Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by cluciano63, Nov 21, 2010.
Lizzy's obituary. May she rest in peace.
How incredibly sad.
Commentary on Notre Dame's response to Lizzy's report of assault and her death: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/1...ul-punt-in-the-probe-of-lizzy-seebergs-sad-d/ I'm sorry to say that I'm not surprised.
What a kind, compassionate expression. I cannot imagine the pain and overwhelming sense of injustice her family is experiencing.
This is so disturbing. I truly hope Lizzy gets justice. Anything less is completely unacceptable.
RIP beautiful girl.
That article begins...
This is sentimental nonsense, because we all know what more she could have done: she could have stayed alive to identify her assailant in a line up, testify in court, and otherwise help with the investigation.
Maybe Elizabeth couldn't see that because of her depression. I realize she was ill and I am not at all unsympathetic.
But the writer and the rest of us should be able to recognize the problem with a sexual assault case where the victim is unavailable. The right to confront one's accuser is a central tenet of our judicial system and Elizabeth's accusation is most of the evidence against the football player. Her death makes prosecution infinitely more difficult, if not ultimately impossible--time will tell.
Point taken, however moot at this point.
She did disclose the identity of the fellow to her friends. Surely one of them could manage to let it slip. I find it a bit concerning they haven't already. If my daughter was a student there, I'd be raising HE!!.
Lizzy may be gone, but the rape kit is still here and so is her attacker.
Nova, I'm not sure I understand your seemingly dismissive and vehement response to this letter. Yes, the right to confront one's accuser is a central tenet of our judicial system, and Elizabeth's death makes it unlikely that if ever charged with assault this man will receive anything more than a slap on the wrist if physical evidence has been obtained and the circumstances of the assault are further investigated. What is so sad is the thought that the alleged victim did everything that she knew and felt capable of doing to report the assault, and the people responsible for carrying out the investigation and advocating for the victim failed in their responsibility. The onus falls on the campus police who failed to investigate and follow proper procedure. I imagine when her report was dismissed, she felt humiliated and powerless. Perhaps this prosecutor's expression is simply sentimental, but I found it to be a kind gesture and a welcome rebuke to the actions or non-actions of the authorities involved. Then again, it's 1:15 am and I may be misunderstanding your point.
Fairy1 and Animizrule, THANK YOU for recognizing that my criticism was aimed at the writer, not the victim. And I don't mean to absolve LE for mistakes made in the nine days between the event and Elizabeth's suicide, or for mistakes made since.
But the writer does young women a disservice in romanticizing Elizabeth's death. Yes, the process moves too slowly at times; killing yourself is not an appropriate or productive response. This victim was ill and probably couldn't help herself, but let's don't hold her up as a model of "doing all one can do."
There are so many exceptions to the hearsay rule that for all I know, what she told her girlfriends may make it into a courtroom; then again, it may not. And even with DNA evidence, sexual assault cases usually turn on the issue of consent and that may be difficult, if not impossible, to prove without the victim's direct testimony.
And while we're all taking it for granted that Elizabeth's account of the assault was accurate, a defense attorney is going to argue that she was mentally unstable and confused as to what transpired. And for all we know, maybe she was. In any event, her suicide doesn't help the prosecution refute such a charge.
So I felt the implication of the article was "Poor Elizabeth. She did everything she could do, but LE didn't fix everything in nine days. So no wonder she killed herself." To me, that's a dangerous thing to tell assault victims.
I suspect you are right about how she felt, but as I read the series of events, her report hadn't been dismissed at the time of her death. It also hadn't been turned over to the county's SVU unit, as perhaps it should have been.
There's plenty of blame to go around here. Obviously, the counselor(s) to whom she reported suicidal thoughts failed to recognize the severity of those thoughts (in fairness, a very difficult thing to predict). I'm not sure who all she told of the attack, but I question the wisdom of dressing up and going to a football game with friends and family a few days after being assaulted by a football player. (Again, I'm not blaming the victim. I'm wondering why somebody didn't say, "Maybe this is a bad idea.")
If I sound vehement it's because (a) I don't like careless writing, and more importantly (b) I feel the article implies suicide is a reasonable response to procedural delays. As I said above, NOT what we should tell assault victims.
