Thursday, November 11, 2010

Accused Rapist Feels "A Little Bit Responsible" For Accuser's Suicide


Yesterday in a suburb of Detroit, prosecutors dismissed the rape charges that had been leveled against 18-year-old Joseph Tarnopolski because his 14 year old accuser killed herself on Monday. With her death, prosecutors decided to drop the charges. The girl's mom screamed at the 18 year old man and said she was never consulted prior to the charges being dropped.

The 14 year old had gone to the police and Joseph had been charged with third degree criminal conduct. When people at school found out the freshman had accused the senior of rape the girl said she was subjected to bullying and harassment from the senior's friends.

"People wanted to beat her up – people who were friends of Joe," said Ayla Raines, who also attended Huron High School. "Not to her face. She heard from other people that they wanted to beat her up."

The principal of the school said he did not believe the bullying was happening. How does he know? He said that he would sometimes walk behind the girl in between classes and saw no signs of harassment. Well how in the f**k did he think he was going to see any if he was walking right behind her? And this guy is a principal?

I'm not saying this guy committed the crime. There was obviously not much evidence or prosecutors would have proceeded even without the girl's testimony. But, I have no doubt in my mind this girl was bullied and harassed and the actions of the principal show why so much bullying happens in school today.

As for the death of the accuser, the 18 year old say he felt a "little bit responsible for her death," but that others had done the bullying and not him.

I encourage you to read the entire story here because there is too much for me to summarize. It is compelling stuff.

38 comments:

Selock said...

Wait, this is another different story than the bathroom rape in Indiana, I guess? WTF people??!!!

Jaime said...

I live near Detroit. While I feel horrible for what the girl went through, the mother did a great disservice to her daughter by going on local TV & showing her face. She basically outed her as the victim. They also changed the story from it being consensual (still wrong, given the age of the girl) to forcible. I'm not condoning what happened, but there's a lot more to the story than whether she was raped.

weezy said...

Did you know that the key task for principals and teachers is to keep children safe? Of course this loser was going to say he didn't see anything -- he doesn't want to get sued.

linnea said...

There was a story in the Swedish press about a whole town (including the church) standing up for a boy who raped a class mate.
She was bullied, had to move, he got the support of everyone and she didnt go to their graduation in the church, where the priest acknowledged how sorry he felt for the boy and asked the community to keep supporting him.

Then, that evening at their party, he raped a second girl.

valerie said...

What mom would take the story of her child having sex or being raped to the TV news?! Yes, if you think your kid was raped, you want justice. But demand justice from the police, not from the press. How sad for the poor 14 year old who had to face such public humiliation. And how sad if the 18year old boy was the victim of someone lying about whether the sex was consensual.

It's just me! said...

I also live near Detroit. One of the local news reports here says the girl told him she was 16. 16 is the age of consent in Michigan. Not that this excuses anyone, but it's also something to think about.

Something to add re: the principal's actions. Another news story said that when the parents first filed rape charges, the school met with both parties agreed to keep the boy and the girl separate. Since he had not been charged with a crime, it was fine for him to attend school. However, like Jaime said, the parents went to TV (mom hinted at the investigation not going fast enough) and that's when -- allegedly -- the bullying and taunting started. The girl's face was blanked out on TV, but the mom and the boy accused were identified. Doesn't take much to figure out who the girl was after that in a small town.

I also read that the girl somewhat backtracked on her original story. The original rape charges said the sex was consensual and that she wanted to lose her virginity to this guy (again, not excusing anyone's actions), but later she said that it was forced.

Jaime said...

@ It's just me! - The DetNews had that info. http://www.detnews.com/article/20101111/METRO/11110429/Events-surrounding-girl’s-suicide-shake-up-students--Huron-Twp.

Poor kid.

A. Bedelia said...

Sounds like bad decision-making all around. Unfortunately the end result is a dead 14 year old.

Merlin D. Bear said...

Given my opinion is based on media reporting and not first person knowledge, I believe that 1)it was consensual and 2)the mother refused to believe that her daughter might be willingly sexually active and forced the girl into changing the story, text messages and other evidence aside.
Then when things didn't progress the way the mother thought they should, she elected to involve the media.
The bullying and harassment occured because of the media exposure - and probably because everyone already knew it was consensual, and the forced rape charge was bogus.
Again, my opinion.

jfwlucy said...

Hey, in a world where there is a 6% (SIX!)conviction rate of rapists, as well as an overwhelming tendency to blame/doubt the victim I can understand why you'd want the help of the media in seeking justice.

http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates

Kate said...

Linnea, please tell me the town realized how wrong they were when the kid raped someone ele?

looserdude said...

