Athletes and sexual assaults

Okay, this is from 2003/4, but I think it’s quite interesting. Also, I’m not sure if there’s ever been research that has looked at the accusations of sexual misconduct against athletes. I found this on USA Today.

In sexual assault cases, athletes usually walk

USA TODAY research of 168 sexual assault allegations against athletes in the past dozen years suggests sports figures fare better at trial than defendants from the general population. Of those 168 allegations, involving 164 athletes, only 22 saw their cases go to trial, and only six cases resulted in convictions. In another 46 cases, a plea agreement was reached. Combined with the six athletes convicted at trial and one who pleaded guilty as charged, that gives the athletes a 32% total conviction rate in the resolved cases. That means more than two-thirds were never charged, saw the charges dropped or were acquitted.

Here’s their list of cases.

Robbie Crockett Iowa football He was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1998 and was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Crockett pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to 90 days in prison and three years of probation. He was also ordered to pay fines and court costs of more than $2,700 and to pay for the victim’s counseling.

A pedophile gets 90 days in prison? Read some of the others – reduced sentences, probation only… It’s quite enlightening.

A double standard when it comes to athletes and domestic violence

Great article by Jeff Benedict – A double standard when it comes to athletes and domestic violence. This could also be called: Why do athletes believe heavyweights can fight lightweights? Because that’s what I’d like to know.

It’s pretty sobering to visualize a big muscular athlete knocking down a woman or pummeling a grandfather. Against the sheer violence involved in each of these cases, it’s easy to overlook the fact that each of these incidents played out in front of plenty of witnesses. Typically, domestic violence is the kind of crime that goes on behind closed doors, where bullies carry out threats and violence without fear of being seen or caught.

But athletes are less prone to fear consequences, especially when it comes to their off-the-field behavior. Fields confronted his ex-girlfriend outside a child care facility at 5 o’clock on a Monday afternoon. Rodriguez couldn’t have picked a more public place to berate his girlfriend and strike her father than at a ballpark, never mind the fact that there were security guards on hand.

Most of us would consider this behavior pretty brazen. Yet athletes who run afoul of the law are used to getting out of jams. Look at Stephenson. While starring at Abraham Lincoln High in Coney Island Stephenson and a teammate were arrested in October 2008 for allegedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl inside the school. At the time, Stephenson was being recruited by schools like North Carolina, Kansas, Memphis, USC and many others. He was on his way to becoming the all-time leading scorer in New York state history and leading his team to four consecutive New York City championships. He’d become such a big phenomenon that a courtside announcer had nicknamed him “Born Ready” and a reality web series about him was being planned under the same name.

All of that was jeopardized by the felony sexual assault case pending against him. But here’s where it pays for an abuser to be an athlete. After Stephenson pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, the University of Cincinnati offered him a scholarship. He became the Big East’s Rookie of the Year in 2010 and was selected drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the second round of June’s NBA Draft. It was as if the incident at his high school didn’t matter.

Jeff Benedict is a distinguished Professor of English at Southern Virginia University and the author of several books on athletes and violence, including Out of Bounds and Pros and Cons. Check out his website at jeffbenedict.com.