Oregon Teen Sentenced for False Rape Charge
The blogosphere is abuzz with controversy over a Beaverton, Oregon’s judge’s sentencing of a 19-year-old woman for filing false rape charges.
The only non-blog account of the story on Google News so far is the account in The Sunday Oregonian:
Judge rules teen filed false report in rape case
A municipal judge found a 19-year-old woman guilty Friday of filing a false police report after she said she was raped by three young men. Even though the woman never said she lied or recanted her story, city prosecutors say they took the unusual step of filing charges against her because of the seriousness of her accusations.
The woman’s attorney and advocates for rape victims say the prosecution sets a dangerous precedent and could discourage others from reporting sexual assaults.
“This will have a huge chilling effect on men and women across the board,” said Erin Ellis, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Washington County. “We’re sliding backwards.”
After a day-and-a-half trial, Municipal Judge Peter A. Ackerman on Friday convicted the woman of filing a false police report, a class-C misdemeanor. Ackerman explained his decision, saying there were many inconsistencies in the stories of the four, but that he found the young men to be more credible. He also said he relied on the testimony of a Beaverton police detective and the woman’s friends who said she did not act traumatized in the days following the incident.
The Oregonian is not publishing the names of the woman or the three men because the case remains unresolved and involves allegations of sexual assault.
Since when do newspapers not publish the names of adults in criminal cases? Yes, it is customary to shield the names of alleged victims in rape cases, but never adult defendants. And the case has been resolved: The accused men have been released because the charges were deemed false and the accuser has been convicted of the crime of false accusation. The fact that there are still appeals left is irrelevant. Trial courts are the triers of fact in our system; appelate review is only about process.
This obscure case has created a blogstorm because Kevin Hayden has known the convict “since she was a baby” and attended her trial. His account:
The judge found inconsistencies in all of the stories, thus establishing reasonable doubt in every story. Yet he convicted the victim. Ã¢€˜BoysÃ¢€™ will be Ã¢€˜boysÃ¢€™.
The young womanÃ¢€™s friends were a classmate at high school and her mother. The mother a) has always been seen with an alcoholic beverage or high on prescription pills by all who know her, b) provided the 17-year old with the alcohol sheÃ¢€™d had that evening, which she stole from the store she cashiers at and c) was awaiting her boyfriendÃ¢€™s return to her home within two months of the rape. That boyfriend was in prison for molesting his own daughter. ThatÃ¢€™s hardly a credible witness with any sympathy for victims of sexual assault. But none of this could be introduced into evidence. Only the 17 year oldÃ¢€™s sexual history could be exposed.
Additionally, the two Ã¢€˜friendsÃ¢€™ were the ones who convinced the 17 year old that she should report it to the police. So if the young woman is guilty, the instigating accessories to her Ã¢€˜crimeÃ¢€™ are considered credible experts about how a rape victim should act.
Shakespeare’s Sister (also here) sees this outcome as having a chilling effect:
Rape is underreported. Reporting a rape is difficult, and can be embarrassing, shameful, hurtful, frustrating, and too often unfulfilling. Quite bluntly, there is very little incentive to report a rape. ItÃ¢€™s a terrible experience, and the likelihood of seeing justice served is a long shot. Even if it is, it usually comes at great personal cost, with oneÃ¢€™s sexual history put on public display amidst the dismay of reliving the attackÃ¢€”and an extended trial can necessitate living in a state of suspended animation, where moving on from that moment is all but impossible. The only real incentive one has is knowing the sacrifice might prevent the same thing from happening to someone else. Not a small thing, but a big personal investment.
And now, women have one less reason to come forwardÃ¢€”the possible horror of watching their attackers go free while they are found guilty.
Arthur Silber sees it as evidence of the patriarchy run amock:
I think the ultimate root is the prevailing view of women that still dominates and saturates every aspect of our culture: that, in essence, women are the root of all evil. […] The central point is simple: with regard to evil in the world, in all its manifestations and no matter what the evidence might suggest about other causes, women are the ultimate source of all evil. All of it, bar none.
