Social Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

Should I support my friend or remain silent?

Asked by KNOWITALL (29787points) 1 month ago

My male friend of over twenty years has been jailed for sexual assault. That’s all I know right now.

I saw someone had written on his social media that it’s three women total.

I’m in shock and can’t imagine any scenario that it could be true. But as a rape survivor, I can’t offer any support, unless it’s to his child and grandchild.

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31 Answers

janbb's avatar

I would wait until more facts emerge before doing anything unless you just want to wright a note of empathy to his child.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@janbb I’m inclined to hide and watch. His family is here but he’s charged/jailed out of state.

janbb's avatar

Edit: “write”

chyna's avatar

I would wait until all of the facts are known. It could be a false reporting or it could all be true.

gorillapaws's avatar

Three women? If it really was three separate women and this guy was my friend, he’d be guilty until proven innocent in my eyes. I’m sorry for the situation. Sending you a virtual hug.

jca2's avatar

I would lay low until more facts and/or details emerge.

LuckyGuy's avatar

One more vote for “Wait until facts are in.” Do nothing.
Sometimes “doing nothing” is actually “doing something.”

Unless…. your question is actually “Should I support my friend when I know he really did it?”

longgone's avatar

He’s been jailed, so not convicted of anything? Innocent until proven guilty. This is what courts are for. Please don’t rely on social media, let the authorities do their job. They make plenty of errors as it is, but they have more resources and information than a random internet person. It’s incredibly important that we don’t jump to conclusions. It doesn’t help victims of sexual assault, and it ruins the lives of innocent people.

Maybe read about The Innocence Project, if you’re not familiar.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LuckyGuy It’s very hard to believe, he has always been chased and is a minor local celebrity. I’ve seen him drink many many times and never get sloppy or inappropriate. If I were a character witness, I’d say there is no way he would be a SA perp.

smudges's avatar

I wonder if the 3 women know one another. If so, that would make me really doubt it.

jca2's avatar

@smudges but if they’re from a group or club (for example Girl Scouts, church group, sorority), he could have been preying in that group, especially if he was a member or leader.

gorillapaws's avatar

First, we don’t know for sure that it’s 3 separate women other than a Facebook post? That’s the kind of thing that could be 3 charges from one accuser being misinterpreted and incorrectly written on social media. If it’s 3 separate accuser’s though, that’s extremely unlikely to be fabricated unless there were some very special circumstances involved. It’s a hell-of-a-thing to falsely accuse someone of sexual assault, and for 3 women to do that…

jca2's avatar

@gorillapaws If he’s in jail, it’s not just accusations from FB.

seawulf575's avatar

I would say that you could reach out to the family (if you are close with them) to let them know you are sorry for the strife they are going through. The family is likely more confused than you are. Is it true or not? If it isn’t, what do we have to do to clear his name? If it is, how do we deal with that? All very confusing. But you reaching out might let them know you are there if they need you, even as a sounding board. Doing that you are sharing their confusion without committing one way or the other to your friend’s guilt or innocence.

I had a similar situation many years ago with a neighbor we were friendly with. A 15 y.o. girl wrote in her diary that she had been having sex with him. According to her it was all consensual, but she was still under-aged. Her dad (who owed my neighbor money) found the diary and called the cops. They brought him in on suspicion. They eventually got the girl to admit she had a fantasy of having sex with him but that it had never happened. The lie detector showed she was lying about the affair and many of the dates she claimed they were together he had solid alibis for how he could not have been there. But how do you deal with it? I never committed one way or the other because…who knows? But we were there for the family if they needed to talk or vent.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

It’s often very, very hard to spot a psychopath. “Local Celebrity” is a red flag to me though. Most people simply do not have the bandwidth for all that social attention. Charm like that is often superficial. I usually have my guard up around people like that just in case.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 Yet arresting a guy on accusations is often the standard today.

https://ycitynews.com/22478/news/young-man-cleared-of-multiple-false-rape-accusations-at-trials-this-summer/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4818874/Jemma-Beale-jailed-10-years.html

You can search many, many more. They happen a lot more than people want to address. And it is rare for a woman to face any consequences for making false accusations. Most times the guy is just let free.

