How to solve that UVA rape case

Just a thought. As I’ve already mentioned it’s pretty easy to identify the group that those alleged gang rapists came from. The allegation is that 7 pledges to that fraternity conducted a gang rape as part of their initiation. Hmm.

The group of pledges to that fraternity is unlikely to be more than 30 people in that year (the fraternity has some 80 places, college tends to be four years, 20 in a year, not all pledges get accepted, these numbers are not correct but they are indicative).

Rolling Stone has thus just accused 7 of those 30 odd people of gang rape. If it did happen then that’s very serious and those 7 should be in jail. If it didn’t happen then that’s a distinctly libelous accusation.

Those 30 (odd) should thus sue Rolling Stone for libel. At which point we’ll find out a great deal more about what did actually happen.

So, what’s the flaw with this plan? Is there one?

43 thoughts on “How to solve that UVA rape case”

  1. The US libel laws are not as forgiving as ours. Over here, were this to have happened to a group at Oxford to which I belonged I would definitely have sued, and I’d have won, too.

    The trouble you’re having here Tim is in treating this as a logically-minded adult might. You can’t treat the actions and words of illogically-minded juveniles in that way.

  2. Main snags are the cost and the time taken. I presume these people are already up to their ears in debt and have a degree to do. However if some trial lawyer wanted to take a punt on a no win no fee basis?

  3. The major flaw with the plan is quite likely what’s known as ‘doing a Wilde’. Don’t sue for libel over things that are true, and which, when proven to be true, will result in you going to jail.

    It is, at its heart, a case of police misconduct. It can and should be dealt with like that.

    Inty>

    I would imagine the difference would be that you’d have reported the rape to the police, had you witnessed it. The problem here is that, whether or not this particular case is true, the US has managed to bring up at least one generation of males in which a moderately-sized minority have missed the lessons on consent. When that’s combined with bad policework, it creates an unholy mess.

  4. The major flaw with the plan is quite likely what’s known as ‘doing a Wilde’. Don’t sue for libel over things that are true, and which, when proven to be true, will result in you going to jail.

    Erm, isn’t that the whole premise of TW’s plan: 30 people get together to discuss suing for libel, 7 look at the floor, shuffle their feet, and mumble something about “p’raps not…” Or 30 say “fuck yeah”. I know people do sue for libel over stuff which is true, but gang-rapists? Really?

  5. Members of that frat would have to be insane to sue for libel. The level of interest in the original story has shown that their names would be plastered all over the global media, and no matter what right to privacy google and others end up putting in place, the case would follow them for the rest of their lives.

    Even with the UK libel laws it would be a very bad idea; in the U.S., with the burden of proof on them, no responsible lawyer could advise them to sue.

  6. TN>

    The other 23 are accessories, or guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, or whatever legal term applies. If the allegation is true, they have very good reason to stick together because none would get away without a criminal record (if it was in this country, at least) if it could be proven.

    As for ‘evidence’, do the maths:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_the_United_States#Rape_statistics

    Even by the non-hysterical-sounding lower estimates for campus rape, we’re looking at 1-in-50 women being raped while at university. The average for that age-group is 3.7/1000 pa.

    Is there any other way to reconcile those two figures than that a certain type of overprivileged male – they’re called ‘bros’ and drive ‘bro-trucks’, and their openly misogynistic culture makes this entirely believable – are raping their way through university?

  7. “Erm, isn’t that the whole premise of TW’s plan: 30 people get together to discuss suing for libel, 7 look at the floor, shuffle their feet, and mumble something about “p’raps not…” Or 30 say “fuck yeah”. I know people do sue for libel over stuff which is true, but gang-rapists? Really?”

    Whats more likely to happen is that 30 people get in a room, the innocent ones full of righteous anger and wanting to sue, and the guilty ones (if there are any) having to go along with it all, so as not to admit to their guilt, and thus potentially the whole lawsuit is flawed and liable to collapse in a ruinous heap if/when the guilty are exposed.

  8. @Dave

    I have no idea what you’re on about, but then neither do you.

    @Nick

    No, in the UK it would be entirely the obvious decision. The court would make an order in respect of anonymity, and yes it might be twittered but there is redress for that, and sooner or later even the biggest dickheads are going to get the message that doing that sort of thing leads to six months in clink.

