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Nov 01, 2006

"He Believed Her" -- Opinion from Amanda Smith

Below, an opinion piece by my friend Amanda Smith.  It is scheduled to appear in today's Herald Sun but I thought I'd also run it here.  The usual publishing disclaimers apply -- "does not necessarily represent the views of the Archer Pelican, etc."  But the Archer Pelican is glad to run this piece which takes at least a couple of controversial public stands.

He believed her.

Not long ago rape was a word so shameful you rarely heard it, and the deed
was rarely punished.  So much stigma was attached to a woman who had been
raped that she didn't report it.  She often didn't even tell her husband,
for fear of being rejected as damaged goods.  And if people did believe her,
the standard phrase was, "She asked for it." 

I was one of many who lobbied the legislature to keep the woman's name out
of the newspaper, so that she could seek justice in a court of law without
having her name smeared in the court of opinion.  (Few states passed such
laws, but to their credit most newspapers adopted the policy anyway, as did
the Herald-Sun.)

We novice lobbyists were stunned at the level of men's fear of false
accusation.  This fear made no sense to us.  "Do you have any idea of the
stigma?" we asked.  Not to say that a false accusation couldn't happen, but
people tended to look the other way when men were guilty, much less when
they were innocent.  Compared to the hundreds of thousands of real rapes
that were reported every year, false accusation seemed like a dim
possibility. 

Over the years, with public forums and rape crisis centers and hotlines and
news articles, we got across a novel idea: when a woman says she's been
raped, believe her.  Believe she didn't ask for it.  Believe she had every
right to walk a dark street, drink too much at a party, say no on a date,
even say no to her husband.  Countless workshops on college campuses
preached: No means NO.  And men, we learned slowly, were perfectly capable
of believing it.  Even the old saw, "Don't let him go too far, because
beyond a certain point he can't stop," turned out to be false.  A man can
always stop - and good men do.  Even when they are drunk.  Even when she's
led them on.  Even if she's a stripper. 

A few months ago a black stripper said she'd been raped by the Duke lacrosse
team at a team party.

And - the District Attorney believed her.  Experienced as a litigator, he
had every reason to.   Since then, according to what we read in the papers,
it turns out maybe the rape didn't happen.  But I can't hold the DA's
reaction against him.  Because here's what else didn't happen.

The DA didn't say "She asked for it."  He didn't say, "What do you expect?
She's a stripper."  He didn't say, "These fine young men could never have
done such a thing." 

In fact, most of the town and most of the Duke campus were entirely ready to
believe that these men had done such a thing.  They were notorious for their
drinking, their sexual excess, their arrogance.  They were literally a
public nuisance - the source of many neighborhood complaints.  When the DA
indicted them, it would have been quite accurate to say "they asked for it."
Because they had, for years.   

It's tempting to wish the DA had "believed her quietly", as a friend of mine
neatly put it, but a fair amount of good has come of the ruckus.  Duke is
taking a more serious look at campus behavior than ever before.  So are a
lot of other universities all over the country, because, reprehensible as
the Duke laxers' general behavior is, they are far from unique.  They acted
as they did because their society encouraged them to.

That's us. 

If you are one who is sorry for the laxers, ask yourself how we all, through
our treatment of athletes, our embrace of out-of-control behavior, our
deathly ideas about proving manhood, contributed to their up-bringing.

But don't blame the DA because he believed her.  I promise you that is a
whole lot better than what happened in the good old days.

Amanda J. Mackay Smith
Durham NC

Your comments are welcome and I'll pass them along to Amanda unless you direct otherwise.

12:14 AM in Editorial | Permalink

Comments

The other side of the story... and it's true. Nifong's actions hurt
future rape victims chances of being believed.

No, Amanda, He Used Her

http://liestoppers.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Beth Brewer | Nov 16, 2006 8:08:25 AM

How did he believe her when he has'nt spoken to her?

