Cathy Young at Time: Accusation Isn't the Same as a Guilty Verdict

Woody AllenColin SwanOver at Time, Reason contributing editor Cathy Young points out that the resurgent allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Woody Allen by his 28-year-old adopted daughter are disturbing, but they don't constitute proof that he committed the crimes. False allegations do exist, and the fact that the original charges aganst Allen were leveled during the nasty dissolution of a relationship should at least raise a few concerns.

What about the fact that the charges were originally made during a bitter breakup and custody dispute between Allen and Dylan’s mother, Mia Farrow? If you think this is relevant, the feminists say, you are embracing the misogynist myth of vengeful women using sexual abuse allegations as a weapon. In fact, asserts Zoe Zolbrod in Salon.com, “research shows that it is not more common for accusations made during custody battles to be proved false than it is for any other sex abuse accusation,” with only 1% to 6% of abuse charges found to be maliciously fabricated; what’s more, writes Zolbrod, custody-related false accusations usually come from fathers, not mothers.

But these claims are contradicted by a major Canadian study that tracked more than 11,000 reports of child abuse and neglect in Canada in 2003. While reports of sexual abuse made during custody or visitation conflicts are fairly rare — the study identified 69 such cases — they are also quite likely to prove unfounded.

Allegations of sexual abuse, like any claims of wrongdoing, writes Young, require evidence and due process.

Read the full article here.

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  • Snark Plissken||

    It's pedoacolypse day at Reason!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The Discovery Channel has Shark Week. We have this.

    Leave us our traditions.

  • Agammamon||

    Could be worse. They could be tackling the thorny moral and legal questions surrounding man-beast love.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Yet no one dares touch upon the free market ramifications of Bob Costas's red eyes. Bloody cosmotarians.

  • SugarFree||

    Someone has obviously been farting on his pillow.

  • Rich||

    Or his cake.

  • SugarFree||

    See how it all comes back around?

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's also a tad suspicious that Farrow's brother got convicted of child molestation recently. The event may have happened, but we should be aware of how fungible the memories of vicitms of violent crime are.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Interesting. I did not know that. Oh and BP, toss me your email address at my gmail account, brother! I accidentally deleted yours. Thanks.

  • SugarFree||

    Don't do it, BP. He signed me up for a ton of German poopgeyser sites! I swear that's how that happened!

  • BakedPenguin||

    That's why I never click on links with .de extensions.

    Unless they have "kerker" or "verlies" in the url, of course.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Rosemary's Baby was directed by Roman Polanski.

  • Floridian||

    And it was terrible.

  • ||

    True, but from what I have read, Mia Farrow had long complained to Allen that his behavior towards Dylan was inappropriate, and he actually instructed the nanny not to allow him to be alone with her.

    Pretty sure that even if Dylan's memory might be foggy, that Mia knew what she was doing.

  • ||

    Er, she did. Mia told the nanny not to let him be alone with Dylan because she was creeped out by his behavior with her.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Just to play devil's advocate, it could be that Mia simply didn't like him or trust him, read "child pervert" into too many of his actions, and ended up deluding herself so much that their children and the nanny picked up on it too.

    Then it all becomes his fault for not divorcing her sooner before their false memories got set in stone.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I can imagine Mia's conversation going something like this:

    "Woody, I want to adopt another child. Please don't act inappropriately around this one like you did the other six."

  • Number 2||

    "True, but from what I have read, Mia Farrow had long complained to Allen that his behavior towards Dylan was inappropriate, and he actually instructed the nanny not to allow him to be alone with her."

    That seems like an oddly tepid response to a man who is sexually assaulting your daughter.

    Indeed, in a world in which Joe Paterno was expunged from the history of college football for failing to report sexual abuse of children committed by a former colleague, isn't Farrow herself guilty of failing to report sexual abuse when it was happening? Fair question.

