Did you have a tough Valentine’s Day? Consider yourself lucky. Tracy McIntosh ’75 and his family had it worse.

Former Neurosurgery professor Tracy McIntosh was sentenced to 3 1/2 to seven years in prison yesterday for the 2002 sexual assault of his college roommate’s niece.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe delivered McIntosh’s court-ordered new punishment, after his original sentence of 11 1/2 to 23 months of house arrest was vacated by the state Superior and Supreme courts.

Dembe admitted to struggling with the decision.

“Mr. McIntosh is not a monster; no one is,” she said. “I have wrestled with this decision.”

But Dembe was ultimately unswayed by McIntosh’s plea for a lenient sentence as a reward for having been a model citizen before the assault and having complied with all court provisions since 2002. McIntosh, 54, pleaded no-contest to the assault in December 2004.

McIntosh’s wife appeared visibly shaken as her husband was led out of the courtroom yesterday.

Whose heart is so hardened that it does not go out to Mrs. McIntosh, mother of two daughters and steadfast wife to a troubled man?

The relevance of McIntosh’s behavior to EphBlog, besides being a sad commentary of the human condition, All Things Eph division, is that it highlights the danger of men in positions of authority seeking sex from women over whom they hold some measure of power. See our previous coverage of this sad case. No one but McIntosh and his victim can know what happened that night. But perhaps we can all agree that a married man should not, when asked by his college roommate to give a women two decades his junior a tour of campus, seek to get her drunk and sleep with her.

How does this lesson apply to Williams? JAs should not date first years, especially not first years in their entries. There is already a norm against this practice. That norm should be strengthened. How? Just ask JA applicants if they would ever, under any circumstances, date a first year. Recognizing the politically correct answer when being interviewed by members of the JA Selection Committee, they will reply “No.”

Consider the (typical) case of male JA and female first year. If a JA does become romantically involved with a first year, remove him. No smirch will be placed in his permanent record. He and his first year friend can continue on with their relationship. But this JA leaves the entry and is replaced by someone on the waiting list. Williams turns down dozens of amazing JA applicants each year. No one is irreplaceable.

The problem is not so much that their relationship will be an unhealthy one. Some will, some won’t. Nor is the problem that such a JA is abusing his position of authority, just as McIntosh abused his. The problem with McIntosh started well before the rape. The problem started when he sought a sexual relationship with someone who had been put in contact with him because of his position of authority. If McIntosh were just cruising the party scene, that would be one thing. There is nothing wrong with juniors seeking/dating first years. But the typical JA/freshman romance would not have happened if the JA were just a regular junior, just as McIntosh would not have been in contact with this women were he not a professor at her future school.

But even if a JA is dating an emotionally mature first year, someone he would have met anyway because they were on the same team or in the same classes, there is still a problem. By dating this woman, he degrades his relationship with the (other) women in his entry. If he dates first years, why doesn’t he date them? Why doesn’t he ask them out? Is he about to ask them out? If I go to him with a personal question, will he use our relationship as an excuse to hit on me?

A JA who does not date first years is much more likely to be a constructive and healthy force in the lives of his first years than a JA who does date them. So, let’s get rid of the latter.

For background, see the debate we had three years ago on this topic. Thinks that this isn’t a problem? Consider this discussion. Two participants (David R and Loweeel) are discussing a JA who dated two first years, both from his own entry. We all assumed that they were talking about the same person. How many miscreants could there be in the JA ranks? Turns out they weren’t.

Isn’t there something wrong with a system with allows/encourages a JA to date multiple first years?

More McIntosh news coverage below.


Article 1:

Former Neurosurgery professor Tracy McIntosh was sentenced to 3 1/2 to seven years in prison yesterday for the 2002 sexual assault of his college roommate’s niece.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe delivered McIntosh’s court-ordered new punishment, after his original sentence of 11 1/2 to 23 months of house arrest was vacated by the state Superior and Supreme courts.

Dembe admitted to struggling with the decision.

“Mr. McIntosh is not a monster; no one is,” she said. “I have wrestled with this decision.”

But Dembe was ultimately unswayed by McIntosh’s plea for a lenient sentence as a reward for having been a model citizen before the assault and having complied with all court provisions since 2002. McIntosh, 54, pleaded no-contest to the assault in December 2004.

McIntosh’s wife appeared visibly shaken as her husband was led out of the courtroom yesterday.

Defense attorney Joel Trigiani said he plans to appeal the sentence.

“When we have cases like this that are close calls, that’s what appellate courts are for,” he said.

Sentencing proceedings were delayed yesterday after Trigiani asked to withdraw McIntosh’s no-contest plea, a request Dembe denied.

“It’s like any major decision in life. Once you’ve made it, there are second thoughts,” Dembe said. “But after two go-arounds it’s too late to withdraw the plea.”

The victim, who was a 23-year-old woman about to enter Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine at the time of the assault, testified at the sentencing.

Asked to describe the night by Assistant District Attorney Richard DeSipio, she said McIntosh “had taken me to several bars” before returning to his office at Penn in Hayden Hall.