Posted by: phil | Nov 16, 2006 8:15:36 AM

Sometimes people tell the whole truth and nothing but. Sometimes people lie. Sometimes it's in-between, or a matter of perspective.

These observations hold true for men, women, and children. They hold true for Christians and atheists, whites and Asians, anglophones and Swahili-speakers.

I'd think that this point is so obvious that the discussion wouldn't have to start here. But apparently, it does. Ideologues can't seem to grasp that, for every 100 accusations of "I have been the victim of a felony!", some percentage will turn out not to be true. In the case of the crime that Amanda is most concerned about, that number may be low. But it will not be zero.

With her commitment to believing that alleged rape victims are truthful, Amanda supposes that D.A. Mike Nifong was acting ethically in taking this A.V. at her word. Unfortunately, her preconceptions have allowed her to be hoaxed. An examination of the facts of the case shows the following (among many other things):

-- The A.V. did not have a single, consistent story, but instead presented multiple inconsistent versions of events.

-- The D.A. did not "believe" her--he never interviewed the A.V.

-- Rational belief would have required investigation of the circumstances of the days leading up to the alleged crime, of the alleged crime itself, and of the aftermath of the alleged crime. The Durham Police and the D.A. did not undertake these investigations.

-- On every front, the evidence that has emerged since the indictment of the three alleged assailants has been almost entirely exculpatory.

Because Amanda fights for society's oppressed, she naturally imagines similar motives on D.A. Nifong's part. While that would be nice, it's become abundantly clear that Mr. Nifong's personal and political motivations spring from quite different wells.

One of the hallmarks of this case is, "keep digging." Politicized supporters of the A.V. and the D.A. can't look at the ugly picture of a hoax-based prosecution and admit, "I was wrong." I don't really expect that this instance will be any different.

Readers interested in a complete, academic-style treatment of this sorry affair should look at the arguments and evidence that Prof. K.C. Johnson presents on his blog.

Posted by: AMac | Nov 16, 2006 10:51:00 AM

Amanda doesn't fight for "society's oppressed;" she fights for a political agenda that is destroying the credibility of women who actually have been attacked. The stain that this low-life 'victim' and her supporters have put on legitimate cases is not going away anytime soon. Don't defend the indefensible.

Posted by: Rachelle Young | Nov 16, 2006 11:01:06 AM

Rachelle Young says:


Amanda doesn't fight for "society's oppressed;" she fights for a political agenda that is destroying the credibility of women who actually have been attacked. The stain that this low-life 'victim' and her supporters have put on legitimate cases is not going away anytime soon. Don't defend the indefensible.

Indeed, there are hints that some sections of society that view women as universally evil want the worst possible outcome in the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax. That is, guilty verdicts and 30-year terms for all three sacrificial lambs.

Posted by: Loki on the run | Nov 16, 2006 1:15:49 PM

"And - the District Attorney believed her. Experienced as a litigator, he
had every reason to." I am a litigator, which I strongly suspect Amanda J. Mackay Smith is not. As such, I can unequivocally say that any "experienced litigator" must always have a healthy degree of skepticism about any type of case, whether it be criminal or civil, regardless of whom he is representing. One can not fall in love with a case, certainly not in the initial stages. This is particularly true of rape cases, which, accroding to the Department of Justice, are false roughly 25% of the time. The sad truth of the Duke lacrosse hoax is, in fact, the exact opposite of what Ms. Smith says, namely, that District Attorney Nifong had "every reason" to question the story of the accuser, but did not do so. How could an "experienced litigator" believe a claim of violent gang rape when there was no forensic evidence (such as DNA or wounds to the accuser's body), when there were no corroborating witnesses, when the accuser herself had offered multiple inconsistent versions of the event (including a denial of rape), and some of the accused had independently documented alibis? I eagerly await Mike Nifong's answer to all this at his disciplinary hearing.

