History Shows We Shouldn’t Rush to Judgement in Greg Kelly Case
New York Daily News
January 29, 2012
Greg Kelly is innocent.
Until proven guilty in a court of law.
And so far Kelly hasn’t even been charged with a crime.
Under the Constitution of this country that Kelly defended as a U.S. Marine combat pilot, he is not guilty of anything except bad press.
Right now, he’s innocent.
Let’s start there.
Instead of with the headlines that brand a man a rapist for life before he’s had a chance to defend himself, his career and his proud family name.
Being a man accused of a sex crime these days is tantamount to being convicted in the court of public opinion. Even if you are cleared, Google your name until the day you die and the stink of “sexual abuse” or “rape” will be in the first graph of your bio.
Ask any of those young guys falsely accused in the Duke University lacrosse team “rape” scandal. Ask any of the kids who did time for brutalizing the Central Park jogger only for DNA to vindicate them.
This by no means is to suggest that Kelly’s accuser is a liar.
Any woman who accuses a man of rape or sexual assault should be taken seriously. I have no evidence to contradict her claims that Kelly date-raped her while she was intoxicated in her law office after they had drinks in October.
But I haven’t seen anything to back up her story yet either.
I am not blaming the victim. But we in the press and you in the jury of public opinion must ask: Who is to say that the “victim” isn’t the accused?
Save the verdict until we have all the facts.
I have never met Greg Kelly. I like his brash, speak-your-mind style on TV news. He was a terrific war correspondent. I salute his military service. I know his father, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, in a strictly professional way. I never asked him for a favor. He sure as hell never offered me one.
I also know several women who have been raped or sexually abused and, with the exception of child abuse in any form, I can’t think of a more cowardly or vile crime.
And I know that even questioning the veracity of an accuser in these politically correct times can be misinterpreted as defending the accused. Not true. But forgive me if I approach this Greg Kelly story with healthy skepticism, with the burden of proof in the accuser’s corner, especially since she waited three months to file a report and seems to have been in repeated contact with Kelly since the night they met.
The case also brings to mind several recent incidents where women have falsely accused men.
Heidi Jones, 38, a TV weather reporter for NBC, pleaded guilty in September to making wild and false claims that she was raped by two men in Central Park in a twisted attempt to win sympathy from her estranged boyfriend.
Last year, a Manhattan hotel maid accused French presidential contender Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape in an infamous case that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance eventually decided wasn’t credible enough to pursue.
A loony toon named Mariah Yeater accused pop heartthrob Justin Bieber of fathering her child at a concert venue bathroom. She turned out to be a liar.
And no one should ever forget that in 1987 a prosecutor in upstate Dutchess County named Steven Pagones had his life and career derailed by a fabulist named Tawana Brawley who falsely accused him of rape.
But these cases are the exceptions and should never cloud the abject horror of true rape victims. If anything, women who falsely report rape hurt real rape victims’ chances of getting justice by casting doubt on their claims.
Maybe this accuser is telling the truth.
But until it’s proved, let’s remember that Greg Kelly is innocent.