Jameis Winston, Rape and Skeletons in the Closet

I think the state’s attorney got it right in the Jameis Winston case, when deciding against charging him with the rape of his accuser.

It’s not easy for me to say that.

This case touched a nerve with me, and chilled me to my core.

Years ago, while attending a large university, I was raped by a football player. We both lived on campus, and he was known to me as an acquaintance. In fact, I had a little crush on him. One Saturday night, I wasn’t feeling well. Most of the dorm was empty. My fellow classmates were either out at parties, or had gone home to spend the weekend with their families. My roommate was visiting her boyfriend. I had a cold, so I stayed in.

He called me that night, asking if I was interested in trading CDs- I had a massive collection, and so did he. We’d spoken in the dining hall on more than one occasion about swapping albums. I remember being a little mortified at the thought of seeing him, on account of I didn’t look very good, having been sick most of the day.

Reluctantly, I agreed.

I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, I ended my night in the emergency room with several injuries, and a positive rape kit. After my release from the ER, I went to the police station with my parents and pressed charges.

He was picked up in his dorm (after his roommate swore repeatedly he wasn’t there), and was quickly charged with rape.

While not a national story, mine was a sensational scoop among the locals. I was stalked, threatened and harrassed. Once, I even tried to drop the charges, as I was scared, lonely, and caving under the pressure of it all.

My request was denied, and I was threatened with arrest, should I choose to stop cooperating with the prosecuting attorney‘s office.

The trial took place about nine months later, and my rapist was convicted after a jury deliberated for just under three hours. I remember the tears streaming down his face as they took him into custody after the guilty verdict was read.

After serving the bulk of his sentence, my rapist had his conviction overturned. The appellate judge said he hadn’t received a fair trial. He was ordered re-tried or released. The choice was mine, and I chose to let it go, and walk away. In my mind, by making this decision, I was finally putting a period on the end of this horrible run-on sentence. I was moving on.

If I thought it was over, I was sorely mistaken.

He subsequently sued the state for wrongful imprisonment.

He won.

Seems I couldn’t put a period on it afterall, and all these years later, I’m still trying to move on.

Now comes Jameis Winston, and the state attorney’s decision not to press charges against him in the sexual assault of his accuser. I purposely avoided the media coverage as much as I could, but when word got out that all 86 pages of the investigative material had been released to the public, I couldn’t help myself.

Anxiously, I read every single page.

I’m jaded. I’m nothing close to unbiased, and don’t pretend to be. Yet after reading all of it, I was devastated. I’ve been accused by too many people to count as being someone who wrongfully accused an innocent man of rape. My name is on websites as a person who purposely, knowingly lied about being sexually assaulted. I’ve been listed among the names of people who have falsified rape allegations.

I know my journey, I know the truth about what I went through. That’s why it never once dawned on me that people actually do fake these things. Because of my experience, because of how terrible every single second of it was, and because of the pain and trauma I carry with me to this day, I never paused long enough to consider that sometimes women lie.

I don’t know what happened between Jameis and his accuser. I do know her story changed multiple times. I know she told two of her friends he hit her on the head, causing her to black out, and therefore remembers nothing of the assault. I know she told investigators something altogether different.

I don’t know who is lying, and if it’s her, I don’t know why she pursued this.

I do know that had this case gone to trial, there would not have been a conviction. I also know about women, and how vengeful people can be when they think they’ve been treated badly.

I know the risk males- especially black males- take when they put themselves in positions of weakness, when they treat women badly, and then expect those women to stand up and act honorably on behalf of them.

Sometimes women lie, and men go to jail for crimes they didn’t commit. Many times, though, women are telling the truth, and the men that assaulted them go free.

No one but Jameis Winston and his accuser truly know what happened that night. Just as no one but my rapist and me truly know what happened the night he assaulted me.

If his accuser was not telling the truth, I hope she gets help, and comes to understand the gravity of what she tried to do. I hope she comes to appreciate the life she has forever changed, and I hope she comes to terms with why she made the choices she made that night.

I hope Jameis sees this for the close call it was. As with all things, there’s a lesson to be learned from this experience. I hope he comes to realize how close he came to the fire, and how he almost got himself burned.

Harry Belafonte Was Right About Jay-Z

C Haze:

I have never been a fan of Jay-Z, for the same reasons detailed in this blog. I try to raise my beautiful-black-women-in-training to understand the same points this author is making. Great post.

