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WALTER REED AND BEYOND: The War Inside

A great article, courtesy of the WaPo, which means it will soon fade away into that pay archive black hole. So here it is on the Free Internet Press. Just watch you don’t get squished by that pop-up!

I’m not in the least surprised that this administration, via the Defense department, is seeking to deny mental health services to returning soldiers by claiming they had a pre-existing condition. That’s the thanks our military can expect to receive. Kind of like Vietnam in reverse. The people are warm and welcoming. This time it’s the government spitting on them. Either way, seems like a good reason to burn a flag, now, doesn’t it?

(Yes, I do advocate the burning of the American flag as a form of free expression. It is not something I have ever done and I doubt I ever will. But, by God, we deserve the right to do it if we choose! Go ahead and blast me on that one, too. I also happen to believe it’s perfectly reasonable to declare that English is the official language of the United States. So there.)

Anyway, back to the point. The young man who spearheaded the rape of a fourteen year-old girl and murder of her and her family? Yeah, that is a personality disorder. The young men and women who cannot sleep without waking in terror following their deployment? That’s PTSD. Come on. This one’s a no-brainer.

But, there’s hope on the horizon in the person of our Defense Secretary, Robert Gates. Oh, wait. He’s the one in charge of this, isn’t he?

More recent news…

Pentagon May Drop Mental Health Question

DoD press release on receipt of the task force’s report.

Study Finds 1.8 Million Veterans are Uninsured (Is that on top of the 46 million?)

Here’s the same article, forever free.

George Walker Bush

‘Nuff ranting for one night.  Let’s get back to the good stuff…

 Ah, summertime!

Jeffrey Marsalis, sexual assaulterI was sitting in my local diner this afternoon, eating breakfast and reading my paper. The first story to draw my attention was that about the verdict in a Philadelphia rape case involving one Jeffrey Marsalis. I’ll post the whole article here, since it will disappear into archives in a week or so. If Philly Inq lawyers read this, I’m doing this for the purposes of education and elucidation.

No rape on dates, hoaxer’s jury says

It convicted Jeffrey Marsalis, 34, of two counts of sexual assault. Seven women had accused him.

By Robert Moran

Inquirer Staff Writer

A Philadelphia jury yesterday found Jeffrey Marsalis – accused of drugging and raping seven women, six of whom he met on Match.com – guilty of two counts of sexual assault but acquitted him of a slew of rape charges involving all the accusers. The jurors failed to reach a verdict on one rape count against Marsalis, who pretended to be a doctor, a CIA agent and an astronaut to persuade women to date him.

Marsalis, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison for the two counts of sexual assault, defined as intercourse without consent. Rape includes aggravating factors such as force.

Marsalis will remain held without bail until sentencing Sept. 18. He also faces a drugging and rape case in Idaho.

Prosecutor Joseph Khan said a federal investigation of Marsalis continued, and urged anyone with information about other possible crimes to contact the FBI at 215-418-4000.

One of the accusers threw up after learning about the verdict and “felt like someone kicked me in the gut,” the woman said in an interview.

“I feel like the Goldmans,” she said, referring to the family of Ron Goldman, whom O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murdering.

The jury informed the court that it had reached a verdict after 11/2 hours of deliberation yesterday. It was the fifth day of deliberations, which on Monday had erupted into angry shouting.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the jury foreman was read a list of 35 counts, including 25 rape counts, such as forcible rape, rape of an unconscious person, and rape by substantial impairment.

When the foreman announced the first “not guilty,” Marsalis, dressed in an olive-green suit, looked up. After the third “not guilty,” he began to blink rapidly. But when the foreman announced the first “guilty” for sexual assault, Marsalis gulped.

One of the accusers gazed down with a sad expression when Marsalis was found not guilty of everything involving her. The woman, a lawyer, later sobbed quietly as the jury’s decision was repeated.

One juror, a young man, repeatedly looked at the woman and seemed distressed. The jury was composed of eight women and four men.

Afterward, jurors declined to comment as they rushed from the Criminal Justice Center near City Hall.

The sexual-assault counts involved a New Jersey woman and a woman who lived in Marsalis’ Center City apartment building. It wasn’t clear why the jurors had determined that those women were sexually assaulted rather than raped, or why they believed those two but not the other women.

In those cases, the circumstances differed wildly. One woman had only one contact – a phone call – with Marsalis after the alleged rape. The second woman befriended Marsalis after an alleged rape, and said he had raped her again several months later – the basis for the sexual-assault conviction.

“This is a 100 percent victory,” defense attorney Kathleen Martin said outside the courthouse, answering questions with cocounsel Kevin Hexstall before a media throng.

Martin said the jury had rejected the prosecution’s theory that Marsalis was a sexual predator who sought vulnerable woman and then drugged and raped them.