    So you would sue and you would win, because it didn’t happen – obviously – and the onus, the burden, is on the defendant to prove it did, which she (or they – the smart mogve it to sue the media outlet) could not, because it didn’t.

  9. @Jim

    ‘Whats more likely to happen is that 30 people get in a room, the innocent ones full of righteous anger and wanting to sue, and the guilty ones (if there are any) having to go along with it all, so as not to admit to their guilt, and thus potentially the whole lawsuit is flawed and liable to collapse in a ruinous heap if/when the guilty are exposed.’

    Jim – read the original material.

    There are no guilty ones, because it plainly didn’t happen.

  10. As for ‘evidence’, do the maths:

    Seriously, you’re supplying overall, national rape statistics from Wikipedia to support the notion that “at least one generation of males in which a moderately-sized minority have missed the lessons on consent” is a factor in this particular case?

  11. The other 23 are accessories, or guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, or whatever legal term applies.

    How? One of them might have been at his Grandmother’s the night of the alleged rape, and knows fuck all about it. Or does merely belonging to the same fraternity imply guilt?

  12. “There are no guilty ones, because it plainly didn’t happen.”

    Yes I know that (or rather it certainly looks pretty shonky) but the point was that IF there were guilty parties involved, everyone getting together to consider suing wouldn’t necessarily smoke them out (as per Tim Newman’s comment) as the guilty would be likely to go along with it in order to hide their guilt. Thats assuming the whole lot didn’t know who the guilty parties were (if there were any) in which case they wouldn’t be considering suing at all, as they’d all be accessories and on the chopping block themselves.

  13. @Dearieme

    ‘The result in the Andrew Mitchell case shows the folly of going to law when there is no compelling need.’

    No, it shows the folly of going to law when it’s your word against several, you’re a Tory minister with a superiority complex, and you probably did say it.

  14. Tim>

    “How? One of them might have been at his Grandmother’s the night of the alleged rape, and knows fuck all about it.”

    What do you think is being alleged here?

    “Seriously, you’re supplying overall, national rape statistics from Wikipedia to support the notion that “at least one generation of males in which a moderately-sized minority have missed the lessons on consent” is a factor in this particular case?”

    Is there a reason you didn’t just do the basic arithmetic I pointed out to you as the evidence? And no, it’s not a particular factor in this particular case, it’s the evidence you asked for of a statement I made which started with ‘whether or not this particular case is true’ and then talked about a generality.

    I think the bit you’re missing here is that ‘bros’ are – not all – a bunch of grade-a dickheads, and they’re not civilised. They’re not really something we have here, and so you’re not familiar with their attitudes to women, but they’re part and parcel of their disrespect for others combined with an extreme sense of self-righteousness.

    Have a google for ‘bro-dozer’ or ‘rolling coal’. They behave like that, with no care for others, in every part of their lives.

  15. Is there a reason you didn’t just do the basic arithmetic I pointed out to you as the evidence?

    Yes. Linking to a Wikipedia page on US rape statistics and saying “do the maths” is not evidence.

  16. So Much for Subtlety

    Dave – “Have a google for ‘bro-dozer’ or ‘rolling coal’. They behave like that, with no care for others, in every part of their lives.”

    Have a google for “blood libel”. Do you really think Jews behave like that, with no care for others, in every part of their lives?

    There is no significant number of rapes on US campuses. At least none that go to the police.

  17. It does occur to me that if rape is as prevalent in US universities as Dave suggests, they should all be shut down forthwith as a matter of urgent public safety- hell the girlls would be safer with ISIS or Boko Haram.
    Perhaps a return to segregated education would help?
    I wonder what the alleged incidence of rape is for non-university students living/working around universities? If the university boys are indeed as bad as they are painted, then it would be strange if they confined their activities to fellow students.

  18. @interested: “you probably did say it” is wrong. The judge decided on the ludicrous grounds that he assumed that the copper who told the story was too dim to invent it. Anyone who needlessly puts himself at risk of being before such a judge is an idiot.

  19. If the university boys are indeed as bad as they are painted, then it would be strange if they confined their activities to fellow students.

