Four Questions About the Garfield High School Rape Case

Comments

1
This is on the central staff of the Seattle Public Schools, who have for years treated the public and parents with contempt. They see themselves as the smartest people in the room, the ones who actually run the district, and pursue whatever policies they feel are best, regardless of what the public wants.

So it comes as no surprise to me that their reaction to a rape is to try and sweep it under the rug and belittle the victim and her family. I hope the feds smack the district down hard, and hopefully this finally, at long last, leads to the mass firings at the "John Stanford Center for Educational Excellent" that have been needed for years.
2
"it has effectively given credence to the boy's version of events"
I know you're referring to afterwards where he says he did nothing wrong and he was framed, but I think it bears mentioning (repeatedly and often) that he ADMITTED to raping her (to police, according to the Al Jazeera article): "He acknowledged to law enforcement that she told him to stop several times"
3
so basically, even in his version of events he admits to raping her and SPS still did jack shit.
4

As a person growing up in the 1970s and 1980s -- and I don't know how many of you remember this -- we were pretty much taught that rape is entirely a crime of violence and not desire.

I don't know if this is still held as true any more...part of that rationale was they were trying to steer people (males) away from the outdated notion that because a woman was dressed provocatively she "wanted it" and hence was more of an accomplice than a victim.

I guess when I read stories like this, and many of the on-campus incidents, I fail to see where there would be an intent of violence. These seem like cases of lust, desire, and so on, at least on the male's part. What's the current view on all this?
5
@4 Whether he was motivated by desire or violence is completely irrelevant. If you have sexual contact with someone against their will, that's assault. And if you penetrate them against their will, it's rape. Doesn't matter if your motivation was hate or love or anything else.
6
@4, in addition to 5 above, it's about power, not violence.
Again from the article, "When asked if Emily said anything during the incident, the boy disclosed to the school district investigator, “I did not pay attention to her that much.”"
That's not lust or desire or whatever else you want to dismiss it as, it's about his feeling of entitlement to her body and not caring what she thought about any of it.
7
@2 That's what I read too. She made it clear she wanted it to stop, and he didn't stop, even though he heard her. And, that's by HIS own recollection.

The story is that much fucked up.

One could argue that she started it, and thus bears a little bit of responsibility...but she communicated stop clearly enough that he heard it, and he didn't. I don't care what the reason is, he should have stopped.

I suspect that she may have wanted it if it was just general PIV sex, but as soon as it went anal, she didn't want it and it became rape. Which is still rape. And it's not a night of sex that became regret afterwards.
8
Back in my high school days I was, of course, a music geek who went on the annual overnight trip to the regional show choir competition. They would put us up in a dormitory at a Catholic College, with the girls on one side of the hall and the boys on the other, with the two teacher sleeping on rollaway beds in the hall. (Seriously) There was no chance of any heterosexual sex, consensual or otherwise.
9
It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy.
10
They also allowed his friends to bully her, apparently without consequences.

Even without an investigation, is there a policy to allow a sexual assault victim to transfer schools to get away from her attacker (or, even better, make *him* transfer)? If there's no policy like this in place, why the hell not?
11
What redress should should the district have provided? Should the boy have been expelled even though the Feds declined to prosecute the case? Is that due process?

It's terrible what happened in this case, and it may well be that she didn't get justice, but if the prosecutor wouldn't take it to charges what should the district be responsible for? I find it disturbing that with "a much lower burden of proof" people seem to expect the district to deliver justice when a court, with presumably a higher standard of proof, wouldn't prosecute.
12
I can answer some of Dominic's questions.

1) The students were essentially unsupervised. The young chaperones in the cabins acknowledged after the first night that they had absolutely no control and no idea what the kids were up to. Girls were in the boys cabin, a boy was found under a girl's bed in the morning, the kids staged chairs at the windows as stairs for easy entry and exit, and there were kids out of the cabins without the chaperones' knowledge. That was the first night, and no steps were taken to improve security on the second night, the night of the rape. It was just as chaotic that night as well. The only chaperone in the boys cabin was asleep with earplugs.

