mardi 29 mars 2011

Sorry, Mr. McKinley, no redemption for you.

Earlier this month, James C. McKinley, Jr., a "journalist" at the New York Times, wrote this article about a horrific rape of an 11-year-old in Texas. The article rightly drew criticism because if it's apparent embrace of the She Asked For It excuse.

In today's paper, the Times has obviously decided to give McKinley a chance to redeem himself by writing an update about the case, and he has failed miserably. For this article does little to reverse the tone of his first article. Excerpts below, with commentary by Yours Truly:
Court documents and dozens of interviews over several weeks with the girl’s family, her friends and neighbors, as well as those who know the defendants, provide a more complete picture of what occurred as well as a deeper portrait of the victim. What begins to emerge is the nightmarish ordeal of a young girl over two and a half months involving an eclectic group of young men, some with criminal records, who shared a powerful neighborhood bond.

Maybe you should have sought that "deeper portrait of the victim" before writing the other article, instead of buying hook, line, and sinker that she was a slut who asked for it -- remember, this is an 11-year-old we're talking about -- from the kind of people who would defend nineteen boys who raped her.
The Cleveland police and the local district attorney have released little information about the alleged rapes and the evidence, and their silence has allowed rumor and speculation to flourish. Judge Mark Morefield of State District Court issued a broad order two weeks ago prohibiting law enforcement officials, defense lawyers, potential witnesses and relatives of the girl and defendants from speaking about the case to reporters.

And you reported that rumor and speculation on the 8th of March. That's lazy journalism, Mr. McKinley. Perhaps you should seek employment with News Corp. And if there's a news blackout, why are you in Cleveland, Texas AGAIN, other than for selfish reasons pertaining to your own feeble attempt at journalistic redemption?
The girl, a sixth grader whose parents are immigrants from Mexico,

Oh, well...if she's a Mexican, that excuses everything, right, Mr. McKinley? Why is her nationality relevant?
It is unclear from the affidavits if the younger Mr. Ellis was there the night of Nov. 28. But the girl said that a cousin, Timothy D. Ellis, 19, was there, and ordered her to strip, telling her that he would “have some girls beat her up” and would not drive her home if she refused, the affidavits said.

The affidavits said the girl told investigators that she then “engaged in sexual intercourse and oral sex” with several of the men present, among them Jared G. McPherson, 18, a high school basketball player, and Jared L. Cruse, also 18, who has since been charged with robbing a grocery store in the next county.

During the sexual assault, the girl said, she heard Mr. McGowen call someone on the phone and invite him to the house to have sex with her, the affidavits said. Four more men whom she did not know arrived.

This is where the kind of people who would defend the rape of an 11-year-old start talking about "consent." First of all, if threatening to leave you someplace, or having other kids beat you up, isn't coercion WHEN YOU ARE ELEVEN YEARS OLD, I don't know what is. Second of all, I question whether "engaging in sexual intercourse" is exactly what the girl said, or if this is how police in a Texas community when dealing with the rape of a Latino child are wording a deposition in order to put doubt in the heads of possibly racist jurors.
Four of the defendants are charged with continuous sexual abuse of a young child. The rest are charged with a single count of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14. Both felonies carry a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. In Texas, a child under 17 cannot give legal consent and, as in most states, ignorance of a child’s age is not a legal defense.

I repeat: This is sexual abuse of an 11-year-old. I'm sorry, but in most cases, even an adult woman with full control of her faculties does not consent to being gang-raped over a period of time, no matter how many porn movies one watches that show this as being something women like. But note how McKinley continues to leave the door open for the "She wanted it" defense.
The small house where the girl lived is on a dusty road on the outskirts of town, about 10 miles from Precinct 20. There were chickens in the yard and a trampoline out front, where her father sometimes slept during the afternoons. She lived there with her parents, two older sisters who were in high school and a younger brother.

A 36-year-old cousin of the girl, who lived next door, said her family was in dire economic straits since Juan stopped working. The water and electricity had been cut off at times in recent months.

"Stopped working." It isn't until two paragraphs later that we find out that the father isn't working because he has health problems, and even when we do, there's a tone of Immigrant Gaming the System:
Juan injured his back in November 2009 and has not held a steady job since. A diabetic, he receives disability checks of $700 a month. His wife, 42, was told last year that she had a mass in her brain, and a doctor had said it should be removed, friends said. She suffers frequent headaches and fainting spells. His wife, 42, was told last year that she had a mass in her brain, and a doctor had said it should be removed, friends said. She suffers frequent headaches and fainting spells.

And here's the topper: The girl has been put into foster care:
Two months ago, when the arrests started, the state Child Protective Services placed the girl, who had also received threats, in a foster home. “They told her it was best that they take her away from this town,” Ms. Lopez said.

A case worker has informed Juan that he and his wife must attend family therapy sessions to regain custody. Juan said he was despondent at the prospect of losing his daughter permanently. He said that she was doing well but that she was still fearful. “You can see she’s not happy,” he said. Then he added, “She will never recover from this.”

If this family were white, and had a rebellious child who was gang-raped, do you think for one minute that the child would be removed from the parents? Hardly.

This article contains little new about this case. It seems written solely for the purpose of trying to rehabilitate the journalistic career of a man whose obviously prurient interest in the case and clear understanding of why a bunch of boys would think a rebellious girl from an economically disadvantaged family is fair game for them, makes him seem a bit of a perv. Is there any reason why, if the Times felt an update barely three weeks later was warranted, they couldn't find someone, perhaps even a female journalist, to cover the update? Why is Mr. McKinley allowed to try to restore his career literally on the back of an already-exploited child?

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