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Johan Santana was accused of sexual battery

Jun 23, 2010, 5:28 PM EDT

Johan Santana was accused of sexual battery. The charges were dropped. Before things get crazy, let's grok a little perspective.

As you may have seen, earlier this afternoon TMZ reported that Johan Santana was accused of sexual battery last fall.

There’s always some degree of uncertainty when it comes to reports such as these. At the moment, however, the facts as we know them are that (a) there was a complaint filed; (b) there appears to have been some sexual activity between Santana and the accuser; (c) the
police who investigated found that
“the alleged victim’s statement
is not
consistent with other witnesses;” and (d) no charges were filed. There are multiple, conflicting possible explanations for
each of those things
.

Perhaps the woman told the truth and people simply didn’t believe her because of who she was or who the alleged assailant was.  Perhaps the woman made a false accusation. While, in my limited personal experience in defending criminal cases phrases like “the alleged victim’s statement is not consistent with other witnesses” is police code for “we believe the alleged victim is lying,” we simply don’t know nor can we know which of any of those things are true.

I offer all of that merely as a reminder because, given how these sorts of things go, the fact of the accusation and the salaciousness of the details contained in that accusation will get major play over the next couple of days as the story is portrayed as “breaking news.” Indeed, as ‘Duk notes over at Big League Stew, the heat on this story may get extra-crazy because the east coast tabloids will likely view this as a west coast outfit besting them on their own beat and thus they’ll likely try to cultivate their own angles.

But there appears to be nothing that sparked TMZ’s report — no civil suit
no new investigation no new evidence — beyond TMZ’s own happening upon the public
documents. 
Which is fine, of course — facts are facts and the public documents themselves are newsworthy –
but that makes the media narrative the news, not the sexual assault allegations, which appear to have no legal merit. The media would probably do well to keep that in mind.

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