Originally posted on Our Legaci:

Harry-Belafonte

Jay-ZWith the current controversy surrounding high-end retail store Barneys and racial profiling allegations, one thing stands evident. Harry Belafonte was right about Jay-Z. In the midst of this controversy, fans have called on Jay-Z to end his partnership with Barneys, in which his new holiday fashion line is going to be sold. Jay-Z’s response has been a calculated public relations effort in which he negates any real responsibility to his default, “I’m doing it for charity” statement. Currently, Jay-Z is continuing his partnership with Barneys with his collection set to launch next week.

This “doing it for charity” response only further highlights Jay-Z’s disconnect with the masses that he often claims to represent. This notion of accepting racism in exchange for charity is downright laughable. If a charity is supposed to be helping people, why work with a store that appears to marginalize his own fan base due to class and race perceptions…

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Josh Romney, the Car Crash and the Shameless Self-Promotion

Mitt Romney’s son Josh made headlines yesterday.

As the story goes, Josh was the first person to come on the scene of a terrible accident. While stopped at an intersection, he witnessed an SUV moving at speeds he describes as upwards of 70 MPH crash into the kitchen of a nearby home. First on the scene, Josh pulled the occupants of the vehicle– a couple and their two teenage children– to safety.

The family of four suffered minor injuries, and were treated by paramedics, and none suffered major injuries.

Some call Romney a hero for his quick action to help a family of strangers to safety. Others criticize him, not for his good deed in helping the family get out of the vehicle, but for what he did immediately after.

Josh immediately took to Twitter, having had someone take a picture of him smiling, standing in the aftermath of the crash:

View image on Twitter

The caption reads: 

Was first on scene to big accident, see pic of car in the house. I lifted 4 people out to safety. All ok. Thankful.

Poor taste? Many say yes.

Josh Romney a hero? Many say yes.

I think Romney’s actions fall into the category of both.

Pulling a family to safety after what clearly looks to be a horrific crash was an act of kindness, an act of decency. Posting a picture of himself smiling in the face of such destruction, mere moments after it all happened was a dumb thing to do. It was tasteless– an obviously self-promoting act– and he deserves to be criticized for doing it.

Incident of the century, it is not. Disturbing and uplifting all at once?

Yeah, I guess it is.

Where is Abigail Hernandez?

abby vigilAbigail Hernandez was last seen three days before her 15th birthday in North Conway, NH. She was reported missing by her mother on October 9, 2013.

Not much is known about what happened to Abby, and the few facts available in the case are strange and at times contradictory.

We know for sure Abby went to school on the day of her disappearance. The last confirmed sighting of Abby is on her school’s surveillance camera, which shows her walking through the hallway. She had a backpack with her and an iPhone in her hand. She was alone.

A friend claims to have seen Abby walking home from school at about 2:30 that afternoon, and no one reports seeing anything suspicious. Abby was texting for about a half hour after this last sighting, with her last text, a heart symbol, being sent to her boyfriend a little after 3:00 PM.

By all accounts, Abby’s mother reported her missing on the evening of October 9, 2013, as soon as she got home from work. Some fine it strange, how quickly law enforcement reacted, immediately calling in state police, the FBI and the Secret Service for assistance with the investigation. There was no talk of a possible run away. Abby’s home was quickly sealed off, and was treated as a crime scene, though police said repeatedly they had no evidence a crime had been committed.

A massive search was launched, and through daily press briefings, law enforcement and the state’s attorney’s office would give daily “updates” about the case. Very little by way of information was released during these gatherings, but still, they continued.

Law enforcement set up roadblocks as part of their search effort, stopping cars along the route Abby is believed to have taken home on the afternoon of October 9. This was a busy time of year in North Conway, as many tourists were in the area to view the fall foliage. This area is an annual tourist attraction due to its unrivaled scenery and quaint lodges. It’s believed investigators pulled surveillance footage from neighboring businesses, though it’s unknown if Abigail was seen in any of the videos.

The woods were searched extensively, with human remains, unrelated to Abby’s case, having been found as a result.

Initially, investigators stated they believed Abby had made it home on the afternoon she went missing. This, they claimed, was based on the work of K-9s, who were able to follow Abby’s scent to her home. It was never determined whether there was any other evidence to support this belief. More recently, authorities have said they do not know if she made it home or not.

It was said early on that Abby was believed to have walked her “normal” route home. Later, however, Abby’s mother told the media that her daughter did not typically walk home, and that she was supposed to have ridden the bus on the day she vanished.

