When the rape allegations brought against President Trump by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll surfaced on Friday, you could instantly predict that we were going to see a standoff between supporters on both sides. That’s been playing out over the weekend already, but one interview that Carroll did on Friday night caught my attention. She appeared on MSNBC and one of the expected subjects came up. She’s made a very serious charge in her upcoming book, far beyond any sort of harassment or inappropriate touching, so is she going to bring charges?
Apparently not. That’s her call to make, of course, but why? It’s her reason that definitely gave me pause. (Daily Caller)
Bringing the charge would be “disrespectful to the women who are down on the border who are being raped around the clock down there without any protection,” Carroll said in an interview with MSNBC’s “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell.”
“It would just be disrespectful,” Carroll said in the interview Friday. “Mine was three minutes. … I can handle it. I can keep going. My life has gone on. I’m a happy woman, but for the women down there and for the women — actually around the world, and every culture this is going on.”
Carroll has had an advice column in Elle magazine called “Ask E. Jean” since 1993.
You can watch that brief exchange here.
Does that make any sense? If we assume that her various tales of abuse are true, it’s easy to see how she would feel empathetic toward other victims and want to stand in solidarity with them. But why would it be disrespectful of those other women to bring your own charges? If you happen to be financially well off and someone robs your house, you don’t fail to report the crime out of empathy for poorer people who are burglarized.
There’s actually a far better reason she could have given. The statute of limitations for rape in New York was five years when she claims the attack took place. That was expanded greatly around 2006, but it didn’t apply to cases where the original statute had already run out. So one good recent for her not to bring charges might be that it’s probably almost impossible to get a conviction that this point.
We’re hearing from some commentators that elements of Carroll’s story seem to suggest inconsistencies. Perhaps, but the more we see of the woman herself as she makes the media rounds, well… she can be hard to follow at times. And then there’s this.
Aside from the glaring flaws in her rape tale
And zero corroboration
This is not helpful to talking her seriously pic.twitter.com/veUpEFB6tU
— Jim Hanson (@Uncle_Jimbo) June 23, 2019
I have no clue as to what went on in that department store dressing room back in the nineties, assuming Trump was there at all. Could her story be true? It’s certainly possible, and if so I would expect the President to deny it. Of course, it’s been more than a quarter century and Carroll is in her seventies now. Could she be remembering it a bit differently than how it happened? Who’s to say?
The claim that she told two other people about it in the immediate aftermath – assuming their own honesty in reporting it – lends some credibility to the claim. It’s also definitely believable that someone would decide not to report such a thing to the police, particularly when the accused is a wealthy and powerful individual.
On the other side of the ledger, she’s had a very, very long time to make this public. That’s particularly true when you consider the number of women who made similar claims during the 2016 campaign and were taken very seriously by the media. Why not jump on the dogpile then? Again, she was obviously under no obligation to do so, but it seems as if it might have been more comfortable to do it then. There’s also the reality that making such a claim just as you’re releasing and promoting a book doesn’t exactly bolster confidence.
But as I said, none of that proves anything one way or the other and at least for now it’s still her word against his. But the reason given for not pressing charges is certainly curious.