Even though Greg Kelly, now exonerated by a criminal investigation, will not be charged with rape after all, the New York Post isn’t ready to let his story rest in peace. Not happy with merely naming Kelly’s accuser in a report yesterday, the Post apparently felt that emblazoning the cover of its Thursday print edition with the woman’s face was entirely appropriate. The ensemble includes a punny headline more appropriate for a jokey human interest piece than the aftermath of a criminal investigation, made complete by the use of scare quotes around the word “rape.”
A full front page photo. We aren’t going to link to it because it’s — well, quite frankly, it’s shameful. Women who file rape accusations already have an uphill battle to fight when it comes to getting a conviction. This is particularly true when those they accuse are public figures or have family members in positions of power. Because sexual assault investigations are deeply entwined with public ideas of propriety and sexuality, it was, once upon a time, considered common courtesy not to publicly name women who had the bravery to come forth and file a report. That way, if their accusations couldn’t be proved, they wouldn’t have to deal with the dual shame of being raped and then publicly harassed. No more, apparently.
In this case, almost as soon as news broke that Kelly had been accused, various tabloid papers began reporting details that fueled rampant speculation about the validity of the woman’s claims. Kelly’s lawyers pointed to “steamy text messages” as evidence that the encounter had been consensual, while commenters insisted that the woman only reported the crime three months after the fact because her boyfriend found out about her infidelity and subsequent abortion.
When the District Attorney’s office announced the conclusion of the investigation, they said only that there was “insufficient evidence” that Kelly had committed a crime, and also declined to charge the woman for making a false report. Throughout the ordeal, she never wavered from her version of the story, maintaining that under New York law she had been too drunk to consent to sex.
But the Post isn’t happy with that, and apparently thinks the only way to redeem the reputation of “the unmarried, popular host of Fox’s Good Day New York” (their words, not ours) is to publicly invade the life of a woman who felt she had been wronged. Excellent job, Post. To hell with journalistic propriety and decency! Who needs ’em anyway?