Friday, November 2, 2012

Stanford student: Students concerned about lowering the standard of proof in sex cases just want to 'act irresponsibly' in their sexual interactions

Jonathan Poto, Stanford class of 2013, writes here:  “I want to take on those who say this lowered standard is unfair to the accused. Ultimately, I believe that Stanford students are able bear the responsibility of acting in a manner that does not anywhere approach that benchmark of preponderance of evidence of a sexual assault. We should hold ourselves to high standards, rather than be concerned about our freedom to act irresponsibly in situations where there is legal uncertainty regarding our sexual interactions with others.”

Poto’s lack of understanding about these issues is breathtaking. By suggesting that students’ conduct should not "anywhere approach" a “preponderance of the evidence of a sexual assault,” he frames the issue so strangely, it is difficult to know where to begin to refute it.

In fact, Poto's inanity is not worthy of serious refutation. In “he said, she said” disputes, one party says there was consent and the other says there wasn’t, and it is often difficult, if not impossible, to know who is telling the truth. To suggest that the party who claims there was consent faces no danger of being unjustly punished if he merely “act[s] in a manner that does not anywhere approach that benchmark of preponderance of evidence of a sexual assault” is dangerously stupid. And to suggest that students concerned about being wrongly accused because of the reduced standard simply want to "act irresponsibly" is nothing short of morally grotesque. 

Mr. Poto's self-righteous rant is an affront to the community of the wrongly accused. He is woefully unschooled about these issues and would do well to spend a couple of months reading through the posts on this site and our predecessor site (that's how long it would take to get through them). Maybe then he wouldn't posit smug and dim-witted opinions about things he knows nothing about.

This is what Stanford is pumping out? Wow!