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Jewish World Review Dec. 20, 2002 / 15 Teves, 5763

Julia Gorin

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Consumer Reports

Ladies beware | If you're a woman living in New York, you may find the state Supreme Court's decision Thursday to overturn the convictions of the gang rapists in the Central Park Jogger case particularly disconcerting. Why were the convictions overturned? Because it's possible that the jogger was merely sloppy seconds for them, after someone else had finished with her-and that's not worth having on anyone's permanent record. In a reverse scenario, since there was another, previously unknown, assailant, it means that because the jogger was raped by six people instead of five, the five get a clean slate. Finally, it's possible that the defendants were prosecuted for raping the wrong person in the park that night--when really all they did was rape you.

The overturning, urged by District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, leaves the city wide open for a suit against it by the newly un-convicted. The case is probably already being filed, which in effect means that, as a rape victim and taxpayer, you'll be paying for sex that you didn't ask for.

Great precedents to be setting.

The decision is all the proof that the parents of the former teenagers needed in order to know that they did in fact raise "good boys," as they've been protesting all along. Once the families sue the city successfully, the parents will be vindicated. It's always easier to sue than admit you've raised a monster.

Like Bill Clinton checking the morning headlines during the Lewinsky scandal to learn whether he did or did not have sex with one woman or another, the new non-criminals no doubt are following the public and media wind closely to find out if they tried to kill someone or not. Indeed, Kharey Wise--the last among them to be released from prison--was already behaving indignantly toward solicitous reporters who sought a comment on his impending potential innocence. He didn't appreciate the harassment, which prolonged his just or unjust suffering, that is, his having served time for something which, to his knowledge, he may or may not have done.

We can't know the conversations that the five former inmates engaged in with their parents through the prison glass over the years, wherein the five "boys" likely answered most of the five W's at least for their mothers. But there are some things we do know. We know that 3.8 million dollars from the City of Los Angeles didn't change the character of Rodney King, who was back to bad--via drugs and DWI--almost as soon as he was absolved and vindicated. We also know that O.J. Simpson's acquittal couldn't make him what he wasn't, and so he too was back to his violent behavior within a couple of years. Finally, we know that one of the five Central Park rapists, Raymond Santana, is back in prison on drug charges--jail time that his lawyers will fight to cut short because Santana was sentenced, mistakenly or not, as a prior felon.

So spring Santana and give all the "good boys" their absolution and their money. Then give them a few years.

Ladies beware.

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JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2002, Julia Gorin