Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat

 

To translate the above Latin blog title into colloquial English…

The burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies.

Indeed, a fair, free society presumes everyone innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The U.S. Constitution’s 6th amendment is even more explicit:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence [sic].”

All of the above language becomes key, especially when we consider how, as of late, our daily news reportage has been featuring underlings accusing superiors of sexually harassing, abusing and/or assaulting them.

SIDEBAR: Just to be clear, here, no one should ever malign investigative journalists… discredit their factual reportage as “fake news” simply to escape an inconvenient truth / uncomfortable reality. Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter how much the facts of any story may negatively impact an accused person’s life and/or livelihood. After all, a reporter’s job #1 is to not only alert us to the fact that there are purportedly dangerous people in our midst but to also encourage other victims to come forth to proclaim, “Me too”. Moreover, whenever such stories involve elected / appointed officials and political wannabes, these reporters are also performing their patriotic duty to alert our society… our electorate… to the presence of potentially corrupt leadership… e.g. lawbreaker lawmakers, lawless law enforcers, judicial hacks, etc.

Returning now to the specifics… while our Fourth Estate’s journalists have been doing a fine job in exposing ALLEGED sexual predators and while it’s true that, statistically speaking, their victims are seldom liars, we cannot and must not ignore that in caps and italics “A” word. In other words…

The broadcast airwaves and front pages of our online and in print newspapers are not the proper venues for trying and convicting the accused.

In other words, have we not been putting the cart before the horse?

With our goal being to make our entire society a much safer, saner, pleasant place to live and work in, the accusers would be doing us a tremendous favor if they’d first report sexual harassment, abuse and assaults to the appropriate legal authorities. From there, the legal authorities would present the evidence to the prosecutors… prosecutors would go to trial whenever the evidence proved sufficiently strong… juries would weigh all the evidence to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused… and judges would punish the convicted appropriately (be that fines, community service, mental institutionalization or imprisonment).

Last but not least… that’s where the Fourth Estate’s journalists would enter the picture… act as the relentless watchdogs of the entire judicial process… sniff out any and all irregularities… verify whether or not prosecutors and defense attorneys are acting ethically… whether or not assigned judges are conducting honest and impartial trials.

Of course… all fair-minded journalists would also be serving our society well were they to grant any legitimately acquitted person an interview… to publish their story to set the record straight and restore their good name…. to give such an article the exact same positioning and prominence that trial had been given.

This all makes sense to me… how about you?

 

A Low Ladder Rung, Lowlife Sexual Predator

 

My exposé emphasizes how workplace sexual predators are not always superiors of their victims and how entire, totally blameless, hardworking staffs can get caught in the crossfire and find their jobs/careers jeopardized.

On this day in 1978, I punched a major, international retail clothier’s time clock for the very first time… began slaving away in what I have oft referred to as Retail Hell. Such a moniker is well earned considering how my remaining employed oft necessitated my tiptoeing through the psychological minefield found within many of my superiors’ contorted minds.

Case in point, the very first regime I had encountered presented a weird variety of sexual harassment for all underlings to see… an upside-down hierarchy, which any in print and online investigative reporter would have had a field day exposing. I could write volumes about how a sexual predator nearly ruined our store’s profitability / success… but will CliffsNotes it instead.

Right from the get-go, a male underling began dominating / harassing our married female boss… let’s assign some fake names… oh… say… Monty and Dolly. It’s still unclear whether or not she had been a willing partner. That control freak had been so effing cocksure he hadn’t even bothered hiding this adulterous fling.

How bad was this? Well, I once had to prioritize my customer’s shopping list just to steer us away from literally stumbling over Monty and Dolly rolling around and wrestling on the carpet. Fortunately they hadn’t yet earned an R-Rating.

With no time to find a bucket of cold water, I intentionally increased the volume of my voice to subtly remind this “couple” that we were now open for business. Had they not picked up on my subtle “Hey, get a room!” cue, there’s no telling how far they would’ve gone. Clean up in Aisle 2?

Day in, day out… in plain view of all employees… they’d spend entire, eight hour long shifts seated across from one another at her “managerial” desk… Dolly all starry eyed… neither of them getting any real work done… all the while collecting their paychecks… all the while dumping heavier workloads upon their underlings to compensate for their figuratively and literally effing up everything.

Dolly wound up promoting her F-buddy into management… not based on his skills… that is… unless his adeptness at playing grabass and his cocksmanship were considered assets. I cannot begin to describe how disgruntled our staff had become… how low our collective morale had sunk.

To get a better grasp on the depth of Dolly’s calloused attitude and twisted mind, I now present a brief subplot to this story. Following the post Christmas seasonal cut in sales associates’ hours, one morning a co-worker (let’s call her Karly) came back out onto the selling floor in tears. In a hushed, horrified tone of voice she confided in me.

It turns out that due to Karly’s drastically smaller paycheck, she had recently moved in with Dolly… and now our boss was trying to shake down her roomie for half of their apartment’s rent.

After Karly had complained, “But you’ve just cut my hours. The only way I can pay you is if I either rob a bank or sell my body,” Dolly snapped back, “Fine with me… you choose!”

So, why did I stay? Well, it was my corporate loyalty. True, at that point, my job was akin to standing on the deck of a sinking ship, but since Dolly’s neglect and delegation… no strike that… abdication of power had in essence, made me the surrogate “Captain”, I felt it was my place to either go down with my ship or, if lucky, find a way to save it.

Eventually, Monty and Dolly’s superiors caught a whiff of their stench. They “moved in” and Monty moved on… little doubt… ISO another female to sexually dominate, harass and assault. Dolly got reassigned to another store in our district and eventually moved out-of-state. But, not before her husband (let’s call him Todd) had divorced her. It was unclear whether Todd had discovered his wife was cheating on him all on his own or if that bastard Monty had deviously found a way to clue him in… i.e. just to sadistically devastate her husband.

My new boss (let’s call her Mindy) had a tough job to do… had to find creative “solutions” to force out anyone who she suspected of still being “in bed with” the old regime. Her trust no old employees / guilt by association approach to corporate housecleaning, included me. Of course, her theory had been flawed because I had totally despised all the sloth and un-professionalism, which Monty and Dolly had stood for.

Hard to believe, but, a sexual predator, indirectly, had forced me to prove my loyalty to Mindy. To do so, I did what I’ve always done… showcased what I’ve always brought to every workplace I’ve ever entered… my superior efficiency and strong work ethic.

And, folks, that description is not self-aggrandizement. Mindy, herself (during my annual employee review) not only used those words to assess my work performance but to also justify my pay-raise.

I wound up staying on well beyond Mindy’s all too brief era as our store manager… to the tune of 20 1/2 years. Regrettably, after her departure, more negatively themed events made for more sad stories to tell and maybe, someday, I’ll blog about them, too.

America’s avarice and male hormone driven Republicans, many of them sexual predator suck-ups… some of them predators themselves… must drain the sexually toxic, workplace swamps. True, they won’t likely shive a git about the lost human dignity but were we to effectively present this problem as a corporate profit draining / lost worker productivity issue, might they zip up and listen?