Readers React

Can any rape victim safely report the crime?

To the editor: Jonah Goldberg's mind takes us to the Duke lacrosse team and the untruthful accusations made by Tawana Brawley in 1987 and 1988. Mine goes straight back to the 2002 Orange County sexual assault of "Jane Doe." ("Rolling Stone rape story sends shock waves -- and stretches credulity," Op-Ed, Dec. 1)

That crime was committed and videotaped by Gregory Haidl, son of then-Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl, and a couple of his pals. The sexual assault was followed by several years of further assaults perpetrated on that poor girl all over again via harassment, witness tampering, a mistrial and the misery of realizing that a significant portion of the community supported the defendants.

After the first jury deadlocked, I was just sick and wondered who would ever again report being raped. I still wonder.

Joanne Zirretta, Aliso Viejo

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To the editor: The examination of the partisan response to the questionable Rolling Stone article on a rape at the University of Virginia is a single example of a pathology that has come to define our era.

The academic term is "bias confirmation," which means that all but the very few attend only to reports that serve the ever narrowing goals of their "tribe." I use the word "tribe" to connote a primitive belonging that is not subject to objective evaluation.

The reaction to the piece in Rolling stone shows that the compromises that define common values — laws and due process — become the discarded artifacts of our complex country, which will only survive if this pattern is broken.

Al Rodbell, Encinitas

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