Here’s a study that was done on the topic of false rape accusations:
https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/false-rape-allegations

The problem with all this is the #MeToo movement. It starts with the idea that women will not and cannot lie and then goes downhill from there. If a woman accuses me of rape, I then have to prove my innocence because, after all, we aren’t allowed to question her claim…that is the MeToo attitude. And in all these cases the guy is, just like @KNOWITALL‘s friend, viewed as a potential predator. Even if he goes to trial and is found not guilty, he has to wear that brand for many, many years. Many people will view his “not guilty” as “it doesn’t mean he didn’t do it!”.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I heard he already lost his job and it hasnt even got to court. If he did it, then justice will hopefully prevail. If he didn’t, he’s losing a lot over allegations. :(

Demosthenes's avatar

I’ve only had this happen to me once, but it didn’t get the point of the accused going to jail. When I was in college, a friend of mine was accused of sexual assault. I never wavered in my support of him because it seemed from the beginning that it was BS and how it played out confirmed that: the person who accused him was an ex, they’d recently had a nasty breakup, they were both members of a co-ed pre-med fraternity, she was president of the fraternity chapter and wanted him out, she said she would drop the allegations if he quit, he did so and she dropped it.

This was 2011 and this probably would’ve played out very differently today. It’s hard to know what to do when you’re not sure one way or the other. I’m not sure how I would react if I knew (or was at least fairly certain) that someone I considered a friend was guilty of a crime like that. I don’t think I would “help bury the body” as the old saying goes. At the same time, with something like sexual assault, there may not ever be concrete evidence, so it can come down to whom you choose to believe. I probably would distance myself from the whole thing until more information came out and I felt I could reasonably be persuaded one way or the other.

In either case, it’s a shitty situation. :(

smudges's avatar

@Blackwater_Park A rapist is not necessarily a psychopath. For that matter, not all psychopaths are criminals – some psychopathic traits are actually linked to success.

jca2's avatar

@KNOWITALL I would think if he’s innocent, he can sue the employer for falsely terminating his employment.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Were the victims classified as minors in your state? In NY you are a minor if you are 16 and under. At 17 you are able to give consent.

Smashley's avatar

Sucks.

But, for me, I’d stick with him, even if he’s guilty. That doesn’t mean denying what he did (especially without knowledge of the evidence), but being a human being towards him at a time when everyone else is going to abandon him. Y’all sound like Pharisees. I’m not religious, but Jesus still had some good ideas. I’ve always tried to have a “hate the sin, love the sinner” attitude. I fail constantly, but I also love my friends deeply enough to have hope for them.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@smudges I get that but… I stay the hell away from them once I figure out who they are.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Just an update-he’s free, exonerated and back to work. Mad ex-girlfriend. Yay!! My gut is rarely wrong.

chyna's avatar

How awful that someone can make such false claims and ruin someone’s life. There will always be a few who will believe your friend is guilty no matter what because that’s the better story.
I’m glad the truth came out.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Is the mad ex-girlfriend being charged? if not, WTH not!?

seawulf575's avatar

Another downside of the #MeToo push. @chyna is correct that it is awful that someone can make a false claim, ruin a life and have no downside to doing so. And it casts doubt on all legitimate claims. Congrats, @knowitall.

smudges's avatar

So @KNOWITALL, the company that fired him now let him come back? That’s good, but I’m not sure I’d want to continue working for them, y’know? Maybe just until I found something else. But of course, who wants to go job hunting?!

Glad for your friend, btw! and for you!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@smudges He was on administrative leave, not fired, it was pretty hush hush.

Not sure on charges for the woman, Florida dorsn’t have a casenet like my state you can track individual cases. At least that my friends and I can find.
I bet she does though because he was extradited to FL, then dna from tge rape kit didnt match his. I just got a few details so far.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Thanks for the update. Good news!
Especially good news for lawyers…. Lots of business.

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