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Archive for Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Keegan: Accuser deserves respect

A certified letter about a personal injury claim sent to KU basketball player Sherron Colins had an incomplete address on it, Collins' lawyers argued in court filings recently.

June 17, 2008

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Sherron Collins accused in civil lawsuit

Kansas guard Sherron Collins is making headlines today for a ruling against him in a civil lawsuit filed on May 14th. Enlarge video

When covering evolution, teachers should not forget to inform students that some humans still haven't evolved beyond the Neanderthal stage.

Reference some of the comments underneath the stories online regarding Jessica J. Brown's civil lawsuit against Kansas University basketball star Sherron Collins over an assault she said took place in an elevator at Jayhawker Towers on May 18, 2007.

Brown, 35, accused Collins of exposing himself and rubbing against her.

The Neanderthal response, naturally, was to pile on the woman and paint the superstar basketball player as the victim of a gold-digging, scorned jersey-chaser.

That's it, make the accuser so uncomfortable she'll just go into hiding, maybe move to another state, and the whole thing can be reduced to an unpleasant memory and fodder for the hecklers at KU's road games.

How sad.

A woman attempts to pursue criminal action and gets nowhere - she then filed a civil lawsuit before the statute of limitations on that ran out - and she is presumed guilty of falsifying an accusation packed with such revolting detail?

Only two people know what happened in that elevator, and one of them decided not to show up in court, which resulted in a judge granting the other a default judgment of more than $75,000.

Journal-World reporter Mike Belt was busy asking questions of those who had some explaining to do.

Follow the hot potato:

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said his office was aware of the woman's allegations, requested additional investigative work from KU police and had not yet received a complete report. (If Bill Self's assistant coaches took that long to complete scouting reports of North Carolina and Memphis, KU never would have won a national title.)

KU police spokesman Capt. Schuyler Bailey told Belt that tests were being conducted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation regarding the complaint against Collins and that the results of those tests had not been passed on to KU police. Remember, the alleged incident took place May 18, 2007.

Back to the enlightened commenters.

One of the Neanderthals made fun of the portion of the lawsuit that reveals the woman "claimed damages for humiliation, severe emotional pain and mental anguish."

To the person mocking that, I ask: How many times have you been sexually assaulted? If the answer is zero, then that's the grade you get for credibility on the topic.

Another post offered: "These kids are not perfect but are pretty important to the city of Lawrence. I sure hope that Johnny Law takes this into account, while still doing the right thing in the end."

Justice is blind, of course, so taking that into account and doing the right thing are mutually exclusive. Wealthy residents do a lot for the city based on the tax revenue they generate. Does that mean "Johnny Law" should cut them a break and throw the book at less fortunate citizens?

This much we must count on: No rug ever has been woven big enough to contain all the dirt that would have to be swept under it to make this all go away.

Comments

squawkhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

FIRE BILL SELF!!! He's to blame and is worthless anyway.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 6 months ago

Satirical - I understand the difference between the incarceration and the monetary damages. I don't believe that is the reason for the policy though. It is my understanding that the policy is to protect the parties involved should the allegations be proven false. The allegations of the civil case could ultimately be proven to be baseless which would needlessly expose the accused to publicity that is unwarranted and unjust. Just like the accused being found not guilty in a criminal case.The fact that a summary judgement has been entered doesn't mean the civil case is over and I've never seen the disclaimer used by the JW exclusively for a criminal case. Once reported it is impossible to fully repair a damaged reputation if the allegation is proven to be false.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

craigers 6 years, 6 months ago

Obviously Keegan isn't familiar with sarcasm. Posts that were quoted in the article in my mind were said sarcastically.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 6 months ago

My question for you Mr. Keegan is where was the JW a year ago when the criminal complaint was filed?While in no way excusing the posters who disrespected the accuser, some of those ill conceived comments could have been squashed had the paper and made the acquisations known. When someone sees a civil suit a year after the alleged event and no previous mention has been made of a criminal case it helps to breed the skepticism. Which does lead to one other thing in this column where you write - "To the person mocking that, I ask: How many times have you been sexually assaulted?" - by this statement, you are convicting Collins of a crime that he has yet to even be charged.I'm not one of those people that is willing to look the other way at something just because of who the accused is or who the accuser is. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I am sick of seeing kids get away with stuff in school because they are a jock, or people in general get away with something because of their status in a community. I still believe that rules and laws should be applied equally across the board, though far from being naive enough to believe that to be the case.While your column is a good one and brings to light some very valid points, it is unfortunately done like so many other items in this paper - half assed and incomplete.

