The Duke Rape Case, TalkLeft, and FrontPageMag

It seems unlikely that many “Alas” readers are fans of how the liberal website “TalkLeft” has been discussing the Duke rape case (you can find a summary of the case here) . Because although Jeralyn of “TalkLeft” is a liberal, she’s also a defense attorney, and her inclination is to suggest that the accusation is false.

Nonetheless, she’s worth reading because she is a defense attorney (and an excellent one, from all I’ve heard), and there’s a good chance that if the Duke rape case ever winds up in court, the defense lawyers will tell the jury and the press something similar to Jeralyn’s current speculations. Jeralyn’s posts on this case (so far) can be read here, here and here.

Right now, it appears that any story told by a defense attorney will need to explain these elements in particular:

  • Medical records and interviews showed that the woman had signs, symptoms and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally.”
  • Evidence that a physical fight took place: Bruises and injuries to the alleged victim (who I’m going to call Mary Doe from now on), some of Mary Doe’s fingernails broken off and and found at the scene, items belonging to Mary Doe (such as her cell phone) left behind.
  • Mary Doe’s claim that she was raped by three men at the party. Why would she lie?

Here’s the narrative Jeralyn suggests – I’ve pieced it together from a few different places in the post and comments here:

The accuser arrived at the house at 11:30. The other dancer was already inside. They began to dance. After a few minutes, they felt threatened by the racial and sexual comments, left and got in a car outside. They both were coaxed to go back in and they did, but got separated.

There could have been a physical assault without a sexual assault… There apparently was an issue about the money. They paid up front and were angry she quit after a few minutes and wanted their money back. That could have resulted in a physical altercation.

One interpretation could be that the nails did not come off during the alleged rape but during a physical assault over the money. …

In short, it doesn’t look like anything incriminating or confirming a rape was found in the [house] or the vehicle.

The implication is that Mary Doe has made up the rape charge for revenge against the Lacrosse players who beat her up during a fight over money.

What about the medical evidence? In an earlier post, Jeralyn quoted a pathologist to suggest that this evidence cannot prove rape:

DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Usually, a physician can’t tell consensual from non-consensual. They can tell whether there’s been intercourse or not intercourse, but not whether it’s consensual because one can have bruises and certain injuries from consensual sex and one can have no injuries from non-consensual sex.

So a defense attorney could argue that all the medical evidence shows is that Mary Doe had sex with someone before she went to the Lacross players’ house that night. Alternatively, if the DNA evidence conclusively shows that the accused men (whoever they turn out to be) did have sex with Mary Doe, it will be claimed that the sex was consensual prostitution, followed by a fight over the money.

I believe Mary Doe is telling the truth. But Jeralyn’s narrative accounts for all the known facts and probably can’t be proven wrong. If this case ever comes to a court, I expect that the defense will tell a story pretty much like the one Jeralyn is telling, and it won’t surprise me if a judge or a jury buys it.

* * *

Meanwhile, at the vile, David Yeagley wrote an incredibly racist, woman-hating, stripper-hating article about the Duke rape case (Delusions of Mediocrity, Echidne, Sadly, No! and Feministe have fisked the article). There is simply too much offensive material to quote it all, but here’s a few examples to give you the flavor of it:

The reports say the woman is a divorced, 27-year-old “mother” of two, attending North Carolina Central University. She is not a person of note, and is said to do exotic dancing as a side job to pick up extra cash. …

For me as a reader, I had to stop in amazement at the contempt Yeagley managed to get across with the simple device of scare quotes around the word “mother.” You almost have to admire the efficiency – a lesser racist woman-hater might have taken a whole paragraph to pack in the hatefulness Yeagley can communicate just with punctuation.

Then I started reading again, and had to stop again almost instantly because the vileness of the scare-quoted mother is nothing compared to the vileness of how Yeagley uses the phrase “person of note.”

So, that black woman said, “No,” eh? First, she’s in a profession where she’s expected to do tricks for clients. Second, she’s walking into a house full of young, drunken athletes, who happen to be white. Third, she called the police and complained once; then she went back, but then left. And then she went back again! That’s a peculiar way of saying “No,” it seems to me. …

But, exotic dancing…and then to cry “abuse”? This may be pushing victimhood beyond reason. …

(Yeagley in comments:) The woman went there to “turn’em on.” That’s what she’s getting paid for. That she would three times RETURN, when she had every reason to fear, shows excessively poor judgement on her part. She was literally asking for it, for whatever happened anyway.

