The fragility of freedom
A friend of mine was acquitted by a jury of his peers on Thursday. It was the correct verdict in my opinion. The jury apparently agreed, given that they deliberated for less than an hour. Considering the gravity of the charges, his ex GF’s young daughter accused him of some very inappropriate acts, the jury must have found them as unlikely as I did.
As you can clearly see, I am of the belief that he was not capable of the acts he was accused of. As a character witness for the defense, I was not tasked with offering platitudes regarding his character or my opinion on the veracity of the charges. I was only asked to describe the household when I was renting with him. I wish I had been afforded the opportunity to offer up my understanding of Steve as a decent, virtuous guy who treated the young lady, the accuser, like his own daughter and acted as the only father she had in the prolonged absence of her own.
And I’m also a bit relieved that I wasn’t asked to do that. Because at the end of the day, despite how unlikely I believe the alleged behavior to be, I could never say for sure that it didn’t happen. I just do not know. Having said that, the prospect that I may in some way either help a predator go free, or discredit the testimony of a possible victim is a terrible position to be in.
Let’s say the jury got it right and the truth is out there. It’s also safe to also say that the truth is my friend could have spent 10 to 20 years in State Prison, where he would have probably been killed in the first year. It’s also the truth, as proven by the accuser’s mother (the ex) on the stand that her daughter was coerced into pressing charges by her friends in order to “save face” from being caught in a lie. It is important to know that this child has a long history of troubled behavior ranging from promiscuity at a very young age to lying frequently.
To think that they would allow the charade to continue when it was clear, even to the jury, that it was a face-saving situation, sickens me. The man has already lost everything. His job, future prospects and most of the relationships he cherished. When an accusation of this magnitude is made, it doesn’t matter if you did it.
Everyone thinks you did.