In this weekly series, FNC Legal Analyst Lis Wiehl offers solutions to the tough problems single gals face.
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Lis, I read an article the other day about some pro wrestler who’s now accused of keeping a group of women as his “sex slaves.” I can’t help but wonder how this stuff even happens. — Colleen (Dallas, Texas)
I’m in disbelief myself. And though this tale sounds like a fabricated story, for several women, this nightmare was a reality. A former World Championship Wrestling athlete, known as “Hardbody Harrison” has been convicted by a federal jury of keeping no less than eight women as his sex slaves at his two north Georgia homes. The sentencing for Norris Harrison Jr. will take place in February. I understand that he is expected to receive life is prison, which he deserves!
According to the prosecutors, Harrison used his celebrity status to kidnap and lure young women into his home, where he forced them into prostitution and forced labor. Stories spilled about how he threatened to throw one woman from a window if she did not have sex with other men, and other disgusting tales of abuse. “I think the jury’s verdict vindicates the rights of the women who were brave enough to come forward and confront this man who abused them,” prosecutor Susan Coppedge stated.
Based on the evidence, he was convicted on charges of aggravated sexual abuse, forced labor, sex trafficking, conspiracy and witness tampering. Get this: Harrison, acting as his own lawyer, made the counter-argument that the women came to him in order to train as pro-wrestlers and apparently (according to Mr. Hardbody, left in the “best shape of their lives.”)
Forced prostitution, or sexual slavery, is most commonly associated with immigrants to Western or Asian countries. The U.S. government estimates that just about two million women and children are trafficked into the sex slave trade every year. Various bills have been tossed around for tougher penalties against human trafficking, but Congress hasn’t passed any concrete bills yet.
Needless to say, these figures are absolutely horrifying … but the point is that they are real. The scariest sentiment: this practice can and does arise anywhere in the world. If you suspect that something like this might be going on near you, I implore you to speak out!
“A pink-metallic Taser turns every woman into James Bond, with a license to kill men. The parties, while having good intent, will end up with unintended consequences: a lot of innocent men, because of female anger, jealousy, and spite, will end up injured and maybe dead.” — Marc H. Rudov (Author of Under the Clitoral Hood: How to Crank Her Engine Without Cash, Booze, or Jumper Cables)
I want to tase Marc for this one! Women (myself included) have been carrying mace spray and whistles in our bags for years for protection. Tasers are an effective advancement on those old tools for protection. If a woman goes around tasing her husband or boyfriend willy nilly, she'll go to jail for assault ... but she should have the right to protect herself from stranger assault and domestic violence.
Let's look at some facts on this. Every day in the U.S., on average, four women DIE as a result of domestic violence. Domestic violence is the single biggest threat of injury to women in the US (more than heart attacks, cancer, strokes, car wrecks, muggings, and rapes combined); three of every ten women murdered are killed by their husbands or boyfriends. As late at the 1980s, some states had laws on their books saying it was illegal for a man to beat his wife after 10 p.m. and on Sundays.
Given this setup, Marc needs to think hard before he calls us “equal opportunity domestic abusers" as we do not go around on a whim shocking our boyfriends or hubbys. Instead, women need to know how to protect themselves, whether through martial arts, mace ... or now tasers! If women have a tool that they can use in a domestic violence situation or a rape situation, more power to 'em!
A friend forwarded to me a story about a girl who made an unexpected religious reference in her high school graduation speech. It went something like this: “This man died for you on a cross more than 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today. His name is Jesus Christ.” The principal is now withholding her diploma till the girl gives an apology, so she’s suing. What’s the deal? — Kristin (Colorado)
Let’s go over this again, just to make sure I understand everything. Ms. Erica Corder, her Denver high school’s valedictorian, did not tell anyone in advance that she would be saying the following line: “This man died for you on a cross more than 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today. His name is Jesus Christ.” And yes, this was at a public high school.
I’ll bet her crowd was a little surprised. After all, what do we usually hear in one of those speeches — stories of working day and night on AP Calculus assignments, running for school vice president, stuff like that, right?
The principal, in turn, is withholding Erica’s diploma until she delivers a formal apology, something along the lines “sorry I didn’t tell anyone I was planning on praising Jesus instead of the school mascot.”
But Erica, in turn, blames the school for not being clear about what she could or could not say in the speech. So, she’s suing the Lewis Palmer School District in Federal Court, claiming the school is interfering with her constitutional right to speak freely about her faith. But most pertinent, she wants the court to require the school to create a clear policy on what can and cannot go into a graduation speech.
