New York prosecutors will not file rape charges against Greg Kelly, anchor for Fox 5's Good Day New York and son of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. So, the New York Post has taken that as the all-clear to name the accuser and publish her photo.
Thus concludes the latest tabloid coverage of a rape case in New York City. For two weeks, we've watched, uncomfortably, to see how far the papers might go in identifying the woman who filed the sex charge complaint. Tabloid reports from early on laid the groundwork for doubt in the case via an anonymous source from inside the investigation who was skeptical of the woman's claims. And now, with the dismissal of Kelly's case, the woman has in fact been named by the New York Post, with photos and the designation of "aspiring-model" to go along with it. Is this a new low?
The woman, a 29-year-old paralegal, met the 43-year-old Kelly by chance. They texted, had drinks (at a bar draped in bras, a fact the Daily News seemed to relish in -- hardly the place for a romantic encounter, tut tut), and afterward he accompanied her to her workplace in Lower Manhattan, which is where the alleged rape occurred in October. Three months later, after reportedly becoming pregnant and having an abortion, she went to the cops, calling the incident rape. She said she'd been too drunk to consent. The articles, and the headlines, followed. In the end, the very argument the tabs seemed to make -- she thought he was "so cute," and therefore, this was consensual -- seems to have been, not to put too fine a point on it, the reason the case was dropped:
In a letter from Martha Bashford, chief of the Sex Crimes Unit, to the accuser's lawyer Andrew Lankler, the prosecution said its "investigation included interviewing numerous relevant fact and expert witnesses, and reviewing multiple items of physical evidence, including, but not limited to, receipts, security logs, text messages, and telephone records. Among those witnesses were the complainant and your client, both of whom were cooperative and were interviewed in the first days of the investigation."
Bashford's letter concludes, "After reviewing all of the evidence, we have determined that the facts established during our investigation do not fit the definitions of sexual assault crimes under New York criminal law. Therefore, no criminal charges are appropriate."
Spokeswoman for the DA's office Joan Vollero told The Atlantic Wire in a statement written Tuesday evening, "Earlier today, the District Attorney’s Office sent a letter to Andrew Lankler notifying him that we would not be filing charges against his client. We made a similar notification to the complainant. From the moment this matter was referred to this Office, we conducted a thorough investigation, consistent with standard practice. After reviewing all the evidence, we have concluded that the established facts do not constitute a crime under New York criminal law.”
There's no official word yet on when Kelly will return to Fox 5 -- in a statement, he said, "I am grateful to everyone at Fox 5, especially Rosanna Scotto, my co-host. I will always remember her kindness, and I look forward to soon resuming my post on Good Day New York next to her." Certainly, that's a day people will be watching.
The accuser, on the other hand, with her name and face revealed, faces a wave of commenters at the New York Post. Some samples:
Why hasn't the accuser been fired from her job as a paralegal? Picking up a trick on the street and shagging in him in the office is definitely a code of conduction violation.
Some are calling for even harsher sanctions:
Why hasn't the woman been charged?
There's no case there, a source tells the Post -- the paper that also printed her name -- "because she apparently still perceives that what happened that night" was an assault. Lawyer Paul Callan, not related to the case, interviewed by the Daily News, said Kelly could sue her for defamation, but probably wouldn't.
One wonders, though, for all the scandalous headlines and seamy details, what the past year in high-profile New York City rape cases -- all of them in which white men of certain degrees of power stood accused -- has taught us. Case dismissed against Dominique Strauss-Kahn; (former) NYPD officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata acquitted of rape but found guilty of official misconduct. Can Manhattan DA Cy Vance get a high-profile rape conviction in New York City? How can the media, with its near-naming of accusers, smear campaigns, and leaks, not be considered in some way complicit in the DA's deliberations? And, most importantly: With papers actually outing accuser's names and photos, how will women who have indeed been raped ever feel OK about saying it?