When you consider that throughout history and into our own time, men have held all the positions of power and that men, and only men, control all major events, one might well wonder why men are so fragile and insecure that they cannot bear even to contemplate that anything might be their own fault. But no matter what happens, it is never their fault. It’s always someone else’s. If no other man is available to take the blame, then pick a woman — any woman. They’re inherently evil, so they can fit any bill of particulars.
Kevin Drum is confused by the report but takes a more even approach:
Phrases like “more credible” combined with specious reasoning like “did not act traumatized” seem more suitable to a civil lawsuit Ã¢€” or a dorm room bull session Ã¢€” than to a criminal prosecution. […] This prosecution sounds pretty outrageous Ã¢€” though it’s impossible to say for sure given the small amount of information at hand. I’d sure like to hear more from the judge about exactly what evidence convinced him beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim maliciously made up her story.
So would I. But Kevin is right: we don’t know much about the facts of the case. We do have, however, the fact that the prosecutor, who initially thought there was enough evidence to go to trial for rape, became convinced that the charges were made up. We have the fact that the judge weighed the evidence and concluded that she was guilty. Absent, then, evidence that the judge and prosecutor are corrupt or incompetent, one would think the natural reaction would be to believe that the woman is guilty of filing false charges or, at a minimum, “wait and see.”
It’s worth noting, too, that municipal judges in Oregon are elected or appointed by their city council. Given the sympathy the general public has for rape victims and antipathy it has for rapists, the idea that a judge whose fate is in the hands of an electorate would lightly sentence a woman for filing false rape charges is hard to swallow.
Also, from the Oregonian report, is this:
Kevin Neely, spokesman for the Oregon Attorney General’s Office, said it was rare for alleged sex crime victims to be charged much less convicted of filing a false police report. “Our concern is always with the underreporting of sexual assaults,” he said, “not with false reporting. It’s a safe bet that prosecutions for false reporting are rare.”
So, absent other evidence, wouldn’t that lead us to believe those “rare” cases are ones where the prosecutors and judges find the accuser’s conduct particularly heinous?
Ted Naemura, the assistant city attorney who prosecuted the case, said the woman’s false accusations were serious enough to lead to charges. The young men faced prison sentences of at least 7 years and a lifetime labeled as sex offenders. In addition, police spent considerable resources investigating the accusations. […] The woman faces a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and $1,250 fine, Naemura said. He would not say what sentence the city would seek.
So, basically, a woman falsely accused three men of felonies for which conviction would have ruined their lives. She gets convicted of a Class C misdemeanor for which she faces a maximum sentence that amounts to a slap on the wrist. And people think she’s the victim?
Since when do newspapers not publish the names of adults in criminal cases?
This is weird. Usually, they will not release the name of a sexual assault victim, but this is a different case.
Of course, there is nothing to preclude the blogosphere from releasing the names, which should be available in the records of the court.
In California, if you commit perjury or fabricate evidence, the penality is the same as that of the alleged crime. So, she should spend 7 years in prison and be labeled as a sexual offender.
You’re still reading Silbur?
You should have refrained from drawing a conclusion yourself, touching as your faith in the legal system may be. You are leaving out the possibility that this is a flaky judge. Also, it seems to me that before convicting someone of lying there would have to be actual concrete evidence that she lied; all this story presents is inconsistencies between stories which happens whenever four people describe any event. Kevin is right: there isn’t enough info here to know what happened.
So, you think this falls under the category of “particularly heinous” when the judge admitted there were inconsistencies in the testimonies of the young men and relied upon the judgments of people who said she “didn’t act traumatized enough”? Sounds like at best a “who knows” case. As for the judge being elected by the city council, that’s not quite the same thing as being elected by the populace, and actually is quite a shield from popular opprobrium. And finally, filing a false police report is not the same thing as perjury, which is lying under sworn testimony.
mycat: My only “conclusion” is that she has been convicted of a crime and therefore the burden is on those who would argue that she is somehow a “victim” here. That the judge is “flaky” is certainly possible. There has, however, been no evidence of that proferred or, indeed, even a suggestion of same made.
zen_more: As to the judge’s rationale for finding her guilty, all we have is a couple statements taken out of content reported by a newspaper that is obviously sympathetic to the woman in question.
