UMich student arrested for rape story

Richard F. Dutcher rfdutcher at
Sun Feb 12 02:25:38 PST 1995

> From:          "L. McCarthy" <lmccarth at>

> 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
>, 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 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 presume fiction, or is it pretend truth 
like the readers' sex stories in Penthouse?

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