    Quite. And I’d imagine that if these bad boys took that attitude outside the campus gates in some university towns they’d be winding up in alleys with broken legs a lot more frequently than they are now. So either these bad boys are smart enough only to gang-rape college girls who they can frighten, or there are simply not many of them as suggested.

  20. Riding the mangina trail again Dave?.

    If US college males are such a set of monsters–why are the femmis and their Federal allies trying to get schools deciding who is a rapist based on civil standards of proof (and those fiddled to deny the accused as near as dammit no voice in his own defence). With all these arsehole youths committing rape the police etc should have no trouble bringing down the malefactors using old-fashioned criminal standards of proof.

    Unless of course the whole “rape-culture” fest is just another crock of feminist Marxian shite.

  21. @Dearieme

    You seem to be suggesting that judges should form no opinion as to the character, temperament or truthfulness of witnesses. It’s an interesting and novel thought, but I can’t see it catching on. They’re called ‘judges’ for a reason, you see.

  22. Look, Dave’s a fucking idiot with this stuff (and much else), so we should not be surprised at his wibble. There was no gang rape at UVA, there is no university rape culture, and there’s also no widespread culture of ‘bros’ which is anything like that which exists in Dave’s fevered, and probably masturbatory, imagination.

  23. [Dave] I have no idea what you’re on about, but then neither do you.

    Interested sums up what I was going to say in an efficient manner.

  24. Just to add though, quoting another commenter from the other thread, as Bloke In Costa Rica said, “Campus Rape” is following the “Satanic Abuse” template (and more generally, many other urban myth type moral panics).

  25. @interested; the judge’s comment is moronic because even if he was right about the stupidity of the copper who reported “pleb”, it has no bearing if one of his mates suggested that he report it. And since five coppers have already been sacked or jailed because of their conspiracy in this affair, it is dim of the judge to ignore that possibility. Or, as you implied, maybe he wasn’t dim, just biased against Tories.

    Either way, I’m right; Mitchell was a bloody fool to go to court when he didn’t need to.

  26. They’re called ‘judges’ for a reason, you see.

    But dearime’s point was that this particular judge is obviously* a bad one and since we cannot know in advance which judges are good and which ones are bad, it’s best to avoid them all.

    * Because he believes that stupid people don’t lie.

  27. I googled ‘coal-rolling’ and ‘bro-dozer’. They seem to be motoring terminology.

    Is there some vile sexual interpretation I am missing or is Dave suggesting owners of environmentally unsound vehicles have a propensity to rape?

  28. “You seem to be suggesting that judges should form no opinion as to the character, temperament or truthfulness of witnesses. ”

    That’s not the point, it’s that given that you will have to rely on a judge making a subjective assessment of your character on the basis of little evidence, there is no point in gambling your reputation on the jducial process if you don’t need to.

  29. The problem here is in something we might call “The Error Of Expertise”. A physicist is reasonably an expert on physics. A doctor is reasonably an expert on medicine. Etc. The question is what a judge is an expert in. “Judging”? That’s awful vague.

    Judges might reasonably be called experts on law. This does not mean that a judge has any greater expertise in something like human personality, psychology etc than a physicist, doctor or indeed bricklayer or welfare mother. How would you meaningfully even test a person’s expertise in that? So when they get to sit in their wigs and robes declaring their opinions on all kinds of matters- the worthiness of a witness or the danger of video games or whatnot- they are merely speaking as an ordinary person with their own subjective opinions, rather than as experts.

  30. So Much for Subtlety

    Interested – “and there’s also no widespread culture of ‘bros’ which is anything like that which exists in Dave’s fevered, and probably masturbatory, imagination.”

    Actually it is probably the feminists who keep going on about this that have the fevered and masturbatory imagination. They do talk about it a lot.

    What this is mainly is a way to talk about rapists without mentioning the obvious thing – race. Frats are a way of condemning race and making it absolutely clear that you are talking about rich-ish White boys. Otherwise if you condemn race, you may end up talking about the Black Panthers and so on. So that bro-culture does exist – after all, I bet they refused to take a lot of journalists – but it is not exactly a rape-y culture. White Anglosphere cultures are uniquely polite to women. Try getting drunk in the local equivalent of a frat house in Morocco or Egypt or even Japan. Often to said women’s frustration it must be said.

