This is so the worst thing that you will read all day #steubenville

UPDATED WITH MORE LINKAGE
[Content note: rape culture, victim-blaming, slut-shaming]

Michael Crook: Travesty of justice in Steubenville (read down to Crook’s conclusion about bystander laws to fully absorb the marvel that is Michael)

I don’t think any state in the union has a law that force someone to help, and if they do, it’ll be a major legal issue, because it seems unconstitutional to force one to help another. In that sense, it could wind up being a good thing if it goes to court, because then the silly “render aid” laws that exist can be struck down.

That’s just the beginning.
UPDATE 2013/03/19: Crook has now taken his Twitter account private.


Coming a close second, this: CNN grieves for the rapists – then another female reporter for CNN topped her sadface for the convicted rapists by referring to Jane Doe as “allegedly” drunk.

 

There’s plenty more fail out there in the reportage of this verdict. Share your rage in the comments.


I’ll leave you with one article, on Yahoo! Sports of all places, to balance the dross – share links to others as you find them.

@DanWetzel: In Steubenville, a culture of extreme arrogance collapses in two tearful rape convictions.

P.S. Also Miri’s glorious rant over at Brute Reason:

More About Justice and Less About Revenge: On Reading the Steubenville Coverage Too Early in the Goddamn Day

P.P.S. A typically thorough summary and exhortation from John Scalzi – Stubenville and CNN and the Rest (his piece and Dan Wetzel’s piece above might be particularly useful to send to folks who routinely dismiss “angry feminist” links).


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About tigtog

tigtog blogs a lot elsewhere, but here on Feministe she mostly does the tech support and feeds the giraffe. tigtog tweets in irregular flurries @vivsmythe.
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158 Responses to This is so the worst thing that you will read all day #steubenville

  1. GallingGalla says:

    As soon as I got to “buyer’s remorse”, I had to quit reading Crook’s article to avoid smashing my fist into my screen. What the fuck is it with people like him?

    • Li says:

      I managed to get to the third dot point before my conniption came on.

    • PM says:

      Michael Crook is a notorious, prolific troll. He used to have a site up about how all US soldiers are scum who deserve to die, and has been on national TV debating the likes of Sean Hannity because of it. He’s a sad, unhinged man who gets off on the anger and frustration of others.

    • Khw says:

      The whole “buyers remorse” thing did it for me too.

    • wanttobeanon says:

      Wow. He’s so proud of being a complete asshole. He seems especially pleased to have let a kid die. I can’t even.

    • tmc says:

      Umm…am I the only one that thinks an article like that is something only a rapist would write? I can’t help but think that any person that actually believes such poison would be a legitimate danger to women, and not just in the passive “I saw a dude sexually harassing a woman and just walked on by cuz I’m sure she deserved it” kind of way that he mentions.

      • Bruce McGlory says:

        Its not just you. That’s always what I immediately think to. Either they themselves are rapists, or someone they care about is, and therefore they must attack a victim.

        I mean, when someone defends a racist, i assume that they are racists as well. Not too much of stretch to think that those who defend rapists are rapists too.

  2. FashionablyEvil says:

    The CNN clip is horrible. The true victims are the rapists! Their lives are ruined! (Nevermind that they could have easily been tried as adults and sentenced to far longer terms.) Holding people accountable for their actions is just the worst thing EVER.

  3. Margaret says:

    Holy f#*%, your title is not wrong (although perhaps too conservative). That crook article is the worst thing I’ve read in a long, long time.

  4. Randomosity says:

    I read about this too early in the goddam day, myself, but not too early to make a donation to RAINN.

    Miri’s rant was truly glorious! Thanks for the link.

  5. TomSims says:

    I only hope this serves as a lesson to other potential rapists and makes them avoid rape. And also to avoid underage drinking parties completely.

    Maybe the correctional system has a way for them to speak to other teenage boys about their extremely bad behavior. And hopefully this would serve to change the thinking of at least most that hear them.

    • tigtog says:

      I hope that the AG goes ahead with his plan to indict some of the bystanders for failure to report a crime in progress and/or failure to render aid to someone in clear need of assistance.

      A more general understanding that clearly expressed enthusiastic consent to sexual contact, not just ‘not saying no’, is the minimum standard for observers to be content with being a bystander, would be one huge blow to rape culture.

      • TomSims says:

        I think there needs to be more punishment for underage drinking. It seems to me that everyone seems to gloss over the presence of alcohol in these types of crime. And it is scientifically proven that alcohol is a mood changing drug. A sober person makes much better choices than one who is drunk. Alcohol consumption fuels the vast majority of all crimes committed.

      • tigtog says:

        I’m all for prosecuting adults who provide alchol to minors. I’m not on board with shaming kids for drinking alcohol when it’s available, and I’m frankly contemptuous of the folks who appear to misunderstand how alcohol consumption being illegal for minors does not mean that the minors are the ones who are committing a crime when they drink it.

      • TomSims says:

        I’m all for prosecuting adults who provide alchol to minors.

        I agree 100%. But even teenagers must learn to follow the law. Being a minor does not excuse bad behavior.