2) I am told that, at least at Garfield, overnight field trips are more stringently chaperoned now. However, the District has changed neither their policy nor their procedure when it comes to sexual harassment (which is how they characterized this incident). The OSPI, in an audit, required the District to review and revise their policy. The District, in response to the OSPI committed to doing so by July 1, but they have not. In addition, the policy requires an annual report to the Board but, despite the fact the policy is three years old, there has never been an annual report. It doesn't really matter anyway since the District staff didn't follow the policy or the procedure. As everyone familiar with Seattle Public Schools knows, the staff rarely bother to even read the policies and procedures, let alone follow them.

3) Federal law requires the District to investigate. But they didn't until the family demanded that they do so and reminded them that the law requires it. That's one of the primary elements of the Title IX complaint. There are others. The District's policy and procedure also require an investigation with a report within 30 days of the complaint. But, as noted, the District has a culture of lawlessness and the staff simply don't care what the policies and procedures require. They don't bother with the policies because there are never any consequences for violating them.

4) Yes. We can stop blaming the victim. I must say that I have seen less of that in this case than I have seen in others, but none of it is right and we should work to bring it to zero.
13
@11, well considering he ADMITTED TO RAPING HER, yeah, I think he should have been expelled.

But for the sake of argument, let's say he didn't admit it and it was just "she said he raped her" vs "he said he didn't". At the very least I'd expect the school/district to follow the law and to be as neutral between the two students as possible. They did neither. (Actually I'd prefer institutions to give more benefit of a doubt to the alleged victim at the outset, for the safety of students and because we live in such a heavily slanted-toward-the-rapist society, but I'd settle for neutral).

For Dominic or any other journalist: In cases where the alleged perp actually admits to the crime (like here) can you switch out alleged for admitted? I would think that would still fly since it's truth, even if they haven't been convicted.
14
The district - both staff and Board - have not followed their own policy.

They appear to have not followed Title IX policy.

They seem to act like it is someone else's problem and it is not.

They did suspend the boy but allowed him back at school, without notice to the girl and her parents. She was harassed at school by friends of the boy and he complained about her accusations on his Facebook page.

He not only said he raped her but, in the district's investigation papers said, when she resisted he got her to "roll with it."

There may be even more to the story previous to this incident but that's still under investigation.

There is now a petition to get a new principal at Garfield High. This is sure to cause controversy among alums, current students and staff because Principal Ted Howard is well-liked but a number of incidents have occurred under his watch seemingly without any consequence.

https://www.change.org/petitions/seattle…

15
@11. No one is looking to the district for redress. Where did you get that idea? All anyone ever wanted the district to do is follow their own policies and procedures and comply with federal law. Is that too much to expect?

They didn't have to reach any specific determination, but they had to follow an honest process. That's what the district should be responsible for.
16
#6

What I perceive is an evolution of the crime of rape from one defined in the 70s as pure violence, to more of a property crime. Yes, there can be violence, and that is defined as assault, or worse. But in these cases and in the cases of campus rape, it appears to be that since the victim emerges intact post-infraction, that something was essentially stolen.

To wit, as you said it's about his feeling of entitlement to her body. Thus, he did not harm her in the traditional sense of extreme physical violence, nor was that his intent. He did how ever take something without permission and without recompense. That seems to be the new definition.
17
@16 PROPERTY CRIME? It's fairly difficult to offend me, but wow. You've done it, and beyond. Holy shit.
18
JBITSMFOTP
19
@16 I hope you get cancer.
20
reply to #12. He is correct.

There were only 5 adults, not 7. The records show that only 3 teachers were authorized to even be on the trip. Only one screened adult was with the students at night. Two unscrewed college students were with the students at night. Therefore 3 chaperones for 27 kids, but only one screened.

The two other adults (teachers) that were listed in the district's records slept in a distant area, BY CHOICE, unable to watch kids at night. All they need was a rotation or security guard to prevent this tragedy.

The documents show that there were 3 adults authorized to attend. Two college students showed up but not authorized/background checked. If there were 7, who were the remaining two people and why were they allowed on the trip? All participants must be accounted for in the planning.

Ben, a parent

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21
reply to #12. He is correct.

There were only 5 adults, not 7. The records show that only 3 teachers were authorized to even be on the trip. Only one screened adult was with the students at night. Two unscrewed college students were with the students at night. Therefore 3 chaperones for 27 kids, but only one screened.

The two other adults (teachers) that were listed in the district's records slept in a distant area, BY CHOICE, unable to watch kids at night. All they need was a rotation or security guard to prevent this tragedy.