Hexstall said the convictions involved lesser charges that the District Attorney’s Office almost always threw into a case if rape charges didn’t hold up. “I think he was wrongly convicted, but I respect the jury’s decision,” Hexstall said.

Martin said Marsalis “was pleased with the jury’s hard work.”

Khan said the prosecution was “pleased that the jury recognized that Mr. Marsalis is a criminal, a sexual offender.”

He praised the seven accusers for “courageously” coming forward to testify.

Each count of sexual assault carries a maximum of 10 years in state prison, Khan said. Marsalis will be assessed to determine whether he is a sexually violent predator and will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The jury began deliberating Thursday after 21/2 weeks of testimony highlighted by the appearances of the seven women, who accused Marsalis of drugging and raping them between 2003 and 2005.

At that time, the women were young professionals or obtaining advanced degrees or certifications.

One was a resident in the Metropolitan apartments near Hahnemann University Hospital, where Marsalis frequently roamed the halls in scrubs and a white lab coat with a phony ID.

Hexstall said the prosecution had employed “character assassination” by dwelling on the phony claims, the fake badges and manipulated photos, including one of Marsalis in an astronaut suit, “in order to get the jury to hate him.”

The women did not immediately report the alleged rapes or go to a hospital to be examined, but all did confide to someone later that they had been raped.

Those corroborating witnesses and the similar accounts provided by the women, who did not know one another, were the key elements of the prosecution.

But the women’s continued contacts with Marsalis – one befriended him, another had dinner with him, one called to recommend he go to a self-improvement seminar she was attending – had some trial followers believing the defense’s contention that the women had consensual sex with him and regretted it after authorities told them that he was a fraud.

An official of Women Organized Against Rape, which monitored the trial, said she was pleased that the jury had held Marsalis “accountable for his actions,” but was disappointed it had acquitted him of the most serious charges.

“We had hoped that he would be found guilty of all the charges,” said Kathryn Fidler, the group’s legal services director, who was in court each day of the trial.

“But our primary focus was, first and foremost, on the well-being of the victims in the case,” she said. “It is very difficult to come into an open courtroom and have to talk about the worst experiences of your life. We really respect the women for doing that.”

Marsalis was found not guilty in January 2006 of drugging and raping three other women.

Okay.

So this man meets accomplished professional women over Match.com and gets together with them. He lies about everything in his life, claiming to be a doctor, a CIA agent, a Secret Service agent with direct access to the current president of the United States (as if that’s impressive!), a flight surgeon, an astronaut.

Here is a list of what he was then accused of doing to the women:

A summary of the charges against Jeffrey Marsalis

Prosecutors had contended that Jeffrey Marsalis drugged and raped the seven plaintiffs after they had drinks with him or shared food with him. In most cases, the women had left their drinks with Marsalis when they went to the restroom. The defense argued that the women consented to sex after drinking heavily and there was no evidence of drugging.

Jurors considered three definitions of rape in most cases: rape by forcible compulsion, rape of an unconscious victim and rape by causing substantial impairment.

*** Woman No. 1: Nov 30, of New Jersey. Drank a few beer samplers, then one or two beers at the Independence Brew Pub in January 2003.

– Not guilty on the three counts of rape.

– Guilty on sexual assault.

***No. 2: Now 26, met Marsalis in the Metropolitan Apartments, where both lived.

1) October 2003: She went out with him to Fado pub. Had about two gin and tonics.

– Not guilty on the three counts of rape.

– Not guilty on sexual assault.

2) January 2004: Marsalis came to her apartment after she got out of the hospital. No drinks. The woman testified that he forced himself on her. In this case, prosecutors did not contend she was first drugged.

– Jury hung on a charge of rape by forcible compulsion

– Guilty on sexual assault.

*** No. 3: Lived in Bethlehem, Pa. Was 26 when Marsalis allegedly got her pregnant. Testified she had about half a glass of red wine at a restaurant. At her condo, Marsalis later poured her another glass of red wine, of which she drank some.

After she told him she was pregnant and wanted him to pay to end the pregnancy, she said he threatened her with his “CIA connections” if she were to report anything to police.

– Not guilty on the three counts rape

– Not guilty sexual assault

– Not guilty of impersonating a public servant

*** No. 4: Single mother and nurse from New Jersey, now 36. Testified that she had three glasses of merlot and a kamikaze shot with Marsalis at Tir Na Nog on Nov. 12, 2004.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 5: Now 32, was a law-school student when she met Marsalis on Dec. 30, 2004. She had three beers at Fado. After, at Tir Na Nog, she had ordered a white wine, but didn’t remember drinking it. She recalled parts of her night with Marsalis.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 6: now 36, of Exeter, Pa., spent a weekend in Marsalis’ apartment, in June 2004. On the first night, they went to Tir Na Nog, where she had two beers and a mixed-drink shot. She said she blacked out. The next day, she said she drank iced tea in Marsalis’ apartment, and sometime after having lunch with him, blacked out again.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 7: Now 30, public accountant, lived in Downingtown, had medical problems that affected her memory, concentration and word fluency.