      • tigtog says:

        Tom, you’re missing my point. Please find a criminal statute that provides for a minor to be prosecuted for consuming alcohol.

      • amblingalong says:

        I’m frankly contemptuous of the folks who appear to misunderstand how alcohol consumption being illegal for minors does not mean that the minors are the ones who are committing a crime when they drink it.

        Please find a criminal statute that provides for a minor to be prosecuted for consuming alcohol.

        I actually agree with your broader point, but it’s a misdemeanor for a minor to possess or consume alcohol in all 50 states.

        To pick one at random, Michigan’s:

        (1) A minor shall not purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic liquor, consume or attempt to consume alcoholic liquor, possess or attempt to possess alcoholic liquor, or have any bodily alcohol content, except as provided in this section. A minor who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by the following fines and sanctions and is not subject to the penalties prescribed in section 909:

      • tigtog says:

        Thanks amblingalong. I’m astonished that consumption alone is an offence (trying to obtain it by deception I could be on board with).

        That was certainly never the case in Australia when I was growing up, and I don’t think it is now either. Just adults prosecutable for providing alcohol to minors (and the drinking age is 18 here).

      • amblingalong says:

        Oh, and not to belabor the point, but a minor can actually go to jail in Michigan for repeated offenses:

        (a) For the first violation by a fine of not more than $100.00. A court may order a minor under this subdivision to participate in substance abuse prevention services or substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation services as defined in section 6107 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.6107, and designated by the administrator of the office of substance abuse services, and may order that minor to perform community service and to undergo substance abuse screening and assessment at his or her own expense as described in subsection (5).

        (b) For a second violation of this subsection, section 33b(1) of former 1933 (Ex Sess) PA 8, or a local ordinance substantially corresponding to this subsection or section 33b(1) of former 1933 (Ex Sess) PA 8, by imprisonment for not more than 30 days but only if the court finds that the minor violated an order of probation, failed to successfully complete any treatment, screening, or community service ordered by the court, or failed to pay any fine for that conviction or juvenile adjudication, by a fine of not more than $200.00, or both. A court may order a minor under this subdivision to participate in substance abuse prevention services or substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation services as defined in section 6107 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.6107, and designated by the administrator of the office of substance abuse services, to perform community service, and to undergo substance abuse screening and assessment at his or her own expense as described in subsection (5).

        (c) For a third or subsequent violation of this subsection, section 33b(1) of former 1933 (Ex Sess) PA 8, or a local ordinance substantially corresponding to this subsection or section 33b(1) of former 1933 (Ex Sess) PA 8, by imprisonment for not more than 60 days but only if the court finds that the minor violated an order of probation, failed to successfully complete any treatment, screening, or community service ordered by the court, or failed to pay any fine for that conviction or juvenile adjudication, by a fine of not more than $500.00, or both. A court may order a minor under this subdivision to participate in substance abuse prevention services or substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation services as defined in section 6107 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.6107, and designated by the administrator of the office of substance abuse services, to perform community service, and to undergo substance abuse screening and assessment at his or her own expense as described in subsection (5).

      • EG says:

        I strongly disagree. 21 is a stupid drinking age. You can join the army and vote years before you can put your feet up and have a beer legally in the US. I drank heavily when I was a minor and neither raped anybody nor was raped. Alcohol doesn’t rape people.

      • Yeah, when I was in college, many of my friends were charged with MICs (minor in consumption) as opposed to MIP (minor in possession). They added a statue that made it illegal to be intoxicated as a minor, not just in possession of alcohol, which was already on the books.

      • TomSims says:

        Tom, you’re missing my point. Please find a criminal statute that provides for a minor to be prosecuted for consuming alcohol.

        I'm no lawyer. But if there isn't a way to punish underage drinkers, there should be.

      • EG says:

        But if there isn’t a way to punish underage drinkers, there should be.

        Why?

      • David W says:

        “I actually agree with your broader point, but it’s a misdemeanor for a minor to possess or consume alcohol in all 50 states.”

        This is not entirely true and is not the case in Wisconsin.
        For starters, it is a forfeiture in Wisconsin and other jurisdictions, not a misdemeanor and even repeated violations do not result in jail time, only fines and loss of license or the requirement to participate in a court ordered work program. Further, it is not illegal for such minors to possess or consume if they are with an of age guardian, parent or spouse.

        But to the point of the discussion, while I think it is certainly noble to focus on efforts to reduce under-aged and teenage drinking generally, I would be troubled by any suggestion that alcohol be pointed to in this instance as some sort of factor until such time that the jock/bro misogynistic culture of entitlement to women’s bodies and sexual attention is adequately addressed. How we determine what is adequate is another matter, though at this point I think we are miles and miles from it.

        https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/125/I/07

      • piny says:

        Oh, okay. So a young woman who reports that someone sexually assaulted her while she was intoxicated could face heavy penalties for…being intoxicated? Would it be your fault if you had been dosed with alcohol instead of some other substance?

        How would this solve anything? How would more stigma on intoxication help this situation?

        Men don’t rape because they’re drunk. They rape because they’re rapists.

        And what everyone else said: kids already get in trouble for it.