  • Agammamon||

    But these claims are contradicted by a major Canadian study that tracked more than 11,000 reports of child abuse and neglect in Canada in 2003

    Maybe Canadian women are more vindictive than they are in the US. I mean, they have to spend 3 months of the year snowed in with their husbands. That'd make anyone spiteful.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Not really, the need for the additional body heat to survive mitigates the contempt of proxmimity.

  • Agammamon||

    The humiliation of being dependent on the object of your antipathy, forced into such close proximity, allows you to better observe and classify its multiple failings. Helps you hone that burning hatred to cutting torch intensities.

  • SugarFree||

    allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Woody Allen by his 28-year-old adopted daughter

    I wonder if our resident shorteyes has any pics.

  • ||

    I think Woody Allen is guilty as sin.

    But of course, he has never been charged or convicted of a crime, and as such I think we're duty bound to treat him as innocent. Sorry, but you can't wait decades past the statue of limitations and then expect people to treat your charges as fact without providing the accused with due process. We can't have a society where we go around treating people like convicted criminals who have never been charged with a crime.

    Thats doesn't mean that I have to like his movies though. It just means he doesn't deserve to be blacklisted. This is different than Polanski who was actually charged and whose accuser gave sworn testimony, and who then fled the country to avoid a trial.

  • ||

    ...and as such I think we're duty bound to treat him as innocent.

    I think the justice system is duty bound to do so. People can reach whatever conclusions they like, however well founded. Look at the Zimmerman verdict for a perfect example.

  • R C Dean||

    Bingo. Presumption of innocence, due process, that's all stuff that the courts should concern themselves with. Someday. When they get around to it.

    Outside of the courts, though? You are free to reach whatever conclusions you want without summoning the accused, subpoenaing witnesses, etc.

    Yeah, I think he probably did it. Because it just fits in too well with a well-known pattern of his.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    Polanski fled to avoid a trial in which the JUDGE told the prosecutor (at a country club they both belonged to) that they were going to "stick it to this Kike good" in front of witnesses.

    You understand about judge and court impartiality, don't you, Mrs. Due Process?

    Also, the judge threw a fit when Polanski was shown in a pic to be smiling at an Octoberfest celebration, even though the Judge had given Polanski permission to go (but not permission to smile?)

    He may be guilty. The trial was bullshit.

    But hey, I'm sure Mia Farrow is beyond reproach.

  • ||

    In fact, asserts Zoe Zolbrod in Salon.com, “research shows that it is not more common for accusations made during custody battles to be proved false than it is for any other sex abuse accusation,” with only 1% to 6% of abuse charges found to be maliciously fabricated...The issue has particular resonance for me because of my own history with child sexual abuse.

    So not only does Zoe require that an accusation is "proved" to be false for her to consider it, an impossibly high standard, but the range she presents for those instances is the difference between life and death for the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (holy non sequitur). I have no idea whether Allen did this because every single person in the soap opera seems to be insane. And Zolbrod doesn't know either but she is letting her personal experience interfere with her ability to think objectively on the issue.

  • Sevo||

    I'm pretty sure several million angels can dance on the head of a pin!
    Seriously, there are two people who know what went on and the rest of us can guess until eternity.
    I hope Cathy got paid.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    Given the testimony, I would not be shocked if W.A. committed the alleged abuse. I hope he didn't, but I have no real way to know. I do know Cathy Young wrote a good, brave article. Now, perhaps not here but in other fora, rude, partisan morons will likely call her an abuse-enabler, rape apologist, gender-traitor, & other bad names for having the temerity to express an unpopular opinion.

  • Number 2||

    I feel like I have taken a time machine back to the 1980s. Didn't the false memory scandals and the overreaching prosecutions of that decade and the early 1990s put an end to the "sexual assault victims never lie" meme? Not to mention the Duke lacrosse players' "rape" case. And didn't feminists forever forfeit the right to champion "survivors" of male sexual misconduct when they uniformly defended Bill Clinton against his female "survivors?"

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