There is an elephant in the room. I am stupefied, Mr. Skipper; I am horrified, Misters Daniels and Duff; I am mortified Professors Corbin and Clayson and Mr. Ackarman. Why haven't you written with balanced civil discourse and debate, effectuating focus on the constitutional issues that seem to be bypassed, bringing together extremely vocal and visual societal movements in an effort to help bring forth change and consensus?
That question, you surely know, is rhetorical because like you, my pen is petrified, frozen in time and space, because of the global volatility, and the personal and professional landmines of being misunderstood. Trying with every fiber of being, to reach a universally acceptable common sense and implementable, constitutionally based remedy to these crimes without being viewed as trying to mollify the masses.
Of course, I am talking about the many, many perpetrators of reprehensible and villainous past and ongoing behaviors of sexual harassment, criminal sexual assault, and pedophilia by powerful men in positions of authority over their victims.
Additionally, acknowledging the meteoric rise and the power of the #metoo and #Timesup movements, the fastest momentum gaining cause of a generation.
These meticulously organized initiatives continue to topple powerful, ultra-visible men from the power positions they occupied, based on the allegations of sexual harassment, criminal sexual assault, pedophilia, predatory sexual behaviors and work place retribution; actual, threats or implied.
There is bravery involved to bring forward such allegations. We know this not from the high-profile celebrity world but from our everyday life and incidents happening right next door.
Let us at least feed the elephant a bit. If I am able to discuss this based purely on the crimes, misdemeanors and work place violations that are at issue, maybe some clarity will emerge.
In the most basic soul of our Republic, we are preeminently built upon "The Rule of Law." Under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, there provides a presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof resting with the government.
There is a mechanism in place and required by the Constitution for the state or the federal government, depending on jurisdiction, to hear the victims' criminal allegations, investigate those criminal allegations, and provide government investigative and prosecutorial assets to render justice.
The Rule of Law is unavoidable and irrevocable. Citing Blackstone's Formulation, reiterated by numerous American Founders, and religious writings, the American legal system has long intentionally erred on the side of protecting innocence. As the jurist William Blackstone wrote,”Better that 10 guilty persons escape justice, than that one innocent person be convicted.” Any one of us could end up being that one innocent person.
If one is criminally assaulted, step one is to file a criminal complaint. A recent example being the prosecution and century sentencing of former sports medicine and Olympics doctor Larry Nassar. This is what we have. Yet, this must not become self-sacrificing for the victims.
A separate issue became entangled in the above criminal acts. That is sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome interaction of a sexual nature, verbal, written or other actionable event, of unwanted behavior, in any way attached to the workplace.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is illegal under the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prosecuted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC.
This is cumbersome and ineffective, and should not be. Federal regulations in applying law can be changed and should be as society changes.
Yet, jurisprudence cannot be achieved in the court of public opinion.
Let us vigorously use the laws we have to prosecute the Harvey Weinstein's and Larry Nassar's of the world, fully and publicly. Public groundswells can change processes, and should take that focus and momentum forward. Resigning from a lofty position or taking absence from an awards show is not achieving justice for anyone. We cannot pick and choose who gets due process. It shall be afforded to all.
J.W. Sayles is a retired university professor and U.S. Treasury agent and also a veteran of the Vietnam War. He lives in Mason City.