      • kaija24 says:

        In my experience, underage drinking is part of the problem in that the underage drinking is used to trump any other sort of thing that happens in conjunction with the drinking. The Steubenville type of assault was a regular occurrence in the small town where I grew up and any reports or attempts to even TALK about the shit that was happening was quickly quelled with “well that’s what happens when you kids are drinking”, “high school kids shouldn’t be holding parties”, “what do you expect when people are drinking?” Total rape culture. Girls quickly learned to watch out for themselves and each other and keep quiet because adults would jump all over the “alcohol is BAD” and gloss over the assaults. Enough with focusing on the drinking and more with holding rapists accountable.

    • Nicole says:

      I have to disagree as well. I’m in Canada, and in most places our legal drinking age is 18, and we don’t have more rapists/criminals etc. (in fact we have less…but we have a smaller population so that isn’t a fair comparison)

      Legal drinking age is a completely separate argument from rape. I think having a younger legal drinking age is a good thing. I think saying alcohol makes people rape people/commit crimes is an excuse and part of rape culture. Age has little to do with whether you will rape someone when you are drunk. We should prosecute rapists, whether alcohol was involved or not. That way people who know they might rape someone (or commit some other crime) when they are drunk will be less likely to drink. But plenty of people can drink and NOT rape. I actually think bringing this up is contrary to the whole point of the post…alcohol isn’t the problem. Rape is.

      Love to talk more about drinking laws…but off topic :)

  6. urkel says:

    Judging by this and his other posts to his webpage, Michael Crook may be mentally ill. If not that, I’d wager he is just the web equivalent of a shock jock. He seems to have taken the most extreme and demented position he can on just about everything he writes about.

  7. Miri says:

    Oh my gosh! I love that moment when I’m casually reading one of my favorite feminist blogs and suddenly see a link to a post of mine. Thanks, tigtog!

    • tigtog says:

      Thanks for writing it, Miri!

    • Katy Kay says:

      Thanks for a beautifully, thoughtful piece, so necessary. Glad you are out there. Think we all need to dig deeper, go to the roots, and tell it like it really is.

    • Emolee says:

      From Miri’s piece:

      The verdict did not ruin their futures. They ruined their futures, when they made the decision to rape someone.

      THIS, this, this. This cannot be stressed enough. Thank you!

  8. Dawnbreaker says:

    The publicshaming tumblr is full of this crap. I can’t believe people are seriously mourning the “lost bright futures” of scum who raped an unconscious girl. There’s victim-blaming and then there’s this…it’s another level. I can’t even. What can one possibly say to express enough disgust?

  9. Andie says:

    The fuck was that I just read? (The crook’s article, not Miri’s. Hers was fabulous.)

  10. Mariucel says:

    Can someone explain to me Crook’s statement that

    I don’t believe for one second that “rape” exists.

    Even the horrible men’s rights people who think that 90% of rape accusations are bogus do admit that rape exists. I always assumed the debate between normal people and sexist (and frequently racist) idiots was a question of proportion.

    So Crooks believes nobody is ever violently raped?

    • PM says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNaZ1xXFdGY

      That’s him on Hannity and Colmes a few years ago.

      • Mariucel says:

        I’m slightly scared of clicking on that link >.<

      • PM says:

        I don’t blame you. The point of the link is to show that he’s a troll with a long history of trolling from various angles. I doubt he’s sincere about any of it.

      • Natalia says:

        “I didn’t ask you about the pay structure.”

        Aw, Hannity.

        Anyway, this guy seems desperate for attention. He’s like some long-lost cousin of Morticia Addams, and desperately wants to be lauded for taking a “controversial” stand on the issues. He’s smart enough to know what buttons to push, but clearly has a lot of issues with self-loathing. Look at how excited he is to be on Fox News. It would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.

  11. Datdamwuf says:

    Bad enough they dropped the kidnapping charge, then tried them in juvenile court so they get a light sentence. Now all the media is all about how the rapists futures are ruined, and the girl? not a fucking word about how this harms her. And spare me the bullshit about how they are crying and remorseful, they are crying because they are afraid, they were smirking in court when they thought they were safe.

    I am especially incensed that the media is taking the defense’s tactics as gospel rather than what is was, a lie to minimize the verdict. There is no way that the “boys” didn’t know what they were doing was rape, that the other kids thought it was OK because it didn’t look “violent” or “forced”. Some of the kids even said it was rape, they knew, they did not care, worse, many thought it was entertaining, and that scares the hell out of me. It scares me because this is not a town full of psychopaths, it’s not an unusual place, the people aren’t all that different from anywhere else.

    I hope that many of the people who witnessed this and egged it on, texted about it, photo’d it and excused themselves for not reporting it are indicted and spend time in jail. I hate to think we are stuck in the 80’s when Cheryl Araujo was gang raped.

    Lastly, thank you to Anonymous – what justice was done is in large part due to you.

    • amblingalong says:

      Bad enough they dropped the kidnapping charge, then tried them in juvenile court so they get a light sentence.

      I know this will probably start a shitstorm, but I think juvenile court is absolutely appropriate for juvenile offenders. The push to try children as adults has created massive, massive policy problems, among them significantly reduced rates of rehabilitation and incredibly high rates of sexual victimization among juveniles who are incarcerated in the general population. The degree to which a child’s crime is horrifying is not a good stand-in for the age of the child. That logic ends with Texas executing thirteen-year-olds.