The documents show that there were 3 adults authorized to attend. Two college students showed up but not authorized/background checked. If there were 7, who were the remaining two people and why were they allowed on the trip? All participants must be accounted for in the planning.

Ben, a parent

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22
SROTU, you really don't care that nobody wants your maunderings, do you.
23
You missed the most important detail of this case, which is not just that she reported that she told him to stop, but that *he* said that she told him to stop. The boy actually told law enforcement that yes, she said to stop several times. He confessed to raping her. Sexual contact without consent, or after revoked consent, is sexual assault. The fact that both law enforcement and the school district say there is insufficient evidence is absolutely insane.
24
The process is broken. The district had an avowed interest in avoiding liability. After the district conducted an investigation of itself, they arrived at the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence of sexual harassment, conveniently shielding themselves from liability. Surprised?
25
Don't use the word "intercourse" when you are talking about rape. This is a simple thing that people in the media can do to combat rape culture. Words like intercourse imply consensual activities - in this instance you could use the terms "anal rape" or "vaginal rape."
26
JBITSMFOTP
27
@11 a lower burden of proof means they need less evidence or less strong evidence to take action than a body with a higher burden of proof. So, yeah, the school and the district could have acted more firmly even though prosecutors declined to.
28
@16 No, actually, you're completely wrong from beginning to end. The definition of rape has never changed, except that we didn't used to legally recognize marital rape as rape.

There is no point in human history where what he did -- and I'll say did, not alleged to have done, because he has confessed to it without apparent duress -- would not be considered rape. Rape is now, has always been, and always will be, having sex without consent.

In the 70s and 80s, activists emphasized rape as a violent act because they were trying to get across the idea -- which apparently will never penetrate your thick head -- that rape itself is an act of violence, even if there isn't additional violence to go along with it. You know, if somebody gets beat up really bad and also is raped, we seem to readily see that a crime has been committed, but if they're raped and have no obvious injuries, we think it's just regrettable sex. We think it's no big deal. They were trying to say, "no, it is a big deal, it's still traumatizing, it's still injurious, it's still assault."

If you think that somehow the definition of rape has "changed," that proves you didn't understand it in the first place.
29
The Seattle School District and many others believe that because the US Attorney did not prosecute the alleged perpetrator, it means the victim was not raped. The School District legal department has also used this argument to persuade the School Board that the victim wasn't assaulted.

The National Park Service Chief Ranger Colin Smith, who investigated this incident had this to say: "As I've said before, the US Attorney has not determined that no sexual assault occurred, but that we do not have a case that can be successfully prosecuted in court."
30
communication from board president... and I am just reposting this - not advocating for/against this - just feel that more of the community should have this piece too...

Dear Seattle Public Schools principals, staff and community,
I know many of you are concerned about the story that appeared earlier this week on Al Jazeera America news. I want to assure you that all School Board members – who are also parents – share your concerns about student safety. In the last year and a half, the District has reviewed and improved our field trip, training and chaperoning practices.
The 2012 allegation of sexual assault during a Garfield High School overnight field trip was investigated by the FBI and the National Parks Service, who interviewed all parties involved. The U.S. Attorney’s office decided not to file charges. The FBI told the District not to investigate until they completed their investigation, and we have not received a copy of that report. As soon as the District learned the FBI investigation was complete we conducted our own independent investigation. The family asked the District not to interview their daughter, and we respected those wishes. The Board reviewed the investigation and concluded that we did not have sufficient evidence that a sexual assault occurred.
While we cannot comment in detail about the investigation, we can tell you what steps have been taken to make sure our students are safe. Right now, all employees receive training on sexual harassment when they start employment and receive refresher training every two years.
In addition:
· In August 2013, all school administrators received added training on new procedures regarding field trips and the responsibilities of chaperones.
· This August, all school administrators will receive additional training on how to respond to crisis situations.
· The District has requested the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, to work with us in evaluating and improving our procedures to ensure full compliance with all federal and state requirements regarding sexual harassment and assault.

The District has procedures in place to respond to incidents of sexual harassment, and those procedures were followed. The safety of our students, whether while in our buildings or at school-sanctioned trips and events, is of utmost importance to us. We will continue to work with our Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland to ensure our staff and administrators always make safety their priority.

President Peaslee
31
Jeebus effin christo…if she said "no" and he continued, it was R-A-P-E. End of story. That is what we've all been taught since every After School Special on the subject. Any other information is irrelevant.