Remember, if you’re black, and a woman, and a sex worker, then you’ve already consented to have sex, and you can’t be raped. You’ve literally asked for it (in the figurative sense of the word “literally”). And if you think otherwise, why that’s just plain pushing victimhood beyond reason!

(By the way, “Minnobserver” at Feministe pointed out that although Yeager claims to be a adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies, he’s not listed on their webpage. I just phoned the UO CLS office, and the person there says he’s never heard of Yeager and doesn’t have him listed as any kind of professor or instructor.)

* * *

Yeagley is an obvious, over-the-top racist and woman-hater, and it’s hard to imagine anyone other than fellow racist woman-haters taking him seriously (not that Frontpage will suffer any blacklash among conservatives for printing this garbage).

But what’s striking to me is that if a defense such as the one Jeralyn at TalkLeft outlined works, it will work because it appeals to Yeagley-like attitudes in the jurors and in the public.

Why are people so quick to believe that if a sex worker says she’s been raped, she must be lying?

Why is it a viable strategy for a defense attorney to virtually admit that their clients are the sort of scum who’d gang up on a lone woman, beat her up, and take her money – but then ask the jury to find that their clients are credible witnesses, and the beat-up woman who claims she’s been raped is not?

Because in our society a black sex worker is not a “person of note,” but rich white athletes are. What’s rare about Yeagley isn’t that he thinks it, but that he says it so overtly.

This thread is open to feminist, pro-feminist and feminist-friendly posters only. If you don’t think you fall into Amp’s definition of “feminist, pro-feminist and feminist-friendly,” and you wish to make a comment, you may do so at the cross-post on Creative Destruction.

This entry posted in Duke Rape Case, Prostitution, Porn and Sex Work, Race, racism and related issues, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

106 Responses to The Duke Rape Case, TalkLeft, and FrontPageMag

  1. 101
    Stephanie B. says:

    He’s(Yegley) the same guy who went hysterical over Janet/Justin debacle two years ago. He said among other things:

    “Jackson and Timberlake should therefore be charge with a mass felony, and immediately convicted, and fined, and sentenced to appropriate jail time. The penalty should be in accordance with the number of people affected. Now, is it only the people in the Houston stadium that saw it, or also all the people of the state of Texas, or all the people in the United States and in the world who saw it on TV? Well, this is clearly beyond calculation”

    “Around white societies, some “black” people apparently have doubts about their sexual desirability. They still feel unaccepted, and unwanted, so in the name of “equality,” they’re determined to assert their bodies as sexually desirable. They want to force themselves in everyone’s face, like it or not.

    That’s what Janet Jackson’s recent episode at the Super Bowl was all about. She broadcast her private body part in the most dramatic way, in the world’s face. Moreover, it was a white man, Justin Timberlake, that played the partof desiring her “black” body. Therefore, the message was loud and clear. “See?! Everyone wants my body! Especially the white man! I just proved it!'”

    He blamed Janet then. Now the recent rape victim is his target. Who’s next on his hit list?

  2. 102
    Aaron V. says:

    Heh….I’d hate to see Yeagley (who is not a person of note) react to Derrick Foxworth’s e-mails.

    Getting back to the subject at hand, I think the party clearing out within 5 minutes after the complainant and her friend left is a sign of *something bad happening*. After all, if it was just a dispute over money or a stripper doing a brief or poor performance, why stop the par-tay? It insinuates that something serious happened, serious enough for the hosts to end the party and try to get their stories straight.

    And teamrican – you might have forgotten that the stripper(s) would have already known the address of the house – certainly one of the two would have written it down or Mapquested it.

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  5. 103
    anonymous1 says:

    From the website:

    Well it’s official, Two Duke University lacrosse players turned themselves in to police early Tuesday morning and were booked on charges of raping and kidnapping based on allegations made by a 27-year-old mother of two who attends a historically black college across town. The woman, who is African American, said she was held in a bathroom, raped and sodomized by three white men at the party in a university-owned house off campus on March 13. The woman, who is an exotic dancer, was hired to perform at a team party.