      Finally, 8+ years of imprisonment is not a light sentence. We can argue about whether it should have been seven or nine but I think it’s essentially appropriate.

      • Mike says:

        This is basically what I wanted to say about juveniles being tried as adults, but spoken much better. If we are going to determine responsibilities/rights/moral culpability based on age, we should probably at least try to be consistent.

      • agreed. We have a juvenile justice/reformation system for a reason (and can I mention that here in Britain ours is not an especially good one). I also cannot actually argue for mandating for vindictive sentencing (and 8 years is a long sentence) whatever the crime. I only hope that there will actually be an element of rehabilitation for the rapists, in that they learn/understand what was wrong about their actions and can live better fuller lives. My Les Mis marathon this evening may have some input on this, but I think I’d think it anyway

      • Donna L says:

        8 years? I don’t understand what you’re talking about. One was sentenced to a minimum of two years, the other one to a minimum of one year. And, yes, I do think those were light sentences. Where in the world do you get 8+ years from?

      • (I thought I’d originally read that, but then assumed the 8 years thing was accurate, really sorry )

      • SophiaBlue says:

        And as far as I can tell the maximum time they can stay in prison is until they’re 21, which means about 5 years for Richmond and 4 years for Mays.

      • Donna L says:

        I was addressing amblingalong, not you; sorry!

      • amblingalong says:

        Unless I’m just wildly misreading the ruling, Trent Mays will be in jail until he’s 24 and is currently 17, so that’s seven years; Malik Richmond is 16 and will be in jail until he’s 21, so five years. Mays will be in juvenile detention until he’s 21, and then will be transferred to an adult correctional facility; he was given a consecutive (as opposed to concurrent) sentence.

        Am I missing something obvious? Genuinely sorry if that’s the case.

      • Donna L says:

        Where are you reading this, amblingalong?

      • Radiant Sophia says:

        amblingalong,

        That is the maximum sentence. The minimum sentence is 2 and 1 years respectively.

      • speedbudget says:

        amblingalong, they will only be held for the maximum if prison officials decide they are not rehabilitated. Want to lay money on that ever happening?

        They also won’t necessarily have to register as sex offenders. The judge in the case will make that decision upon their release, which I will lay money will be at the bare minimum, minus their time served already waiting for trial.

      • samanthab says:

        I agree, ambling along. Juveniles should be tried as juveniles, always. On the other hand, the sentencing for juveniles who rape should not be so ridiculously light. I don’t see why people are asking that our laws not make any sense- these kids are clearly not adults. I would like to see our laws make more sense, and that sex crimes get much stricter sentencing across the board.

      • a lawyer says:

        Juvies get tried (and sentenced) as such because we recognize that they’re not fully formed (and I mean that in a literal, brain-development, sense as well as in a moral sense.)

        When Abner Adult does something incredibly evil and horrific then we often conclude that Abner himself is probably incredibly evil and horrible.

        But when John Juvenile does something incredibly evil and horrific, we can’t make that conclusion. Moreover, juveniles are generally more amenable to changes of behavior both because they are more controllable and because they’re still developing.

        In summary: Adults get both rehabilitation and also retribution. Juvies get more rehabilitation and the retribution properly takes a back seat.

        Two or three years is a “short” sentence for a violent rape. But it seems that way because we’re used to hearing about adult defendants. Two or three years is also a very long time for a teenager to be in prison.

        I’m not sorry for the boys and there’s a part of me which wants them to get a decade. But that’s not how the system is supposed to work.

      • samanthab says:

        A lawyer, I understand perfectly well why the systems differ. And yet I maintain that this a ridiculously short, unjust sentence. You don’t get to talk down to me just because you’re a lawyer. If you want to make a case for why it isn’t a short sentence, you ought to do so. You can’t just expect that, by virtue of your law degree, I ought to submit to your superior knowledge. You didn’t tell me a single thing I didn’t know already. I have a lot of lawyers in my family, and they generally don’t pull your I’m a lawyer, I get out of argumentation free card.

      • tomek says:

        a lawyer. this whole thing seem very simplistic to me. if they are adult (above 18) they are fully responsible for actions and need full consequences. if they are juvenile (below 18) they are not responsible and need rehabilihatation.. suddenly at age 18 there brain go from not developed to developed?

        i know law has to work with some boundaries like this for practical reason, but it seem to me like there should be curve of responsibility. like have different level of responsibility depending on age, not clean barrier like 18

      • a lawyer says:

        huh?

        I’m rereading my post looking for “talk down” language, “submit to my superior knowledge” language, or “I’m a lawyer, I get out of argumentation free” language. I don’t see it.

        Not only didn’t I intend my post to read that way-sorry you’re upset, though!–but I don’t think that it does read that way. Perhaps I’m looking past it: What particular language do you object to?

      • PM says:

        I agree about juveniles being tried in juvenile court and sent to juvenile detention when they’re sentenced, and also want to add that from what I’ve read they will be sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

      • PM says:

        Whoops, my bad:

        http://jjie.org/ohio-juvenile-sex-offender-ruling-spotlights-national-policy/82025

        but they will be sex offenders for…awhile?