Posted by: Michael F. Kiely | Nov 16, 2006 5:39:58 PM

The young men accused in this case are not just pawns in your game to further your agenda. They are not symbols for men’s dominance in society. These are real people. They have families and friends and lives and dreams. They are human just like the women that you described in the beginning of your article. Are they less worthy of justice because they are men? The fact that these women were so shamed and unfairly and unjustly mistreated is a disgrace and a stain on our justice system. But are you, Amanda, really trying to say that these boys being railroaded today is better than a District Attorney not saying that he believes this woman? Aside from the fact that her stories are incredibly inconsistent, and the fact that she was dancing in a strip club while people were holding candlelight vigils for her, are you really trying to say that these boys deserve to have their lives torn apart just to rectify the injustice that these women of the past endured at the hands of other men? That is just as sick and twisted as Chan Hall's comment about wanting to see the players prosecuted "whether it happened or not" and that it would be "justice for things that happened in the past" to black people. How can you write that these boys “asked for” this to happen to them? Partying, drinking, even “sexual excess” (which cannot even be attributed to the three accused), does not constitute a rape charge. The only way to “ask for” being prosecuted for rape is to rape someone. If these boys are convicted.. Nevermind that, the fact that they are being prosecuted for rape is not a victory for feminism, or a way to fix to racism. It is a travesty, and frankly a perpetuation of these very problems. Mike Nifong and writers like you just deepen the racial and gender divides of this country. In the words of Martin Luther King, "A threat to Justice anywhere, is a threat to injustice anywhere."

(Please do pass this onto Amanda)

Posted by: JH | Nov 16, 2006 7:24:30 PM

Amanda says we should not blame the DA for believing her because what went on in the old days was worse. Maybe in the olden days rape claims were dismissed too easily. I agree with that. But that hardly excuses Nifong's actions here. Past injustice does not excuse present injustice.

Posted by: Josh | Nov 16, 2006 8:47:52 PM

"When the DA indicted them, it would have been quite accurate to say 'they asked for it.'"

Which is the same as saying "she asked for it" about a woman who was raped. Jusifying the indictments of the players on false charges because of "their
drinking, their sexual excess, their arrogance" is no different than justifying the rape of a woman based on her manner of dress, flirtatious behavior, or dating habits.

Sadly, Ms. Smith argues against a manner of thinking with an argument derived from that same manner of thinking.

Posted by: Tesla | Nov 17, 2006 12:28:17 AM

I hope this case represents a sea change in how accusation of rape are evaluated

The charge of rape is a powerful one, and whenever power is available to anybody, that power will be abused.

Accurate numbers are hard to come by but realistic evaluations suggests that about 20% of rape accusations by women are overtly false

It is up to the criminal justice to triage those accusations and prevent the most bogus from going forward (such that few false claims are usually brough to trial)

By any estimation, Crystal Mangus is a drug-addicted, mentally unstable liar who has made false and malicious claims at least 2X before in her life (accusing her husband of attempted murder, and her boyfriend of gang rape)

Common sense would suggest that Ms Mangum is lying through her teeth in a failed attempt to shakedown Duke students that went awry.

Especially since there is _no_ physical or corroborating testimony that supports her story.

Amanda, as Twain would say, sometimes a hoax is just a hoax. Shame on you for demonizing transparently innocent fellow human beings to flatter your own bigoted preconceptions.

Poor show.

Posted by: dj | Nov 17, 2006 2:00:11 AM

When, oh when, are we going to stop talking about the LAX party 'egregious' behavior? What is so outlandish about that evening? Calling an escort service and hiring strippers? This is old, old news that no one complains about. But now, for some odd reason, these Duke LAX guys get blasted for it.

Go to a male strip event on Ladies Only night. Those gals go nuts, stark raving crazy - grabbing everything in sight, without the least compunction. Afterwards, they congratulate each other for being uninhibited free spirits, not afraid to live it up, feeling good about themselves. Meanwhile, every man in America knows he'll get thrown out on his ear if he touches a female stripper. So, I ask all of you - When the subject rolls around to strippers and how the two genders behave in the midst of nudity, who gets most out-of-hand? Who regularly 'violates' the so-called sanctity of the stripper's body and doesn’t even think about it? The women win this one hands down. (Or should I say hands-on?)

