Friday, January 25, 2013

Professor Hattery Analyzes the Lacrosse Case

Angela Hattery is a professor at George Mason University, where she serves as the associate director of the school’s Center for Women and Gender Studies. (This semester, she’s teaching a course in theoretical perspectives in women and gender studies.) She came to George Mason from Wake Forest, a North Carolina university around 75 miles from Duke, where she also taught gender studies classes. She said that she came to GMU because she “liked the diversity and the way the program integrates not just gender issues but race and ethnicity as well.” Her research interests? “The intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality.” 

Of course.

Professor Hattery recently decided to offer her insights on the Duke lacrosse case. She penned a post entitled, “Rape in High School and College Athletics: Why do we settle for the explanation that boys will simply be boys?”

The post touches on five cases: the Glen Ridge (NJ) rape by members of the high school football team; the Steubenville (OH) alleged rape by high school football players, in which two players have been charged and await trial in juvenile court; the Kobe Bryant rape allegations, in which charges against Bryant were dropped but a civil claim was settled; an allegation that two former Wake Forest basketball players (who were never charged) raped a fellow student; and the Duke lacrosse case.

The Kobe Bryant case occurred when Bryant was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, a professional basketball team; Hattery does not explain its relevance to a post about “rape in high school and college athletics.”

Just how similar to the Duke case are the other three cases? The Wake Forest case (to which Hattery provided a link to an interview with the accuser) involved an allegation of acquaintance rape, in which the accuser leveled her allegations two months after the alleged incident; the basketball players claimed that the sexual intercourse was consensual but never denied all sexual contact. In the Duke case, of course, the lacrosse players consistently claimed that never was any intercourse of any type, and DNA tests corroborated their assertions.

In the Glen Ridge case, four men were convicted of sexual assault. In the Duke case, of course, the attorney general issued a report indicating that the accused students were wholly innocent.

In the Steubenville case, there appears to be very strong evidence that a crime occurred (based in part through on social-media accounts by the alleged perpetrators and their friends), and a special prosecutor was appointed because of concerns that the local law enforcement was too lenient and sympathetic towards the alleged perpetrators. In the Duke case, of course, there was no evidence a crime occurred, and the original law enforcement reaction was (unethically) too harsh and unsympathetic towards the alleged perpetrators.

Hattery attempts to slide past these pretty significant distinctions between the lacrosse case and her other examples by offering what she terms a “caveat”: that “some of the events and cases I’m going to highlight did not ultimately end up generating criminal charges and in some cases trials failed to garner a conviction. It’s not the legal outcomes that are my concern.” Yet the title of her post is “Rape in High School and College Athletics,” not “Allegations of Rape against High School or College Athletes.” Hattery does not reveal how she concluded that a “rape” had occurred in cases in which trials or legal investigations “failed to garner a conviction”—or much less, as in the Duke case, yielded a finding of actual innocence.

Professor Hattery offers two insights about the lacrosse case. First, after taking note of the outrage following “a youtube video of a young man from Steubenville talking about the [alleged] victim as being “dead as a doornail,” she muses, “I wonder what we would have seen if a cell phone user had videotaped the strippers the night of March 13, 2006 at the Duke lacrosse house. Would we have had a similar response?”

The (unstated) implication: contemporaneous cell-phone activity in the lacrosse case would have revealed untoward activity.

Hattery didn’t provide a link to her question about the Duke case—perhaps she was unaware that the contemporaneous material from “cell phone user[s]” regarding the strippers didn’t exactly support her insinuation. And while at Steubenville the cell-phone evidence to which Hattery did provide a link bolstered the accuser’s claims, at Duke, the cell-phone photos to which Hattery did not provide a link wholly undermined the accuser’s (and Mike Nifong’s) claims.

Professor Hattery, it seems, has quite an unusual linkage policy.

Hattery’s second observation about the lacrosse case asked readers to “recall that in the case of the Duke lacrosse team one of the fathers indicated that he didn’t see what the issue was, he and his Wall Street colleagues routinely unwind together at the end of the day at strip clubs.” Once again, the suddenly link-shy Hattery failed to provide any link to these alleged remarks; her readers, evidently, were just supposed to “recall” an alleged interview from more than six years ago.