@Merlin D Bear - I tend to agree with your interpretation of the story; that's the one that makes the most sense to me anyway. But it's still tragic, and I wish the girl's mom had gotten her counselling instead of publicity, although I'm willing to believe the mom just wanted justice for her child.

Lady J said...

I really don't wanna blame the mom, but it seems to me this situation went from bad to worse when the mom decided to involve the media. I understand her frustration but you NEVER put a victim of sexual assault in the public viewing. By doing that she exposed her daughter to too much and the end result was her taking her life. Sad situation, and she may want to blame the boy but she really needs to look at her own actions as well.

redsiren said...

And this is just one example of why a lot of women don't report rape. This is the only crime where you hear that the victim is villified instead of the rapist. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Chris said...

Enty, I'm surprised at you, you're usually more on the ball. The fault doesn't lie with the 18 yo guy, it doesn't lie fully with the bullies (although their actions were wrong) Where it DOES LIE IS WITH THE MOTHER, who put her 14 yo daughter ON TV to talk about sexual intercourse. OMG. The fault also lies with FOX, who we know is not exactly a reliable news agency, for letting this get aired.

The sex was consensual. They have texts, etc... to prove it. I wouldn't be surprised if FOX put them up to this to some degree.

Don't vilify the 18 yo. String up the mom.

timebob said...

This is why it is so important to get a lawyer or a legal advocate. No way would they of given her legal advice to go on the news and start a storm she had no way of controlling. Like the saying goes. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

If the mother had taken a step back and let justice take its course maybe her daughter would be alive. Regardless if the girl wanted to stay at the school. I would of pulled her out and home schooled her and put her right into therapy.

The boy dodged a bullet and a girl is dead. Way to go mom. I have a guy I would like you to meet. His name is Michael Lohan.

merrick said...

This story is so disturbing on more than one level.
In the first part, the little girl,and she is a little girl, obviously was in need of some male attention, or else why would she have at first consented to having sex? I mean at 14 I was still wearing my Chuck Taylors and hanging out with my friends, not even thinking about sex.

Secondly, what possessed her mother to bring the matter to pubic light, especially with all the media attention given to bullying these days. I am sure they were not counseled very well before appearing on TV. Why else would the little girl change her story when apparently there are text messages proving the fact that it was consensual? If this were one of my daughters, I would definitely want some justice, but at what cost?
Thirdly, the boys feels "somewhat" responsible ... hell, he is responsible. He is old eniough to vote, old enough to enlist but not old enough to know that sex with a 14 year old is wrong.

This little girl didnt have to die. RIP

jax said...

the point you all seem to be missing is the judge dismissed the case because the girl died and couldn't testify!

last time i checked they still try murders etc despite the person being DEAD..

and what redsiren said..dead on.

chihuahuense said...

they don't try cases that they can't win. If she was the DAs main source of evidence, then there is no reason to try a case that there is a good chance of losing. It's a waste of money. DAs don't normally say "oh, I feel bad for this 18 year old accused rapist, now that the girl is dead, let's just forget about it." Have you never seen an episode of Law and Order?

Merlin D. Bear said...

Okay... please allow me to clarify a major point.
First, the initial charge was "3rd degree sexual misconduct"...aka "statutory rape"...meaning that at least one partner was under the "age of consent" - in the eyes of the law, if one partner is under that age (which varies wildly from state to state), then they are considered to be too young to consent legally to sexual contact with anyone.
This would have been bad enough, given the potential maximum penalties for conviction are 15 years in prison and 25 years on the state sex offender registry.
2)The situation didn't change that much until Mom apparently decided that having a willingly sexually active 14 year old wasn't a good thing, and so forced her to change her story to "forced rape".
Again, all evidence and testimony prior to this moment had indicated a consensual act.
3)The bullying and BS thrown the girl's way at school was probably no worse than the usual teenage crap, until suddenly she's on the freaking television screaming a false rape charge.

Do I think she killed herself because of the bullying? No.

Do I think she killed herself because she understood what a mess she'd allowed to be created and the possible fallout from a perjury charge? Yes.

IMHO, she committed suicide because she couldn't bear the guilt of seeing an innocent man go to jail because of the lies she had been forced to tell.

This simply reinforces my opinion that we as a society are hypocrites when it comes to sex.
We thrive on it in gossip and advertisements, but when the subject needs to be discussed openly and rationally with our children, suddenly we're Puritans.

Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

Oh chihuahuense, that last sentence almost killed me. I'm still laughing over here.

chihuahuense said...

I knew you'd like that, Counselor :D

Lioness70 said...

