In a recent TSW guest post – “The Prison of Father MacRae: A Conspiracy of Silence” – Ryan MacDonald quoted from a riveting article by Wall Street Journal columnist Dorothy Rabbinowitz entitled, “On Woody Allen and Echoes of the Past” (WSJ Feb. 10, 2014). As Ryan pointed out, the article was about the tyranny of false claims of sexual abuse, and the immensely instructive impact of such claims when the accused is innocent. When there is evidence of guilt, that evidence is carefully made out by prosecutors before judges and juries. But when there is no evidence of guilt, that poses no real challenge to prosecutors in an arena in which the accusation itself is seen as evidence enough to convict and condemn, and to keep the wrongfully convicted prison.
Many people simply do not understand that such laws exist. I am in my twentieth year in prison because New Hampshire law has a clause (RSA 632a-6) under the category of sexual assault that requires no evidence or corroboration beyond the accusation itself for a conviction. Dorothy Rabbinowitz describes the uphill climb faced by defendants when wrongful convictions leave behind zero evidence to reexamine:
“Resorting to the comfortable ‘we will never know’ remains the evasion of choice for authorities in terror of acknowledging the innocence of anyone accused of the charge.”
Sent on behalf of