Tuesday 16th July 2024

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Is Due Process An Outdated Concept?

December 3, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

It hasn’t been that long ago that we should have already forgotten the lessons learned from the Justice Kavanaugh confirmation. The judge, having a heretofore sterling reputation, was assailed from the left as some type of sexual predator. It was claimed that as a teenager he had groped a young student, although the accuser could not remember exactly when, or where, or if the groping might have been from another man.
But she was sure it happened. There followed a litany of other accusations that the judge had arranged for everything from the gang raping of coeds to spiking punch bowls. And all through the judge’s ordeal, there were those who claimed that “accusers” must always be believed.
One, Sen. Mazie Hirono (of “men should shut up” fame), declared that Judge Kavanaugh didn’t deserve the presumption of innocence because she disagreed with his judicial philosophy. That U.S. senator from Hawaii even suggested that the very principle of “innocent until proven guilty” should not apply in sexual assault cases.
Accusers, of course, must be believed. Thus, there is a presumption of guilt, not of innocence.
Unfortunately, this does not happen in just high-profile cases. Over the years my old radio program was inundated with press releases from campus reform groups pointing out that men accused of sexual harassment or assault would often be prejudged by college administrators as “guilty,” who would then hand down punishments that would range from suspension to expulsion. The typical case involved an “investigator” from the diversity office who would conduct an interview — oftentimes with only the accuser — and who would then render the preordained judgment of guilt.
There were no objective standards. In fact, there was no uniform definition of what sexual assault or harassment was. To one person it might be that after a party and too many drinks she might have become a bit hazy and something must have happened because her blouse was unbuttoned. To another it was an “evil” suggestion to which she may or may not have given consent. And yet to another, she could have been offended by “that look” that men on the make give to women they desire.
Of course, accusers must always be believed.
I think most people remember the Duke Lacrosse case. In case you missed it (it was in all the newspapers), it was about a party the Duke University Lacrosse team threw. The young men running the party hired two “dancers” to perform at a bachelor-type party. After the party, one of the dancers claimed to have been raped by several of the lacrosse players.
Since the players were white and the dancers were of mixed race, the left immediately jumped on the dancer’s bandwagon to denounce the players. School officials and professors demanded that the dancer be avenged. Jesse Jackson, of the Rainbow Coloration, offered to pay for the dancer’s college even if her story was untrue. Within a year the dancer’s story had fallen apart, the other dancer contradicted her account, there were problems with the “evidence” adduced, and finally the state attorney general threw out the case finding that the “rape” was a hoax.
The district attorney, who pursued the case for largely political reasons, lost his job, was disbarred, and ultimately convicted of contempt of court.
But, of course, the accuser had to be believed. The campus community, including the professors who had chastised the players, did not retract their comments. In fact, one of the professors called the players “hooligans and rapists” and told one of the mothers she “was the mother of a farm animal.” The students were forced to leave Duke, and the lacrosse coach was fired.
Because of cases like this, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed a set of rules for colleges receiving federal funds. Under procedures now in place, a single school administrator could investigate a claim, bring charges against a student (or staff member), and decide guilt. The accused might even be denied the ability to review the evidence against him. Secretary DeVos’ proposed rules are fairly simple and common sense and address the problem of inconsistent procedures from school to school and case to case.
First, it would define sexual harassment under Title IX, not as some amorphous concept as it is now, but as “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity,” or an assault that is already a defined criminal act. It also requires schools to respond “meaningfully” to every report of sexual harassment.
Second, it would require schools to apply basic due process protections for students and staff. No longer could a student automatically be assumed guilty or the accuser automatically be deemed truthful. The presumption of innocence would be accorded the accused, who would be given a written notice of the allegations and an opportunity to review all evidence collected.
You would be surprised how many cases were reported to me in which the accused was never given a written statement of charges or opportunity to review the evidence. Of course, the elites among us don’t need to do such things since they are, by definition, wiser and fairer than the rest of us mere mortals.
Third, it would give the accused the right to a hearing where his advocate or attorney – but not the accused himself – would be able to ask questions of the accuser, subject to any rape shield protections. The hearing would be conducted by a neutral party and not by the school’s investigator.
Finally, it would impose a uniform standard of proof. Currently, most schools use what is known as a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. It is the standard used in most civil cases and it simply means “more probable than not.” The standard DeVos is recommending is “clear and convincing,” which is a medium level of proof, higher than the preponderance standard, but less rigorous than the criminal standard, “beyond reasonable doubt.”
Remember, a finding of guilt in these proceedings has serious ramifications to the accused, including expulsion, or in the case of a staff member or professor, the loss of a job and possibly a career. These are not trivial matters or civil misdemeanors. They clearly have the ability to affect the accused for life and the new evidentiary standard reflects the seriousness of the matter and the serious ramifications for the accused.
Of course these proposed rules don’t fit with the left’s view of the world. I wrote two weeks ago (“Political Correctness and the Culture of Death,” November 22) about the Cultural Marxists who tend to view the world through their own prism. Thus, favored groups are to be given more deference than disfavored ones. Women are a favored group and men, especially white men, are disfavored. Thus the presumption of innocence and due process are not called for in these instances.
No, sir, they are not because they only seek to promote male hegemony, especially white male hegemony.
So, naturally, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), once a fighter for due process, now opposes the proposed rules because they give too much deference to the accused! It claims that the proposed rules would “roll back civil rights protections for students.” The ACLU claims that the proposed “clear and convincing” standard weights the findings against the accuser and the more relaxed standard of “preponderance” should be used.
The ACLU also claims that by limiting the definition of sexual harassment the proposed rule will “harm already vulnerable students.” Of course, that is how the law works: An activity is proscribed and violators are punished. Persons should not be subject to punishment for activities that are deemed punishable only after the fact. To do so will allow charges to be brought for ex post facto violations of undefined rules or fluctuating concepts against unsuspecting “disfavored” students who may or may not understand exactly what they are accused of doing.
The ACLU doesn’t say it in so many words, but it appears that it is willing to jettison the presumption of innocence rule. Of course all of these things the ACLU defends in the criminal context, but not in the matter of sexual misbehavior claims on college campuses or other venues. But, of course, the mantra of the left is that the accuser must always be believed.
And the ACLU is joined by many voices of the progressive left, who apparently see the “rule of law” through a different lens than we have historically viewed it. Included in the criticism are Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Patty Murray who charges the rules are the latest attempt by the Trump administration to “attack and undermine women, their health care, their rights, and their well-being.” Cong. Bobby Scott called it a “damaging setback” for sexual assault victims; Cong. Maxine Waters said the rule would put an end to civil rights protections for students.
And Cong. Joe Kennedy, who apparently didn’t read the rule, incorrectly claimed the rules would let accused students themselves cross-examine their accusers.
The bottom line here is the question of how do we handle accusations of sexual harassment. Do we embrace the law in its current form, with all its due process protections, or do we opt for the new left’s approach which eliminates many of those protections? And if we move in the left’s direction, how long before the new standards are expanded to include other transgressions by other disfavored group members? Do you, as I do, see this as an encroachment on our constitutional civil liberties — a slippery slope, if you will? And to what end?
The proposed rule was announced November 16. It will be adopted, modified, or rejected after a 60-day comment period. Comments may be sent to: U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. S.W., Washington, DC, 20202, or through the department’s website, https://www.ed.gov/.
(You can contact Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