Satirical 6 years, 6 months ago

"...he is clearly using every argument he could think of to defend the accused..." Correction: "the accuser"

fu7il3 6 years, 6 months ago

"if the facts claimed are true, and the judge in the civil procedings found it so, then seems there should have been criminal charges!"In fairness to Collins, the judge's findings were based on the fact that he didn't didn't show up and file anything at all. If you read the judgement, you'll see it is by default.

fu7il3 6 years, 6 months ago

If anyone says better to be right than to be first and means it, they never sold a paper in their life.It pays more to be first than right, therefore, it will always be a race to be more sensational than the other guy. When always being right sells more papers, they'll start double checking facts.

d_prowess 6 years, 6 months ago

I think the best part of this article is the "hot potato" section. The discussion of the comments is a little fluffy for me. But the idea that the investigation is dragging on so long seems to be a big issue. I hope that what Keegan is alluding to there is that there will be a more substantial article soon by Mike Belt looking into the issues with the investigation. It doesn't seem like it should take that long to investigate an alleged crime like this. The delay also makes the woman look bad since the civil suit is coming before a decision has even been reached on whether to file criminal suit.

davidsmom 6 years, 6 months ago

Years ago a high-profile news organization had to eat crow and admitted, "Better to be right than to be first." That lasted about, oh, a week. The LJW would never hold off reporting something sensational, true or not, incomplete or not, especially when the K.C.Star is on top of it. Another well-known journalism mantra is, "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story." People who think that the purpose of journalism is to inform is sorely misinformed. It is all about making money.

volunteer 6 years, 6 months ago

Excellent article, Mr. Keegan. Thanks for giving us your take on the situation and how it is being handled (or not handled).

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 6 months ago

Why is an entertainment writer writing about a legal issue?

Satirical 6 years, 6 months ago

Take_a_letter_Maria said.."The paper always throws out that disclaimer about not identifying someone accused of a sex crime until they are proven guilty. Why did they publish this before final resolution?"This is a civil lawsuit not a criminal lawsuit, so the disclaimer would not apply.

Ceallach 6 years, 6 months ago

I had to scroll up to verify this as a journalist's article rather than a letter to the editor. This piece is so obviously biased one wonders if Mr. Keegan is acquainted with the accuser. That might explain the nearly hysterical tone of his comments. LJW posters were insensitive and crude ....... duh! Apparently the author doesn't spend a lot of time reading posted comments.

rocksolid 6 years, 6 months ago

Yo want to read an article where they actually talk to a law professor instead of their own take ,and talking about the posters go to cjonline. If it is high profile or if it bleeds it leads. With all this talk where are follow up articles on the double murders and where is the kudos article to law enforcement ???

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 6 months ago

Where there is smoke there is fire.Somebody is going to get burned on this. In fact they may get scorched.

Third_Wave 6 years, 6 months ago

Maybe the Journal World should send somebody out to find out what really happened. Remember when the news was about breaking a story through the discovery of facts. Instead the LJW, as usual, just has someone looking through the most recent court filings and reporting on what we all have access to as citizens. No one knows what happened that night, but the people involved, there for we should not be throwing any stones. That seems obvious to me. Also obvious is the fact that our dear Lawrence newspaper, while having a very impressive website with amazing community focus, has the journalistic integrity of one Stephen Glass. I hereby challenge the World Company to, put off figuring out how to make more multimedia available until they do some "real" reporting on this story.A few tips...conduct interviews, ask tough questions, don't quit till you've got information for your readers that they can't get themselves!!! Wow, I'm actually really excited to see this happen, hope everyone is with me!

denak 6 years, 6 months ago

Rationalanimal, he was refering to the online posters, not Collins.

Satirical 6 years, 6 months ago

Take_a_letter_Maria..."Why make a distinction? Policy should be constant regardless of the type of lawsuit."I am not advocating for the LJWorld, however one reason for a distinction is that in a criminal lawsuit there is the possibility of being incarcerated and losing one's liberty, which is more serious than money damages in a civil lawsuit. While you may disagree with this policy choice, the LJWorld did not act inconsistent with their disclaimer as you previously suggested.