I said that judges are either elected or appointed by statute. Given that the council is elected and that judges are periodically either re-appointed or not, though, the predispositon would be toward sympathy with public views.
I didn’t say that false filing and perjury are the same; I didn’t even mention perjury. Still, falsely accusing someone of a heinous crime is almost certainly worse morally than lying under oath in an effort to save yourself. Falsely accusing someone of rape is an awful, awful crime. That it is merely a Class C misdemeanor in Oregon is shocking.
“Falsely accusing someone of rape is an awful, awful crime.”
Absolutely. I had a friend (male) in college who was accused of rape. The woman who made the allegations eventually acknowledged that they were not true (But not until after he was forced to move off of campus during the investigation which started during first term finals).
What happened to her? Absolutely nothing. My friend was told by more than a few people that he was “lucky” that she backed off of the charges.
A certain segment of people will always think that he committed this crime.
She was allowed to go free in large part because of the notion that “we don’t want to make it harder for victims to come forward.”
Rape is a reprehensible cowardly act and everything that can be done to protect the victims (including making it easier for them to come forward) should be. However, false rape is also reprehensible and can destroy lives as well. Some perspective is in order with regards to punishment for this crime.
Like you say the case is fuzzy, but if alleged women’s advocates advertise it as a typical example of what happens to those who report rapes, it will discourage reports.
Essentially jumping into opinions on this thing without some serious analysis is irresponsible.
There seem to be some good questions about this decision and hey aren’t answered by saying “why would a judge make a potentially unpoular decision without good reason?” as you have done, but jumping to the conclusion that the case was decided without conclusive evidence (as to the fact that the rape was fabricated as based on disproof of claims made by the woman) as the other side seems to assert, is equally faulty. This is a serious accusation against the judge and court system and it should be overruled on appeal.
The fact that the girl’s friends who testified to her instability also encourage her to file a rape complaint does not invalidate the former impression. If someone claims they’ve been traped you tell them to report it, you don’t question their claim, they know the truth. If someone says to you later, “do you think this person may have been lying” and you say, “yes,” and posibly “especially in retrospect” it doesn’t mean you’re inconsistent, it simply means that you give the accusr of the benefit of the doubt and don’t say, “don’t report this because you are lying!”
Goddess! Is that what we’re supposed to do now, accuse people of lying or else support any claim unconditionally?
I agree that filing false rape charges is inexcusable and should never be just “let go,” BUT this case stinks to high heaven.
Also note that the two who said she wasn’t “traumatized enough” are the SAME two who encouraged her to come forward and file charges. As everyone knows, VERY few rape victims actually do come forward, out of shame, fear, etc. I’m not sure about the statistics, but I’ve read that it’s something like less than 10% of rape victims actually go to the police.
The outrage over false rape charges is warranted, but it’s WAY out of proportion with the reality of how many times it happens.
False accusations of rape are much more common than most people realise.
The FBI estimates that 9% of all rape accusations are false, but other studies suggest that as many as 40% or more may be false.
False accusations of rape are as much of a problem as real rape.
False accusations of rape are as much of a problem as real rape.
I’m guessin’ you haven’t been raped, Evil Pundit.
Rape is a uniquely difficult crime to prevent and to punish, and it should be treated with special rules. An accusation should be carefully vetted before being acted upon. And a wrong or false accusation shouldn’t be prosecuted unless it’s an egregious example, because there’s already such a chilling effect against reporting that one’s been raped.
As for the particular case, add me to the “need more facts” category.
I’m guessin you haven’t been convicted for a rape of which you were innocent. Years in jail, rapes in jail, that sort of thing, right?
The thing that makes most rape difficult in the legal arena is that it mostly is a matter of he-said, she-said.
One can find evidence of sexual activity, and even finger the perp through DNA, and we still have the question of consent, as with Kobe Bryant and that relative of Swimmer Kennedy in Florida.
Whatever other aspects there are to rape, the difficulties it presents to the legal system are practically unique.
What would an non-egregious example of false reporting look like?