  31. So Much for Subtlety

    Damn it. Never post when drowsy.

    At least two of those “races” ought to be “rapes”.

    You know how it is – Sometimes it is hard to keep your borderline crazy monomaniacal obsessions apart. And don’t even get me started on what green crayon costs these days.

  32. Interestingly enough *if* (and that’s a mighty big if) this story is true then ALL of the frat is guilty, because the story alleges that the initiation ritual for this frat was gang rape. So if true then all the frat members have participated if not in this “rape” but at least one other.

    And yes, the “Satanic Abuse” scandal was a good deal more believable than this one. Why, everyone just KNOWS that there are satanists just waiting around every corner to rape and sodomize innocent children…look at all the children who go missing every year….oh wait

    Next step, being accused of rape = guilty and doubting that is misogyny/racism/rape/hate crime, what ever.

  33. @JeremyT

    ‘But dearime’s point was that this particular judge is obviously* a bad one’

    I suppose I ought to concede that I wasn’t at the high court on this day, or in the court in question, and that I therefore didn’t sit through the case and hear the evidence. Indeed, I only have the newspaper reports to go on. I’m not convinced they’re entirely reliable, but uif it turns out the judge was bad (unusual for them to put sa comp,lete idiot in charge of a high profile civil matter) then perhaps the whole business will be appealed (I don’t know as CBA to find out if leave has been given etc).

    Derieme’s essential point is actually correct – pretty much anyone is stupid to go to law over defamation. I suppose my (more nuanced*) point is that it’s not always stupid, sometimes it makes very good sense, but that it’s further sometimes not just about who is in ‘the right’.

    *Than I earlier stated it

  34. Some thoughts from a non-Greek UVa alum:

    -highly unlikely that rape, assuming something occurred, was part of an initiation
    -highly unlikely something like this would be orchestrated by pledges, much more likely an older brother would be the ringmaster and would have goaded younger brothers into participating
    -I think it is very likely that something occurred: entering a fraternity house is not a good idea for young women
    -standard operating procedure is to get them intoxicated on grain alcohol spiked fruit punch (no taste of alcohol) and then take them upstairs and one or more brothers takes full advantage
    -this happens at fraternities across the country and clubs/discos around the world
    -hopefully this event will be a catalyst to stop this abhorent behaviour once and for all
    -hopefully the participants will be discovered and allowed to experience the joy of unwanted sexual attention from the receiving end

  35. Yeah John–you have just made the entire thing super-credible.

    8 morons decide to commit rape in a pitch-dark room. It might be understandable if the room was pitch-dark when the girl entered (so she couldn’t see her attackers). But then they could have grabbed and hooded/blindfolded her and then turned on the lights/opened the curtains so they could see what they were about. But no–they continue with an attack in a pitch-dark room .
    The girl and an alleged assailant crash thro’ a glass topped table. Which suggests that the alleged attackers were so stupid that they elect not only to attack in the blackness, where they will be tripping over each other, but that they really scaled the heights of moronism by not moving any of the furniture to the side of the room out of the way of whatever they where alleged to be planning.

    Also their alleged words don’t scan in my book.

    “Grab its leg” is one alleged statement. “Grab ITS leg”?
    I have an interest in the black soul of humanity and have read much over the years about crime and esp murder. Starting with the books of the late Colin Wilson when I was young. In all my reading I cannot remember a single murderer who referred to any of his female victims as “it”. This includes the worst of murderers and serial killers and the like. These are men who actually have raped tortured and killed women and I can’t remember any who did not use the correct female pronoun. None of them said “I raped/killed IT” and these are truly the worst that human males have to offer (outside of political scum). The only place I have heard the use of “it” is in the fictional Hollywood film “Silence of the Lambs” in which the bizarre killer gives orders to a female victim by talking to his little pet poodle “Tell it it has to….etc”.
    The implication that America’s white male college youth are not only mass rapists but also hold totally de-humanised attitudes towards females is exactly the kind of propaganda shite that radfem haters want to spread about men.

  36. Quite. The “its” is not convincing at all, unless you believe the (false) feminist theories about the male mind.

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