1) Feb. 26, 2005: She had one draft beer each at World Cafe Live and later at Continental Midtown. Afterward, they went to Striped Bass, where Marsalis ordered them each a glass of white wine. She said she had a few sips. The only time she testified going to the restroom was at Striped Bass. Shortly after, she said she blacked out.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

2) March 1, 2005: She said she agreed to meet Marsalis again. She wanted to confront him with having raped her on their first date, she testified. They went to a Chinatown restaurant, where Marsalis served them food from platters and she had a Coke. She did not go to the restroom.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault.

Is it possible, I suppose, that these women had consensual sex with Marsalis and later pressed their claims due to embarrassment at having been duped by this asshole. That was the contention of his defense team, though, perhaps, not in those exact words.

I suppose it’s possible that these women, who did not know each other, came up, independently, with scenarios that are remarkably similar in modus operandi.

I imagine it’s possible that other women…

(“Marsalis was found not guilty in January 2006 of drugging and raping three other women.”)

in Philadelphia, or even in another state,…

(“If he is found not guilty, he faces another drugging and rape case in Sun Valley, Idaho. He is alleged to have assaulted a woman in October 2005 while he was awaiting trial here in a similar drugging and rape case. He was later found not guilty in the previous Philadelphia case.

While in the ski-resort town of Sun Valley, he joined the local fire department as a probationary firefighter in the summer of 2005, said Fire Chief Jeffrey Carnes. Marsalis’ mother, Darlene Jevne, owns several condominiums in Sun Valley and a nearby 400-acre ranch.

“He said he was going to be living here,” Carnes recalled.

At that time, he was out on bail in Philadelphia.

“He disappeared shortly after August,” said Carnes.

Marsalis remained in Sun Valley until he was arrested in the alleged rape there and then returned to Philadelphia to face rape charges here.”)

have had the same unfortunate type of encounter with this man. I guess there is some possibility that the Idaho woman could have had the same regrets about having fallen for his bullshit and chosen to falsely accuse him in that case, as well.

I suppose it’s also possible that it may snow overnight here in suburban Philly on June 14th or that Bill Clinton will really be able to keep it zipped for 4-8 years if Hillary manages to get into the White House. Feel free to insert whatever definition of “it” you like.

I am sitting here in my 62-degree F apartment in ski socks, fuzzy slippers, Polartec sweats and a velour sweater on June 14th, after all.

Possible.

Not likely.

But here’s what I really don’t get.

“Marsalis, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison for the two counts of sexual assault, defined as intercourse without consent. Rape includes aggravating factors such as force.”

According to this passage, the law in Pennsylvania defines “rape” as involving some sort of aggravating factor, such as force. Since when is drugging someone to the point of rendering them incapable of giving consent not “force?” I know that the verdict was more about believing the defense attorneys’ contention that there was no drugging and that the women merely later regretted an incredible lapse of judgment in having consented to fuck the loser. I simply don’t understand how a reporter could not come to the conclusion that doping does not constitute the use of “force.”

In my browsing this afternoon, I happened upon the definition of “rape” at the website of a district justice in Chester County. (Another thing I don’t get is the whole “District Justice” thing in PA, or judges running for the office at all, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.) That website was the closest I could come to finding the criminal code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania online, despite the name of this site. What’s up with that? Do I not, as a resident of PA, have the right to ready access to the laws governing the commonwealth in which I live? Where’s that ACLU phone number again?…

I don’t understand the tendency of our species to perpetually denigrate the female. Women in some Muslim countries are not allowed to attend school, read books, drive cars or leave the house without head-to-toe coverage or male escort. Women here in America may be lied to and deceived, drugged and sexually penetrated without significant penalty, without calling it what it is, without defining it as “rape?” Somebody please remind me how these things benefit the species from an evolutionary standpoint? How, again, does this make sense?

I suppose a world of mutual love and respect is possible.

But not likely.

(Another tidbit I offer for your perusal is a stunning letter from the Women’s Law Project to then-FBI director Robert Mueller about the definition of “rape” in the Uniform Crime Report.)

Oh, one more thing I can’t understand is how any woman could represent this man but; as a woman, a feminist, a Christian, a mother and grandmother, a liberal/progressive/libertarian/borderline socialist; I respect and defend Kathleen Martin’s right to make her own mistakes.

Before that she bitched about: