LETTER: #MeToo and innocence until proven guilty

To the Editor:

 

I read Mary Lee Hagert’s column “Connecting the Dots” published here on Oct. 7. She has my sympathy for the attempted assault she experienced.

Yet, I was saddened when she seemed to use that experience to somehow support the validity of Dr. Christine Ford’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

It is the same weakness of many of the #MeToo movement supporters of Ford. No doubt many of the women in that movement are justified in their claims of the offenses committed against them. Their pain is justified. Yet had Ford submitted a letter here describing her own experience it would not have been printed under this paper’s published policy stating, “(the letter) must be factual; allegations that we cannot substantiate in a timely manner will not be published.”

Why does this paper have such a policy? Because some accusations are not legitimate or not provable, or at least the result of differences of opinion. 

The #MeToo movement will say that all accusers must be believed without question. Fortunately, we have not yet devolved to such unsubstantiated mob justice. We still require some evidence. Ford may well have experienced the event she described but to publicly select a target of her accusation without proof is not only reckless and irresponsible, but an assault in itself.

I don’t relish the appointment of another conservative justice to the Supreme Court, but preservation of the tenet in law of “innocence until proven guilty” is even more important.

 

Patrick Hill

St. Paul

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