This point is small potatoes, of course, and not terribly connected to the Duke non-event. And I’m sure that some male strippers can’t stand to have drunk women pawing at them. But it does illuminate one thing - that when women have a man doing the stripping, they often aren't the least bit worried about rules and decorum. They intend to get drunk and crazy and let it all hang out, baby. Let’s have some fun!

Isn’t this the point of a stripping party? To get crazy, but not too crazy? And it works out that way 99% of the time. Strippers are stripping all across the nation each weekend at college parties, fraternities and sororities both, but almost zero incidents of the party going too far get reported. The fact there is rarely a mention in the news cycle about some college strip party resulting in assault charges proves this – that these events are typically safe.

So why does anybody give a damn that these guys hired strippers? I just don’t get it… There are many folks on the left in this criminal outrage (false rape accusation/ hate speech crime) who castigate the Duke guys for hiring strippers, while in the next breath prop up stripping as some kind of regular job. It’s OK to strip, but wrong to hire ‘em?? Huh?

So these guys, doing what happens on college campuses every weekend all across America, hire some strippers and want to see some explicit action. Does this make you blush? Hey - the first strip show I saw at UNC in 1985 made me so uncomfortable for the young lady that I left before she dropped her panties. I wasn't raised that way and it made me feel really bad for her.

But so what? As we are all told - women have the right to do as they wish with their own bodies. 10 minutes on the Internet will show you one thing clearly - there are tens of thousands of women who want to get naked in front of people. (I'm talking middle-aged housewives with kids.) The reason a bunch of guys, or gals, can hire strippers is because there is no shortage of folks who want to dance naked in front of strangers. And in this wild age we live in, do a lot more than dance, quite often.

Let’s talk about the party. The Duke guys ask for two white girls, yet they get crucified for the fact the strippers were non-white. What could they do about that? Not much, so they stick with the plan - which was to pay these two gals $400 (!) each for 2 hours of dancing. A week's pay for a couple hours. What a windfall. Well, some drunken doofus starts making genuinely problematic statements about using a broomstick and Ms. Roberts shuts the evening down right then, only about 3 or 4 minutes into the show. Bad remark about the broomstick, and no one is going to blame her for wanting to put an end to that type stuff, or goodbye. But for $400 each, these guys deserved to be given a chance to straighten up, didn't they? Having drunken 20-somethings yell bawdy, wild, over-the-line remarks is part of stripping, whether you are female or male. A good dancer knows how to handle this type comment; it goes with the territory of dancing naked in front of drunken strangers. Didn’t the escort service tell them about sex toys, and the premium pay? As we all know now, the accuser was more than willing to use them. What did Ms. Roberts think the $400 was for, simple dancing? C’mon. Ms. Roberts didn’t have any intention of ‘degrading herself’, as she has said. This is fine. But the players had requested dancers use sex toys and had paid for it. Ms. Roberts should have taken reduced pay if she didn’t plan to use toys. This was, as we’ve been told repeatedly by the feminists, a legitimate business transaction. Such transactions have rules.

Mangum was willing, but was soon to be passed out. Ms. Roberts, however, was a problem from the beginning. She has said she didn’t want to be there, dancing for these clients. (Maybe as a former Carolina student, as I read early on but not lately, she had revulsion about dancing at Duke? I delivered pizzas while enrolled at UNC and occasionally worked a store servicing the Duke campus. I can tell you that I did not enjoy going there in that capacity.) As Roberts remained sober, had a car, and also had their money at that point, what she said went. And 'went' is exactly what she intended to do, as in go home and call it a night after the broomstick debacle. The accuser wanted to keep at it but couldn't, as the Flexeril kicked in by about 12:15AM and she starting having trouble standing up, let alone dancing or otherwise. Ergo, the pictures of her lying face down, seemingly passed out, by about 12:40AM.

I surmise that Roberts originally wanted to use the broomstick comment to call it a night after only 5 minutes and go home, $400 in pocket. The only problem with this plan was that the other one, Mangum, wanted to stay. Yet in the end, the accuser was so drugged up that leaving was only a short wait away. Mangum became incoherent and the evening wound its way to a quick end. Paid $400 to dance for 2 hours, the accuser had taken drugs that made it impossible for her to even stand up within 20 minutes of arriving. One dancer was falling down drunk (it seemed) and the other one didn’t want to be there. The guys made a few attempts to get them dancing again, but with this dynamic in place, it was useless. With only a perfunctory effort to do the job she was paid to do, Roberts was in her car and heading home.

Any wonder Ms. Roberts mumbled about them feeling hustled to Ed Bradley?

What were the Duke guys going to do with a passed out stripper in the house? They carried her out to Robert’s car, gathered up her purse and cell phone, and (ahem) took their money out of the accuser's purse and stood in the front yard as Roberts and Mangum left. Maybe they should have just gone back inside, as several comments were made soon after that would be the genesis of the whole mess. First: One of the guys, said something to the effect of, "What are they (cops) going to do? She’s just a stripper." (Or some such, I can't find that quote right now. But this is very close.) Perhaps he was nervous about taking the money out of the purse?

If those guys had gotten two girls like the accuser (strippers who wanted to use sex toys), or two white girls like they'd asked for, none of us would ever have heard about this typical strip party at Whatever U. The party was a total non-event, except for the fact that the dancers tried to take the money and run. This likely would have been the end of it all, except for one more insult Roberts lobbed at the LAX players while leaving: Ms. Pittman yapped out, as a parting shot:

"I called him a little [expletive] white boy,' she recalls laughing. 'And how he couldn't get it on his own and had to pay for it. So, he was mad. And it ended with him callin' me the n-word. And it echoed, so you heard n..... once, and then you heard, n....., n....., n..... .'"

The neighbors heard this, the Duke players calling them niggers, and also the comment about thanking Granddad for my nice cotton shirt. But the Duke players were clearly drawn into the racial epithets by Ms. Roberts! She has said so on national TV, and also said that the boys were gracious when they arrived. And did NOT use slurs until this point.

So these Duke guys, who have been gypped by the escort service and robbed by the dancers themselves, are finally drawn into an ethnic name-calling session at the very end. What a great way to end an evening of taking money from dumb, rich, fancy-pants white guys. Want to look for the racial angle to this event? It starts here, folks, with Ms. Roberts.

The loud, angry people on the left have made a lot of noise about how stripping is legitimate work. If this is so, then when you get paid to do the routine you should follow through. At the least, a stripper needs to act as though she doesn’t mind dancing for her clients. Using sex toys may be illegal for all I know, but if not, then the dancer should be clear about what she will do, and for how much. If she accepts premium pay for using a sex toy, said dancer should be willing to use one. Look, dear readers - This is no time to start squirming on these points. Either stripping and using dildos is a real job as these people make out, subject to regular rules, or it isn’t.

My opinion is that it isn’t. Stripping is by its nature degrading, unwholesome work that destroys the spirit. I’ve known three female strippers in my time, and each became an unhappy, manipulative jerk. You can’t do this work and hang onto your soul. The big, easy money is not worth it. Sometimes, one gets the feeling Ms. Roberts is smart enough and raised well enough to understand this. At times, I’ve nearly felt sorry for her, as I did the first stripper I saw way-back-when at the Deke house.

