This is the same Aurelia Sands Belle who penned a guilt-presuming April 11, 2007 press release about the decision of “Attorney General Roy Copper[sic]” to dismiss all charges and declare the players innocent.
No mention of innocence in Belle’s release—merely a grudging statement that “it is always the prosecutor’s perogative [sic] whether or not to move forward with a case.” She then asserted:
The circumstances from which these charges arose – a party where women were hired to gratify young men – only served to denigrate men and women and further reinforce harmful stereotypes. The fact that underage drinking took place at this party highlights the reality that alcohol is a well-known aggravating factor in sexual assault, especially on college campuses. Rape is not sex; it is an act of violence and it dehumanizes all involved. This dehumanization is further emphasized by the differences in race, gender, and class. [emphasis added]This latter comment suggests that Belle still believes that a rape actually occurred. (Catotti obviously does, as well.)
Belle has apparently not offered a statement on whether groups of women hiring male strippers is a “well-known aggravating factor” in crimes. There were victims in the case, according to Belle—but not the three falsely accused Duke students. Rather, she asserted, “our concern is that this situation has made it more difficult for other victims to come forward for the help they need and the justice they deserve . . . The publicity around these events has served to re-traumatize some.”
Along with the fact that Belle’s organization receives more than $160,000 from the organization she is supposed to investigate, the statements above raise grave doubts about Belle’s fitness to serve. The City Council should block Catotti’s attempt to render the inquiry stillborn, and reject Belle’s nomination.
[Update, 7.21pm: To give a sense of the intellectual circles in which Belle travels, this site, by a Duke graduate student in English, has a hagiographic poem about Belle--just before a comparable poem hailing . . . Wahneema Lubiano(!).]