Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jameis Winston, The Wrong Poster Boy For Title IX

I mostly have avoided the Jameis Winston case, in part because I first encountered it due to a documentary that bore the field marks of the usual campus rape crisis hysteria, The Hunting Ground. But recent new evidence has surfaced as a consequence of a new civil suit that could effectively rebut Winston's version of events, and possibly, end his high NFL draft ranking:
The lawsuit—obtained by VICE Sports and embedded at the bottom of this report—contains two new bits of information that could prove damaging for Winston. The first is then-Winston teammate Ronald Darby's remorseful Facebook message after the assault—Darby is one of two FSU players who was present the evening of the assault. The second is that Kinsman's legal team has located the cab driver who took Kinsman to Winston's apartment the evening of the assault—something both the Tallahassee Police Department and state attorney's office had failed to do.
Erica Kinsman's accusations, published by the Washington Post in February, are that she was drugged and taken by cab to Winston's apartment, where he raped her before dropping her off near her home. Kinsman got a rape kit done immediately afterwards, and despite a positive match to Winston, the police never pressed charges. The case appears to have enough meat that writer KC Johnson, a professor at Brooklyn College famous for his coverage of the Duke Lacrosse case, observed that "Winston received preferential treatment from the Tallahassee Police". Title IX charges similarly went nowhere, which leads to a point about the overall value of Title IX sexual assault adjudication: if much of the impetus for creating a parallel, secret tribunal system bereft of representation for the accused is to stack the deck in favor of "believing" the "victim", it failed Kinsman spectacularly. It's hard to imagine a system in which a highly visible and popular student athlete would not have many advantages which would necessarily make prosecution difficult.

This, of course, does not apply to most men who would fall afoul of Title IX; as Johnson wrote, such cases "represent a tiny percentage of the overall number of students accused of sexual assault.... The typical student, instead, remains exposed to the guilt-presuming ideological environment of today's campuses." For them, Winston serves mainly as an example of the axiom that hard cases make bad law.

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