      • matlun says:

        @PM: I believe they will. IANAL, but there is a flowchart (pdf). Since they are 16 and 17, it would seem to be mandatory registration.

        I am not sure about what the the different tiers of registration actually entails, though. They will get a separate hearing to decide that on release.

      • PM says:

        Thanks, Matlun.

      • Datdamwuf says:

        amblingalong, I do believe juvenile court is appropriate for children. The reason prosecutors try some as adults is because juvenile court sentences tend to be light. Often sentences are served at home with a tracking bracelet in juvenile cases. I guess I was just so angry at the small price they are paying for something that appears to have been planned and was so horrible.

        I see people already posted that the two got a 1 & 2 year sentence respectively. I think what confused people is that they will have their cases reviewed at that point and there is a slim possibility the review board would keep them in the facility for a longer period. And yes, they will be listed as sex offenders for the rest of their life.

      • Emolee says:

        I’m the one who opened this can of worms on the other post. And I still don’t know for sure how I feel about the issue. In general, I support trying minors as minors. And I think we should have consistency; I definitely am against the racial disparities in applying this policy.

        But I think I would be ok with rapists who are over the age of sexual consent being tried as adults for the crime of *rape.* I may be okay with this being an exception. We are saying something about people over the age of consent (which I think is usually about 16) being able to fully understand the concept of sexual consent. I still need to think through this some more, though.

      • TomSims says:

        But I think I would be ok with rapists who are over the age of sexual consent being tried as adults for the crime of *rape.* I may be okay with this being an exception. We are saying something about people over the age of consent (which I think is usually about 16) being able to fully understand the concept of sexual consent. I still need to think through this some more, though.

        I know it’s most likely not realistic, but I’d like to see the age of consent be raised to 18 everywhere.

      • Emolee says:

        I know it’s most likely not realistic, but I’d like to see the age of consent be raised to 18 everywhere.

        I could likely get on board with this, as long as it was still legal for people under 18 to have sex with each other, and if there was a cushion in the law providing that sex is legal between someone over 18 and someone under 18 so long as there is only 2 (ish?) years or less between their ages (sex between a 16 and 18 year-old would be ok, etc.) Because other than those cases, I really don’t think adults should be having sex with teens under 18.

    • wembley says:

      they were smirking in court when they thought they were safe.

      ARE YOU KIDDING ME WHAT THE FUCK

      I just… fuck humanity.

    • FashionablyEvil says:

      I’m on board with the comments re: the appropriateness of juvenile court. I would also venture to guess that if they had been tried as adults before a jury (as opposed to in front of a judge) that they could have well been acquitted and not served any time.

  12. Mike says:

    I was quite honestly expecting a not-guilty verdict, as juries often just throw up their hands and say “I don’t know what to believe” in cases where there is this much media and defense misdirection. So, I guess I am happy that some amount of actual criminal justice system work was done (yes, they could have been tried as adults and given a harsher sentence, and maybe that would have been the just outcome in this case, but I think that procedure is just problematic in general, mainly because who gets charged as an adult and who gets charged as a minor seems arbitrary, I need to read more on this). At least this sends a message that even “untouchable” football players can be convicted, and registered as sex offenders.
    The depressing thing is that had their not been so much video and social media evidence, this case would probably have been dropped. While I am happy that court system worked as intended? in this case, I realize that rape cases where there is ample clear-cut evidence and the case goes to trial and conviction are the exception, not the rule.

    I totally second everything said upthread and in the OP about how the media needs to stop saying “allegedly” or otherwise subtly (or not) insinuating that this is a false accusation, now that the rapists have been convicted in court. Not much to add to this except to point out that one can express the presumption of innocence and state that facts of a case are unknown without insinuating that a victim is lying. If major news organizations can’t figure out how to word a rape story without victim blaming, they should hire better writers/editors.

    • Chingona says:

      (Just for the record, there was no jury.)

      • Mike says:

        Thank you! Not sure how I missed that reading the news coverage. I guess now it makes me wonder if, had there actually been a jury, they would have gotten off- only one of the jurors needs to buy the victim-blaming to hang the jury.

    • TomSims says:

      I agree Mike, I was half expecting that myself after reading about the trial. So as bad as it was, a not guilty verdict would have been outrageous. And maybe one of the lawyers here can tell us if this guilty verdict can be appealed.

      • Steve-o says:

        The judge’s finding of guilt is subject to appeal, and I’m sure it will be appealed, but I doubt there are any serious challenges to the verdict.

      • a lawyer says:

        I don’t know the precise facts well enough to know the grounds for appeal, and I have no idea whether an appeal would work here–but yes, every defendant has a right to appeal.

        It’s also important to realize that there are multiple “truths” in any case:

        -What actually happened;
        -What the media says happened, and/or what we think happened based on our research, beliefs, and conversations;
        -What the accuser says happened;
        -What the defendant says happened; and

        -What the judge/jury concludes is most likely to have happened based on what they hear at trial, as it is constrained by the criminal rules of evidence and the criminal rules of procedure.

