Friday, May 16, 2008

Hawkeye Football Rape Cover-Up and the UI PIERRE Pierce Policy Addendum

Today's Daily Iowan features a thought provoking piece by Kelsey Beltramea and Kurtis Hiatt that centered around a six-month long apparent stalemate of a reported sexual assault involving UI football players, and the apparent preferential treatment high-profile athletes receive in the judicial process of such cases.
Six search warrants related to the case have been sealed four times from the public since Nov. 16, 2007, most recently on May 9 for 60 more days. The documents, though, may never be released, and officials are largely declining to comment on the alleged incident. The accuser's father said he was advised not to offer comment as well.
The investigation resulted in the search of rooms belonging to Hawkeye football defensive backs Abe Satterfield and Cedric Everson. "Both freshmen have since left the university without commenting specifically on the reasons for their departures."
UI police reported, in the most recent statistics available, that 13 forcible sex offenses occurred on campus property in 2006.
The report cites a USA Today piece that analyzed "a dozen years of sexual-assault allegations against professional athletes and NCAA Division I football and basketball players to determine their typical outcomes," as prompted by the Kobe Bryan case.
The researchers found in 2003 that 22 cases of the 168 accusations against athletes went to trial and six of those resulted in convictions, with 46 others resulting in plea agreements. More than two-thirds of the athletes accused were acquitted, never charged, or had their charges dropped.
Also noted was the 2002 sexual assault accusation against former Hawkeye Pierre Pierce.
When former Hawkeye basketball player Pierre Pierce's victim reported she was sexually assaulted in 2002, a review board found Pierce's status as an athlete influenced how the university handled her case.
While, the school's Board in Control of Athletics couldn't determine whether Pierce had received preferential treatment, "shortly after the Pierce affair, the athletics department modified its student-athlete code of conduct, clarifying expectations and informing athletes about particular consequences, should a rule be broken."

While we like the notion that folks are innocent until proven guilty, even when the accused are acquitted it is ultimately difficult to shake the stigma of being on trial or even being pointed at for sexual assault. That said, victims, real victims, live with much greater unimaginable difficulties. Celebrity defendants in any case cannot be looked at objectively. Such is human nature. Their aura proceeds them. And the truth may never come out, the victims may never be put at ease and the guilty may never see justice.


BlueWorkhorse said...

Paul Pierce never played at Iowa. He played at Kansas and was therefore a Jayhawk instead of a Hawkeye. Plus the quote you use says the Iowa player was named Pierre Pierce.

Hugging Harold Reynolds said...

You are correct, sir. This was a terrible mistake and the article has been fixed.

Ren McCormack will be severely fined and beaten.