Dear Tell All: Maybe it's because I'm a man, but I'm outraged by the recent headlines about Madison Ald. Brian Solomon. A female city employee accused Solomon of sexually assaulting her. The woman admits that she and Solomon had been out drinking together. She admits that she invited Solomon to spend the night. She admits that there was consensual kissing on her bed. Then, she says, she woke up in the morning to find Solomon touching her in a sexual way without her consent. She didn't tell him to stop, nor did she take any responsibility for the situation. Instead, she called the police.
I, for one, can imagine the nightmare Solomon found himself in. Who on earth could have interpreted the messages this woman was sending? Solomon, for his part, believed that the entire encounter was consensual and that he did nothing improper.
Adding weight to Solomon's side is the fact that the Dane County District Attorney's Office declined to pursue charges against him. The assistant D.A. admitted to inconsistencies in the accuser's account and/or "the suggestion of recovered memory," as the Wisconsin State Journal put it.
But here's the part that really disturbs me. The assistant D.A. had the nerve to state that "there is no doubt in my mind that [the woman] did not consent," and the State Journal had the nerve to print that statement. Despite the fact that charges won't be brought, despite that fact that the woman's side of the story is a crock, the county gets to loudly call Solomon guilty in public. And he has to live under that cloud for the rest of his life.
The Wisconsin State Journal routinely declines to name victims of alleged sexual assault to protect them from public shame. Well, why didn't the officially not-guilty Brian Solomon get that kind of consideration?
Give a Guy a Break
Dear Guy: You make some good points. And I'm sure the assistant D.A. can make some good points, too. This is the kind of case people will passionately disagree about, but I'm sure we can all agree on one thing: It's sad for everyone involved. Readers, I'd be interested in any wise words you have to offer.