Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014
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What is vitally important to remember is that of the two recent prosecutions for "sexual abuse" (one alleged to have been commited by a politician, and one alleged to have been committed by a teacher) two acquittals resulted. These men were tried before Cole County juries, both were acquitted. They were acquitted because (1) the sexual contact likely didn't happen; and (2) there was no physical evidence that suggested it did. They were basically "he said, she said" cases. The jurors believed what "he said."
In spite of having such marginal cases, two men were put through the trauma and expense of defending their honor and reputation in a court of law. So before people start jumping to conclusions about what might or might not have happened, it is appropriate to step back and recognize that this teacher is innocent until proved guilty in a court of law. That's a heavy burden for the state, as it should be.
I do not want to discount the crime of rape. It's ugly, irrespective of whether it involves force or predatory actions by men. But there is another side to consider. Teenaged girls can be drama queens. Just like anyone else, they can have hidden agendas. Similarly, they can be the initiator of the sexual contact. That the female student initiated the contact is not a legal defense. But, in a jury's eyes, it may lessen the culpability of the accused even where the victim is underage. These are the issues that juries balance in determining guilt and innocence.
If a jury trial returns a verdict of guilty the court will mete out the appropriate punishment. Until that time, however, speculation about what happened, and when it happened, and how it happened, is not particularly productive. Such speculation is the province of commentators like Nancy Grace; we don't need that in Jefferson City.
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