Missouri has long been known as the “Show Me State.” The state’s citizens must be proud of the slogan, as it is displayed on Missouri’s license plates. There are several opinions on how the slogan came to be, but “Show Me,” AKA, “Prove It,” is always a good guide to try to learn the truth concerning any matter. If the legal standard of “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is not met, the prudent course is to take all claims as unproven.
That standard should include Tara Reade’s claim of sexual assault against likely Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Only Tara Reade and Joe Biden know the facts; everyone else have only their possibly biased opinions. The same “prove it” standard should apply to President Trump’s accusers. Hypocrisy is abundant from both the Right and Left. On the Left, many liberals, including Joe Biden, previously stated we should believe President Trump’s accusers; now the shoe is on the other foot; accordingly, as should be expected, Biden rightly or wrongly denies improper behavior. Ms. Reade has given inconsistent explanations encouraging liberals to doubt her claim. However, erratic statements are not proof she is lying, just as consistent claims would not be convincing evidence she has been telling the truth.
“Prove It” is a great guide for nearly all claims, including the currently popular “Me Too” crusade. Many have stated we should automatically accept all “Me Too” claims because the claimant would have no reason to lie, and therefore should be trusted to tell the truth. There are reasons for a female, and occasionally a male, to lie about sexual activities. To hide extramarital sexual liaisons is one.
For a few years after retiring from the California Highway Patrol, I was a bailiff in the Calaveras County court. During that time period, there can be no doubt many rapes occurred, but two jury trials with approximately equal male and female jurors ended with unanimous “not guilty” verdicts.
In both cases, but especially so in one case, there is no doubt in my mind the jurors came to the right decision. A married woman, accompanied by a female friend, traveled from an adjacent county to Calaveras County to celebrate her birthday. The resort they chose had a wild reputation. During the trial, witnesses testified the “birthday girl” was “dirty dancing” with a male. As she and her friend were preparing to leave, her male dancing partner approached. After a conversation, she and the male walked back inside the resort to a ladies’ restroom. She was seen taking his hand, and both entered the room. A woman in an adjacent stall testified it was obvious something was going on in there. The reason the jurors delivered a verdict of not guilty is clear: why the female accused the male of rape is debatable, but it logically could have been to exonerate her if she contracted a venereal disease. Her male “partner” was a known Casanova at the resort. Given the way the male came prancing and smirking into the courtroom, the jurors would have loved to find him guilty.
Reason to question all “Me Too” claims should be clear. There should be no doubt the majority of rape accusations are true, but most is not all. The legal standard of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” should apply.
It is understandable that females would be reluctant to report rapes, the embarrassment of the possibility of having to testify in court is just one example, but waiting for an extended period to report the crime is likely to make it difficult or impossible to uncover physical evidence, resulting in a case of one person’s verbal statements against another’s. Neither convincing and plentiful tears nor sincere-sounding denials are proof of guilt or innocence; the result could be a case where the best actor wins … as sometimes happens.
Career advancement is another situation where (most often) a female submits to unwanted sex to achieve a goal. During our high school years, a friend said he read many a starlet was “made” on a movie producer’s couch, so he planned on going to work in Hollywood. Some aspiring actresses believed “performing” on a couch was a small price to pay for potential stardom and prosperity. My friend did not follow up on that plan; instead, he became an attorney. Some will see a relationship between my friend’s dream job and the one he chose.
Falsely claiming sexual abuse in any form can be a free promotional tactic, and publicity in any form is a sure-fire, time-proven, profile-raising and sympathy-gaining technique. No indignant uproar please: sexual abuse is too common and a cruel and repulsive act, and severe punishment for the guilty is justified.
A full investigation of all claims is definitely called for, but once again, claims are not proof and Missouri’s “Show Me,” AKA “Prove It” phrase should apply. Justice demands no less.
Ted Shannon is a retired CHP officer and a resident of Mokelumne Hill. He can be contacted at email@example.com.