Innocent until proven guilty must be gender neutral

Innocent until proven guilty must be gender neutral

By Steve Hunley

As a society, we are urged to “believe the women.”  A better standard would be to believe the truth.  I can think of two blatant instances when believing the women turned out to be disastrous.  There is the notorious example of the Duke University Lacrosse team, who hired two strippers and were subsequently accused of rape.  The stripper who made the accusation was a woman of color and there was a rush to believe the sons of privilege had committed a heinous act.  It turned out to be a hoax of the worst kind.  Quite simply, it was a lie.  Yet ten years after the accusation was made – – – and the prosecutor who pursued the case long after it was proven the boys were innocent lost his license to practice law – – – there is a murky haze hanging over the heads of the former students.  There seems to be a presumption amongst some of us that if one is accused, he must be guilty of something.

There is also another infamous example of the article published by Rolling Stone magazine of a gang rape at another university.  It was also untrue, resulting in lawsuits in the millions of dollars.  There was the case of Tawana Brawley who falsely accused a man of rape and is currently paying $627 per month, her wages garnished for compensation to the actual victim – – – the man she accused.  The Reverend Al Sharpton, who tried to inflame the issue, has already paid restitution, if not his income taxes.  Bill Cosby posted a $25,000 reward for information in the Tawana Brawley case.  Yet, it too was a rank lie.

The sleaze of some of these accusations is demonstrated by the reemergence of avowed presidential candidate and porn lawyer Michael Avenatti.

All too often when accusations are proven to be untrue, those in the media try to protect themselves by asserting something must have happened.  Somehow, those falsely accused must be guilty of some nefarious deed.  Even after going to court and winning restitution, one’s reputation doesn’t quite recover.  It is a travesty of justice.  One of the young men accused in the Duke case later said, “If police officers and a district attorney can systematically railroad us with absolutely no evidence whatsoever, I can’t imagine what they’d do to people who do not have the resources to defend themselves.”  That is equally true when the media railroad people and try them in new stories with no evidence other than the word of the accuser and we all know some accusers LIE.  It is a proven fact.

Standards of evidence must be kept high for obvious reasons.  The truth is the reputation, life and character of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is being destroyed by a political issue: abortion.  The spectacle of deranged women popping up during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings shrieking “I am Spartacus!” was orchestrated by radical pro-abortion rights advocates.  The accusation made by Deborah Raimerez was so tenuous even the New York Times refused to publish it.  Precisely because it could not be verified and by golly, they tried.

Nor does “believe the woman” apply to every woman.  Juanita Broaddrick has been insisting for decades she was raped by former President Bill Clinton and few people in the media have paid her the slightest attention.  The allegations of abuse against Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota have received nowhere near the attention focused on Judge Brett Kavanaugh despite far more evidence to back up the allegations.

When using truly evil means in the pursuit of a goal, one cannot be surprised to see that same evil permeate every aspect of life in our country.  It is the very definition of a miscarriage of justice.  The Republicans did kill the nomination of Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, but at least they did not destroy the man while doing so.

How would you feel if you, your spouse or child were falsely accused, tried in the court of public opinion by a reckless national news media?  How would you feel if that was the justice meted out to you or your loved one?  A reputation, built over a lifetime, destroyed almost instantly, a cloud of suspicion hanging over your head or that of a loved for the rest of your lives?  Justice is conspicuously absent in such instances.

Innocent until proven guilty has been subverted in this country to precisely the opposite.  Innocent until proven guilty has been a bedrock foundation of American law in this country and for good reason.

Once that is gone, we have returned to what amounts to public lynchings in this country and I can’t think of anything more disgusting than that.

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