“I absolutely remember him putting his penis inside of me” after she had vomited from the alcohol, the victim said. She added that she then took a cab home, showered and went to sleep.

“My first reaction [when I woke up] was, ‘I was just raped,'” she said, clearly upset. “No prestige from his papers or brain surgeries erases it.”

The victim’s uncle – McIntosh’s college roommate – also spoke yesterday and testified that, after the assault, he talked to mutual friends who said McIntosh “was very aggressive with women.”

“This was not a mistake,” the victim said of the rape. “This was a plotted, calculated, manipulated act.”

The defense called a number of witnesses to testify on McIntosh’s behalf.

McIntosh “has learned so profoundly,” said his wife’s best friend, Diane Anderson. “I believe that this continuing [legal] process has prevented him from doing the kinds of atonement” that he needs and wants to do.

Despite the defense’s attempt to discuss McIntosh’s character and rehabilitation efforts, the victim said she only wanted to address the facts of the case.

“I am here to talk with Her Honor about what happened that night and get out of here,” she said in an exchange with Trigiani about whether people can change.

The victim described McIntosh as “incredibly sick” and said she would not have endured the long legal ordeal had the rape not happened.

McIntosh was originally sentenced to house arrest and fines and restitution to the victim in March 2005. Following large public outcry, the prosecution appealed the decision on the grounds that it was too lenient. Appeals courts concurred and sent the case back to the lower court.

State sentencing guidelines call for three-to-six years in prison for McIntosh’s offense.

The defense alleges that the original sentence, handed down by Common Pleas Judge Rayford Means – who recused himself from the case last September – was the result of a backroom deal between Means and attorneys on both sides.

That deal, the defense claims, stated that McIntosh would not go to prison in exchange for his no-contest plea.

Means has never publicly stated the reasoning behind his original sentence.

The victim reached confidential settlements in civil suits against both McIntosh and Penn in January 2007.

Article 2:

IT’S BEEN a long, tortured wait.

But today’s the day Tracy McIntosh may finally get what he deserves.

The former Penn professor and renowned brain researcher, who pleaded no contest three years ago to sexually assaulting a young woman, will be resentenced today to correct the travesty of a sentence he received the first time around.

Presumably, he’ll go to prison.

But even creeps like McIntosh are entitled to be treated fairly by the criminal-justice system.

And that hasn’t been the fact here.

This case has been a shameful episode that damaged the court’s credibility and did a disservice not only to McIntosh, but to his victim and to everyone else who believes in the honor of the legal system.

I abhor what McIntosh did and am appalled when the status of sexual predators invites special treatment.

I still think the original sentence of house arrest and probation was an atrocity.

But if McIntosh pleaded no contest in a backroom deal that guaranteed he’d avoid prison – as his attorneys claim – then the deal should have been honored.

The fact that the truth of that alleged agreement may never be known is an injustice all by itself.

And frankly, the mishandling of this case tempers the satisfaction of seeing it finally resolved today.

McIntosh met with the victim, an incoming Penn vet-school student, at the suggestion of her uncle, McIntosh’s college roommate. After a night of drinking, he allegedly forced her to have sex in his campus office.

He pleaded no contest to charges of sexual assault and possession of marijuana in connection with the 2002 incident.

Three years ago, Judge Rayford Means imposed the sentence of house arrest that set off a chorus of outrage.

The D.A. appealed. When the case was remanded for resentencing by the state Supreme Court, things took a wild turn.

McIntosh’s defense attorneys claimed that the sentence arose from a deal struck in Means’ chambers at the request of the assistant D.A. then on the case.

The deal, they said, was a plea for no prison time.

It was never put on the record, defense attorneys claimed, because Gina Smith, the assistant D.A., felt compelled to argue for prison at the sentencing hearing to appease public sentiment. She did that vociferously.

In an exclusive interview, Smith told me no deal was made.

Other officials in the D.A.’s office also said no deal was made.

And that means the only person who could verify that a private agreement was reached was, of course, Judge Means.

But despite tantalizing remarks that suggested a deal had been struck – “I know in my heart of hearts what the parties bargained for,” he said – Means wouldn’t confirm or deny it and recused himself from the case.

Judge Pamela Dembe refused to compel his testimony, saying the record clearly indicated no formal bargain had been reached.

Today, McIntosh will be resentenced by Dembe.

I’m told that off-the-record deals are not uncommon and rarely, if ever, backfire the way this one did.

They may be practical – they help cases get resolved and provide cover to the participants – but they distort the truth and leave everyone vulnerable.

“I don’t think it’s fair to the victim and/or the defendant to rely on things outside the record,” said assistant D.A. Rich DeSipio, who’s now handling the McIntosh case.

The fact is Judge Means could have rejected the proposed deal to begin with, if he thought it inappropriate.

Or he could have demanded that the agreement go on the record.

Since he didn’t, I think it’s his obligation to come clean about this case. Dembe should have compelled him to testify.

And if there was, indeed, a deal, no matter how sickening and outrageous, it should have been honored.

Because even creeps like Tracy McIntosh deserve to be treated fairly by the criminal-justice system.

Indeed.

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