IMO, if you want to unchill the issue of reporting, you ought to make it very hard on those who fake it. And women ought to make it very, very hard on those who fake it, as it makes the rest of the women suspect and vulnerable. Women have a particular interest in seeing the system is as clear and uncluttered with this crap as possible and some idea of sisterly loyalty is counteproductive.
I don’t see the benefit of sending the occasional innocent guy to prison so as to make it easier for rape victims to come forward.
Maybe it’s just me.
Under Oregon law the legal age of consent is 18.
The girl was 17, the three “boys” were over 18.
As in most states, relative age is a defense:
A study paid for by the USAF found (to their great surprise) that 60% of rape charges in the military and civilian worlds are false…..not unsubstantiated, not UN prosecutable due to lack of evidence….but out and out lies used for multiple reasons ranging from a cover story for being late to work to testing the love of a spouse.
If false allegations were punished in a meaningful way it would RAISE rape convictions. I know that sounds strange, but think about it.
With so many bogus rape claims (anywhere between 9-60% depending on the study) juries and the public are skeptical. Discouraging false claims would keep the false claim rate lower, thereby RAISING convictions.
Rape is a unique crime? Ok, I can buy that. But the very reason the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act (at best a band-aid) was passed was that 10% of prisoners REPORT being raped. And unlike our society the rape culture in prison vis a vis reporting and support is not conducive to being a “rat”.
And those men are not raped ONCE, but repeatedly.
So, going to prison for rape is YEARS of sexual torture and THAT is what this woman almost did to these men.
She should be locked up for the same amount of time those men would have been.
It’s why we have punishments for crimes: a deterrent.
I am so glad to see justice being done like this. Some say that this case will have a chilling effect, causing rapes to go underreported. WRONG. The only chilling effect this will have is (hopefully) decreasing the number of FALSE accusations, which will give only the illusion of underreportage. Another way to decrease the number of false accusations is to print the names of the accusers in newspapers. That will surely make this type of woman think twice before making a false claim.
Also, while the following statistic is a bit dated and somewhat narrow in scope, I will present it to you because I believe it is still true and that similar statistics are common throughout the United States: In 1985, HALF the reported rapes in New York City NEVER HAPPENED. Fifty percent were false accusations by angry girlfriends and angry wives to get their guys in trouble. SCARY, huh?
The problem arises when you have a 50-50 split between true allegations and false allegations. Do you believe all of these women or do you believe none of them? The humanitarian way to view this is to believe ALL accusers. Unfortunately, this puts a lot of innocent men in prison. I just hope in the future we see more women exposed as liars and more innocent men staying out of prison.
“The outrage over false rape charges is warranted, but itÃ¢Â€Â™s WAY out of proportion with the reality of how many times it happens.”
The outrage is over THIS case. If another case comes up the outrage will be THAT case. Moral people don’t cast universal aspersions. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and the guilty should pay.
How do we know that rape is underreported? If we know about it, it’s been reported–to somebody. If it hasn’t been reported–to somebody–how do we know it happened?
My guess is that the number of rapes reported to the authorities is less than the number of allegations made to…who? Friends?
If we have this many false charges of rape made to the authorities, how many false allegations made to…somebody else?
In this day and age. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions. Rapist should be put away and purgerors should also suffer the same fate as others who commit crimes.
There are so many stories about women falsely reporting crimes and they are not getting punished because society feels sorry for them. Of course they will blame a man for everything that goes wrong. People have to wake up and realize that woman sometimes can commit more heinous crimes then men.
It may be a coincidence, but it appears that Nike has been hurt financially by the Kobe Briant scandal and Nike is based in, yup, Beaverton, Oregon.
My only response to your lauding of what you call ‘a more even approach’ is this: you obviously have very little empathy for women – you automatically do what you chide Shakes Sis and Arthur Silber for; concluding the rape was bogus, because the ‘justice’ system said so. You also seem to indicate the girl (girl – not woman. No matter how much a certain class of men would like it to be – 17 is still a child) would only get a slap on the wrist, so who cares – right?
