The Department of Education pushed out a letter to universities across America in 2011, giving college bureaucrats the legal ability to determine the guilt or innocence of people accused of sexual assault. Today, a slew of men who were allegedly wrongfully found guilty of rape by reckless college administrators are retaliating with lawsuits against the universities.
As of this month, there have been 50 known lawsuits filed by men found guilty of rape looking for justice to clear their names and legal record,according to A Voice For Male Students’ website.
“Predictably, a wave of lawsuits soon erupted as young men wrongly accused of sex crimes found themselves hustled through a vague and misshapen adjudication process with slipshod checks and balances and Kafkaesque standards of evidence,” the men’s advocacy page reads.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights sent out a Dear Colleague letter, in April of 2011 to every college and university in America that receives federal aid, outlining how schools must judge rape or sexual assault cases. The letter leaves the legal cases in the hands of school bureaucrats who have no proven knowledge of the criminal justice system, to investigate and prosecute students.
The government agency launched a set of rules that determines whether a student is guilty or innocent with the “preponderance of evidence” standard which relies on absurdly low proof of evidence. This preponderance standard proves that a student is guilty of assault if an administrator feels there is a 50.01 percent chance the attack or rape actually happened. (RELATED: Duke Student Expelled For Sexual Misconduct Sues For Diploma)
This government requirement has thus resulted in a slew of men filing federal lawsuits claiming they have been wrongfully found guilty of rape or sexual assault, citing government’s policies are unfairly stacked against men.
The legal cases come from across the country, including pot-loving, granola-crunching Brown University, which has had two lawsuits thrown at them by men found guilty of rape by the university. Most recently, student athlete William McCormick fired off a lawsuit against Brown after the school found him guilty of raping Marcella “Beth” Dresdale — the daughter of billionaire Richard Dresdale, a vital donor to the school. In 2011, the case was settled after McCormick was offered about $1 million dollars, according to The Brown Spectator.
And at Columbia University, a student going by the surname John Doe filed a federal case against the school claiming that administrators deemed Doe guilty because they were too afraid to dissatisfy a group of student activists who rallied around an alleged rape victim. His case, which was filed in May, is currently pending.
Even Catholic schools like College of the Holy Cross have had legal battles after wrongfully labeling students as rapists. Student Edwin Bleiler was wrongfully found guilty or raping a girl by Holy Cross school administrators, and kicked off campus. Bleiler filed a suit against the school in 2011, and was later acquitted of his charges and allowed to return to school, according to a court ruling.
Most of the other 46 of the 50 court cases have yet to be decided, or have already reached confidential settlements.
“This page is dedicated to cataloging their [male student] legal challenges against schools which — they allege — have violated their rights to due process, unjustly destroyed their names, deprived them of educational opportunities, and committed various other injustices against them in the name of ‘just following orders,’” the men’s advocacy webpage reads.
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SNL cast member Michael Che fucked himself in the online reputation ass by mocking the ‘Catcalling’ video circling the Internet like so many burning bras. The hidden camera video (below) depicts what life is like for reasonably attractive women in reasonably form fitting wear walking up and down the sexist streets of New York. A near constant barrage of ‘Hey, honey, I got your Empire State building right here’. The hood rat, the vagrant, the random shady dude, they’re all creating a gauntlet of audible torment for the fairer sex. Michael Che tried to make a funny on Twitter about the scourge of catcalling and put himself on the ignition switch for feminist blogger blast off.
Here’s what I know. If you’re really fat or really short or have a disability or deformity, or merely just tits, you can create a hidden camera video where you walk around New York and random people will belittle you. As Welcome Ambassador to New York, Taylor Swift ought to address this shit. Even though we can’t change crude human behavior, especially in rough densely populated urban environments, we can make speeches condoning it and pretend something was done. That’s called politics.
There are two things you can count on from feminist bloggers covering a story of female harassment. First, they too have suffered such indecencies. One columnist wrote that she has suffered nasty comments and catcalling every day of her four years living in New York (solution: Kansas now has the Internet). Second, everything is tantamount to rape in the rape culture where raping rapists rape the living rape out of women with their raping eyes, their raping words, and their raping thoughts. Not to belittle catcalling, it’s the obnoxious sport of losers, but it’s not rape. Rapists are those relatively small number of guys who need to be shot in the head or locked up for life to be raped by other rapists. Catcallers need to be punched in the nose. I wish Hammurabi were still alive, he could explain this better.
I’ve never catcalled a woman in my life. I’ve known from the start I’m in that rather large category of guys who has to make a little effort to get women. The idea of leading with my inner asshole never seemed to fit that strategy. I’m sure it sucks for women that some percentage of men are socially retarded douchebags, but most aren’t. Rape culture labeling is just as bad as catcalling. Save the inciting words for when they really count. What do you mean there’s no room left in the 4:00 spin class? Rape!
by Matthew Rocheleau
Twenty-eight current and retired Harvard Law School professors are asking the university to abandon its new sexual misconduct policy and craft different guidelines for investigating allegations, asserting that the new rules violate the due process rights of the accused.
“This is an issue of political correctness run amok,” said Alan M. Dershowitz, an emeritus Harvard Law professor who was among the faculty members signing an article, sent to the Globe’s Opinion page, that is critical of the new procedures.
In a statement Tuesday night, Harvard said the new policy was enacted after a two-year review of its practices and its guidelines “create an expert, neutral, fair, and objective mechanism for investigating sexual misconduct cases involving students.”
