UMich student arrested for rape story
Richard F. Dutcher
rfdutcher at igc.apc.org
Sun Feb 12 02:25:38 PST 1995
> From: "L. McCarthy" <lmccarth at ducie.cs.umass.edu>
> Rich Dutcher writes:
> > They *do* have to prove intent -- as to how, that's what juries are
> > for. BTW, he used her real name in the post, with no disclaimers
> > about fiction. From what I have heard, if he had said the same thing
> > in her presence, he could have been arrested for assault.
> Based on the NY Times article I've read, you're omitting some important
> extenuating circumstances here. For one thing, it was apparently posted to
> alt.sex.stories, which seems to obviate the use of "fictional" disclaimers.
> Furthermore, he did _not_ identify her as a UMich student.
Well, I was quoting a small AP story in a paper notorious for
clipping articles short, so I knew that some [if not many]
circumstances would be missing. In conversations today at
Potlatch 4 I learned of other circumstances, albeit not
necessarily what I would call "extenuating" ones. And the
lawyers, of course, will be spin controlling from now until a
> I don't see the relevance of "if he had said the same thing in her presence".
> He *didn't* ! There's an enormous difference between making a comment about
> a person to third parties, and making the comment to that person.
Not necessarily -- there's lots of case law that the threatened
person need not be present to be threatened. The people present
are still witnesses. I agree there's a difference, but its nature
isn't obvious. Precisely what that difference is is up to judges,
juries and [goddess help us!] legislators.
> According to the NY Times story, the woman mentioned in the story only heard
> about it because reporters asked her about it ! I find a great deal of irony
> in the report that the controversy started because an alt.sex.stories reader
> in _Moscow_ tipped off the UMich authorities.
Irony noted and appreciated -- but it does illustrate the "public"
nature of the forum.
> It appears that the Russians are allowed to read erotic fiction, while the
> Americans are forbidden to read it, and get tossed in jail for writing it.
> We've come a long way, baby. Yeah.
> -L. Futplex McCarthy
I was in high school while the Supremes [the real Supremes, with
Earl Warren, not the bogus nostalgia group currently wearing the
black robes] were doing the decisions that allowed Joyce and Lawrence
to be sold in bookstores, and I was taught Shakespeare from a
bowlderized edition of Romeo & Juliet. Trust me, we aren't in a
place remotely like that now [not that there aren't plenty of people
trying to get back there].
Which is not to say I'm complacent -- when I have money to spare from
Green work, it goes to the ACLU. Eternal vigilance and all that.
And this dude is entitled to presumption of innocence, a jury trial,
and all the other paraphenalia of procedural liberty.
However, given the information available to date, I see no reason to
believe that he's been busted for writing "erotic fiction" rather than
threatening a woman. Violence against women is too real, and in
other contexts courts have held to a standard of what a "reasonable
woman" might fear.
BTW, does alt.sex.stories presume fiction, or is it pretend truth
like the readers' sex stories in Penthouse?
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