If you've been reading the news coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck's decision not to prosecute a man who admitted raping a 21-year-old University of Northern Colorado student in 2005, you know there's a major omission: Ken Buck himself.
He's not quoted in stories in The Denver Post, Associated Press, Politico, Roll Call, Politics Daily, ABC's The Note, or the Colorado Independent, which was the first news outlet to obtain an audio-taped discussion between Buck and the alleged rape victim and to interview her directly.
Buck is apparently not talking to the media about the case, leaving reporters to chat with his spokesman. He rejected an interview request from the Colorado Independent, which today rejected claims that in broke the story in coordination from progressive organizations.
Reporters should insist on talking to him about the case, to follow up on what appear to be the only comments he's made personally on the topic since the Independent broke the story--to the Greeley Tribune.
Buck talked directly to the Tribune's Nate Miller, who wrote an excellent article covering different aspects of this complicated story.
The Tribune reports, unlike the Post and the Associated Press, among others, the key fact that the perpetrator "told police she had told him no, but he thought she invited him to Greeley because she wanted to sleep with him." (The Independent provided a transcript of this admission, as part of its in-depth coverage.)
The Tribune gives Buck ample inches to defend his decision not to prosecute, allowing him to point out that he had numerous deputies review the case, as well as the Boulder District attorney.
The Tribune also asked Buck about his statement to the Tribune in 2006 that a jury might think this was a case of "buyer's remorse."
At the time, a Tribune editorial criticized Buck for using the phrase. A Tribune editorial stated:
Buck told the woman he could not press charges against her attacker, despite the man's admission to police that she said no. Buck said he must only prosecute cases in which he has a reasonable chance of convicting someone, and this was not one of those cases.
"A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer's remorse," Buck said.
While we support his legal reasoning, we believe Buck could have, should have been more sensitive in his choice of words, regardless of what he may have thought a jury or defense lawyer would conclude.
Yesterday Buck told the Tribune that the phrase "buyer's remorse" was taken out of context. The Tribune reported:
"I listed five or six reasons why I thought a jury would not convict in this case," Buck told the Tribune. "She said she was passed out during the sexual act, so I wasn't referring to whether she had buyer's remorse for the act that they engaged in, but rather for the prior relationship they had."
But either way, why infer publicly that the victim might have "buyer's remorse," either for the sexual act or for the relationship? Why use such a condescending phrase?
That's the kind of question reporters should be asking Buck now, because it gets to the heart of the accusation that Buck isn't sensitive to women, forcing them to birth babies resulting from rape, for example.
He's not apologetic about using the phrase "buyer's remorse," which we all can agree is a loaded term. Instead, he's defensive. Why?
Which leads to an error I spotted in the Tribune article.
The Tribune reported that Buck apologized for joking that women should vote for him because "I do not wear high heels."
In fact, Buck was defensive, not apologetic, about his joke during the GOP primary.
I cannot find a record of Buck actually apologizing for the high heels remark. Please let me know if you find this.
In any case, now he's defending his "buyer's remorse" comment as well.
Reporters should ask, why he's not apologizing for the remark, along with other comments he made about the case, and during his interview of the alleged victim, as well as his statement in 2006 that the facts in the case were "pitiful," which would presumably include the fact that the suspect admitted having sex with the woman even though she said no.