Senators Slam Army After Presentation Calls Pro-Life Americans Terrorists

Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Ted Budd (R-NC), along with Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) and their colleagues, sent a letter to Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth demanding answers after an anti-terrorism training conducted at Fort Liberty, North Carolina depicted Pro-Life Americans as terrorists. “We write regarding social media reports that anti-terrorism training conducted at Ft. Liberty, North Carolina depicts Pro-Life Americans as terrorists. Specifically, the slides identify National Right to Life, ‘Choose Life’ license plate holders, and…Continue Reading

Vatican excommunicates Viganò for schism

The Vatican has officially excommunicated Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith announced Friday. Viganò was found guilty of the canonical crime, or delict, of schism, or the refusal to submit to the pope or the communion of the Church, at the conclusion of the Vatican’s extrajudicial penal process on July 4. The Vatican’s doctrine office announced the “latae sententiae” excommunication (automatic excommunication) on July 5, citing Viganò’s “public statements manifesting his refusal…Continue Reading

Doctors urge U.S. medical groups to ‘immediately stop’ transgender treatments on children

Top medical groups and physicians have signed a “Doctors Protecting Children” declaration that expresses “serious concerns” about the treatment of minors who are uncomfortable with their biological sex, one advocate told EWTN News this week.  Jill Simons, the executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, told “EWTN News Nightly” anchor Tracy Sabol on Thursday that the medical group has been “sounding the alarm” after the recently leaked files from the World Professional Association of Transgender Health in which…Continue Reading