        A certain amount of the “WTF?” response is often explained by that last bit.

  13. Mike says:

    Datdamwuf- spot on. The people who not only witnessed this but took photos and otherwise participated/facilitated are also guilty of a crime, which is something that I’ve never seen the media address. Have we really been taught that if we see someone else, especially women, in danger we have absolutely no responsibility to help? Its too bad that prosecutors so often give pretty much blanket immunity to culpable bystanders.

    • Datdamwuf says:

      It’s more than just witnessing it, many of them appeared to be egging it on, those are the ones I want to see go to jail. There is no way the 3 boys who testified should have gotten full immunity either but that’s a whole other issue.

    • a lawyer says:

      Legally, yes. In almost all situations, there is no obligation to rescue someone in help. There isn’t even an obligation to go call 911 if possible, which has always seemed incredibly strange to me: it’s such a small requirement but would make such a big difference.

      (If you want to know why there’s no duty to rescue: In general terms, it would create liability in people who have no responsibility, and potentially release liability from the perpetrators.)

      • TomSims says:

        I recall back in 1963 or 64 reading about a number of people who witnessed a woman murdered from their apartment windows and never even called police. That was in New York City and I don’t think any of the on lookers were charged.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Kitty_Genovese

      • Coraline says:

        The “fact” that 38 people witnessed the murder of Kitty Genovese and did nothing is actually an urban legend and has been debunked.

      • TomSims says:

        The “fact” that 38 people witnessed the murder of Kitty Genovese and did nothing is actually an urban legend and has been debunked.

        I recall reading about it in the paper and hearing about it on the TV News. It happened!

      • tigtog says:

        The murder of Kitty Genovese certainly happened, Tom. The apathetic gawking onlookers were an invention of the media.

      • TomSims says:

        The murder of Kitty Genovese certainly happened, Tom. The apathetic gawking onlookers were an invention of the media.

        You are accusing the mainstream media of the day, including Walter Cronkite of being lairs?

      • tigtog says:

        TomSims
        (i) learn how to use the blockquote tags properly
        (ii) I’m accusing the mainstream media of the day of uncritically repeating a beat-up without fact-checking.

        This is how urban legends work, Tom: someone tells a story that “sounds right” and people repeat it without ever looking into the facts for themselves (and because of faulty memories conflations and exaggerations become part of the story too, because then it sounds even better). People are not consciously lying, they’re just being insufficiently skeptical.

      • matlun says:

        TomSims: Did you read that wikipedia link you posted yourself? It discusses quite clearly how the incident was exaggerated in the media of the time.

      • TomSims says:

        @matlun

        Yes I read Wiki but we all know anyone can add information to that site. I’m old enough to recall that case. I was in high school when it happened. Back then the MSM were journalists and verified what they wrote and broadcast on TV. These days what we hear and read is often misinformation rather than verified.

        @tigtog

        I’ll try my best to use the block quote better.

        I completely disagree with your assessment of the MSM from the early 60’s They were responsible journalists back then, unlike the carnival barkers of these days. Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were as skeptical as it gets.

      • tigtog says:

        Yes I read Wiki but we all know anyone can add information to that site.

        If it’s just so easy to add information to Wikipedia then I suggest you go right ahead and correct them then.

        Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were as skeptical as it gets.

        On this particular story, they weren’t skeptical enough. Go and do some googling, and you will find out that “38 witnesses” is a figure plucked out of the air (the police had about half a dozen witnesses to preceding events, none of whom saw any knife or stabbing); that an onlooker to the first assault did yell out and the attacker ran off; that a man who is now a NYPD officer but then was a young teen attests that he called the police himself at the urging of his father; but then the attacker found her again in a lobby area where nobody could see what was happening, and that is where she was killed.

        P.S. it’s past time that this tangent moved to the spillover thread.

  14. Daniel says:

    Michael Crook’s blog doesn’t appear to have a comments section. Funny, that.

    • Kierra says:

      There’s a forum that has a section for discussing blog posts, but there doesn’t appear to be any activity on it.

      • Daniel says:

        Thinking over it again, I don’t think I want to comment on his site. Crook doesn’t need to get any angrier than he is, and the chances of me getting through to him are remote.

      • tigtog says:

        I don’t think he’s got comments enabled anyway, Daniel. He engages with critics on Twitter, but it’s all posturing.

  15. in response to the first link/quote are there no states at all with Good/Bad Samaritan legislation, even in civil/Tort. Because I remember Bad Samaritan stuff being pretty huge in learning law

  16. Mariucel says:

    Apparently, Jane Doe is getting threats now. >.< What is wrong with people?

    • matlun says:

      It would have to be ranked on some other axis, I think. It is not an analysis of the case itself, but a critique of how media and in particular Anonymous have covered it. An interesting question IMO, but the conservative and anti-liberal perspective of this article makes it rather annoying reading.

    • matlun says:

      Btw, if you are interested in the argument, the author fleshes it out on his blog.

