BY DAN VALENTI
From the Associated Press
RICHMOND, Calif. – Attorneys say a teenage girl who was gang-raped outside a Northern California high school reached a $4 million settlement with the school district.
The value of the deal in the civil claim against the West Contra Costa Unified School District was revealed this week. It was approved by a judge in November, but its terms were not previously disclosed.
The girl’s attorney, Richard Schoenberger, says district officials agreed that it was not in the girl’s best interest to endure depositions or a civil trial.
The Contra Costa Times reports that only $100,000 of the amount is coming from the school district. The rest is covered by a joint powers authority of which the district is a member.
Six people have pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the October 2009 rape, which occurred during the Richmond High School homecoming dance.
THE PLANET SAYS:
About the Richmond, Calif., case specifically, the public cannot make a judgment one way of the other. The case settles a civl case the girl’s family brought against the school district. The case didn’t come to trial, and nothing could be proven or disproven.
A hearing last month concluded that six men should face criminal charges. They are Elvis Torrentes, 23, of Richmond, Calif.l Ari Morales, 17, of San Pablo; Marcelles Peter, 18, of Pinole; Jose Montano, 20, of Richmond; Manual Ortega, 20, of Richmond, and John Crane, 44, of Richmond.
In our criminal justice system, we hold that innocence is the default position. Until the accused is proven guilty, he or she shall be considered innocent. This great notion applies to most crime. It does not apply to allegations of sexual misconduct, especially rape allegations.
An Improperly Supervised School Dance
The brief facts of the case are these:
* The teenage girl (age not given) left the 2009 homecoming dance at Richmond High School. She joined a classmate and went with him to hang out with a group of young people who were drinking in a courtyard on the campus. The girl became heavily intoxicated (police found her with a blood alcohol level of 0.355 percent). Police charge she was then beaten, stripped, robbed, and repeatedly raped while others watched.
Points of commentary interest:
(*) Don’t you love how the school district made excuses for itself? First, how in God’s name could this incident occur on campus? Where was supervision? Where was security? Look at the elements: homecoming dance, teenagers, dark of night = It’s a formula for substance abuse (in this case, drinking) and sexual behavior.
(*) Second, the school — actually, the West Contra Costs School District — said it didn’t go to court out of concern for the welfare of the girl. This doesn’t wash with common sense, since the girl will have to endure depositions and many legal reminders of what happened to her in the criminal case that is to follow. One could argue that having her testify now might help her later.
(*) Third, the district “comforts” taxpayers by saying only $100 grand of the $4 million settlement will have to be paid by the school. The rest is covered by a “joint powers authority.” And just what is that? It’s a group of public agencies (school districts and cities, mostly) that pool money to cover such losses. In short, not only are the West Contra Costa taxpayers on the hook but also those of other districts and cities.
(*) Does $4 million sound right? Is the settlement too little, considering the trauma the girl suffered if the rape indeed happened? Is it too much? Why should taxpayers have to set up a family for life because of what might have occurred, however unfortunate it might be. The money won’t make anything go away for the girl if what she claims is true.
(*) What is the girl’s responsibility for making the choice to drink to the point of passing out? Is she blameless here, or does she bear responsibility for her choices?
Up to Half of Rape Claims are False
Like domestic violence, child abuse, and DWI, the crime of rape has passed from ignored to over -prosecuted, according to the majority of available data. The pendulum, which in earlier times made light of these serious crimes, now has swung too much the other way. The hysteria surrounding allegations of criminal sex destroy the chances of impartiality. This is not good for society.
Let’s be clear: In saying this, The Planet is not making any judgment on the Richmond, Calif., case. It may have happened as prosecutors claim, or maybe it didn’t. The criminal trial will address this as best it can. But how good can that be?
In rape charges, the accused is presumed guilty until proven innocent — much like the process that railroaded young Bernie Baran in Pittsfield, Mass. Baran was accused and convicted of child molestation in what the appellate courts determined was a trumped-up case that played upon the witch-like hysteria surrounding the nature of such a charge. Baran was railroaded. Like children accusing others of child molestation in the 1980s, a woman making a claim of rape is always believed. Likewise, the person charged is never believed.
‘Why Some Women Lie About Rape’
Data indicate that rape is a notoriously shaky allegation. In a 2003 Cosmopolitan article titled “Why Some Women Lie About Rape,” Linda Fairstein, who worked in the Manhattan criminal justice system prosecuting rape allegations, told the truth of what happens in rape cases. Many, up to half, of the cases where women claim rape are fraudulent.
A landmark study of done at Purdue University showed that 41 percent of the allegations of rape were phony (Kanin, Purdue, 1994). In a followup study that looked at 64 cases of alleged rape at two large, unnamed Midwestern universities, 50 percent, or 32, were recanted or shown to be blatantly false. They never happened. The allegations often involved a woman’s revenge on a man for breaking up a relationship.
Many of the remaining cases get into the fuzzy area of consent. Here, there’s no dispute that sex occurred. Both the man and woman agree. The difference is that the “victim” claims it was not consenual, while the “accused” claims otherwise. This is the “case” against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, except that authorities haven’t change Assange with rape.
The point is that the criminal justice system has been so thoroughly conditioned by the social engineering of radical feminists that rape claims are almost sullied even before the facts of a case can be determined.
This is not just an injustice to those who are falsely accused, but it also sets back the cause of reform and injured many women who are, in fact, victims to this awful crime. It’s so bad that in some states (North Carolina, for example), a defendant who can factually prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s innocent can be convicted based solely on the woman’s claim.
False Premises Never Lead to Truth
This is because of the irrational false premise claiming that “Women never lie about rape.” Yes, the claim is absurd. No one with common sense would believe it — except, apparently, the courts, radical feminists, and gold-diggers looking for the mother load. And what happens to women who make false claims of rape then later recant or who are determined to have lied: nothing. She goes free, her name is not mentioned, and her innocent accuser’s life has meanwhile been ruined.
Unfortunately, society cannot have an intelligent discussion of this issue. For instance, who will bring up the obvious point of dress? You don’t need Purdue University to prove that allowing young women to dress in an overtly provocative manner in school does not factor into the discussion. What happens to a
typical high school population when you put young girls who take J-Lo, Beyonce, and Paris Hilton as their fashion arbiters into the mix with healthy, red-blooded teenage boys? When the girl next to the 16-year-old boy is falling out of her blouse, do you think his mind is on study? Don’t answer just yet.
To this volatile mix, add a popular culture utterly obsessed with blatantly promiscuous sex, and then put an adult book store into the hands of every kid between 5th and 12th grade (also knows as internet-capable cell “phones”). What, we’re supposed to pretend this has no effect on how young people behave?
One cannot push back the culture to the year 1958 and the Mr. and Mrs. Ward Cleaver family, but a society can begin to take healthy steps forward. One of the most effective is also one of the least expensive. This reform would help adults regain control of the classroom, improve academic performance, reduce problem behavior, end “clothes competition,” and give kids a boost of AUTHENTIC self-esteem. What is this miracle solution?
UNIFORMS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS. NOW. IT CAN BE DONE. IT SHOULD BE DONE.
This move is easily within the ability of the Pittsfield School Department. Will someone explain to The Planet why this “cannot” or should not be done?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Praise winter. Have fun. We’ll see you back on The Planet on Monday, because Sunday is a day of rest.