The fathers of two of the falsely accused players (Seligmann and Finnerty) have over the course of their careers worked on Wall Street; neither of them ever “indicated” anything like the Hattery paraphrase. I e-mailed Hattery to ask her for a link to her item about “one of the fathers,” and also to ask why her post hadn’t provided a link to the AG’s report that used contemporaneous cell-phone photos to exonerate, rather than inculpate, the lacrosse players.

Professor Hattery did not reply.

[Update: After the appearance of the post, Professor Hattery graciously, if somewhat confusingly, replied. She did not indicate why her post left people to "wonder" about what might have been contained in social media evidence that was, in fact, released to the media (and released very early in the case). She added that she was concerned not with the legalities of the cases that she examined, but instead "focusing on the cultural [question] that contributes to behavior that is less than ethical." Not to recapitulate the above, but the title of her post--"rape" and not "alleged rape"--passed a legal judgment, and it's hard to see the connection between four cases in which (at minimum) sexual contact occurred and a fifth case in which no sexual contact of any kind occurred.

Hattery also cited this Washington Post article as the only source for her inflammatory claim that "one of the fathers indicated that he didn't see what the issue was, he and his Wall Street colleagues routinely unwind together at the end of the day at strip clubs."

Her blog post interpreted the article as saying two things: (1) one of the fathers quoted in the article worked on Wall Street, where he and his "colleagues [would] routinely unwind together at the end of the day at strip clubs"; and (2) the father "didn't see what the issue was," as part of a "boys will be boys" defense of his son. "This," Hattery mockingly asked, "is supposed to make me feel better?"

Both of Hattery's interpretations of the Post article are wildly off-the-mark; the first is simply wrong. In the article (which interviewed several parents), a parent named John Walsh said about the hiring of strippers, "You see it in New York; it's the preferred type of entertainment for Wall Street." But Walsh is identified in the very same article that Hattery cited as her only source not as someone who works on Wall Street or even in the financial industry--but as a "health administrator who lives in Bethesda," Maryland.

Most disturbingly, the article contains no suggestion that Walsh ever has visited a strip club, much less that he joined his colleagues from Wall Street, Bethesda, or anyplace else in "routinely unwind[ing] together at the end of the day at strip clubs."

Regarding Hattery's claim that the article featured the parents falling back on a "boys will be boys" defense, Walsh told the Post that he was surprised how prevalent the hiring of strippers on college campuses was, and that he didn't "advocate" doing so. A second parent, Tracy Tkac, gave a comment that's about as far away from Hattery's "boys will be boys" defense as you could get: according to Tkac, "Hiring a stripper is just as inappropriate as being a stripper."

As part of a post concerned with exposing "less than ethical" behavior, then, Professor Hattery falsely stated that a lacrosse parent "routinely" visited strip clubs with his work colleagues (in a city where he didn't even work); and then used that false claim to draw a negative inference in how parents of unindicted players sought to defend their sons' reputations.]


William Tyroler said...

Kobe Bryant famously went straight to the pros from high school, so never attended college (, which makes Hattery's analogy even more fatuous, if that's possible.

Chris Halkides said...

I have read that Collin Finnerty's phone records show that he was away from the house and on the move during the time the alleged rape was asserted to have occurred (this was found by triangulation IIRC). We also know that photos of the lacrosse players show them looking bored or even perhaps disgusted by the performance.

skwilli said...

The criteria for becoming a Doctor of Race/Class/Gender Studies must be slightly lower than that of a counter server at McDonalds. At least counter servers must interact with humans in a somewhat normal fashion. Can't say that for Angela.

Wouldn't this type of formally written post be a reason to file suit for the 3 Innocent victims of this case? Seems they have been wronged yet again.

Anonymous said...

"In the Steubenville case, there appears to be very strong evidence that a crime occurred"

Before reading the transcript of the probable cause hearing, I would have agreed with your assessment. Now I think "evidence", rather than "very strong evidence", would be more appropriate.

William L. Anderson said...

