frat person lived at the house and that most of the people at the party were white Duke students.

allie said...

"Duke has a long history of mistreating blacks and of preferential treatment of its students in law enforcement in the past."

funny, since there have recently been published statistics showing that duke students tend to be punished more severely than other durham residents for the same crimes. so perhaps "discriminatory treatment" might be a more accurate description than "preferential".

but go ahead and believe whatever you want to believe.

Anonymous said...

So this "Infamous" frat with a gestation of 14 years (with 3 off) has a proud declaration of past/current members along with their "friendly" nicknames:

#1 Jeremy Fuller s.k.a. Napalm

#2 William Holloman s.k.a. Espionage

#3 David Brown s.k.a. Mercenary

#1 Antwone Floyd s.k.a. Hard Knock Life

#2 Devon Clarke s.k.a. Ready 2 Die

#3 Shawn Jones s.k.a. The Blueprint

#4 Alejandro Torres Hernandez s.k.a. Illmatic

#5 Michael Reed s.k.a. The Chronic

#1 Emmanuel Tedder s.k.a. Reconnaissance

#2 Grant Bond s.k.a. Sentry

#3 Clifford Goodwin s.k.a. Ballistic

#4 Keith Nimene s.k.a. Hollow Tip

#5 Michael Hill s.k.a. Silencer

Yup, they sure are trying to project an image of a frat full of "outgoing personalities" - Napalm/Espionage/Mercenary/Hard Knock Life/Ready 2 Die/Blueprint/Illmatic/Chronic/Reconnaissance/Sentry/Ballistic/Hollow Tip/Silencer