    • Datdamwuf says:

      I read the Local Leaks disclosure and it did have allegations of other wrongdoing and urged an investigation. I read everything about this case as it was happening and I truly believe without Anonymous this case would have been dropped. The police said all the digital evidence was gone until Anonymous proved much of it was still available by getting it and posting it on the leak site. Also, the parents confirmed that when they first reported the prosecutor (she was replaced) urged them not to file the complaint.

  17. Gawker has an article about CNN’s deplorable coverage, and the comments on the thread are so full of oh-so-helpful people who are just all begging us to please show some sympathy for these kids whose lives are ruined because they have to register as sex offenders! Kids make mistakes! What if it was your son?

    If you ever had a doubt that we were living in a rape culture, the response to this case should put it to rest.

    • Alara Rogers says:

      If it was my son, I personally would disown him, and if he was a minor at the time, I would go down to the courthouse and change his last name to Lying Little Rapist, move, leave no forwarding address, and tell everyone that my son was dead.

      It is really appalling that there are so many families who will boot their daughters out for getting pregnant, and so many families who will stand by their son for raping people.

      • “It is really appalling that there are so many families who will boot their daughters out for getting pregnant, and so many families who will stand by their son for raping people.”

        Absolutely! The way we teach and talk about these things doesn’t excuse these boys’ actions, but their actions should definitely make us rethink how we teach and talk about these things as a mainstream culture.

      • TomSims says:

        I agree. This is the first post I saw about poor parenting. Since the boys are minors, maybe the parents can be charged?

      • amblingalong says:

        Since the boys are minors, maybe the parents can be charged?

        With what crime, specifically?

      • Henry says:

        Tom you’re on here blaming alcohol, the parents and anyone else within arm’s reach for the actions of two 16 year old teens. Their actions are their fault. They chose to drink, they committed a crime while drunk. Drinking or drugs is never an excuse for committing crimes. “If you can’t handle your high don’t drink” is the motto you should be looking for.

      • TomSims says:

        @amblingalong

        I was simply asking if they could be charged as there appears to be many lawyers who read this blog. Others have posted that bystanders may be charged under Ohio law for not intervening. It seems to me, that rape culture involves much more than just the 2 rapists convicted here.

        @Henry

        No Henry, I am not excusing what the 2 rapists did, I am asking that there are other factors that are not even mentioned. It is a scientific fact that alcohol is a mood changing drug. And not everyone who drinks rapes. But drinking does lower your inhibitions considerably. And not every teenager goes to parties with alcohol and drugs. And of course everyone on this blog would agree rape culture is the main factor present.

      • amblingalong says:

        I was simply asking if they could be charged as there appears to be many lawyers who read this blog.

        No.

        Others have posted that bystanders may be charged under Ohio law for not intervening.

        They may. I’m personally doubtful if there will be any convictions, but we’ll see.

        It seems to me, that rape culture involves much more than just the 2 rapists convicted here.

        Agreed, but perpetrating rape culture isn’t illegal.

  18. wembley says:

    Candy Crowley feels sympathy for the most powerful people in a given situation? No wonder they had her “moderate” that debate. I know I shouldn’t expect better from women, we’re all soaking in rape culture, but goddamn.

  19. Kierra says:

    While I think the judge came to the correct decision in this case, his closing statement just pissed me off:

    When he sentenced the boys, Judge Thomas Lipps urged all those who had followed the case “to have discussions about how you talk to your friends, how you record things on the social media so prevalent today and how you conduct yourself when drinking is put upon you by your friends.”

    He seems more concerned about the fact that the boys disseminated incontrovertible proof of their crime than the fact that they committed the rape in the first place. He’s even making it sound like the underaged drinking was forced on them! FFS!

    • wembley says:

      I know, what the hell? “Remember: if you absolutely must be a terrible human being, take care to see you don’t get caught.”

    • David W says:

      I guess absent the release of the totality of his sentencing remarks, my inclination is to reserve judgment on the excerpt above. It is not clear what proceeded it or followed so at present it is incomplete to me.

    • Mariucel says:

      Yeah but wasn’t one of the boys sentenced to an additional year because he took pictures or something? In that context the judge’s remarks would have direct relevance, wouldn’t they?

    • Henry says:

      how you conduct yourself when drinking is put upon you by your friends

      ^ This was directed at the criminals not the victim. The judge’s remarks are spot on, and one of them got an extra year for sending nude pics of a minor. The crime is bad enough, putting video of it on social media is a second offense against the victim. That’s what he is getting at.

  20. speedbudget says:

    I hope they go after these people for disseminating child pornography. That charge might actually stick.

  21. Datdamwuf says:

    The authorities are saying they will investigate further and charges may be brought against other people, failure to report a felony is a crime in Ohio. Change.org has a petition for charging Nodianos if anyone wishes to sign it.

    https://www.change.org/petitions/steubenville-rape-case-ohio-attorney-general-mike-dewine-charge-michael-nodianos-with-failure-to-report-a-crime

    • David W says:

      Thanks for these. Zirin is always good, but these were particularly timely.

      I got chills reading the March 14 piece when he recounted the story of Coach Dan. As the father of an 18 year old boy I am almost entirely opposed to any sort of corporal punishment. However, for whatever reason, the slap in response to the rape joke feels somehow right, in its absoluteness and immediacy and sharpness. Perhaps I am justifying after the fact in light of Steubenville. Something about punctuation, not violence. The image of Morgan Freeman, anguish on his face at the violence of the slap he just visited on Kevin Spacey at the climax of Seven came to mind.