Days into the investigation, a report emerged that Abby had made a call on the evening she vanished, at around 6:30 PM. This call was said to have pinged off a nearby cell tower on Cranmore Moutain, a popular ski and tourist area a few miles away. During a press conference with law enforcement and the state’s attorney present, a member of the media asked one of the Fish and Game officers if that report was true. The officer confirmed the legitimacy of the report, and agreed that a call was made from Abby’s phone the evening she went missing, at around 6:30 PM.

Afterwards, however, investigators directly contradicted that report, and said publicly it was not true.

Police have asked people to be on the lookout for Abigail’s missing cell phone, an iPhone with a pink and gray case. Strangely, while Abby is also seen in the surveillance footage at her school carrying her backpack, and investigators claim to have no idea if she made it home that day or not, there has been no public plea to look for her bag, or a description of what it looks like. This, despite the fact that the surveillance at her school is reportedly the last confirmed sighting of her.

Has her bag already been located? Was it found at her home on the night she went missing, perhaps?

Law enforcement has always stated they do not know whether or not Abby was abducted, or whether she vanished on her own. Despite the massive police presence, and immediate involvement of multiple investigating agencies, it remains  a “missing person’s” case.

While refusing to publicly discuss Abby’s father, he has been ruled out as a suspect, along with her mother and older sister. Abigail’s boyfriend is not considered a suspect either, and the same holds true for her boyfriend’s father, who also shared a close relationship with the teen.

Many have said they believe investigators have much more information than they have released publicly. Others think law enforcement has no idea what happened to Abigail, and are simply trying to be as thorough as possible.

There has been speculation that Abigail’s mother, Zenya Hernandez, believes her daughter ran away, based on the statements she’s made asking anyone who noticed any changes in Abby’s behavior in the days leading up to her disappearance to contact authorities. She has addressed her daughter directly during press conferences, but has made no mention of an abductor, or anyone who may have taken her.

Rumors run rampant, with some even wondering aloud if Abby’s father is somehow involved in the military, or law enforcement, prompting the quick response from so many different investigative agencies. For weeks after she went missing, law enforcement refused to answer any questions about him, and would not identify him. He was not present at any press conferences.

Eventually, however, he wrote his daughter a public letter, pleading with her to let everyone know she is safe. He asked that she post her favorite bible verse so that he would know it was her reaching out, and not an impostor or her abductor.

The area is no stranger to tragedy. In recent years, the region has mourned the disappearances and  subsequent murders of Celina Cass and Krista Dittmeyer. Krista’s murderers were quickly caught, while Celina’s case remains unsolved. All three cases have been handled by the same state’s attorney, with some speculation that this fact explains the extreme and immediate response and involvement of law enforcement when Abby was reported missing.

Since she disappeared, Abigail Hernandez has turned 15 years old. She has missed Thanksgiving, and her family needs to know where she is, and what happened to their beloved daughter.

Dallas Crime-Watch Volunteer a Serial Rapist

AP11:15 p.m. EDT September 11, 2013

DALLAS (AP) — The south Dallas crime-watch volunteer accused of four rapes preyed on women as they walked late at night through the neighborhood he appeared to protect, sometimes assaulting them while he held a gun to their heads, according to police affidavits released Wednesday.

More…

 

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Mother issues public appeal for return of missing Medfield girl

MEDFIELD–Fighting back tears, the mother of a missing Medfield teenager offered a plea to the unidentified man who left the local library with her daughter Monday afternoon.

Brittany Thompson was last seen leaving the Medfield Public Library at 4:25 p.m. Monday.

“Whoever you are, could you please just bring her home to us today?” said Maureen Thompson, the mother of 17-year-old Brittany Thompson, during a news conference at the town police station. “I want her to sleep in her own bed tonight.”

More…

 

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State Police Search for Missing Medfield Teen Who May Be in Danger

Brittany Thompson Missing: Police search for Mass. teen last seen with man she may have met online

Parents of missing Medfield teen make plea for her return

 

George Zimmerman Questioned by Police after Wife Reports Gun Threat

Tribune wire reports4:39 p.m. CDT, September 9, 2013
LAKE MARY, Fla. —

George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted of murder two months ago in the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, was questioned on Monday by police after his estranged wife called 911 saying he threatened her with a gun.

He’s just threatening all of us with his firearm
Shellie Zimmerman, who filed for divorce last week, also said her husband had punched her father in the nose and smashed her iPad. More…

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