This is an unremittingly bad story. An LSU fan was stupid enough to drink himself senseless in a public place and evidently didn’t have even a single friend willing to look out for him. An mob of stupid Alabama fans assaulted him – putting trash on him and even teabagging him. In fact, they were so stupid that they filmed their crimes and posted them on the internet.
Next, the New Orleans police department – with actual video of a sex crime in their possession- stupidly decided they couldn’t investigate unless the victim stepped forward.
Let’s do a little thought experiment. Let’s imagine that this was a girl who drank herself stupid. Let’s imagine that she was touched, her breasts were fondled, and that a man rubbed his genitals on her while she was unconscious. Can anyone imagine the NOPD – or any police department, anywhere – dragging their heels on investigating unless she came forward?
Dale Standifer, of the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children, summed it up:
“The man was obviously passed out, intoxicated and unable to defend himself, and he was assaulted,” Standifier said. “He was sexually assaulted, and humiliated and tormented while people cheered, and he shouldn’t have to stand up for himself and say, ‘I want to press charges.’ The city should be pressing charges and trying to move forward. If you had a murder victim, you can’t expect the victim himself, the corpse, to testify.”
Just as women’s domestic abuse against men is routinely blown off, it certainly appears that the police are willing to overlook a sexual crime against a man. Sure, everyone involved was an idiot. And maybe their reasoning is that idiocy should not be prosecuted. But if the victim were a woman, they wouldn’t hesitate, and the law needs to be enforced equally. As The Hayride put it (and click through to read the applicable criminal code),
This isn’t Gumps Gone Wild. It’s sexual battery. You can get 10 years for that, and it’s not acceptable for the cops not to ID this perp and bring his ass in for trial.
Added: Dr. Helen writes:
Given the way that our society laughs and mocks men who are abused in this way, I can understand the guy not coming forward, but he must. It is only when individual men start to say “No, this is not justice for all” and endure the ridicule that men everywhere will no longer have to endure their rights and bodies being violated in this absurd manner without consequence.
More on this at my post at Hot Air’s Green Room.
UPDATE: It turns out this is not a college prank in any sense of the word. Brian Downing, the man Deadspin identified as the teabagger is in his 30s, married, with a child. And at the moment he is on his way – with his attorney – to New Orleans to have a little chat with the NOPD. I’m sorry for his family, but I’m glad that it’s looking like there will be some consequences for his behavior. And what little amusement there is in this whole train wreck can be found in the fact that the tips identifying Downing apparently originated on an Auburn message board.