Rationalanimal 6 years, 6 months ago

"When covering evolution, teachers should not forget to inform students that some humans still haven't evolved beyond the Neanderthal stage."+++++++++++++++++++++In addition to quite possibly being the most retarded statement or comment ever published on this website, it may be the most racist statement published on the LJWorld. Mr. Keegan is subltly making a comparison between a young black man that received judgment against him by default process to a Neanderthal, or sub-human. This is a vile racist statement pure and simple. I suspect the woman who Keegan sympathizes with is white. The LJWorld should take down Keegan's article, if you can call it that, and he should never be allowed to publish anything online again. Shame on the LJWorld for allowing its website as a forum for racism.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 6 months ago

A few tips:conduct interviews, ask tough questions, don't quit till you've got information for your readers that they can't get themselves!!!--agreed.what tests could the kbi be running? didn't sound like a DNA incident. leaping to conclusions that this is like Duke Lacross case, that's actually what keegan's focus was in his article, people coming down on the acuser without reason. I would repeat one fact from this, she left her job for housing. she had to know that lots of media attention would follow a claim such as this. I am inclined to believe her. yes, the judge did find in her favor by default since Collins didn't respond. however, judge could have tossed the case too. implies that judge found some evidence to support her claim. don't believe it is automatic that if I sue someone, and they don't respond, I will always win by default. no, the judge has the responsibility to make sure my claim has some validity.
finally, I want to repeat, if this is true, this woman has suffered quite a lot. and, it seems kupd/da didn't respond properly or promptly. the reason she may have filed the civil claim is that the criminal authorities were giving her the runaround, or the 'ignore her and she'll just go away.'

Eride 6 years, 6 months ago

I think the LJWorld needs to add a 'Suggest Removal' link to all of Keegan's articles from now on. This is one of the most biased and asinine articles I have ever read in a newspaper.Journalist my ass...

Miles Garrett 6 years, 6 months ago

Humans did not evolve from Neanderthals.

raiderssb 6 years, 6 months ago

This was also posted elsewhere concerning this pathetic situation. His inappropriate behavior was reported to the Asst. Dir. for Custodial Services immediately after it happened. Not only that, it was discussed by KU staffers as soon as it was reported. It was common knowledge in "certain" KU circles as soon as it was perpetrated by this "THUG". He has been abusive to women, young, and old, black, white, and all shades in between. This is no secret. So what if he has a "baby mama". Any idiot can create a child, it takes a real man to be a father. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see once again, for some unknown reason, he was protected. For those of you that live in the "they can do no wrong" zone, get over yourselves. It isn't every womens desire to be approached by a thuggish, short, basketball player who can barely carry on a literate conversation. Gee, do you get it!!!

bearded_gnome 6 years, 6 months ago

RA,keegan was obviously talking about some of our fellow posters who were smearing the woman. apparently, reading comprehension is not your strong subject. ***yes, logic is usually worse than an airbag. some of what keegan wrote is correct, though I think he is tilting at the online posters when he should rather focus on the bigger issues I listed above: was she given the brushoff/runaround by kupd/da; instead of vague implication, come out and state it if he thinks the kupd/kbi are intentionally dragging their feet.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 6 months ago

"As far as that goes, given that Collins will probably get an attorney and this judgement will most likely be set aside, isn't it irresponsible of the Journal World to both the accuser and the accused to publish this information prior to final settlement?"Good point. The paper always throws out that disclaimer about not identifying someone accused of a sex crime until they are proven guilty. Why did they publish this before final resolution? If the case is tossed out, you have already damaged the name of both people involved in the case. If it is upheld, then you can publish the story as you did.(And if it was Bubba the Janitor, we wouldn't care at all unless we were Bubba or the victim.)

Satirical 6 years, 6 months ago

I think it was rather amusing that Keegan is addressing posts on a comment board, as if those opinions represent the communities' opinion. Perhaps he should have just responded to the post with one of his own rather than write another article bashing some moron who posts on the LJWorld comment board. However, if he did respond via the comment board he may be forced to actually engage in a discussion rather than just attacking the villagers from his ivory tower. I consider myself objective, and he is clearly using every argument he could think of to defend the accused, as if he were the woman's advocate. Also I read it as implying Collins was guilty, otherwise he would have shown up in court. This ironically is similar to the ignorant statements made by posters for which this article is written. Keegan for some unknown reason is trying to influence public perception regarding these events and has clearly taken sides. This was not an objective article in the least bit. Again, I am not sure why he felt the posters opinions were representative of the community as a whole, and that he needed to address the arguments in the manner he did.

unite2revolt 6 years, 6 months ago

This reminds me a lot of that lacrosse incident from last year.

hail2oldku 6 years, 6 months ago

"All Keegan is saying is that no body knows what happened and all the bloggers trashing the lady are out of line. I did not read his article to say Collins was guilty. He did say correctly point out it is suspicious that Collins did not appear in court"The way Keegan phrased it is where he implies Collins guilt - "Only two people know what happened in that elevator, and one of them decided not to show up in court, which resulted in a judge granting the other a default judgment of more than $75,000." - especially when he follows up with the pointed question - "How many times have you been sexually assaulted?""I think that if Collins was Bubba the janitor that everyone whoud want to run him out of town" - 1. if it was Bubba this wouldn't be front page of any section or leading off the news on the local tv stations 2. There are many people (I'm one of them) that would not want Sherron to represent my alma mater if the allegations are true.Keegan is correct the accuser deserves the right to some respect. Too bad he isn't affording that same right to the accused.As far as that goes, given that Collins will probably get an attorney and this judgement will most likely be set aside, isn't it irresponsible of the Journal World to both the accuser and the accused to publish this information prior to final settlement?