Well, unlike you, I actually did a little research before stating my opinion. The facts of the case are in dispute – the child’s mother may have had some complicity, and the adult men involved could have been charged with statutory rape, as that is current Oregon law. But they werenÃ¢Â€Â™t – only the girl (now 19) paid any price at all. Well – I guess that’s OK by you; after all, it’s not like it was anyone you gave a damn about (assuming there are females you give a damn about). I noted many responses just like yours – men getting up on their moral high horse decrying what we pesky feminists considered an egregious miscarriage of justice. Ah well – its not like you will ever have to suffer through the mind-numbing violence of rape; unless of course, through some egregious miscarriage of justice you end up in jail with the wrong cell-mate. But then – only true criminals ever get convicted of crimes – right? I mean, itÃ¢Â€Â™s not like the justice system is ever wrong?
Let’s break this down a bit shall we?
“My only response to your lauding of what you call Ã¢Â€Â˜a more even approachÃ¢Â€Â™ is this: you obviously have very little empathy for women Ã¢Â€Â“ “
I must have missed you at the “Not In Our Name” anti-rad-fem rally where you decried false accusations that imprison men, subject THEM to rape, and destroy who sections of their lives.
Just because a person says a system must have balance and not cater to ONE gender does not mean the person is without empathy.
But, this is a typical rad-feminist response: put the person asking for balance and fairness on the defensive.
Sorry, didn’t you get the memo? The P.C. 90’s are over and the USA is more sophisticated as to rape.
She continues in her one sided argument:
” you automatically do what you chide Shakes Sis and Arthur Silber for; concluding the rape was bogus, because the Ã¢Â€Â˜justiceÃ¢Â€Â™ system said so.”
Ahhh, and when a man is pronounced guilty you are the FIRST one to stand up and say: “just because he was pronounced guilty doesn’t mean he did it … there is a lot of questions to this case” – right?
She seems to conveniently forget women who molest boys in this part:
” You also seem to indicate the girl (girl Ã¢Â€Â“ not woman. No matter how much a certain class of men would like it to be Ã¢Â€Â“ 17 is still a child) would only get a slap on the wrist, so who cares Ã¢Â€Â“ right?”
You mean how Mary Kay LeTourneau was only sent away for SEVEN years after repeatedly sleeping with her 12 year old student?
Or how Debra LaFave was given NO jail time.
Plz DO post links to where you were up in arms about this ….
Showing your blatant sexism is EASY when you wear it on your sleeve.
She continues to make excuses and ignoring the double standards:
“Well, unlike you, I actually did a little research before stating my opinion. The facts of the case are in dispute Ã¢Â€Â“ the childÃ¢Â€Â™s mother may have had some complicity, and the adult men involved could have been charged with statutory rape, as that is current Oregon law. But they werent Ã¢Â€Â“ only the girl (now 19) paid any price at all. Well Ã¢Â€Â“ I guess thatÃ¢Â€Â™s OK by you; after all, itÃ¢Â€Â™s not like it was anyone you gave a damn about (assuming there are females you give a damn about). I noted many responses just like yours Ã¢Â€Â“ men getting up on their moral high horse decrying what we pesky feminists considered an egregious miscarriage of justice.”
Feminists consider justice to be giving one standard for men and another for women. It’s no different than “white justice” for blacks back in the day.
You decide guilt, innocence, mitigation of circumstances or lack thereof purely based on genetics. How does that robe and hood fit by the way?
The “men cannot understand” cannard:
” Ah well Ã¢Â€Â“ its not like you will ever have to suffer through the mind-numbing violence of rape; unless of course, through some egregious miscarriage of justice you end up in jail with the wrong cell-mate. But then Ã¢Â€Â“ only true criminals ever get convicted of crimes Ã¢Â€Â“ right? I mean, its not like the justice system is ever wrong?”
The Prison Rape Reform Act of 2003 was enacted due to 10% of all prisoners being raped REPEATEDLY. Consider: there are 2.5-2.7 MILLION men in prison. That’s 250K-270K men raped REPEATEDLY – and the feminists are doing … WHAT exactly to spread the word and stop it?
And as far as the justice system being wrong .. how about men spending 5, 10, 15, or 20 years in prison for rapes they didn’t comnmit – being later freed by DNA.