Elizabeth's death is a tragedy stemming from a number of causal factors, including her own illness. Let's don't romanticize her as a martyr.
Ok Nova, thank you for your reply. I think I understand the tone of your response more accurately now. In an effort to quell my own bias and cynicism as it pertains to lawyers in general, (I know, everyone hates lawyers till you need one) I gave the writer credit for a seemingly kind, compassionate gesture to the memory of a young woman who killed herself in an assumed response to a traumatic event and how it's aftermath was being played out. And I agree, 9 days is nothing in the world of the wheels of justice. She wound up not doing everything she could have done. What is so sad to me is that for some reason she was either not receiving or recognizing available support. I read his letter as a general "I'm so sorry this happened", rather than a testament to martyrdom.
I understand your point, Nova. But let's face it, even with direct testimony from a victim, sexual assault cases are not always successfully prosecuted - particularly in cases where the accused is a young, popular, "all-American" athlete. Sweeping something like this under the rug doesn't do anything to improve things. And no, it doesn't help for the victim to commit suicide either.
I can't help but wonder if Lizzy was ostracized or taunted by other students in the days after filing the report. Under the circumstances I can see how that would push an already fragile, young victim over the edge.
Just sayin, I will be very disturbed if the case is not fully investigated and is dropped completely. That won't send a very positive message to other assault victims either.
If the man accused did assault Lizzy, it's just a matter of time until he does it again. I would rather not see another victim.
I'm sure you're right that the writer meant well. (Well, actually, I'm not 100% sure, since the article is written in the form best calculated to provoke reader outrage and sell papers, but let's give the writer the benefit of the doubt that he was merely writing from the heart.)
ETA: Sorry, my parenthetical above sounds sarcastic. I actually mean it. I don't know this writer so I'm going to assume he meant well, but failed to choose his words with sufficient care.
You are right: sexual assault cases are difficult to prove and we'll never know what the outcome would have been if Elizabeth had lived. No doubt her history of depression would have been used against her if the case ever reached court.
I know some women decide not to prosecute such cases because the toll on the victims seems worse than the penalties for the perps. I am in no position to judge these women, so I do not. (But I also wouldn't write an essay saying they are doing "everything they can do." If I were to write anything, it would be that they have a right to decide what, if anything, they are able to do.)
I am not at all surprised there will be no prosecution.
How exactly can someone be prosecuted in a case where alleged victim is dead due to suicide? That means her statements can not be cross-examined and the accused does have a right to confront the accuser in court. Also, the accusations were of sexual battery and did not involve rape (what would that mean for any possible DNA evidence?) Disclosing the name to friends would be hearsay and thus likely not admissible in court (there are some exceptions). How can a case such as this be prosecuted? The accused does have rights (those are our laws).
Here's an article from Politics Daily....her parents are being stonewalled at every turn...
I can't believe the lack of compassion shown by ND.
I can't say I'm surprised by these latest developments. But I'm terribly disappointed. Sounds like this kid has some issues and I've no doubt he will continue on his path of entitlement - for awhile. We will hear of him again.
I'm so very sorry for Lizzy's family. Not only have they lost their precious daughter, but they have lost faith in an institution to which they've had such close ties for so long.
Shame on everyone who's had a hand in enabling this boy and who have let Lizzy and her family down in such a major way. All I can hope for is a big dose of KARMA for each and every one of them.
Notre Dame Responds to Lizzy Seeberg Controversy:
Chicago Tribune story with more details about the assault and university response (or non-response)
Upon returning to her campus, Seeberg wrote a hand-written statement, documents show. She sought assistance the next morning from Belles Against Violence, a St. Mary's program that helps victims of sex crimes and whose name pays tribute to the nickname for the all-female student population. She also went to a hospital, where she reported the alleged attack to authorities and consented to a DNA evidence kit.
On Sept. 2, she received a text message from the phone of the player's same friend, asking what happened. "Its not your business, sry," Seeberg replied, according to her cell phone records.
A few minutes later, a response came. "Don't do anything you would regret," the text said. "Messing with notre dame football is a bad idea."
Seeberg forwarded the message to a campus detective eight minutes after receiving it, records show. Her parents said university officials later told them that they called the player's friend soon after and said, "shut it down."
More at above link:furious:
Separate names with a comma.