Georgia Goslee has been a source of bizarre statements virtually every time she appeared on TV during this case--none more so than her consistent celebration of inconsistency.
In an April 27 appearance on the Abrams Report, for instance, the host pressed her on the contradictory versions of events that the accuser had told. Goslee’s response? “To hold [the accuser's] testimony even at this time to hard and fast specific time periods I think is a little unfair.” A flustered Dan Abrams replied, “So you would rather that we just say you know what, she’s making this allegation. Let’s not get into specifics here.”
A few weeks later, the release of Kim Roberts’ statement prompted most observers to point out that the accuser’s inconsistencies would affect her credibility. Not Goslee, who reasoned, “You know, one of the problems you guys attach is consistency and inconsistency.”
Much of this case has reflected an upside-down view of the criminal justice system, but perhaps no single aspect has been stranger than the consistent downplaying of a simple fact: the accuser has told myriad, mutually contradictory, stories, while the lacrosse players—everyone at the party—have maintained a consistent posture throughout.
- In her various tales, the accuser sometimes had 20 people raping her. Sometimes it was five; sometimes three. Sometimes two; sometimes zero.
- Sometimes, she claimed rape; sometimes it was sexual assault; sometimes it was just “groping.”
- Sometimes, the attackers (Adam, Matt, and Brett) were each one person; sometimes Adam and Matt were interchangeable, and the three names described only two people.
- Sometimes, Dave Evans had a mustache; sometimes, he didn’t.
- Sometimes, Kim Roberts stole the accuser’s money; sometimes, she didn’t.
- Sometimes, there were three accomplices to rape who separated the accuser from Kim Roberts; sometimes, there weren’t.
- Sometimes, the accuser remembered the precise time the non-rape occurred; sometimes she didn’t.
Contrast this almost laughable record with that of the lacrosse players.
- On March 16, the police served with a warrant. Dave Evans told 60 Minutes, “As they read the search warrant I went through every part of it – told ‘em where they could find things and that we’d fully cooperate and answer any questions they had.”
- Matt Zash, the other captain at home when the police came to the house, likewise said nothing had happened, and helped execute the warrant. So did Dan Flannery when he arrived back at the house.
- The captains’ subsequent behavior was likewise consistent with innocence. As Evans told 60 Minutes, “I’d done everything that I thought I could do. I put my faith in the legal system and told them what happened. I gave my statement. I offered to take a polygraph, I gave my DNA over. I don’t know what else I could do.”
- All three captains gave lengthy statements, without counsel, and all volunteered both DNA and to take lie detector tests.
- On May 1, Reade Seligmann’s attorney, Kirk Osborn, released a detailed summary of everything that Seligmann had done on the evening of March 13-March 14—an extraordinary move for a defense attorney in a criminal case. Seligmann’s evidence was wholly consistent with the version of events previously presented by the captains.
- A few weeks later, Dave Evans gave a public address reiterating his innocence. His remarks were consistent with what the captains had told police on March 16, and with Seligmann’s alibi motion of May 1. The statement “hit home with a lot of people to see Dave get up there and speak with such honesty, authority and clarity,” William Wolcott, a member of last year’s senior class on the team, recently told the Duke Chronicle. “This was the first time that the country really started to see, and the media began to understand, what a travesty of our justice system this was.”
- In October, all three accused players gave lengthy interviews to 60 Minutes, which also spent months reviewing the case file and interviewing other people related to the case.
Their remarks were consistent with what the captains had told police on March 16, and with Seligmann’s alibi motion of May 1, and with Evans’ public statement in mid-May, and with all the evidence Nifong had turned over.
Georgia Goslee, of course, would evidently prefer an accuser who tells a different story every time someone talks to her, and offers versions of events wholly inconsistent with other evidence. But for most people, 46 college students maintaining a consistent response for months suggests pretty strongly they were telling the truth from the start.
The lacrosse players have been consistent in one other important respect: virtually alone among those who made mistakes in this affair, they have apologized for their actions.
- In their March 28 statement, the captains apologized for holding the party.
- In a May 3 meeting of the team with Richard Brodhead, Ryan McFadyen apologized for the reaction his e-mail had caused.
- In his October interview with 60 Minutes, Dave Evans said, “I made a terrible judgment.”
Contrast that record with others’ equally consistent refusal to apologize for anything they did.
- In their January statement, the (rump) Group of 88 proclaimed, “There have been public calls to the authors to retract the ad or apologize for it, as well as calls for action against them and attacks on their character. We reject all of these. We think the ad’s authors were right to give voice to the students quoted.” (emphasis added)
- In his January interview with the Chronicle’s Rob Copeland, Brodhead stated that he had nothing to apologize for: “[Though] I’m really not immune to self-criticism in any way, I believe we’ve handled this as straightforwardly and honorably as we could have, given the extraordinary nature of the situation and the changing nature of the facts.”
- In his January swearing-in ceremony, Nifong denied all wrongdoing: “I don’t feel I’m part of the problem. I feel that I have assisted in revealing the problem.”
- On January 7, when asked whether she and her fellow potbangers would apologize, Duke graduate student Serena Sebring eloquently replied, “Nope.”
To my knowledge, the only journalist to issue an out-and-out apology for his or her early handling of this case was Susan Ihne of the Asheville Citizen-Times. David Brooks and Ruth Sheehan did so implicitly, by looking beyond their early judgments and seeking the truth. (If there are others, please let me know.) The New York Times? Nothing. The Herald-Sun? Nothing.
To my knowledge, the only professor that I have seen issue an out-and-out apology for his or her response to the case was Duke’s Thomas Crowley. From the Group of 88?
I suspect that the 88 will remain consistent in their defiance, just as the accuser will remain consistent in her inconsistency. But these patterns, just like the consistency of the lacrosse players in the opposite direction, should factor into the evaluation of all parties to the case.