Merlin, ITA with your breakdown of this tragic situation.

chihuahuense said...

PS Sue Ellen, classalpha did end up commenting on the Britney Murphy story

nancer said...

legally at 14, she CAN'T consent so it's irrelevant whether she wanted to have sex with this guy.

this shit happens all the time. on the one hand, these girls are legally minors. on the other hand, the boy may not know it. on the one hand, the girls are automatic 'victims' and on the other hand, this guy could've been a registered sex offender for doing something that may not have been forcible at all.

it's a conundrum. very sorry she's dead, no matter where the truth lies.

MadLyb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadLyb said...

Some people make me sick. I just love how our society automatically blames the victim, and justifies shit like this. You suck.

lana said...

the school handled it terribly, the victim's mom did, the predator did. girls at 14 are so emotionally fragile and impulsive. its very sad indeed

MCH said...

Goodness, this is awful. Her 12 year old brother found her body. :(

It does sound like this case was terribly mis-handled. I suppose they could have gone on with the case, but in the articles I read, the boy had proof that the sex was consensual but I have no idea what happens in the case that the consensual sex is with a 14 year old....

Basil said...

I have no problem blaming the mother for this terrible tragedy....WHICH DID NOT NEED TO HAPPEN.

Fact is kids have sex all the time, and from what I have read, in this case it was not only consensual, but enjoyed. The mother found out about it, and was probably rightly pissed off her 14 year old precious child was doing such "nasty" things and chose to blame the 18 year old guy. And lets face it, he is not going to say NO when offered, though I do agree he might have used a little judgement considering her are, but that is hardly a crime. Oh, wait, yet it is because he was 18 and not 17. I guess one year makes a big difference.

Perhaps the mother honestly wanted some justice, but I honestly believe the only reason she went to the news was because she wanted a payout, either from the police, or from the male's family. She certainly didn't care enough about her daughter to worry about what she might experience once the rape story got out. And if she was that bloody concerned about her daughters 3 weeks of bullying (again, I do not condone) then why not remove her from the school?

Nope, she was looking for some easy cash, didn't think about her daughter's feelings, and now she doesn't have her daughter anymore.

If Enty chooses to follow this story I bet we will hear about this mother now suing not only the police, but the School Board and the boy's family, plus the families of the other children who taunted her daughter. She probably will also being suing Fox news for airing the story in the first place, thus exposing her daughter to taunts and bullying. As far as she is concerned, she had no part in her daughters suicide.

Amy in MI said...

I'm another metro Detroiter, and have friends that live out near New Boston. When I saw the mom on Channel 2 news I just got the biggest creepy from her - she just epitomized white trash..not that I don't feel sorry that she just lost a daughter but there's more to the story....

jfwlucy said...

Thank you RedSiren and MadLyb. It is nice to see at least a few people not leap into condemning this dead child.

Again, 15 out of 16 rapists EVER spend a moment in jail. 60% of all rapes go unreported.

If the principal blew off this mother's complaints, as he clearly did, and as the justice system is clearly messed up when it comes to rape, and as we still live in a society that tends overwhelmingly to blame the victim and make excuses for the rapist (as you have just overwhelmingly illustrated) -- where else were she and her mom supposed to go for help?

You can check these stats (from the US Dept. of Justice) and educate yourself at http://www.rainn.org/statistics

redsiren said...

@jfwlucy
No problem. Believe me, I understand this girl more than anyone will know.

Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

HA!! When I first read the comments and got to yours, my heart leapt in my throat cause I crazily thought somehow you'd been hacked by "EM"class ALpHA. Then I read on and laughed at myself.

I wonder who that person is and why they insist on writing like that. Almost makes my brain drip out of my nose.

shakey said...

I have a question - whether or not the sex was consensual, the 18 year-old still broke the law, correct? So why wouldn't he be charged with statutory rape despite the fact that the girl killed herself? He still broke the law. The proof is there.

And I don't buy the "poor boy didn't know he broke the law" bit. I had someone basically force himself on me when I was 16. At the last second he asked me how old I was. I lied and told him I just turned 15. He backed off. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for.

chihuahuense said...

lol@Sue Ellen. certainly EM"teresting, isn't he/she?

nancer said...

shakey, it's illegal period because she was 14. she CANNOT consent. even if she begged for it, it's a crime because she's under the legal age of consent. so yes, he still committed a crime.

Hikikomorihime said...

A 14 year old cannot consent to sex with someone who is above the age of consent. For the sex to have been "consensual", she would had to have been 16 years old. Because she was only 14, it was rape. So, well, he got away with rape. At least everyone (with functional brain cells) knows he's a rapist, and can avoid him.

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