The misconduct policy, which Harvard announced in July and which took effect this fall, includes a provision to adopt a “preponderance of evidence” standard when determining whether sexual assault or harassment occurred.
In addition, the new policy established a university-wide Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution at Harvard composed of trained investigators who are responsible for handling sexual and gender-based misconduct complaints against students ranging from harassment to rape.
The new policy came after the US Department of Education disclosed in May that Harvard was among the dozens of colleges and universities the agency was investigating for alleged federal Title IX violations stemming from the schools’ handling of sexual assault and harassment complaints.
In the Opinion article, the professors complained that the new investigative office is a Title IX compliance entity, rather than one “that could be considered structurally impartial,” and that the policy lacks adequate safeguards for the rights of the accused.
“Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation,” the letter stated.
The professors said the new policy fails to ensure adequate representation for the accused and includes rules governing sexual conduct between two impaired students that are “starkly one-sided as between complainants and respondents, and entirely inadequate to address the complex issues involved in these unfortunate situations involving extreme use and abuse of alcohol and drugs by our students.”
In addition to Dershowitz, faculty members who signed the letter included Elizabeth Bartholet, Nancy Gertner, and Charles Ogletree.
Harvard said in its statement on Tuesday that a committee of faculty, staff, and students will offer advice to the university going forward on the new policy and its implementation.
“The policy and procedures address a problem that affects core institutional values and objectives — access to educational opportunities, fairness, objectivity, and non-discrimination,” the statement said.
MaryRose Mazzola, a member of Harvard Students Demand Respect, one of the campus groups that has pushed for stronger protections for victims, fired back against the law professors in an e-mail.
“We’re deeply concerned by the content of the op-ed and will be reviewing the letter more closely in the coming days,” Mazzola wrote, adding that her group is also pressing for the university to adopt a policy of affirmative consent, which generally means that sex is considered consensual only if both parties actively agree to it.
Harvard said in July that it would adopt a standard of “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” which means “essentially, conduct is unwelcome if a person did not request or invite it and regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive.”
A spokeswoman for the federal Education Department declined to comment on the professors’ letter and said the Title IX investigations into Harvard College and Harvard Law School are ongoing.
Posted by Amy Miller
“When a defense necessarily negates an element of the crime charged, the State may not shift the burden of proving that defense onto the defendant.”
In Washington State, the burden of proof of consent in a sexual assault case has traditionally fallen not on the alleged rape victim, but on the accused. A recent decision by the Washington Supreme Court, however, has changed the standard, and given hope to due process advocates:
The court in its 6-3 ruling reversed earlier decisions that forced an alleged rapist to establish a preponderance of evidence that a victim consented to sex. The court said such a burden violated constitutionally protected rights and also wrongly interpreted precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“When a defense necessarily negates an element of the crime charged, the State may not shift the burden of proving that defense onto the defendant,” the ruling said.
“Requiring a defendant to do more than raise a reasonable doubt is inconsistent with due process principles,” Justice Debra Stephens wrote, adding that doing so raises “a very real possibility of wrongful convictions.”
The media has predictably framed this ruling as one that “could make it more difficult for rape victims to get justice”:
“There’s another person whose rights need to be taken into consideration, and that’s the victim.”
Six of the nine justices agreed to reduce the rape defendant’s burden, saying that 25 years of earlier rulings were incorrect and harmful to the constitutional presumption of innocence.
“The prosecutors are going to have to spend much more time describing to the jury and presenting evidence to the jury regarding how the victim responded to those threats, what their body language is, what kind of noises they made, how quickly did they capitulate to the demand that they say that they wanted it.”
When we talked with YWCA sex assault victim advocate Emily Cordo, she was fearful of the ruling’s impact, because now prosecutors will have to prove forcible rape victims did not consent.
“Victims have to worry about whether they’re going to be treated with respect, and whether they’re going to be believed.”
The three justices in the minority agreed, writing that the majority ruling retreats “to the archaic focus on a rape victim’s actions.”
We’ve done some pretty extensive coverage on on the increasingly-popular “rape culture” narrative, and how that narrative affects (read: destroys) the due process rights of those accused of sexual assault. Washington state changed its laws in 1975 with the goal of making it easier for alleged rape victims to report assaults, but the recent Supreme Court’s decision highlights just how dangerous this change was on a constitutional level.
Most law schools include criminal law in their first semester curriculum, and most law professors I know dread teaching through the rape section of the casebook, specifically because of scandals like the one currently being manufactured in Washington. There’s something about sexual assault that (rightfully) turns the stomachs of most young lawyers and advocates and (not so rightfully) compels people to want to change the rules. Murder and theft are comparatively easy; rape is emotionally difficult to deal with even for those who have never been touched without their consent.
That doesn’t make the Constitution go away.
This desire to do away with due process as a way to make rape prosecutions easier on the alleged victims is one of the most dangerous pseudo-legal trends in America, and the Washington Supreme Court should be applauded for its decision. The idea that those accused of sexual assault are somehow less entitled to a fair trial than those accused of murder or white collar crime is the very opposite of how the law demands these cases be handled, no matter how exponentially more difficult that may make the jobs of prosecutors and victims’ advocates.
Justice is a two way street. Advocates who would throw away this concept do a great disservice to their clients, and create victims of the judicial system in the process.
No one who recognizes and respects the power and duty of the American legal tradition would accept such a thing.