    Collin H. Finnerty, 19, and Reade William Seligmann, 20, were handcuffed and driven by sheriff’s deputies to the Durham County jail. Reports are they were brought before a magistrate, who set bail at $400,000 each.

    This situation has brought disgrace Duke University.

    Yet truth be told, Duke University is not the only University to be disgraced as of late.

    You see Black College Wire reported recently,

    The chairman of the chemistry department at Langston University in Oklahoma has been arrested and charged with engaging in a lewd act after a police officer said he observed two men in what appeared to be sexual activity in an Oklahoma City parking lot.

    John K. Coleman, 62, was arrested early April 8 along with a transient who police said had escaped from a penitentiary and was carrying a crack pipe.

    What a disgrace at Duke and at Langston. both cases make me sick.

    Read more on the websites:

  6. 104
    mike green says:

    I would like to present a couple of points as to the three areas Ampersand noted which would ostensibly would pose difficulties for a defense of the players. These areas are 1) the issue that a medical exam allegedly found evidence of forcible anal and vaginal assault; 2) the alleged signs of physical assault bruising swelling, consistent with a beating, as well as false nails allegedly ripped off and found with DNA in the bathroom of the players’ house where the accuser was allegedly raped; 3) why would the accuser lie about being raped, thus her charge alone should be sufficient to credit her rape claim is true.

    As to the first issue of the medical exam, the claim is highly misleading. To begin with, the test only found diffuse swelling in the vaginal region, not bruising or tearing. Moreover, the story accuser as well as her driver concede that the accuser had sex with at least three other men, including her boyfriend based on the DNA swab, and the driver based on his interview with the police where he also acknowledged he took her on the hotel dates on the night of the attack. Moreover, she used a vibrator in her show at the Duke party. All this sexual activity could easily explain the general swelling witnessed by the nurse who examined the accuser.

    Furthermore, the nurse who examined the victim in addition to not finding the serious injuries suggested, was also a trainee and not listened to diagnose or determine whether sexual swelling (or any injuries though none such were found) was the result of rape, especially when she had engaged in such a large amount of consensual sexual activity professionally and personally just prior to the exam.

    What is dispositive as to the origin of the sexual swelling is that it could not have occurred as she claimed it did. She told the examiner that she was raped anally and orally with the players’ penises, and that the players were not wearing condoms or using objects (like a broomstick, for example). The fact that none of the players’ DNA was present in even the most minute quantities in her vagina, around her vagina, or on her person, belies that claim. That is, the claim is a lie. Her story that she was raped by condomless players is not only a lie but is physically impossible. DNA transfers so easily, especially with rough sex, prejaculatory fluids, skin, hair, transfer so readily, that their absence renders her account physically impossible.

    As to the second point, her signs of beating, the doctors exam again contradicted her claims. The accuser charged she was repeatedly beaten, choked, and strangled during a brutal rape which took half an hour. The doctor exam found no bruising, abrasions, lacerations or swelling, except for a minor cut on her knee and ankle, neither of which was bleeding. Further, the cut on the knee was visible in video clips, widely released, and taken prior to her performance, and thus her alleged attack. So rather than confirming her attack, or posing a problem for the defense, the provide further evidence her story is utterly lacking in credibilty and is contradicted by the medical evidence, which proves no beating took place in the manner described by the accuser.

    As to the third point, why would she lie? This is a trope, not an argument. there are many reasons beyond what I listed above to not only raise doubts about her story, but prove it was materially false. The complete contradiction of the accusers charges based on the DNA and medical evidence are sufficient to do this, however. Her grossly inconsistant iterations of her story, which included groping in the car, 20 men rather than three raping her, the co;;usion of her fellow dancer, Kim Roberts in the rape, are other reasons to doubt her credibilty. That is, at least pro tanto, which of these 5 stories are we supposed to believe? The issue is not motives to lie, and a laundry list would just invite the charge of stereotyping rape victims, but whether she did in fact lie. And that fact, that she lied, requires no assasination of the accusser’s character to firmly and clearly establish.