ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Port: That wasn’t slut shaming, and we need to talk about this double standard for female victims

James Patrick Whalen, a Grand Forks teacher found guilty of carrying on a sexual relationship with a teenage student, was sentenced recently.Something his attorney said during sentencing has people outraged.

012417.n.gfh.whalen2-e1493221363789.jpg
James Patrick Whalen, left, listens as Judge John Thelan reads the terms of his plea agreement in District court. Whalen's attorney, Robert Hoy, is at right. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
We are part of The Trust Project.

James Patrick Whalen, a Grand Forks teacher found guilty of carrying on a sexual relationship with a teenage student, was sentenced recently.

Something his attorney said during sentencing has people outraged.

“I agree … that he is the adult and she is incapable of consent by statute, and he is at fault for that,” attorney Robert Hoy told Judge John Thelen . “The law does not say that she is incapable of facilitating it or encouraging it or asking for it.”

Asking for it?

Yikes. Perhaps not the best way to word that argument.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hoy is now being accused of “slut shaming” and worse. “Using the phrase ‘asking for it’ is a startling defense that sets back where we have come as a civilization,” the Grand Forks Herald editorializes today . “No victim in a sexual assault - and that is exactly what this is, according to the law - is ever “”asking for it.'”

This situation is desperately in need of some illumination. There are some facts here being obscured by a whole lot of knee-jerk outrage.

Hoy really was doing his job. The North Dakota Century Code makes Hoy’s points relevant to sentencing. That’s key. Hoy did not make this argument in defense of his client’s innocence, because it wouldn’t have been relevant as Hoy himself admits. The relationship between Whalen and his student was illegal.

To continue reading click here

What to read next
The proposed 8.5% increase for Cass County employees would require raising property taxes by $3 million. It's appalling that the Cass County Commission is even considering raising taxes while families are themselves struggling with inflation.
Despite the Greater North Dakota Chamber being the single largest financial supporter of an attempt to make it harder to pass citizen-led initiated measures, oil and coal interests were right behind.