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 6 months ago

"Satirical (Anonymous) says: Take_a_letter_Maria said.."The paper always throws out that disclaimer about not identifying someone accused of a sex crime until they are proven guilty. Why did they publish this before final resolution?"This is a civil lawsuit not a criminal lawsuit, so the disclaimer would not apply."Why make a distinction? Policy should be constant regardless of the type of lawsuit.

twaldaisy 6 years, 6 months ago

I had an experience like the woman's, but I came away with nothing more than total disgust at the guy and moved on. I guess I shouldn't expect others to be able to do the same as myself. And obviously Keegan hasn't been in Lawrence long enough to know that the people with the money in this town have always ruled this town and do get breaks that others are not afforded. This from a townie of over 40 years.

JimmyJoeBob 6 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if Mr. Keegan has evolved past the Neanderthal stage. He is guilty of the same things he charges these poster with. His Neanderthal resoponse, naturally, to pile on the Law Enforcement community and paint them as lazy or some how in cahoots with the Kansas Atheletic Department. Guess what Keegan conducting a criminal investigation is entirely different than scouting a basketball game. It is much more serious affair, but you are probably the type who would refer to a football game being similar to WAR. I think you need to take your own advice How many times have you pinned on a badge and attempted to serve and protect this community? If the answer is zero, then that's the grade you get for credibility on this article.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 6 months ago

are you meaning to imply that ku and the kbi are intentionally dragging their collective feet to somehow cover for this player and the ku basketball team/kuac? that is a very big charge. I did wonder about the "tests." if the player is guilty, or if there was some evidence, why wasn't this prosecuted by the DA? there is a more likely potential scandal for you to get your dudgeon up over. if the facts claimed are true, and the judge in the civil procedings found it so, then seems there should have been criminal charges! rather than focusing on the posters on the comment threads, you really ought to focus on: this woman claimed to have was victimized. then, she was further victimized by kupd/the da, by them ignoring her claims. additionally, perhaps her employer, kuhousing, didn't support her properly. try these next time mr. sportswriter.

daddax98 6 years, 6 months ago

two things:1. Reading the headline I kept thinking "Sock it to me,Sock it to me,Sock it to me,Sock it to me!"2. "No rug ever has been woven big enough to contain all the dirt that would have to be swept under it to make this all go away"Unless of course he is innocent; but why let logic and reason get in the way mr. "journalist" please continue with you mindless rant

Mr_Missive 6 years, 6 months ago

How soon did she go to the police and how soon did she tell her husband and family?

StirrrThePot 6 years, 6 months ago

"Obviously Keegan isn't familiar with sarcasm. Posts that were quoted in the article in my mind were said sarcastically."How does one really know what is sarcastic and what isn't? Sometimes it appears to be obvious, but the truth is the written word by Joe Blow on the Internet cannot be truly interpreted one way or another. You cannot detect tone of voice or vocal inflection. In a spoken conversation these are detected much more easily.

Munsoned 6 years, 6 months ago

Except in the Lacrosse incident, there were witnesses and DNA. Who knows what lab tests were run, but if it had anything to do with DNA, it takes forever to complete through the KBI due to their backlog. Plus they have to prioritize based on the nature of the cases. I doubt a sexual battery trumps homicides, rapes, etc.

lovenhaight 6 years, 6 months ago

I don't understand why he would put himself in that kind of position, those athletes know that they are targets of things like that. If he did it, he should face the consequences. Publishing her name is going to bring her a lot of problems though...so whose side is LJW on?

Monty Amick 6 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Mr. Keegan, you did it again. You typed some words. So what. I have made no comment on Brown v. Collins and after reading all of this I still refrain from interjecting my personal feelings on this topic. Do you know why Tom? Because, as you so eloquently stated, I wasn't there. Neither were you. Please stop typing words. Thanks

Rationalanimal 6 years, 6 months ago

RA,keegan was obviously talking about some of our fellow posters who were smearing the woman. apparently, reading comprehension is not your strong subject.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Apparently understanding the subtle nuances is not your strong subject. Stick to reading Dick and Jane; the advance group will peel the deeper layers of the onion.

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