      In any case, I think Zirin is able to articulate many of my own feelings about antiquated notions of maleness and jock entitlement, albeit with much better skill and clarity.

  22. elena says:

    This is going to be an unpopular comment, but I feel like it does need to be said.

    The Crook article is horrible, obviously. The CNN coverage was biased and awful to watch.

    But. Seeing that video of those boys being convicted, of him sobbing and crying in apology, was nothing short of devastating as well. There absolutely must be justice for the victim, and it goes without saying that the pain and long-term effects of what was done to her are beyond comprehension. She deserves justice, there is no doubt.

    More than anything though, it makes me look at the legal system and think that there has to be a better way than this, for teenagers I mean.

    I think Norwegian system is better, frankly. We need to focus on reforming people, not effectively ending their lives.

    • Kierra says:

      I would have more sympathy for them if, after having been charged with the crime, they had fessed up and asked for forgiveness. They sat back, and let their lawyers claim that the unconscious girl they assaulted really wanted them to do that. And even now that they’ve been convicted, they aren’t willing to accept that they were wrong. They are now appealing the conviction. Our system may be far from perfect, and we do need to focus more on reform. But there are mechanisms, especially in the juvenile system, to get leniency for those that are truly remorseful. But frankly, it doesn’t look like they are sorry that they assaulted that girl; they are sorry they were caught.

    • I am not saying there’s no reason to discuss a justice system that focuses more on reform than punishment, but in what way is a year in juvenile detention “effectively ending their lives”? There’s not even a guarantee that they’ll be put in the sex offender registry. I do think it’s sad that these boys live in a culture where they thought it was okay to rape someone while she was unconscious, urinate on her, take pictures of it, and continue to brag about it for days on end, but that sadness is about their actions, not the consequences of it.

    • Past my expiration date says:

      More than anything though, it makes me look at the legal system and think that there has to be a better way than this, for teenagers I mean.

      It does seem to me that there is a lot to say on the subject of juvenile justice.

      But not on a post about people failing to understand that the way to avoid having your life ruined by a rape conviction is to not rape.

  23. mxe354 says:

    Oh god. That article is so upsetting that I’m shaking with anxiety. I seriously regret reading it.

  24. A4 says:

    As for rendering aid, I have a history of walking away from people in need of help, and I was never threatened with legal charges. I’ve flat out refused to perform CPR despite being certified to perform it. The person, some kid probably no more than ten died, and I’m footloose and fancy free.

    Additionally, I have witnessed a female being, shall we say, aggressively pursued by a male. She was crying and what not, and I walked on by. Call it the “bro code.” Bros before “ho’s” and all that.

    What the hell? Where did this guy come from? I’m having trouble even being properly angry because it’s just so cartoony.

  25. mxe354 says:

    Additionally, I have witnessed a female being, shall we say, aggressively pursued by a male. She was crying and what not, and I walked on by. Call it the “bro code.” Bros before “ho’s” and all that.

    oh wow I FUCKING HATE THIS GUY

    If I could do so without disturbing the people around me, I would seriously yell at my computer screen.

  26. djf says:

    As usual, the Onion provides some well-reasoned perspective.

  27. Fat Steve says:

    I actually think the CNN comment is much worse than the Michael Crook comment because I’ve heard of CNN.

  28. Jill says:

    No, the worst thing I will read all day about Steubenville is how Fox News, and subsequently CNN and the HuffPost did not redact the name of the victim when playing a clip from the trial:

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/03/18/1736351/fox-news-steubenville/

  29. irieagogo says:

    Michael Crook seems like one of those guys who has a 100 pound human adult doll as his loving companion, what with all his social skills & such.

  30. Pingback: The Wrong Way to Shame CNN | nerdyladies.com

  31. Pingback: [link] There is nothing unusual about the Steubenville rape | feimineach.com

  32. diane says:

    there are actually a BUNCH of change.org petitions out on this case with various efforts to insure justice and appropriate consequences for others involved, including the bystanders who did nothing, staff who did not take action, adult homeowners of where the parties were held, etc….

    just do a search on “ohio rape” and almost all of the first 3 pages of results are pertinent

    http://www.change.org/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=ohio+rape&page=1

  33. tigtog says:

    Just added another link to the OP: a typically thorough summary and exhortation from John Scalzi – Stubenville and CNN and the Rest (his piece and Dan Wetzel’s piece from Yahoo! Sports on the toxic arrogance of football culture might be particularly useful to send to folks who routinely dismiss “angry feminist” links).

  34. tigtog says:

    And Michael Crook has now taken his Twitter account private.

  35. Henry says:

    I would put CNN up as the actual worst post. CNN is a respected outlet, millions of people listen to, ingest and may end up agreeing with what they say. They have the biggest impact here.

    Crook is just trash, and not worthy of discussion.

  36. megara says:

    Does anyone know of any webpages to post letters of support for the victim?

  37. Pingback: Adria Richards, Tech Conferences, and Steubenville | Kerry Skemp

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