I side pretty much with Ms. Corder on this one. Yes, she should have disclosed the Jesus line before saying it. But she should have the right to voice her beliefs. After all, the Supreme Court acknowledged in the landmark free speech case Tinker v. Des Moines, “it can hardly be argued that either teachers or students shed their constitutional rights to free speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
It is not the school promoting this religious view. It is the student. Schools serve as a “marketplace of ideas” and are responsible for teaching students how to be productive citizens who appreciate their constitutional freedoms. Thus, the protection of student speech is of paramount importance, even when the school disagrees (and especially when the school disagrees.) The First Amendment affords students broad freedom to express their opinions in public schools, and, although students’ First Amendment rights are not exactly coextensive with those of adults in the outside world, school officials may suppress student speech only in limited circumstances. The girl is not asking for piles of dough here, just that the school be clear in its policies. I’d say that’s a fair request.
• Tinker v. Des Moines, 503 U.S. 506 (1969).
Lis, my entire family came in to New York City this week for Thanksgiving. And while we enjoyed the Thanksgiving Day Parade, we were really looking forward to seeing several Broadway shows like “Jersey Boys,” “Rent” and “Hairspray.” Well, it turns out that most of Broadway has been shut down due to a strike by the stagehands. My money was refunded, but I’m upset because we were really looking forward a night on Broadway. Do I deserve more than just a refund? —Caroline (Wisconsin)
I’d be upset too! After all, why do people come to New York? Museums. Restaurants. Shopping. And of course, Broadway shows! It’s more jeer than cheer that entire family came to New York and sadly, the show didn’t go on couldn’t because of the labor dispute.
I admit that I’m unfamiliar with all the facts regarding the dispute going on at the time between Broadway producers and the stagehands, but I think it’s overboard! After all, how do they expect people to come back to Broadway after being turned away like Caroline was?
This sounds to me like a question of contract law. Caroline, like thousands and thousands of other theatergoers, planned a trip in advance around the idea of seeing one or more Broadway shows. They all purchased tickets (probably very expensive tix!) in advance in exchange for watching the various plays in musicals.
Now let’s say that the shows, instead of giving you a full refund, instead offered you the opportunity to buy tickets to a later performance, but insisted on keeping your money. For Caroline, someone who comes from out of town, that would strike me as unfair. In fact, that’s the typical procedure when a baseball game is rained out. But Caroline did receive a full refund, so that’s not the issue.
Rather, does she have a cause of action because she was looking forward to seeing the shows? Did she rely on the fact that she would be able to see them? Well, though it would have been nice to see not just the lights of Broadway, but some actual Broadway shows, I’m guess that she went to New York for more than just the shows. And there certainly were other things to do. So I really doubt she or anyone else could ask for more than the refund they have already received. Hopefully the grinch that stole Thanksgiving will find a way to throw you an extra something in your holiday stocking.
Lis, have you seen the video clips of the California cheerleaders that wrote “Indians No. 1” on their bloomers then lifted up their skirts for all to see? The school immediately suspended them for their unexpected manifestation of school spirit. I can’t help but wonder whether the school had the right to go that far in imposing that kind of punishment. Did they really do anything wrong? They didn’t show any nudity, right? — Lisa (New York, NY)
After receiving your letter, I went straight to YouTube. And low and behold, after a single search, I found the video of the infamous cheer. I can see why these girls are raising skirts…ahem eyebrows and it’s clear why their actions took the coach by surprise.
From what I understand of the facts, the cheerleaders from Ripon High School made up the dance themselves, thinking it was a “cute idea.” Their vice principal, upon noticing their illicit choreography, said that if they continued to cheer, they’d receive a two-hour detention. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? In the spirit of perseverance, they cheered on. Apparently, Mr. VP did not share the girls’ sentiments and took their school cheer and raised the two-hour detention to a two-day suspension.
In turn, the cheerleaders (apparently supported by their parents!) filed an appeal with the school district and plan to take their matter up at the next school board meeting. Supposedly, the punishment was given more over the fact that the girls defied their principal and that the girls had not gotten their cheer “approved,” not just the bloomers controversy in and of itself.
But does that really make a difference? The punishment didn’t come out of nowhere. They received a clear warning that their behavior was not acceptable – but they chose to continue anyway. And is their punishment even so bad?
Call me a prude, but — one — the girls shouldn't be showing off their buns at school and — two — they should have listened to the principal! Why would any woman actually show her bloomin bloomers?! The school took the right action. What kind of lesson would the school teach if this kind of behavior were encouraged — or even just condoned?
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Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.