Pedophile advocacy group praises Germany’s new law softening punishment for child pornography

(LifeSiteNews) — In 2010, Jan Flesichhauer and Wiebke Hollersen penned a chilling essay for Der Spiegel titled “How the Left Took Things Too Far.” “One of the goals of the German 1968 movement was the sexual liberation of children,” they wrote. “For some, this meant overcoming all sexual inhibitions, creating a climate in which even pedophilia was considered progressive.”   That climate involved discussions about whether sex with children might be healthy for the children and musings that this could…Continue Reading

Here’s Harrison Butker’s Full Speech Celebrating Pro-Life Christian Values

Some sports stars make headlines for drug abuse or acts of violence, but one football player is taking heat for publicly promoting Christian values. On Saturday, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker delivered the commencement at the Catholic Benedictine College, encouraging young graduates to stand firm in their faith and live out authentic Christian virtues. Now, the National Football League (NFL) is playing defense and condemning Butker’s speech as offensive. The NFL’s senior vice president and top diversity, equity,…Continue Reading

The King of Kings

Cindy Paslawski We are at the end of the Church year. We began with Advent a year ago, commemorating the time awaiting the coming of the Christ and we are ending these weeks later with a vision of the future, a vision of Christ the King of the Universe on His throne before us all.…Continue Reading

7,000 Pro-Lifers March In London

By STEVEN ERTELT LONDON (LifeNews) — Over the weekend, some seven thousand pro-life people in the UK participated in the March for Life in London to protest abortion.They marched to Parliament Square on Saturday, September 2 under the banner of “Freedom to Live” and had to deal with a handful of radical abortion activists.During the…Continue Reading

An Appeal For Prayer For The Armenian People

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke on August 29, 2023, issued this prayer for the Armenian people, noting their unceasing love for Christ, even in the face of persecution.) + + On the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, having a few days ago celebrated the…Continue Reading

Robert Hickson, Founding Member Of Christendom College, Dies At 80

By MAIKE HICKSON FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — Robert David Hickson, Jr., of Front Royal, Va., died at his home on September 2, 2023, at 21:29 p.m. after several months of suffering and after having received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church. He was surrounded by friends and family.Robert is survived by me —…Continue Reading

The Real Hero Of “Sound of Freedom”… Says The Film Has Strengthened The Fight Against Child Trafficking

By ANA PAULA MORALES (CNA) —Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Homeland Security agent who risked his life to fight child trafficking, discussed the impact of the movie Sound of Freedom, which is based on his work, in an August 29 interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. “I’ve spent more than 20 years helping…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This lesson on medical-moral issues is taken from the book Catholicism & Ethics. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. The email and postal addresses are given at the end of this column. Special Course On Catholicism And Ethics (Pages 53-59)…Continue Reading

Color Politics An Impediment To Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The USCCB is rightly concerned about racism, as they should be about any sin. In the 2018 statement Open Wide Our Hearts, they affirm the dignity of every human person: “But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and…Continue Reading

Trademarks Of The True Messiah

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on September 2, and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + In Sunday’s Gospel the Lord firmly sets before us the need for the cross, not as an end in itself, but as the way to glory. Let’s consider the Gospel in three stages.First: The Pattern That…Continue Reading

A Beacon Of Light… The Holy Cross And Jesus’ Unconditional Love

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON Each year on September 14 the Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The Feast Day of the Triumph of the Holy Cross commemorates the day St. Helen found the True Cross. It is fitting then, that today we should focus on the final moments of Jesus’ life on the…Continue Reading

Our Ways Must Become More Like God’s Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9Phil. 1:20c-24, 27aMatt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, God tells us through the Prophet Isaiah that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, especially when we look at what the Lord…Continue Reading

The Devil And The Democrats

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA States such as Minnesota, California, Maryland, and others, in all cases with Democrat-controlled legislatures, are on a fast track to not only allow unborn babies to be murdered on demand as a woman’s “constitutional right” but also to allow infanticide.Our nation has gotten so used to the moral evil of killing in the womb that…Continue Reading

Crushed But Unbroken . . . The Martyrdom Of St. Margaret Clitherow

By RAY CAVANAUGH The late-1500s were a tough time for Catholics in England, where the Reformation was in full gear. A 1581 law prohibited Catholic religious ceremonies. And a 1584 Act of Parliament mandated that all Catholic priests leave the country or else face execution. Some chose to remain, however, so they could continue serving the faithful.Also taking huge risks…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)