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Reunion Rape, 2

The election for Berkshire District Attorney has generated lots of discussion (here, here, here and here) at EphBlog. Especially interesting have been the comments (e.g., here) from Interloper, who really ought to join us as an author. Andrea Harrington won the primary but incumbent Paul Caccaviello is running a (hopeless?) write-in campaign. What matters to us, however, are these news stories about an (alleged) rape at reunion in 2016. As one of the four highest profile sexual assaults cases at Williams in the last 20 years — the other three are Gensheimer/Foster, Brackenridge and Safety Dance — this merits a week’s worth of discussion. Day 2.

Gossip about this event has been swirling around Williams ever since it occurred. I first heard about it in February 2017. An anonymous alum wrote me:

The reason I have been looking into Falk’s background is that something terrible happened at reunion this past June, involving allegations of sexual assault and rape of an inebriated Alumnus. The accused – her former classmate – is one of the wealthiest members and single largest donors in their Williams class. Suffice it to say that Adam Falk’s response (or lack thereof) has not pleased the victim or her husband (also an Alum in the same class). Understanding what motivates Falk (money, money, money), and getting a better sense of his personal morality goes a long way in explaining his behavior.

1) I suspect that this alleged assault was behind some of the cryptic comments made at EphBlog which connected the resignation of the previous DA, David Capeless, to Falk’s departure. I still think this claimed connection is nonsense. Falk was on his way out. This controversy played no role. (Contrary opinions welcome!)

2) You only truly understand a controversy if you can make the best possible case for both sides. Can you pass the ideological Turing Test? In this case, the key dispute is over the alleged sexual assault. Is the Williams alumna telling the truth or is she not? Make the best possible case for each side in the comments.

3) Should we use the names of the people involved? EphBlog would certainly never publish (without her consent) the name of someone who reported a sexual assault to the police. But what about the accused, someone who is, by all accounts, a fairly prominent member of the class of 1991? What about the husband of the alleged victim? He is neither victim nor accused, but he is (?) also a key part of this story. He may or may not share the last name of the alleged victim.

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#1 Comment By fendertweed On November 6, 2018 @ 8:49 am


You want a bunch of people here who weren’t there and don’t know the facts to start spinning speculation?

Ridiculous. Irresponsible. WTF?

No. Just no.

#2 Comment By Williams Alum On November 6, 2018 @ 9:37 am

I agree, this is fucked. Bad idea David.

#3 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On November 6, 2018 @ 9:42 am

Can you both clarify? There are two issues:

1) Can we argue about what may have happened even though we were not there? I say, Yes! And anyone who debated what, say, Justice Kavanaugh did or did not do 35 years ago — based on the evidence we had — should agree with me.

2) Should we use the real names of the people involved? We all (?) agree that we should not use the name of the alleged victim. Are you two arguing that we should not use the name of the alleged assailant? Even if the name is mentioned in court documents and/or reported in the press?

Honestly interested in opinions on 2), and the reasoning.

#4 Comment By fendertweed On November 6, 2018 @ 9:46 am

Are you serious?

The speculation would be reckless, unfounded, could easily be defamatory, etc.

It’s appalling that you don’t understand this.

Sure, use real names if you must … and have your lawyer on speed dial. If you do it based on public documents, take that ris if you want.

I repeat … WTF?

#5 Comment By fendertweed On November 6, 2018 @ 9:47 am

Should read “…take that risk … “

#6 Comment By Dick Swart On November 6, 2018 @ 10:45 am

To quote Whitney Stoddard …

The bottom fell out of the nadir

#7 Comment By PhantomJ On November 6, 2018 @ 11:15 am

Speculating about the details of what happened is a horrendous idea. Naming ANY of the parties involved is even worse.

This is not an abstraction. There re real human beings involved. I made a mistake posting anything about this here.

#8 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On November 6, 2018 @ 12:32 pm

I agree with others that speculating about who is telling the truth about the alleged incident is a bad idea. As far as naming names, I think naming the husband of the complainant essentially names the victim, so I would avoid that. With respect to the accused, I would also avoid naming him. If he’s innocent, then naming him as an accused rapist is horribly unfair. That calculus changes somewhat if his name has already been made public.

(Full disclosure: I have no idea who the parties are in this case, but there is at least a chance that I know them, given that they were only a year behind me at Williams).

#9 Comment By PTC On November 6, 2018 @ 12:54 pm

Harrington had three people holding signs outside of the Williamstown polling station this AM when I went to vote- an hour after polls opened.

Paul C had no one there. As a write in, with a difficult name, kind of hard to imagine that is a winning strategy…

#10 Comment By PhantomJ On November 6, 2018 @ 2:38 pm

Whitney – I know some Williams grads and understand the closeness of the Williams community. I completely agree with you that naming the husband would be the same as naming the victim if they both went to Williams. I also agree with you about not naming the accused. I know a number of sexual assault survivors, but I also know people who have been falsely accused of crimes. Being publicly connected to a crime like this can not be taken back.

The Williams sexual assault stats that came up during our DA’s race were shocking and begged for an explanation, but that shouldn’t include identifying the people involved in a single case or proposing that people gossip about the details as a way of “trying” the case on a message board.

#11 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On November 6, 2018 @ 2:41 pm

> that shouldn’t include identifying the people involved in a single case

Even if they are charged with a crime? Even if their names appear in the newspaper?

#12 Comment By PhantomJ On November 6, 2018 @ 3:37 pm

David – That would change things of course, I should have added “at this stage.”

#13 Comment By fendertweed On November 6, 2018 @ 6:27 pm

… did I miss an Indictment being filed in this case?

The original questions didn’t seem predicated on that, which makes a huge difference.