In Florida Student Assaults, an Added Burden on Accusers

Last year, the Tallahassee police’s handling of a rape accusation against Jameis Winston drew attention to its failure to adequately investigate. Now, an examination shows a pattern to the handling of such complaints.
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When the accused robber was a guest in the home the issue is indeed murkier. He lent it to me is in fact used as a defense and makes investigations more likey to end up without an arrest. If the accuser in the robbery has invited the accused over and then got so drunk they don't remember what they said its murkier still.

2 2018-08-08 09:16:02 - AJ

If a woman has chosen to report and to have a rape kit taken -- which is horribly intrusive -- why think its likely she won't go forward? shes has already asked for an investigation.

5 2017-07-02 21:57:56 - EMJ

We can all understand worrying about the well being of the possible victim, but what about the innocently accused. I find it ironic and worrisome that you persistently repeat the name of the Florida student when charges were never brought forth.

20 2017-05-27 01:32:08 - Hozeking

As a retired Florida Police Chief I have to say that these practices by law enforcement are not acceptable. I was a chief of a small city yet we had a detailed policy on handling of rape complaints, we had a specific trained staff that was called out on ALL rape cases and we had a counselor from a rape crisis team interview the victim with our trained officer. The first thing that needed to be addressed was the well being of the victim and the rape kit. After that the victim had to be reassured that action would be taken and support would be there. Our State Attorney also had specially trained staff that worked with our staff and the rape counselor throughout the entire process. Much of this goes back into the 1980's it is not new. It appears that the Tallahassee Police need some serious attitude adjustments along with extensive training.

228 2017-04-12 18:53:18 - Roger

Newspaper accounts rarely of ever provide the full set of facts and context. They have a viewpoint (guilty or not; sympathetic to the alleged victim or not) and purpose (to illustrate an idea). The facts presented and left out support that view; context and demeanor are lost. I wouldn't judge any outcome by the account of a media report. They are generally not reliable and definitely not complete (it a give being complete is impossible).

5 2017-02-20 18:47:17 - TrueNorth60
First, unless I missed something, she downed Nyquil. Second, a date rape drug can be dropped in any non-alcoholic beverage. Let's stop putting the burden on the girls to be more careful & start expecting an attitude shift among the boys/men.

However, I will agree that traveling in numbers is generally safer (although not always possible).
7 2017-02-09 15:40:09 - Be The Change...

Absolutely. Both parties deserve the protection of law. There is an epidemic of false harassment accusations on campuses by women who want to profit by suing university. A woman or a man may have regret after the night spent with someone. Accusations of rape or harassment should be made responsibly and the accused protected by law until proven guilty.

3 2017-02-06 05:26:07 - Georg Witke

You make a good point, Matthew! I, wonder, many times after reading about a, rape of someone, "why does the perpetrator". live long enough to go to prison!

2 2016-12-21 02:49:08 - NevadaWolf

This seemed to me a balanced article. Regardless of the seriousness of rape, because of the nature of it and even consensual sex, it becomes difficult for the police and prosecutors to go forward. The question of consent, particularly when the purported victim and suspect know each other. and also the reluctance of victims to come forward or tell the complete truth due to embarrassment, are much less likely than in a non-domestic assault. Sometimes the use of drugs (even legal ones) or alcohol by the victim also complicates things and can destroy a successful prosecution in an otherwise winnable case. Moreover, there is also the problem of false accusations for any number of reasons for which there is probably often more motivation than with respect to other crimes. I know some people are offended by this notion, but of course it exists. The police and prosecutor are conscious of all these things too. I doubt they are any less sensitive to the horror of rape than anyone else, but neither want to falsely accuse a suspect or lose (or get sued) if they press forward. Probably the same problems exist in many domestic assault cases. Nothing I wrote here is intended to defend or excuse rape, but merely to agree and emphasize that it is harder than in many other types of cases for the police to come to a conclusion as to what to do. Training and education are the only solutions, and, partial at best.

