Posted on | April 4, 2014 | 166 Comments
“Both sides agreed that Mr. Gilbert and the victim were at best acquaintances; both sides agreed he entered her room uninvited that night, in a highly intoxicated state, and both sides agreed that he initiated sexual contact which included vaginal penetration with the victim while she was asleep.”
– “Joint Statement,” New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV) and WISE (Women’s Information Services), March 27
The use of the word “victim” in that statement is rather problematic, considering that the statement was issued after Dartmouth College student Parker Gilbert was acquitted on all charges:
The foreman of the jury that found Parker C. Gilbert not guilty of sexually assaulting a Dartmouth College classmate said jurors were not swayed by the accuser’s account, which they found implausible.
Rick Rogers, of Enfield, was one of 12 jurors — six men and six women — who found Gilbert not guilty of five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge on Thursday. Deliberations lasted about four hours.
“(The woman’s) story of how the night played out, the evidence wasn’t there to support that,” Rogers said in a phone interview Thursday evening. “To the contrary, it was more in Parker’s favor. Her statement in the morning (to a friend) — that Parker stopped by and we had sex — is just not the answer that a rape victim would have.”
The prosecution had alleged Gilbert entered the woman’s unlocked dorm room in the early hours of May 2 and began having sex with her while she was asleep. The defense argued that the sexual encounter was consensual, “clumsy, awkward, drunk college sex.”
Rogers said there were many pieces of the accuser’s story that the jury thought pointed to consensual sex, including that the next morning when she told a friend about the encounter, she didn’t characterize it as an assault. . . .
Rogers said other evidence also swayed the jury, including the testimony of Nancy Wu, the suitemate who said that she was awake and heard sounds consistent with consensual sex.
Rogers described Wu as the most credible witness. . . .
A number of the witnesses had been drinking heavily on the night in question.
The accuser was drunk, the accused was drunk, and the witnesses were drunk — evidently everybody on campus at Dartmouth was completely hammered that night, and the only thing anyone can remember for sure is that “vaginal penetration” occurred.
Permit me to digress: Can someone get a trial transcript and provide me with verbatim quotes of Nancy Wu’s testimony? Because I’m curious to know what she says she heard, which the newspaper euphemistically describes as “sounds consistent with consensual sex.” Was the alleged victim moaning passionately, as if in a state of orgasmic ecstasy? “Oh, Parker! You sexy beast! Do me, baby!” But I digress . . .
How did the activists at Dartmouth respond? With a lengthy statement (still labeling the accuser as a “victim”) denouncing the jury, demanding a “cultural shift” in what could be considered a crime. . . .
If Gilbert had been convicted, the message would have been a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth. With Gilbert acquitted, the message was a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth (and in New Hampshire!). Facts, it appears, don’t matter.
More importantly, I would argue, we don’t know what the facts are. All we know is (a) drunkenness and (b) “vaginal penetration,” and everything else is a matter of “he-said/she-said” testimony by the alleged victim and witnesses. None of the witnesses actually saw the carnal act, and only one claims to have heard “sounds consistent with consensual sex,” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.
We don’t know what we don’t know, and yet the “rape culture” activists at Dartmouth insist that certainty of Parker Gilbert’s guilt is indisputable, that any skepticism or concerns for the due process rights of the accused is tantamount to “blaming the victim.”
Do I know what happened? No, absolutely I do not know.
For all I know, Parker Gilbert is a psychopathic pervert notorious for his habit of playing “booty bandit” with sleeping coeds.
On the other hand, for all I know, Parker Gilbert may be a highly popular collegiate studmuffin, and the alleged victim may have been gleefully riding him in reverse-cowgirl position, thrilled to have the opportunity for “vaginal penetration” by his throbbing manhood.
Despite my avowed ignorance — I believe the facts of the case are ultimately unknowable, under such circumstances — my hunch is that the truth is somewhere between the two extremes. The alleged victim was likely not an enthusiastic participant in the act of “vaginal penetration,” but the subsequent accusation of rape was a misguided attempt to place criminal responsibility onto Parker Gilbert for the “clumsy, awkward, drunk college sex” that resulted.
The jury, presented with all the available evidence and testimony in the case, declared Parker Gilbert not guilty of any crime. That does not mean, however, that his actions were morally right. Nor does it mean his accuser is to blame for the “vaginal penetration.”
Whereas I see this situation skeptically, with the understanding that some things are unknowable, Dartmouth College seems to be acting as if Parker Gilbert was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt:
Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, campus policies aren’t going far enough to protect students.
“Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?” Childress asked at the panel, before noting that while 2 to 8 percent of accusations are unfounded (but not necessarily intentionally false), 90 to 95 percent are unreported, committed by repeat offenders, and intentional. “It seems to me that we value fair and equitable processes more than we value the safety of our students. And higher education is not a right. Safety is a right. Higher education is a privilege.”
“If we know that a person is reasonably a threat to our community,” Childress said, “why are we not removing them and protecting the safety of our students?”
WHOA! Did you catch that? First, Childress is in favor of expelling students “based on an allegation,” because “higher education is not a right.” (The latter claim would shock advocates of affirmative action, I’m sure.) But notice, also, that Childress justifies this attitude by grabbing some statistics out of thin air to claim “90 to 95 percent [of sexual assaults on campus] are unreported, committed by repeat offenders, and intentional.” In other words, according to Childress, serial rapists are prowling our nation’s college campuses, and for every rape that is reported, at least nine others go unreported.
Does that claim seem even remotely possible? Could it be that, in this day and age, at institutions of higher education that attract our most intelligent young people, an environment exists where 90 to 95 percent of sexual assaults — intentional acts, committed by repeat offenders — are never reported to authorities at all?
Childress made those bizarre claims in February, just a few days after Dartmouth College had promoted her to director of “the newly-created Center for Community Action and Prevention, which Childress said would ‘be the focal point on campus for Dartmouth’s sexual assault and violence prevention initiatives’ and ‘drive the College’s mobilization efforts around preventing sexual violence and increasing the safety and well-being of all members of our community.’”
Except for “members of our community” who have penises.
The “well-being” of male students falsely accused of rape is of no concern to Amanda Childress or her notorious comrade Kate Burke, chairwoman of Dartmouth’s Committee on Standards.
There is no justice at Dartmouth, and there will be no peace.