As the Rolling Stone “Jackie” story continues to fall apart faster than 1973 Gremlin, a few brave souls in the media are beginning to look more deeply at the campus culture of rape narrative in general and a few highly troubling cases in specific. I was watching Smerconish this morning and he dared to ask the uncomfortable question of what happens to men who are falsely accused of rape on a college campus, and is there also a need to ensure justice for them? He interviewed a young man named Joshua Strange, who has a story befitting his surname. Many of you who follow this topic closely are likely already familiar with Josh’s tale, but you don’t see him being trotted out on all of the cable TV gab festivals every day. For those who missed it, there is some info out there on his situation.
A former Auburn University student who was expelled from the school amid sexual assault allegations despite the fact that a grand jury declined to prosecute him was a “a civilian casualty in the Obama administration’s war on men,” Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto writes in a column published Friday.
The column tells the story of Joshua Strange, now 23, who was accused of sexual assault after his girlfriend said she woke up to find him “forcing himself on her” in 2011. Strange said the sexual contact was consensual.
Taranto says Strange’s girlfriend did not press charges immediately, but did so months later, after their relationship ended, when she claimed he confronted her in public and hit her. He was charged with simple assault in that incident and felony forcible sodomy in the earlier incident.
So many of these stories wind up being analyzed in a way that begins with, well something happened that night. And clearly something did in this case. Josh’s girlfriend was upset and they argued. But later, in her own words, they determined that it was “a misunderstanding.” The couple reconciled and continued dating for some time before splitting up, after which Strange received word of the accusation.
When the time came for a decision on whether or not to indict Josh, the girlfriend didn’t even show up to offer testimony and he was cut loose. And yet, somehow, Joshua Strange was still kicked out of college. Now age 23, his life has been permanently affected by these events. Smerconish asked the college what happened but they would not respond to his request.
In a general sense, I understand how traumatic it must be for sexual assault victims in college to not receive justice and how that trauma could be compounded if they have to continue to see their assailant walking around campus every day. But in all of these situations, I’ve yet to hear of a case where anyone was able to force her to continue dating the guy after the attack. Apparently the college failed to take that into account, along with the rest of the evidence offered. But yet again we see a case of a college attempting to replace the criminal justice system while not offering the accused any form of due process. This is a task they are uniquely unsuited to handle and the results speak for themselves.