Thursday, 7 January 2010

That Tillman Thing.

Some facts, as reported here:

Court heard Tillman was supposed to be at a board meeting Aug. 6, 2008, but he was encouraged to go home by staff who thought he was "acting in an unusual manner."

Tillman joined the teen and his children at home. The girl bent over as she fed one of the kids, said Crown prosecutor Bill Burge. "When she stood up, the accused put his hands on her hips with his fingers in her belt loops and he pulled the rear end of the complainant into himself," said Burge. "While in that position there was physical contact that was clearly of a sexual nature. This occurred without the consent of the complainant and she told the accused, 'No."'


In my experience with legal issues regarding sexual assault, the significant element that would distinguish this action from something that could be dismissed as an unsollicited expression of affection is the position of the victim and the fact her assailant had an erection. That's likely why the police investigated, and charges were laid.

We don't know what other evidence the prosecutor would have presented at trial, because Tillman copped the plea (and a very good one, from his vantage point). He claimed he didn't want the girl to be subjected to the hardship of testifying and for his family to be exposed to the stress of constant media coverage.

Would his lawyer have tried to destroy the credibility of the complainant/victim, a common defense tactics with regard to sexual assault charges, to win his case? Perhaps merely floating that notion convinced the prosecutor that justice would not have been well served to let Tillman's lawyer use verbal and psychological assault on her in court. Particularly as one of the volatile elements of this case is that the complainant is a member of Regina's Aboriginal community, I've been told.


This case may be difficult to sort out for those who are not familiar with the horrendous history of patriarchal privilege that men of European ancestry have wielded against Aboriginal and Métis women and girls.

Those who get information beyond that published in media accounts of the Pickton trial, the murder of Aboriginal women in Winnipeg, and women who have disappeared along the "Highway of Tears" know that the judicial system is often weighed in favour of those charged with such crimes.

Tillman was treated with kid gloves. The drugs he took may have had the effect of reducing his inhibitions but they did not make him behave in a manner contrary to his impulses - or his values.

People convicted of sex offences are often required to submit a DNA sample to a national database. However, because Tillman's privacy and security concerns outweigh the public interest in having such a sample, there will be no such order, Hinds said.

Doesn't that seem like a good example of the privilege that being male and holding a powerful job with a football team will get you?

5 comments:

Pseudz said...

The sad catalogue of priveleges bestowed by judicial discretion is vexing in light of the myth of judicial 'blindness'. Equal before the law? Phooey!

And the laws seem so clear - written to be unequivocal - not to mention that the courts often cite 'the setting of an example' at the time of sentencing for an offence.

So what's the example this time - The first 'hit's' free?

alterwords said...

Seems clear NO ONE took this charge seriously. He's an "important" guy who had a bad day, that's all. It burns me that the fact that his plea "spared" the complainant from trial was taken into account in sentencing. In the press conference Tillman gave after being charged he quite pointedly said he didn't do it. That left the complainant, obviously known in her community I'd think, flapping in the wind with big important white guy denying her when he knew damn well what he did. He "saved her" very little. I've had some criticisms of people who have said he should have gone to jail because I think not. But an absolute discharge is absolute nonsense.

deBeauxOs said...

He did "self-medicate" and it's difficult to challenge his claim that he remembers nothing of what he did, because gee golly gosh darn, he's such an upstanding guy.

Luna said...

She's native? Interesting. Didn't hear that piece. Explains a number of things.

Whenever someone tells me that it wasn't that big of a deal or that he shouldn't lose his job, I ask one thing: Would this even be an issue if he'd done this to a boy? HELL NO. He'd have been out on his ass and prosecuted FOR FUCKING SURE! Pisses me off to no end.

deBeauxOs said...

The Regina Mom provided that piece of information; apparently everyone in town knows that fact.

Yabbut, Tillman's defense is that he doesn't remember what he did; ergo he didn't know/had no control over what he did.

It's the homophobic panic that would have judged him and rode him out of town, tarred and feathered - not outrage that an adult sexualized a employer/employee relationship with an adolescent babysitter, with an action that was unsollicited and inappropriate in itself.

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