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I assume you have heard the latest in the Duke lacrosse story: It is being reported by the Associated Press and Essence Magazine that the accuser previously — 10 years ago — accused three men of raping her. If this is true, and if the prior rape claim was false, and if this corroborates a claim now that she is making this up and if indeed this current accusation of rape is cooked up, then congrats to the media! (And in particular to Essence Magazine and the AP!)
The media gets accused — and I admit sometimes rightfully — of making a circus out of various stories, but maybe this is one time where the media can take a bow. Finding this prior accusation could be extremely important. The last thing we want in our system of justice is that someone is unfairly prosecuted and convicted. That does happen. You know that from the DNA exonerations of some on death row.
This discovery of a prior claim of rape is likely to be key to this investigation. Note: I write "likely" and "key," but you should not completely seize upon this information yet. It remains possible that she was raped before (and was too scared to carry through with her claim) and raped again now. It also remains possible that she made a false claim before and yet was raped now. It seems very unlikely in my mind, but I am without any more information and it is important to get all the facts. At the moment, however, it seems like this allegation of rape — and this indictment — will go away. We are in a "wait and see" mode. But, probably like you, I am very, very, very suspicious of what the accuser is saying now based on the report of a prior claim that was never proven.
If the indictment does go away, the next questions are: How do those indicted regain their reputations? Why did the DA so quickly seek an indictment? And, is this case a "ham sandwich?" (A reminder to all: An indictment is not evidence. It is a one-sided accusation.)
Thursday night, Bernie and Ted got to meet in person Tito Lacle, investigative reporter from Aruba. Ted and Bernie only know him as you do — via the videophone (or last summer, via satellite). Like you, they have seen Tito on our air dozens of times, but it always different to meet someone in person. Why is Tito in town? He is helping us work on a special.
Saturday night is the annual White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C. The guest of honor is President Bush and the comedian this year is Stephen Colbert. I assume that C-Span will carry the event as usual.
Now for some of your e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
OK, that does it! Ted and Jeff need to be sent to a mental facility! What on earth possessed them?! A pretty woman sure seems to change the law.
This is very twisted thinking and I am very disheartened. This woman is just as much a predator and just as guilty as a man is who did the same thing.
E-mail No. 2
I think it is a major double standard to treat this woman differently just because she is attractive. If she were a man she would indeed "fry." She is a pedophile and should be treated as such and get the maximum sentence.
E-mail No. 3
Do you think there would be any question as to what to do with a repeat offender if it were a male teacher and a 13-year-old girl (or boy)? No, lock him up and throw away the key. Simply because the offender is a blonde woman does not make her any less of a pedophile.
E-mail No. 4
As a mother of three boys I found the discussion regarding the teacher sex case very alarming. Just because the teacher is an attractive blond does not make her crimes excusable. A couple of your guests joked as if the 13-year-old boy is lucky! Your guests need to think with their brains! She is a sexual predator just like any other creepy, sick individual who preys on the young and manipulates them for their own pleasure. Yes, she has psychological issues, as does every sexual predator — male or female! Lock her up!
E-mail No. 5
After watching your latest debate concerning the female teacher e-mailing her former student/victim, I searched the Web using a popular search engine and was shocked to find so many hits using the following words (teacher having sex with her student). I really did not know that there were so many cases of this happening. As I reviewed the articles I was even more surprised at how lightly the female teachers are treated/punished. If they were men we as a society would truly hammer them.
Thank you for bringing this problem to the viewers' attention because it is a very serious problem. These teachers, whether they are male or female, need to be punished.
E-mail No. 6
Your panel on Wednesday evening were acting like skittish schoolboys! If the teacher had been male and the child female, would they still be laughing and joking? It left me and my husband quite angry.
Any teacher taking advantage of a 13-year-old student is a pedophile, and should get to spend time in prison. Would the panel recommend psychological assessment had the teacher been male?
Dotti and Will Huxtable
On Tuesday, we aired our interview with two stars of the movie "Akeelah and the Bee." The movie opens this weekend. If you watched the show, you know I think this is a great movie. If you go to this movie this weekend, be sure to e-mail me what you think about it. But, what to do the movie critics say? Check out this review in the St. Petersburg Times:
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