Sunday, September 27, 2009
What should the penalty be for a false rape accusation?
(At left, Jesus Ortiz, Kevin Taveras, Stalin Felipe, and Rondell Edwards; above, Danmell Ndonye)
When I first read about the September 13th "gang rape" of a Hofstra student, and saw the picture of the four young men accused (pictured above), my initial thought was, what a bunch of scumbags. My second thought, of course, was to idly wonder if the victim was black or white. (Please don't bother to tell me the same thought wouldn't have gone through your mind.) It also occurred to me that these guys did not particularly resemble the kind of men you often see in crime reports: they mostly had the look of soft, lighter-skinned, middle class blacks.
The story reported by the newspapers was that one of the men had taken the young woman's cell phone and not given it back, forcing her to follow him into a room where the four men had raped her. I just assumed this was what happened, and didn't give it any further thought.
A few days later the young woman's story unraveled after the police detected numerous inconsistencies, and a cellphone video surfaced which showed the entire incident to be consensual. The woman, Danmell Ndonye, then confessed to police that her story had been concocted in order to conceal from her boyfriend what had happened after a frat party. She evidently didn't want him to think her "easy."
Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice has now announced that Ndonye's punishment will be to undergo a yearlong mental health program and perform 250 hours of community service. In other words, some free counseling and 31 days of work, during which time she gets to live at home.
The young men whom she accused -- the real victims in this case -- were jailed for four days before the charges were dropped. Had they been convicted, they might have received ten or more years apiece.
Wouldn't justice require that she be subject to the same level of punishment she tried to have inflicted on them?
(An aside: what kind of parents name their child "Stalin"? Joseph Stalin was the worst mass murderer of all time.)