But if you are going to do it and take money from people, then do it right. Roberts didn’t want to be there in the first place, which was bad, and worse, refused to honor the $400 fee. She should have negotiated some new fee based upon what she was willing to do. But this is not what she chose to do – she took their money, didn’t bring the sex toys as requested, over-reacted to a comment regarding her failure to bring the sex toys, and quickly started looking for a reason to leave. This is not professional behavior. The stupid broomstick taunt was ugly, but this kind of thing comes with the job. The clients one dancers for are drunk and ready to party. If all the things that get said at these events were intended to be taken ‘for real’, then we’d all be reading about rapes and assaults at college strip parties each weekend. As it is, it hardly ever happens, does it? Can anyone say when the last time a stripper was raped at a college party? I read three newspapers a day and cannot recall seeing such a story.

We talk about equality, but for some odd reason, only the Duke guys are held to some standard of decency in this event. They pay a boatload of money for 2 hours work, get hustled, get pissed off, and then get blasted with hate speech as they are left standing in their own yard with no recourse, having been wholly defrauded. Was it illegal to take their $400 back from the accuser? Probably, but they certainly had justification. Mangum was doped up BEFORE she got to the party and could not possibly do the job she was hired to do. As bad as this was, at least she was willing. Roberts, however, never had any intention of doing what she was paid to do.

One shows up too drugged to dance, the other one is looking for any reason not to dance and leave. These two dancers (legitimate business women only trying to feed their kids), incrementally drag the Duke players over the edge. But all anyone can remember is a few of them calling the two hustling dancers: niggers.

******* THIS IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. *********

I go to a black school, WSSU. I hear nigga this, nigga that day in and out. For the entire 5 years I lived in Chapel Hill, as a student there in the mid-80’s, I never heard it spoken. Not once! And this was not by accident. People really did care about this issue and stayed on the right side of it. Even now, white folk of the college type can’t wrap their minds around using this word. It remains the most taboo word in our language – for white people. But among young blacks, it is almost common as the word ‘hello.’

********************

Nifong is the reason we’re all at each other’s throats. His initial comments made it seem certain that a rape had occurred. Now we know he was using this case to get name recognition and street cred in the black community for the upcoming election. Had he allowed the police to investigate this case before he brought his indictments, and not deliberately inflamed racial passions, we would be in a far different position now.

But make no mistake, if the word nigger hadn’t been provoked by Ms. Roberts, this witch hunt would also not have progressed as it has. Brodhead has been clearly addled by it. Nifong knew it was the one, known fact that would be impossible for the players to shirk. It's the 800 pound gorilla that is causing otherwise sane people to not care whether three innocent young men, and their families, have their lives ruined. Time for us all to take a step backwards and place this comment where it belongs – as part of an ugly racial exchange begun by a black woman. These guys would not have said it otherwise.

Not that saying it matters much anymore, at least not among black people. This word has grown to have a single usage in our culture - to trip up white chumps who say it, without mercy, and without regard to any fact associated with using it. This literally includes having a black person steal one's money and call one a '****ing little dick white boy'.

Black people pissed off at white people isn't news. White people pissed off at black people isn't news. Watching so many white people fall deaf-and-dumb at what has clearly been revealed as a railroading hoax, largely due to the use of the word nigger, is news. Look - it was an unpleasant thing to say, but it was a simple tit-for-tat response to Ms. Roberts' hate speech. Wake up and get over it. Find some backbone and start telling it like it is - a black woman, on drugs and angry about having $400 taken from her purse, lodged a false rape claim against three people. The racial aspect of this disaster is that white guys were deliberately provoked into making racial slurs. By a black. Who had just ripped them off.

Ms. Roberts was free to swindle them and blast them with hate speech. Their job was to stand there and take it. Right?

This is equality?

Posted by: Joel Elliott | Nov 17, 2006 7:34:09 AM

Dear Archer Pelican (Phil Marsosudiro),

Well.

You generously offered to run the opinion piece that your friend Amanda J. Mackay Smith wrote up for the Herald-Sun. On Nov. 16th, Joan Foster of Liestoppers, a blog that follows developments in the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, found your post and linked to it.

