Glenn Sacks featured the case of Reese Hopkins, a Boston talk show host who has been charged with raping an 11/12 year-old girl in 2004. The young girl was allegedly a friend of the daughter of Reese's girlfriend at the time, and the incidents were alleged to have occurred while she was sleeping over at Reese and his girlfriend's apartment in NYC. Reese was fired from his talk show last fall. Glenn has been looking into the case.
Reese is also African-American. In the case of someone being accused of raping a child, I believe a man of any race would be in extremely serious trouble. However, it's hard to escape the fact that people of color are usually charged much more quickly, prosecuted harder, and end up incarcerated a lot more than caucasians. Reese was also apparently a "conservative" talk show host, and internet searches of his name quickly turn up "liberals" focusing on gossip and cruelty by gloating over his imprisonment and charges against him. None of these people know him, of course, and they probably don't know anything about the case except the minimal amount reported in newspapers. Glenn Sacks has the most in-depth coverage of the case (and yes, I did check using my in-depth newspaper database access).
The most recent news I could discover was that Reese has fired his public defender, a man named Keith Cavet. Reese is imprisoned in Riker's Island because he can't make bail; obviously, he cannot afford a regular attorney, and has to depend on the public defender, who, according to Reese, has ignored the sworn affadavits of his former landlord and NYC real estate broker (if you are not familiar with NYC and live in other areas of the country, brokers play a much different role in leasing there than they do elsewhere - the broker would know the status of the apartment at the time the alleged incidents occurred).
Reese has been accused of raping the young girl between September 1 and October 31, 2004 at the apartment in question. He states he was not living there at on any date between those dates, and neither was his girlfriend - the apartment was vacant and being painted and renovated. So that is what these affadavits state.
As near as I can figure, Reese is still sitting in Rikers Island and the best news coverage he can get aside from Glenn (and me, I guess) is nasty bloggers who like to gloat about their own sick version of "celebrity news".
Which brings me to the overall topic. I know from hard and true, repeated personal experience, that victims of real crimes seldom receive any type of "justice" for what has happened to them. Even one of the most famous cases of all, the Adam Walsh case, just now was brought to a close nearly 30 years later, when investigators finally determined that the horrific killer Ottis Toole (now deceased) was the one who kidnapped and murdered Adam.
Life isn't CSI, or NCIS, or Law and Order. Life is Kafka's "The Trial." If what Reese, the broker and the landlord say is true, it's hard to comprehend how the man is still rotting in jail. The crime was alleged to have occurred during a pretty broad range of time, in a place that was supposedly vacant, almost five years ago. Reading between the lines, the accusation of rape against Reese occurred much more recently, after the young woman had gotten in trouble due to acting out at school and exhibiting other behaviors that would indicate she was troubled about something.
Reese is not going to get help from "liberal" advocates who ordinarily take on cases of men of color falsely accused of extreme crimes. He might have dark skin, but he was known as a "conservative" radio host. He's also been accused of a horrific crime -- the rape of a very young female child.
I might be one of only a few females qualified to comment on this particular aspect of human behavior (not that politically- or criminally-motivated individuals of both genders would listen - truth and honesty is none of their concern). There are few more harmful human behaviors than the false accusation. This is in one sense, what Kafka observed in "The Trial." In the case of rape, or even worse, child rape, every false accusation makes it much less likely that real victims will get any type of help or redress for the crime. As with every other crime under the sun, a black man is the likeliest, in our society, of being singled out in this manner. He is the most vulnerable of all. Any charge against him will be believed.
I do not know if the young woman making these charges is telling the truth or not, but due to the timing of the accusation, the circumstances, and what would seem to be an unbreakable alibi on Reese's part - this has to be questioned. One way that young women can avert "trouble" is to state they have been raped. Unprotected sex can instantly became "rape" in the case of a pregnancy that's causing questions (not the case here). Behavior or personal problems? Well, it's excusable and lots of help and sympathy will be available if it is put down to a terrible reaction after a terrible crime. Want attention? No better way, as a young woman, to state that you've been victimized.
