February 25, 2016

About those 5 teenage boys who confronted a father and daughter at gunpoint in a Brooklyn playground, and ordered the man to go so they could rape the 18-year-old woman...

Remember we talked about it here on January 11th? Two of them were turned in by their own mothers. The police were criticized for not acting sooner.

Now, the charges are all being dropped, WaPo reports:
The woman and her father had provided inconsistent and unreliable stories, said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. Snippets of cellphone videos suggested the sex was consensual, prosecutors said. Worst of all, the father himself had been “engaging in sexual conduct” with his own daughter when the incident began, Thompson said....

To some critics, the bizarre, lurid case and rush to judgment recalled in some respects another controversial New York City rape case. In 1989, a woman was brutally raped while jogging through Central Park.... The five teens were convicted of a slew of charges [and later] exonerated....
In the comments to the January 11th blog post, MisterBuddwing had said:
I wouldn't be the least surprised if things happened exactly the way the police said they did. In which case, let the perps rot. But perhaps we should remember the case of the Central Park jogger. Five youths - four black, one Hispanic - were arrested in that rape-assault, and leading the charge, screaming for their blood, was a real estate mogul named Donald Trump. Years later, their convictions were vacated...
Oh! Donald Trump! Fancy meeting him here. The Washington Post drags him into this too:
Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in four New York newspapers with the title: “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!”
There's an image of the ad, but it's not enlargeable, so I can't read past the quoted headline. Here's an image big enough to read the text. Let's be clear: Somebody attacked the Central Park jogger. People were terrorized by violence in the city back then and could not walk in Central Park after dark. Women in particular were limited in our movement through the city. Trump wrote: "How can our great society tolerate the continued brutalization of its citizens by crazed misfits? Criminals must be told that their CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS... Let our politicians give back our police department's power to keep us safe. Unshackle them from the constant chant of 'police brutality'.... We must cease our continuous pandering to the criminal population of this city."

There's a lot of resonance with themes in the current election, but there's no focus on the problem of catching the wrong people. There definitely was and is violence from which we expect our leaders to protect us. That involves finding the real perpetrators of genuine acts of violence.

In this new case, it's not a question of finding the right people but of ascertaining whether the actions in question are really a crime. Much of our focus lately — with Season 1 of "Serial" and "The Making a Murderer" and much of The Innocence Project — has been on absolutely real and serious crimes and the problem of pinning those crimes on the wrong man. It's quite another matter when you have the person you know did something, but the question is whether it's a crime, as in this Brooklyn playground rape/nonrape (and also the new season of "Serial," looking into the case of Bowe Bergdahl).

By the way, if the Brooklyn playground sex was consensual and the woman was 18 and one of the boys was 14, hasn't the woman committed second degree rape under New York criminal law? Back to the WaPo article:
[T]he teens told police they had encountered the father and daughter having sex in the park that night. The teenagers then joined in the act. “She said yeah,” a man’s voice can be heard saying on the video, according to the Times. “If you said yeah, it’s lit, like, you know what I mean,” a man then says on the video. “I could tell you a freak.” Confronted by police, the father and daughter reversed course, admitting that there was no gun. The woman admitted that she had consented to the group sex. The father and daughter also both eventually admitted to drinking alcohol and having sex with one another, according to the Times....

“I think [there] is a way, from a policy and social standpoint, to say, ‘Young men should exercise a little bit better judgment in dealing with certain things,’ but what they did didn’t rise to criminality,” attorney Ken Montgomery told the Times. “I would agree, in a sense, that we live in a country and a world where we have a lot of unhealthy ideas of what appropriate sexual relationships are.”
Incredibly sad and debased. I don't know where I would start dealing with a situation that has reached such a low place. It's easy to say the government should back off and do nothing. Maybe Trump has some ideas.
With the focus off the five boys, it shifted to the father and his daughter, who prosecutors have stressed is still a victim, even if she consented to the sex.
Why, exactly, does she get to be the victim?
How she came to have sex with her own father, unleashing a torrid and tragic series of events, is, in part, a story of the failings of the American foster-care system.....

47 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I guess I'm happy I was on travel for work and ultra-busy when this story first came out so I was unable to make a snarky comment that now looks foolish.

My quesiton: Why are the names of the Dad and Daughter kept private, whereas the falsely-accused men have had their names put out there?

Now, if I were the parent who had turned in the kid, what would I be doing now? I presume the kid told the parent the truth, and was not believed.

Amexpat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brando said...

I was pretty outraged when I first heard about this--but then this is why we have investigatory and judicial procedures and due process. Otherwise, these guys could have been railroaded and branded for life when the worst they did was have consensual group sex with an older woman.

