Thursday, March 09, 2006

What standard to destroy a man?

Going back to the Midshipman Owens story for a bit. The Art. 32 was conducted yesterday. Fair write-up in the WaPo. Read it all; but this is the standard we are accepting to destroy a man?
She said that neither of them said anything and that she did not tell him to stop or call out to her roommate, who was sleeping in the next bunk, for help.

"Why didn't you?" asked the prosecutor, Cmdr. David Wilson.

"I don't know," she said, adding that she did not consent.

The woman said she knew Owens casually and had seen him in the halls. He had once sent her a text message after spotting her at a bar, saying she "looked good," she testified.

The woman acknowledged that her memory of some of that evening was spotty.

"Isn't it possible that during these blackout periods that you don't recall that you could have had an instant message conversation with Midshipman Owens that led to some consensual activity?" Wroble asked.

"I suppose so," the woman said.

"So what you've admitted is you may very well have consented? During these periods you blacked out?" Wroble said.

"I wouldn't define it as consent if I don't remember it happening," she said. "I don't think I would have consented, because I was drunk."
Fairly scary stuff. “I don’t remember.” Sober buyer’s remorse or rape? We don’t know. That is the key. We never will. The court may have a reasonable doubt on the rape; but a career and personal honor is destroyed one way or another. With an evidence flow like this – there is a lot here for military and civilians alike. To start with, we need to teach Logic at Annapolis.

I think everyone should back off MIDN Owens. If that is rape; well - I'm not calling it rape. Even if you accept 100% of the female MIDN's story - it isn't even sexual assault. Violation of some USNA regulations? Sure. Maybe some other UCMJ issues; perhaps. Rape? If so, rape has been defined down to the point we can no longer define it.

In the end, like I counsel all my officers and enlisted – don’t sleep with the help – and if you find yourself drinking with Sailors of the opposite sex – drink somewhere else. Especially if your BAC is the same as hers, I don’t care what she just whispered in your ear, or where her hand is. Grab a few male Shipmates and go somewhere else. An ounce of prevention…..

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