I have to say, though I do not doubt Naomi Wolf's allegations against the horrifically egotistical and prickish Harold Bloom, this cracked me up when I first read it, and it still inspires bitter humor. If I got featured in NY Magazine and spewed all over the internet every time somebody put their "heavy, boneless hand" on my thigh, I'd be a billionaire and the most famous woman on the planet. As I did comment on the Naomi Wolf article, I was a candidate for the Rhodes Scholarship and a Watson Fellowship when raped (brutally, with tons of evidence) by a professor from a nearby school whom I declined to prosecute due to 1) threats from the perpetrator; 2) potential revelation of other things I'd done that WERE wrong at the time; 3) not wanting to be called a slut and somebody who "asked for it" at any potential trial. Naomi's tailspin due to Bloom's lechery? That's nice. I wish I'd had that luxury. Real people in the real world don't have those luxuries. They either move on, or they don't. They either survive, or they do not.
But I'm not a daughter of privilege. I'm a hard-scrabble orphan and everything I have, I got by the hardest, most persistent work that I could do. I got it by surviving. I got it by refusing to give up. I got it by refusing to dehumanize other people just because I, myself, had been dehumanized. I know what it feels like to look into someone's eyes and realize there isn't a person there. I did believe that the man who did that to me was going to kill me. At age 21, I believed that my life was over. I thought he was either going to strangle or stab me, then dump my body under a bush by the side of the road. But, he didn't. Something happened in his mind and in his eyes that had zero to do with me. He turned away, like he was tired or bored. He let me go. And it was up to me to either survive - or give up and die - on my own. Rapes, by the way, are not exclusively about "power." They are about sex, too. Nobody's going to make much progress in stopping the crime if it is argued exclusively on that basis. Just because the perpetrators are sexually motivated does not mean that the victims "ask for it." It just means that they were there, available, or vulnerable.
Reese needs to make the same choices that I needed to make. He needs to choose to survive, or not. I don't think he'll "go down" in the long run for this crime, because it sounds like a very weak case. No witnesses, five years later, and he's able to show there was no apartment occupancy during the time the alleged crime occurred.
I really cannot say the damage that false accusations do. It's unspeakable. It is hard enough for real victims to speak up, to go through the humiliation and horrific constant questioning and being forced to repeat everything that happened - each and every godawful detail. The words the attacker used - the names he called you, the things he did, the things you know he did because of what you saw and felt afterward, but that you can only guess at because you were unconscious most of the time. I also do not understand why it is so difficult for non-victims to comprehend the totally obvious difference between the false accuser and the real victim. The real victims have virtually no desire to relive the pain they endured. They want to get away, and nearly all of them would love, more than anything else, for the crime to have never happened. They question themselves, over and over. What could they have done differently? How did they make this thing happen to them? The false accuser suffers no such problem. Their feelings and actions are totally opposite. They are eager to tell their stories. They pretend or fake serious emotions that they imagine are what the real victim would feel.
Above all, they don't want to avoid the "crime." They are eager to engage with it. Real victims want nothing to do with the rapist. In the case of domestic or family violence, it is the same. After a victim has left, they want no type of contact with the aggressor. They don't want to engage them in court, they don't want to send messages, they do not want to relive the situation over and over. They are usually actively afraid of the perpetrator, and they are afraid in other situations, too. It marks them. Something similar was portrayed on the television show "Lie to Me" recently and it stuck in my mind. One thing that I believe is biological or at least a natural survival response, is the ability of people who've been seriously abused to "tell" if people are lying or not. I have been fascinated by this show and the underlying science that inspired it - I can't necessarily put a name to these "microexpressions" that denote deception as the show portrays. But I'm not unlike the young female character on the show who's presented as a "natural" - i.e., she can unerringly detect not only untruths, but "something wrong" in people's demeanor or expressions. For example, I've angered a student in one of my classes. I don't know what it is - I can guess - he presented himself as a straight-A student and he is indeed, an excellent student, but I didn't give him an "A" on every single bit of his work. For some, that would be enough to inspire deep-seated anger. And that is most certainly what is going on in my classroom and I didn't have to be a rocket scientist or lie expert to figure it out.
Yes, false accusations are very obvious to real victims. And not only do they hurt the people who are falsely accused - their friends, and their family members - they brutally injure all the real victims out there, over and over again. Every time this happens, a real child that really is raped (girl or boy - imagine what a boy goes through, having to admit something like that), is going to go without any type of help or justice. It's "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" over and over again. Our fables and children's stories teach us these simple truths and wisdom. But it seems - from Grimm to Kafka to the real world - these lessons are never learned.