And even those of us who were outraged to hear of this wouldn't deny due process--awful as the allegations were, we still need evidence weighed--which is still more than I can say for the Dunham-ite left.

And yes, technically she raped them. Think that's insane? Well that's the nature of statutory rape laws.

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

So the police get it right. That is the story...that the police oficers are very good at what they do including evaluation of scum people stories; and Police HAVE to deal with such scum people all day everyday.

Brando said...

"Now, if I were the parent who had turned in the kid, what would I be doing now? I presume the kid told the parent the truth, and was not believed."

Yeah, it's probably awkward in those homes. But the parents still did the right thing, because by coming forward and cooperating they were cleared. Without that, we'd still have this woman and her father's lies and fear of some unknown gang terrorizing young women.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Any guy who has sex with a woman together with another guy, or shortly after another guy, can make a pretty credible claim that he's not homophobic.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Amexpat. I'd already corrected those on my own. I have the habit of hitting publish without proofreading and then proofreading and correcting things. It's a bad habit, but I do it all the time. It's writing, real time, here on Althouse. I do care about the errors, a lot, actually, but the impulse to hit publish is very strong.

traditionalguy said...

This story makes abortion seem attractive.

wildswan said...

There is a style of literature where the same story is told over and over from different points of view. Normally I dislike that style but there are situations in which that style is the only way to write about an event. This is one. Something big happens and yet it is indescribable because the event is anarchy - "things fall apart/ the center cannot hold/ mere anarchy is loosed upon the world/. The father, the daughter, the five young boys, the police, the newspapers, what we thought happened, what did happen. How does a girl, a man or a group of kids ever get to such nothingness, separately and then combined? It reminds me of Breaking Bad so far as I saw it - I stopped watching because I really don't care what happens to people as nasty and broken and breaking before me as they were nor can I stand looking at it.

And why did the words "the election" just float into my mind?

MisterBuddwing said...

I do care about the errors, a lot, actually, but the impulse to hit publish is very strong.

Some websites make it very easy for posters to edit their comments post-publication (e.g., YouTube). Let's just say there have been times I wish I had that option here, short of deleting the entire comment and starting over.

Todd said...

By the way, if the Brooklyn playground sex was consensual and the woman was 18 and one of the boys was 14, hasn't the woman committed second degree rape under New York criminal law?

Well sure if laws matter (and all) but remember, this is most likely a case of "rape" not [Whoopi] rape-rape as (in this case) the perp was a woman. Due to the white-male power structure and the fact that all men (regardless of age) are rapists or rapists in training, a woman exercising her option to engage in traditional male behavior is to be applauded, not denigrated! Cause feminism / patriarchy / sexism / other stuff!

rehajm said...

...The Aristocrats!

Michael said...

All of the people involved are black so it doesn't really matter narrative wise.

amielalune said...


The saddest part of the entire post is that the professor is seriously citing "Serial" and "the Making of a Murder" as if they were getting at the complete, unvarnished truth. Similar to the people who have seen Oliver Stone's "JFK" and think they know the real story.

Very, very disturbing.

eric said...

This reminds me of something Instapundit wrote once.

Maybe the police are there to protect the criminals?

Imagine there are no police and mob justice took over.

Again and again we read our newspapers and are outraged. Only to discover later, we only had half the facts, or wrong information.

And yet we always believe it at first blush. Not only does believe it, but we repeat it to our friends as if we know it's true.

mccullough said...

Fatherhood in the urban black community. The boys fathers aren't around but the girl's father is having sex with her.

David Begley said...

All New York values.

Sex on a playground? Incest? Rape? Consensual?

Can't get much lower.

Amexpat said...

"Thanks, Amexpat. I'd already corrected those on my own. I have the habit of hitting publish without proofreading and then proofreading and correcting things."

It's good to learn that you are a mere mortal and need to proofread what you write. I've been reading your blog regularly for over 10 years and was beginning to think that you were infallible.

Brando said...

"All of the people involved are black so it doesn't really matter narrative wise."

Certainly explains why we haven't heard a peep from Al Sharpton on this one.

Black Lives Matter! Only when a white person (now including Hispanics!) is threatening those lives.

holdfast said...

"Incredibly sad and debased. I don't know where I would start dealing with a situation that has reached such a low place."

Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Char Char Binks said...

"Why, exactly, does she get to be the victim? "

Because she has a vagina.

Brando said...

"Because she has a vagina."

Reverse the genders. An 18 year old boy is repeatedly having sex with his mom, and they get a bunch of under-18 girls to join in (consensually). Any doubt that 18 year old boy would be facing statutory rape charges?

