Thursday, November 22, 2012
Double standard: Some men accused of sex crimes are more presumptively innocent than others--the Kevin Clash case
Can you imagine if Penn State had called the allegations against Jerry Sandusky a "distraction" without condemning vile sex acts of the kind alleged?
Oh, and by the way, the New York Times names one of the accusers against Mr. Clash. Has it ever named Crystal Mangum even after the lacrosse players were declared "innocent"?
The reaction to the Kevin Clash story stands in stark contrast with the usual reaction to news that a male has been accused of a sex offense. The New York Times reports that prominent feminist Katherine Franke, a professor of law and the director of the center for gender and sexuality law at Columbia University, said she worried that Mr. Clash was “the most recent victim of what we call in my world a ‘sex panic.’" She added: “At precisely the moment when gay people’s right to marry seems to be reaching a positive tipping point, sexuality is being driven back into the closet as something shameful and incompatible . . . decency (as in the case of Clash).”
Then, Ms. Franke did something we rarely see feminists do in high profile cases involving men accused of sex crimes. She underscored his presumptive innocence. Mr. Clash, she noted, “has not been convicted of a crime, but merely accused of one in a completely unsubstantiated, vague complaint.” (By the way, you can read about Prof. Franke's views on sexual offenses here, starting on page 155: http://www.floridalawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Kelly-Hill-BOOK.pdf.)
The way that Sesame Workshop, the New York Times, and Prof. Franke treated the allegations against Mr. Clash is the way claims of sexual misconduct should be treated in all cases.
Unfortunately, not all men accused of sex offenses are acclaimed artists who work for revered public television shows.
Posted by Archivist at Thursday, November 22, 2012