Saturday, December 3, 2011

Protecting Child Rapists

Coach, why is it the right thing to defend accused rapists and attack the accuser?  Is it ok if you have a team in the Top 10?   

   I continue to be appalled at the disgusting behavior of powerful men as they seek to defend their friends from allegations of child rape.
   Coach Paterno ("not my department") has been fired from his job, rightfully so.
   Now another allegation has surfaced from another Big East school.  This time it is an Assistant Coach, Bernie Fine, working for Coach Jim Boeheim, who by the way is leading a top 10 NCAA basketball team. 
   The message is as follows:  if you say you are a victim, Coach Boeheim will trash you in the media, call you a liar and accuse you of trying to get extort money from them.  He will whip up thousands of fans who will support him, and who will gladly harrass you as well. Boeheim richly deserves to be fired for attempting to intimidate the accusers.  No wonder victims are afraid to speak up.  
  I doubt Boeheim's assertion that the Penn State affair makes it lucrative for young men to claim to have been raped in the anus by an Assistant Coach.  Very improbable that anyone would go through this humiliation in hopes for a payday from some talk TV show.  
   Boeheim's apology is totally a crock as well.  "I regret any harm that I caused."  Well, how sweet, but a little vague, isn't it?  Boeheim very definitely trashed the accuser and accused them of lying and extortion, and I'm not sure if you can say stuff like that without getting sued for your undershorts, apology or no.
   I hope he is absolutely right about the innocence of the accused, but even if that is true, the trashing of the accusers aren't going to go away.  You can't simply take  back something like that.

   This is totally the wrong procedure.  Why don't we all take a minute and think through the proper response?  After all it could happen to any one of us.  Someone we know might be accused of a serious crime or moral lapse, and we may be called upon to say something. 

   I think if it were me, and someone accused one of my friends or co-workers (even if I was totally sure the accused person was innocent), I think I would say something like this:

   First, we're going to take the allegation seriously.  

   Second, we're going to alert all of the appropriate authorities and have an investigation and do everything as thoroughly as possible to get to the facts of the case. 
   Third, we're going to ask everyone to respect the privacy of the victim as well as the accused rapist to the extent possible, and try not to jump to any conclusions.   
   Fourth we're going to remind everyone that in America, the accused is innocent till proven guilty, but we're also not going to impugn the motives of the accuser, either. 
  The point is that many of us seem to reflexively think that their duty is to defend the accused and attack the accuser.  This is totally wrong, and we need to reprogram our thinking immediately.  

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