Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Trump Administration Hires Official Whom Five Students Accused of Sexual Assault

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Trying to look on the bright side, this indicates that in some areas at least, Trump is not a hypocrite. Justin Elliott reports in ProPublica:

A political appointee hired by the Trump administration for a significant State Department role was accused of multiple sexual assaults as a student several years ago at The Citadel military college.

Steven Munoz was hired by the Trump administration as assistant chief of visits, running an office of up to 10 staffers charged with the sensitive work of organizing visits of foreign heads of state to the U.S. That includes arranging meetings with the president.

At The Citadel, five male freshmen alleged that Munoz used his positions as an upperclassman, class president and head of the campus Republican Society to grope them. In one incident, a student reported waking up with Munoz on top of him, kissing him and grabbing his genitals. In another, on a trip to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., a student said that Munoz jumped on him in bed and he “felt jerking and bouncing on my back.”

An investigation by The Citadel later found that “certain assaults likely occurred.” A local prosecutor reviewed the case and declined to seek an indictment.

Munoz’s hiring raises questions about the Trump administration’s vetting of political appointees, which has been both slow and spotty, with multiple incidents of staff being fired only weeks into their jobs, including for disloyalty to Trump. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Munoz, a Miami native, worked as a political consultant in South Carolina after graduating from The Citadel in 2011. He was publicly reported to be under investigation the following year around the time he was working for Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. Stories from that time, which outline some but not all of the allegations against Munoz, are easy to find via a simple Google search.

Details of the case, drawn from an extensive, previously unreported police case file, also raise questions about The Citadel’s response to the alleged string of assaults, according to experts in campus sexual assault. After one student reported to a school official in 2010 that Munoz had sexually assaulted him, The Citadel didn’t discipline Munoz. Instead, it gave him a warning.

Over the next year and a half, Munoz allegedly assaulted four other students. Those incidents weren’t reported until well after Munoz graduated in 2011.

Munoz referred questions to his lawyer, the prominent Charleston defense attorney Andy Savage, who denied the allegations. “I believe that certain disgruntled cadets made exaggerated claims of wrongdoing concerning Munoz’s participation in boorish behavior that was historically tacitly approved, if not encouraged, by the Institution,” Savage said.

Upon graduation, The Citadel gave Munoz an award for “leadership, sound character and service to others.” The citation said he could “always be counted upon to help classmates who need assistance and to mentor younger cadets adjusting to life at The Citadel.”

A Citadel spokeswoman, Kim Keelor, said the committee that gave the award would not have known about the 2010 allegation because of privacy law. Keelor said of the case overall: “The college proceeded thoughtfully in addressing the reports in accordance with its policy and related processes, and with great concern for those involved and the protection of their privacy.”

When more students came forward the year after Munoz graduated, The Citadel banned him from campus and referred the case to state police, who did an extensive investigation. . .

Continue reading.

I was thinking about this report and the general issues regarding belief and sexual assault. I think in this case the victims will be readily believed, and certainly the fact that they are men helps: the default seems to be that many people will believe what a man says and disbelieve and woman victim’s claims. Of course, in the Munoz case the stories showed a pattern and to some extent corroborated each other. But then Trump’s victims stories were consistent and credible with Trump’s own claims about what he has done to women. And yet Trump’s denial is believed despite the fact that Trump lies constantly, most recently about the latest healthcare bill. And I don’t think he’s retracted his statements that his healthcare program will cover everyone, with better benefits, and at lower cost. But now the GOP is trying to rush through this latest iteration before the CBO score arrives to show how many millions are likely to lose coverage, and how much higher premiums will be for those that remain. They certainly don’t want to see that before they vote. The GOP still operates as though the ethical imperative was “plausible deniability.”

Also: Kevin Drum has a good column on it.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 May 2017 at 3:35 pm

Posted in Daily life

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