Archer, you said

Your comments are welcome and I'll pass them along to Amanda unless you direct otherwise.
.
I certainly hope Amanda does read the feedback her essay has garnered. It would be particularly nice if she could find the time to respond to some of the substantive criticisms of her stance. She might find the skeptical litigator's point of view that was presented by by Michael F. Kiely, Esq. (he's real) to be especially challenging.

Over at Liestoppers, Joan Foster's essay (linked above) also raises some serious points.

Cocooned in one's comfortable politics-of-choice, it can be tempting to toss out ideas and positions that don't take real-world circumstances into account. Especially if there's a local party-line newspaper that's eager to help.

Amanda imagines that the conduct of D.A. Mike Nifong was in service to her worthy cause of supporting genuine rape victims, closing her essay with

But don't blame the DA because he believed her. I promise you that is a whole lot better than what happened in the good old days.

Amanda doesn't mention the extensive and documented record of prosecutorial and police misconduct that is the hallmark of ths case. She believes that corrupt practices by sympathetic public officials will benefit her cause, as long as the wrong sort of people (lacrosse players) lose, and the deserving kind of folks (possible rape victims) win.

History--in particular, the tortured history of the Post-Reconstruction South--is not kind to Amanda's preconceptions.

It would be nice if reflection on this post's comments turned out to catalyze more rigorous and more generous thinking on Amanda's part. However, experience gives me no particular hope that someone of her hardened views has the inclination to see this hoax for what it is, and--painfully--to understand the enabling role that D.A. Nifong's supporters have played.

Posted by: AMac | Nov 17, 2006 9:15:24 AM

I disagree with MS. Smith on three points:

Nifong should not have believed her.
We should return to the days when the accusers name is revealed.
We should embrace the culture of athletics.

Nifong should not have believed CGM because she had made false accusations in the past, gave five different conflicting stories, showed no physical signs of a rape having occurred. Does the story of six guys separating two dancers in the midst of 20-30 other people in a small house even pass the sniff test? These questions
should have aroused suspicions before an investigation even began.

You were stunned at the level of men's fear of false accusation's? When you wrote that sentence in the middle of opining on a Stalinist show trial heading into it's eigth month didn't a bell go of in your head? Maybee this case might serve to enlighten you as to why men have this fear. Without rape shield laws I don't believe this case would have come forward.

I'm in favor of the "culture of athletics". Self sacrifice, teamwork and competition are attributes I would want in my friends, coworkers and children. What would you suggest as an alternative? Join a group that spends their time banging pots and intimidating innocent people. I would also remind you that lawyers are one of the least admired professions in this country.

Posted by: Jim Moran | Nov 17, 2006 10:12:39 AM

Archer and Amanda,

In this interview, K.C. Johnson catalogs some specifics of how D.A. Mike "he believed her" Nifong conducted his case:

Although the second dancer contradicted [the alleged victim's] account in virtually every way; the [lacrosse] team captains gave statements to police, without their lawyers present, denying the allegations and voluntarily turned over to police DNA samples and their e-mail account passwords; and although the team captains offered to take lie detector tests (an offer the police spurned); and no DNA matches of any sort between any player and the accuser's DNA appeared; and although an original photo line-up of the players found the accuser unable to identify her alleged attackers, D.A. Mike Nifong eventually indicted three players, including one, Reade Seligmann, whose attorney produced a videotape of him more than a mile away, at an ATM machine, at the time of the alleged crime.

Sadly, and to the point here, Johnson concludes with:

In Durham, North Carolina, a robust constituency exists for the politics of revenge and prosecutorial misconduct.

Posted by: AMac | Nov 17, 2006 10:21:25 AM

He believed in her so strongly that he decided to hide the fact that she had no DNA from the Defendant's on her person after the rape kit examination was conducted. That's some "belief." Nifong should be impeached, removed from office, and disbarred. Criminal charges should be explored as well.

Posted by: SerScot | Dec 21, 2006 4:56:19 PM