5 2016-12-16 12:44:52 - David H. Eisenberg
Drinking is not a crime. And if it were underage drinking, the punishment is not rape. And, you forget that some have drugs put into their drinks, so suffer more impairment than say, a glass of wine.

And would you suggest than anyone who passes out from alcohol or a medical condition should be raped? And then it's not a crime because it's their fault for passing out? What if someone passed out and they were murdered? Is that a crime?
6 2016-11-21 05:31:44 - Leslie

You are right to be attacked by "feminists" because your comment fails to recognize the males' (joint) responsibility.

26 2016-11-19 23:15:47 - Keith

It seems to me that the surest way to curb these sorts of cases is to teach men that it is not okay to rape women. The fact that you think the onus should be on the woman to prevent a violent crime happening to them just shows how much you don't understand this issue.

28 2016-11-16 15:39:01 - Brad Blumenstock
While this is a good question, the article points out that, at least in Tallahassee, it is NOT being handled well by the city police.
It is so discouraging to feel that the police -nationwide, it appears- are often ill-trained and worse, ill-intentioned.
1 2016-11-11 14:09:05 - Dee

In loco parentis, "in the place of a parent" refers to the legal responsibilities of an institution to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent. The challenge is that we see young adults as adults and not children as soon as they cross a magic threshold. Importantly, a 1961 case Dixon v. Alabama marked the beginning of the end for in loco parentis in U.S. higher education rather than forcing an evolution.

The result, we don't do enough to give adult guidance to children as they transition from living under parental supervision at home into adults living more independently. This in turn has created a period akin to the "lord of the flies" where a certain degree of base behavior is an accepted transition into adulthood. Our mass culture promotes "gone wild" expectations. The consequences are numerous - large scale failure to get value from education, large scale predatory behavior including sexual abuse, large scale drug or alcohol abuse, etc.

A revisiting of the whole approach to post-secondary education is needed - resurrecting some more interplay between adults or the wider community in the lives of young adults.

3 2016-11-10 16:01:44 - Ben

So if someone shows up dead, and therefore incapable of pressing charges for anything, we have to just let that slide, right?

85 2016-11-02 09:27:54 - Sandra

The system of policing needs to be changed. A police officer can have very little education and no more so-called "training" than a month or two at a local community college. Maybe that's appropriate for handing out parking, but clearly given the number of times police are shooting people with mental issues, etc., higher levels of intelligence and education are needed; and a military background perhaps should be regarded as a detriment. Much more professional qualifications are needed and different levels of responsibility established.

6 2016-11-01 06:50:56 - Terrence

"Unlike burglary, sex is often consensual, so proving rape is hard." Really? Inviting people into your home is consensual, but when someone breaks into your home it's against the law. Why is it that allowing a penis into your vagina then somehow makes it so awfully difficult to recognize that a man forcing himself into that same vagina is a crime? Come on, now. And when the police ask a victim of a violent crime -- who's taken the time and effort to go to them and report a crime, fill out a report, and subject herself to a medical examination -- whether she wants them to investigate or not, that's no mistake...the cops are well aware they're bullying a victim into dropping the case. They know if it seems like they don't believe her or believe the crime is worth pursuing that will help persuade her to go away and leave them alone.

29 2016-10-23 05:04:00 - ugh

Absolutely! It is not a crime to be intoxicated, but rape is a crime. A victim may have acted unwisely, but that is not a crime. Rape is the crime. Why is this so difficult to understand?

6 2016-10-10 18:47:17 - zooey

Sadly, your thinking - that it is the rape victims fault - still seems to permeate much of the discussion and perhaps lack of police action
in these cases.
But even if it was true that an individual asked to be killed, for instance - is it OK if I murder that person?
Sexual relations must be unequivocally consensual in every circumstance. Period.

2 2016-10-06 08:50:14 - Margaret

Accidents? Rape is not an accident. It is a crime.

3 2016-10-02 02:37:36 - Ziyal

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