Do the feminists think that the women who have done this should go to jail for the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME!?
Not one of those women who put men in jail is serving a DAY … never mind that we need a National False Accuser Data Base to track these predators.
The P.C. 90’s are over cupcake. Women will start going to JAIL for false accusations. No longer can your shrill cries that espouse one sided sexism be taken at face vaule.
And stomping your dainty little foot no longer works.
Richard Aubrey referred above to “Swimmer Kennedy.”
Cute. Do you also refer to the president’s wife as “Vehicular Homicide Bush”?
One prosecutor determined there was insufficient evidence to gain a successful prosecution. That’s not a declaration of innocence.
Another prosecutor, possibly at the behest of a detective’s hunch, or possibly with political pressure being applied from somewhere (the latter speculative) chose to prosecute the young woman.
Now, Beaverton Muni is not designated as ‘a court of record’ (an oddity I’m not previously familiar with) but as near as I can tell the appeal will NOT be about process, but simply a retrial in a court of record (County Court).
Also, for years, many folks in Portland have held the bias that there’s a fair amount of corruption in the Beaverton PD. Some theorize this is merely further evidence of it. Frankly, I don’t know; I’m just passing on the word on the street.
But I am firmly convinced that the victim would not commit perjury and would not lie about anything that could put others in legal jeopardy. My bias was mentioned at the outset and will remain steadfast.
For others, who don’t know her, speculative points about the percentage of false reporters indicates a range so broad that it suffices to say that nobody knows how much false reporting occurs. And missing in those stats as well is the percentage of convictions that result from false reports. Maybe most false reporters are not believable at the outset, or recant along the way. Again, I/we don’t know, do we?
As a side matter, I’d say further progress is needed in the way our justice system deals with rape. Many commenters on many blogs have reported being raped and further traumatized or not helped by the criminal justice system. I’ve only seen one commenter mention that he was falsely accused.
Based on that, it’s tempting to presume that improperly prosecuted rapes are the bigger problem by far. I believe that, even without mathematical substantiation.
Still, none of it’s germane to my reason for raising the story, which is not about percentages, comparatives or fixing society. It’s about a woman I’m convinced was wronged, several times and my fervent hope that justice comes for her. There’s nothing speculative about any of that; there’s just outrage at what’s occurred.
I was also false accused. I don’t need to wear it on my sleeve, and it is exactly this kind of dismissal of the LIFE LONG damage done to a person like me that makes many of us advocates while NOT wanting to tell everyone that you were accused of rape.
Notice that no one denigrated the ones who said they were raped, so this whole “stigma” thing is overblown – or can you show me ONE anonymous (as the internet is) person who blamed them for it?
And … lol, many men accused of rape don’t want to talk about it or are in prison where internet access, shall we say, is limited.
I am the accused. And I thank those who are supporting me. I have not lied. And like in any rape case this has become a he said she said story. I have not lied and have never changed my story.
To the above:
For YEARS I felt SO alone after being falsely accused. Some tidbits of knowledge that I learned along the way:
1) Don’t tell people about it, more than you HAVE to. Trust me: they don’t hear “falsely accused” they just hear “rape” and then they tell people all about you as you are the most interesting piece of gossip of the day. Even if they believe you and mean well … people tend to hear “rape” and not the “falsely accused” or “she was found guilty” part.
2) Find some online groups to talk to about it. When I found them I had been stewing and angry for YEARS. And my first posts reflected it. Now that I am a men’s and fathers (I was denied my dad for 20 years due to a bitter divorce) advocate I am still having people toss up my early posts (from like YEARS ago) when I try to make resonable arguments about balance in the system.
3) Most of the falsely accused (of whatever crime, greater or lesser) feel the need to explain THEIR side to people – LOTS of people. Brother, you don’t owe anyone anything. No one expects (no fair minded person) you to rehash the pain or justify your innocence.
Many online men’s groups can a be a blessing as you will find others like you or others who have had friends go through what you went through. It cuts through a lot of the garbage and baggage of having to explain yourself, to defend that you dated a psycho, or that you are not a threat.
Have faith and know that you are not alone.