Martha said...

It cannot be legal to have sex in public—while on playground!!!!!
Then the 18 year old "victim" and her father cried rape and made the false charge of a gun being involved.
Charge them all.

Beldar said...

I support capital punishment -- on grounds that it's the proper retribution from society for certain exceptional crimes. If there's also a deterrent effect, I consider that gravy; but we'll never know that for sure, nor be able to measure it with anything like meaningful results.

And there's no point in having a capital punishment statute unless it's used, and used reliably enough to avoid arbitrariness in its actual (as opposed to potential and threatened) application. Having one and never actually using it is by far worse than not having one at all.

Arbitrariness was one of the reasons why Furman v. Georgia (1972) and its companion cases struck down essentially all American states' capital punishment statutes. The resulting re-written statutes were much improved, and passed SCOTUS review in Gregg v. Georgia (1976). And the death penalty is a very real prospect in a state like Texas now.

But somewhere like California, it's a joke -- not because of the way the statute is written, but because the people in charge of implementing it (including those, like Ninth Circuit liberal judges, who have the power to block implementation) in particular cases to punish particular crimes have ensured that it never actually gets used.

The same would happen in New York. If they want to return to capital punishment, they'd have to start by doing a wholesale housecleaning of the liberal jurists on their state courts; and the liberal jurists on the federal court have life tenure and are chosen in Washington by the POTUS and Senate, so they'd need a whole lot of help, and the passage of quite a few years, before it could actually happen.

Bobby said...

eric,

"Imagine there are no police and mob justice took over.

Again and again we read our newspapers and are outraged. Only to discover later, we only had half the facts, or wrong information.

And yet we always believe it at first blush. Not only does believe it, but we repeat it to our friends as if we know it's true.
"

This is why I always wait to see what comes out next and almost never rush to form an opinion. The first thing I was taught as a scout platoon leader is that "the first report is always wrong," and that adage has been proven universally true over and over again throughout my career.

If one follows Ann's link to her first post on the story, it's quite instructive to see how many of the usual commentariat here were so quick to accept the story and have it confirm their world view. Perhaps more tellingly, very few of them are going to admit here or to themselves that they got it wrong. For most "informed" people, it's more important that their narrative remains intact, whether it means pretending that Al Sharpton's rhetoric really did cause the murder of Lt. Joe Gliniewicz or that Michael Brown really did say "hands up, don't shoot."

Ann Althouse said...

"Some websites make it very easy for posters to edit their comments post-publication (e.g., YouTube). Let's just say there have been times I wish I had that option here, short of deleting the entire comment and starting over."

Me too! I just had to do that with 2 comments in another post.

Ann Althouse said...

"The saddest part of the entire post is that the professor is seriously citing "Serial" and "the Making of a Murder" as if they were getting at the complete, unvarnished truth."

That's just plain wrong. Why would you say that?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

What a sad episode.

I read a snarky post (not too long after Hillary Clinton posted her tweet that women making accusations of rape or sexual assault have a right to be believed) that posited if the Scottsboro Boys incident happened today (and perhaps if the races involved were jumbled) that the Left would almost certainly argue for their criminal convictions. It occurred to me that an analogous incident/accusation of that kind that took place on a college campus today would certainly result in the system finding the male parties guilty.

In one dimension none of that is surprising, but in another--what a long, strange trip it's been.

Tank said...

Who among us has not had sex on a playground?

With a parent?

And a few strangers who happened by?

DavidD said...

" 'Criminals must be told that their CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS...'."

When's the Reichstag fire?

Sammy Finkelman said...

I think she wasn't the daughter of the man, but the step-daughter, whch is also no good.

William said...

At about the same time and at about the same place where the Central Park jogger got raped and beaten, a group of youths were attacking random strangers in the park. It was not a wild surmise to assume that these youths had participated in that rape. These youths were not the victims of racism but rather of an unfortunate coincidence. The moral of the story should be "don't assault random strangers in the park". Well, th youths involved are now all multimillionaires so justice has been served.

Birches said...

Yikes indeed. I'm with holdfast on this one.

William said...

There was an initial effort to make this a racial case. The Brooklyn borough president claimed that the police had failed the community by not publicizing the case and arresting the offenders. He said things would have gone down differently if this had happened in a white community......He got that right. Just for one thing, white people commit incest in bedrooms and not public parks. Plus this happened in the winter. White people do not indulge in group sex outdoors in the winter.......Why are black politicians like Adams, the boro president, so eager to find fault with the police and so oblivious of the pathologies in their own zip code. I attribute this to prejudice on his part, and I know he will never be called out on it.

