Rape Recantations Fairly Common, Experts Say With PM-Rape Recant Bjt

April 13, 1985: The above Associated Press article by Tamara Jones can be found here. Be warned, it is a crock.

The first thing to note is the title. I have no idea what BJt means, and frankly am afraid to ask. After trawling through a large number of searches I think PM means literally PM, ie the story was filed after midday. That aside, this article is written like a feminist propaganda document designed to convince the reader that most women who recant rape allegations do so not out of pragmatism, guilty conscience, or simply innate decency but out of fear, after intimidation, etc. Let’s go through it.

Our first so-called expert is a female detective from Detroit who alludes to rape trauma syndrome being the or at least a cause of recantations. The full background to this imaginary condition along with the original article can be found here.

The inspiration for the current article appears to have been the recantation of Cathleen Crowell Webb. Initially, the court did not accept her recantation, which resulted from her religious conversion. The hapless Gary Dotson was eventually totally exonerated by DNA. The experts here claim never to have heard of a recantation years after an alleged rape. That may be true, but a year and a half after this article was published, Alice Mock recanted her May 1975 rape allegation in a deathbed confession. Like Cathleen Webb, Biurny Peguero recanted her September 2005 rape allegation against William McCaffrey, who served four years of a twenty year sentence.

Some women recant in a different fashion. In August 1985, a student nurse faked a rape complete with injuries that resulted in a life sentence for Roy Burnett. He was released in April 2000 after his (still anonymous) accuser made another false allegation of rape in another part of the country and boasted to an acquaintance she had done this before, ie fitted up a totally innocent man.

Clare Holzman who is said to be a rape counselor in New York says the overwhelming majority of recantations are false. These so-called counselors - mostly feminist airheads - have done more harm than good, and indeed encourage women to make false allegations. You think not? Check out this article (which has been archived by the WayBack Machine should it disappear).

The New York County District Attorney’s Office say they know of no case in which a genuine rape victim has been pressured to recant, but some do when confronted with the evidence they lied.

Whoever said that was probably telling the truth, but all manner of accusers and accused are pressured to either retract or confess by police when they are not believed. This can be tragic because it can lead to false confessions as well as false recantations. In the United States, district attorneys have Draconian powers to threaten guilty and innocent defendants alike. The case of the falsely accused Brian Banks is tragic and humorous in equal measure.

Linda Fairstein - who appears elsewhere in this database - chips in that:

“Very often, the victims alleging false charges are very young and very troubled”

In the first place, a false accuser is not a victim. In the second, many genuine rapists, murderers, burglars, even humble shoplifters, have led troubled lives. That doesn’t mean they don’t warrant at times severe punishment.

One other point worthy of note, at the time this article was written, DNA profiling was unknown, and CCTV was both poor quality and an extreme rarity. The short video clip on this page shows the circumstances under which many false accusers retract. With her victim already behind bars, Katherine Bennett is confronted with exculpatory evidence after detectives dig deeper. She offers to drop the charges, but too late. This and similar cases beg the question how many totally innocent men have spent years or decades in prison, or even been hanged, in decades past when modern forensics were unheard of?

The girl alluded to at the very end of the article is Kathryn Tucci (see entry for April 1, 1985).


1984: There were 4,442 rapes reported in New York City of which 328 were ruled unfounded. (This information was extracted from the 1985 article above).

Not included in this unfounded total is the tragic case of Alberto Ramos, who was convicted the following year and was not exonerated until 1995.

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