Once again, we see how "narratives" take over the truth. The teacher is working on a narrative and, no, it does not square with the facts, but to feminists, facts are constructs of oppressive maledom, so one is free to make up whatever makes one feel good.

Don't forget that feminists have been behind the drive to eliminate the need for any real evidence when someone alleges rape or sexual assault. In this country, thanks to federal laws, an accusation is the ONLY legal evidence needed for conviction. Since the law pretty much has found a way to make DNA irrelevant, the accusation is all that matters.

Ditto for the Mondale Act and child abuse and child molestation claims. We are dealing with federal laws that forced states to change due process and the need for corroborating evidence. Thus, we get people thrown into prison for obvious false charges, and since prosecutors have absolute immunity, they are free to push false charges without fear of legal reprisals.

(Nifong's punishment was an outlier, and it happened because he went so far out on the limb that it was hard even for the NC State Bar to ignore what he was doing.)

A legal system that does away with proof is no "justice" system at all. It is an injustice system.

Dan Kurt said...

re: "George Mason University Center for Women and Gender Studies"

How long will such scams continue? Why pretend that such "academic" departments actually belong in a college or university?

Answer: too many "youths" attend higher education and given the tyranny of the IQ curve there must be courses of study to accommodate those under an IQ of 116. Since not everyone can be an education major or education administration major other avenues of low power mental "studies" are needed to offer seats to warm hence the appearance of cul-de-sacs of sociology such as Women and Gender Studies.

As to when it will end, probably sooner than most people think.

Dan Kurt

Anonymous said...

"focusing on the cultural [question] that contributes to behavior that is less than ethical."

This is a red herring meant to distract from the "less than ethical" behavior of the Gang of 88 and their administration enablers.

I suppose, though, one could dismiss their behavior as "academics will simply be academics."

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

Is Hattery a Communist?

Jim In San Diego said...

To my mind, the most remarkable part of this entire story is KC's post.

The remarkable part is that someone has the will, the stamina, and the analytical and writing ability to "peer review" someone like Prof Hattery.

If the good Prof was claiming to have expert knowledge of a process to tame Cold Fusion, or exceed the speed of light, her work would be dissected and criticized from all angles. Eventually, unless she had actually discovered Cold Fusion or exceeded the speed of light, she would be marginalized as a careless and unreliable reporter.

She would stop getting academic promotions. Students would stop thronging to her lectures. Academic departments would stop offering her prestigious posts. She would drop off of news media Rollodex's everywhere.

These outcomes do not exist, apparently, in the expert field of gender, race and sex studies. This is especially true when you write of their "intersection".

I hope there are rewards somewhere down the road for this public service.

Or, is it just the personal satisfaction of defending the role of logical analysis supported by verifiable facts in the life of an enlightened civilization?

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

Roy Hattersley was once a communist -- you're probably thinking of him.

Anonymous said...

Looks like her classes are run like a permanent substitute teacher is in charge....

Half of my class failed her midterm due to both the format and general unpreparedness. Requires mass amounts of reading yet does not go over it; instead we watch movies. I do not recommend this teacher unless you like having a large part of your grade depend on participating in class discussions that you are made to feel stupid during.

gwallan said...

She's not the original Ass Hattery by any chance?

Cryptandra said...

I would've been much happier if you questioned the assumption than stripping and watching strippers is "less than ethical".

Anonymous said...

The really amazing part is the fact, that even at this point, many in Durham agree with the premise that Professor Hattery pushes-- some very bad sexual assault of some type happened to Crystal Mangum that night. Since she has an audience clapping and asking for more, of course she can get published in a peer reviewed journal, her peers agree with her! Maybe she can get an upgraded faculty position at Duke?

Cryptandra said...

A question for KC- did Mangum really attend classes at the college where she was enrolled? I ask because Mangum is often portrayed as a single mom and student forced by circumstances into stripping and prostitution.

Anonymous said...

"did Mangum really attend classes at the college where she was enrolled? I ask because Mangum is often portrayed as a single mom and student forced by circumstances into stripping and prostitution."

I don't think it was ever verified that she was attending classes. She allegedly had $2000 cash with her on the night of the party; if she made that much every weekend, her annual salary would be $100,000.