Below is a post in full from Brooklyn College professor KC Johnson’s blog.
KC has been a leader in the fight for justice for the three young man framed in the public mind by false and racially inflammatory “news reporting” by the Raleigh News & Observer and others in media at the same time they were framed during “the investigation” by DA Nifong, certain Durham Police and others.
Following Johnson’s post are parts of three comments from the post thread.
I've reviewed the entire thread as of 9:30 PM Eastern, Saturday, April 14.
I end my post with copies of emails I’ve sent Duke professor Sheryl Broverman and KC.
HERE'S KC JOHNSON'S POST (KC's comments in italics):
The day that AG Roy Cooper dismissed all charges and declared the players innocent, it seemed as if we had another example of unfortunate conduct by a Duke professor. Newsday quoted Biology professor Sheryl Broverman (who is not one of the Group of 88) as suggesting that we'll never know the truth of what happened. It turns out, however, that Broverman's comments were taken considerably out of context.Now parts of three reader comments on the thread of KC's post:
Broverman e-mailed me shortly after the article appeared, but Wednesday through Friday was unusually hectic, and I just have gotten through this week's e-mails today. I quote her response in full:In order to avoid a misunderstanding, I would like clarify my my comments as quoted in Newsday today. I was contacted by the reporter initially to talk about DukeEngage. He then asked me for my opinion about the expected dropping of all charges against the students. I was unaware that this was about to happen. I made the mistake of trying to provide a nuanced commentary on the difficulty of prosecuting rape in general. Many cases, some of which are valid accusations, are dismissed for lack of evidence. I think all of us would also agree that "normal legal procedures" did not happen under Nifong's leadership! Do I want the students to be guilty? Of course not. Do I accept that there is not sufficient evidence to go forward? Sure. Do I wish the lack of evidence had been acknowledged last spring? Absolutely! Who doesn't? However, I still maintain that rape is hard to prosecute, and that IN GENERAL lack of evidence does not mean a crime was not committed. However, I did not mean to suggest that I thought these students should be prosecuted.People of good faith, it seems to me, can disagree over whether this case shows that rape law has bent too far in favor of prosecutors, and I suspect I would be more inclined to take that position than Prof. Broverman. About the Duke case itself, however, I agree with everything she says in the statement above.
In science, if the data doesn't support the hypothesis, you drop or modify the hypothesis. However, if the data doesn't exist because the experiment didn't work, one can't conclude anything. Looking at how Nifong handled the case, "the experiment didn't work" and one can't conclude anything. Listening to AG Cooper this afternoon, I accept that the data does not support the hypothesis, which in real life means that charges should be dropped.
Comment One ---Comment two ---
Broverman's rationalization is so nuanced, that it is twisted!
She wrote: "However, if the data doesn't exist because the experiment didn't work, one can't conclude anything."
I take great pride in being a scientist myself.
This is not a case of the data failing to support the hypothesis. This is a case of the data totally disproving the hypothesis!!
The fact that the DNA came back totally negative PROVED that the hypothesis was wrong!!
If a woman showed up in the hospital weeks after being raped, a reasonable person would not expect to find DNA, so the absence of DNA would prove nothing. This case is RATHER DIFFERENT, however.
In science, if one forms a hypothesis and the experiment yields overwhelming indication that the hypothesis is false, it must be discarded. The hypothesis in this case was, "A rape occurred."Comment three ---
At this moment in time, ALL evidence (and there is a great deal) points to the negative of that hypothesis. Ipso facto, one must conclude, as the state AG did, there was no rape and therefore there cannot be any rapists. Recall the use of the term "innocent?"
This biology type must have a dual major in race/class/gender studies. Her "logic" is unsound.
Is it just me, or is Broverman STILL saying the players could very well have raped Mangum, but she's generously accepting that it can't be proved? This is a far, far cry from saying there is no evidence a crime occurred.My email to Professor Broverman:
Dear Professor Broverman:Email to KC Johnson:
I’m a Duke alum and blog as John in Carolina.
I’ve read KC Johnson’s post which contains in full your email to him.
Nowhere in your email do you say you agree with NC Attorney General Roy Cooper’s conclusion: “Innocent.”
If not, why not?
You say: “I still maintain that rape is hard to prosecute, and that IN GENERAL lack of evidence does not mean a crime was not committed. However, I did not mean to suggest that I thought these students should be prosecuted.”
Actually, Professor Broverman, rape is not “hard to prosecute” even when there's no evidence one occurred.
Not only that, many attorneys tell me rape is one of the easiest crimes to prosecute: all it often takes is the word of an accuser who media tell everyone is “the victim.”
I hear that from both female and male attorneys. What do you hear?
I’ll publish your response to this email in full up to 600 words as an “Update” to my post you’ll find at this URL:
If you request I publish your response as a “stand alone” post with only a brief orientation for “new readers,” I’ll do that.
John in Carolina
Regarding your response to Professor Broveraman, I question whether you meant to ignore her failure to say she agreed David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann are, as NC Attorney General Cooper said: “Innocent.”
I'm troubled by your telling your blog readers concering Broverman:
“About the Duke case itself, however, I agree with everything she says in the statement above.”I hope that’s not really what you meant to say.
Here’s a link to my post on the matter:
As with any response I receive from Broverman, I’ll publish your response in full at JinC.
Folks, I'll keep you posted on what I hear.