Crazy Jane said...

From the New York Times:

"She was taken from her mother, a drug user, at 2 and placed in the care of a local family, who later moved to California.
She was eventually removed from that family, officials said. Afterwards, she lived in a series of group homes and other
facilities. Investigators learned she had a history of emotional troubles, the officials said.
"When she turned 18, the woman, whose mother had died, learned her biological father's identity and contacted
him through Facebook, the officials said. Last July, she came to New York to meet him."

One of the young men's lawyers:

"I would agree, in a sense, that we live in a country and a world where we have a lot of unhealthy ideas of what
appropriate sexual relationships are."

In a sense, yes. Duh.

coupe said...

I don't think there is such a thing as rape anymore. As far as I'm concerned, any orifice of the human body is nothing more than a cash register.

Plus, sodomy, street drugs, and numbers rackets are all legal now, so I say:

Rape should be taxed.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Transsocial orientation is another hue in the rainbow. The current generation is bigoted, but the next generation will normalize it, because "=".

coupe:

sodomy, street drugs, and numbers rackets are all legal now ... Rape should be taxed

Abortion rites, cannibalistic trials, constructed congruences, and now redistributive sex. Progress.

It should, of course, be safe, legal, and rare. Properly conducted in a Planned Intercourse clinic, located conveniently next to or inside of a Planned Parenthood office.

Static Ping said...

I'm starting to appreciate why in the past there were so many capital crimes. Sure, it probably resulted in innocent persons being executed, but it eliminated the criminals. Those that were stupid enough to get caught and those that were so compelled to commit the crimes whatever the consequences were purged (as far as society was concerned, the loss was minimal), those that could control themselves refrained, and the remainder could be tolerated sufficiently for society to function. It's a blunt tool when a scalpel is preferable, but it is effective, especially when the dangers of a collapsing society outweigh the dangers of murdering a few random people. Better a few innocents die than all the innocents die.

I don't like that system, but any replacement for it must remember why this existed rather than scream "barbaric" and ignore it. If society can control the criminal in a more humane way, then that's great and an improvement. If society decides that it does not need to control the criminal, then it will suffer.

What NYC needed was Rudy Guiliani, which they got. They didn't need Trump's justice.

Michael said...

As a side note, my wife and I decided to watch the first episode of Making of a Murder. Ten hours later we turned off the TV. I can't remember another marathon like that. Very interesting stuff, mesmerizing. I go with the theory that the brother in law and cousin did the deed. For what its worth.

Freeman Hunt said...

Whoa! That's a horrible story. I hope the teenagers' families get the justice they're due.

holdfast said...

Every single one of these degenerates (father, ADULT daughter and young "gentlemen" should be charged with public lewdness and put on the Sex Offender Registry.

And then deported to a penal colony in Antarctica.

holdfast said...

@Freeman Hunt

Yeah, those poor little darlings. They may not be rapists, but they are certainly degenerate scumbags.

The Godfather said...

The Tromp ad blares: "Criminals must be told that their CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS...." But that's exactly wrong. It's when someone is charged with a crime ("AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY") that the Constitional (and statutory) protections kick in. (One of the professors at my law school constantly referred to "criminal rights", rather than the more popular "rights of crimial defendants"; his rationale seemed to be that most of the defendants WERE criminals, and we ought to remember that they nevertheless have rights.) We as a society have made the judgment that we'd rather risk allowing a perp to skate than railroad an innocent person. We can see the opposite approach in action all around the world, often in Bernie's beloved socialist "paradises", so take your pick.

Thanks for this post: It's provided another reason to oppose Tromp's candidacy.

Smilin' Jack said...

Snippets of cellphone videos suggested the sex was consensual, prosecutors said.

Child pornography serving the cause of justice! Yay!

Todd said...

Smilin' Jack said... [hush]​[hide comment]
Snippets of cellphone videos suggested the sex was consensual, prosecutors said.

Child pornography serving the cause of justice! Yay!

2/25/16, 4:05 PM


Apparently it is only child pornography if the "adult" is male and/or the "child" is female. so:

- boy/woman, not porn
- boy/man porn (man charged)
- girl/woman, may or may not be porn (no one may be charged)
- girl/man, porn (man charged)
- girl/boy, porn (boy charged)

These are general guidelines only and there is some prosecutorial discretion involved, mostly relying on the "victim" status of the women. This generally follows the same "rules" as women can not rape men/boys and women can never fully give consent for sex even if it takes weeks, months or years to realize consent was not "actually" given.