October 25, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

Ethical considerations of rape prosecutions will be discussed at a special program sponsored by the Kegley Institute of Ethics at California State University, Bakersfield, on Monday, Nov. 1.

A four-person panel will discuss “Ethics and Rape Prosecutions” in the CSUB Student Union’s multi-purpose room beginning at 7 p.m. Panel members are:

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, will be moderated by Christopher Meyers, CSUB philosophy professor and director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics.

Meyers said the program stemmed from several recent rape prosecutions, not the least of which was the Colorado case involving Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant. Bryant’s defense attorneys sought to use his accuser’s sexual history in his defense before the case was eventually dropped.

“The panel was motivated by a spate of recent cases, particularly in cases where there were multiple attackers,” Meyers said. “In those cases – one local and two in Southern California – there was compelling evidence to suggest guilt, but in fact the defendants were all acquitted or there was a mistrial. In one of the cases a juror voted for acquittal saying that women these days liked having sex with multiple partners.”

Meyers said those cases led to questions whether “there is some societal change of attitude occurring in how we approach rape prosecutions. We’re concerned that there is a perception that young women are more sexually promiscuous, and as a result the burden of proof for rape convictions is getting tougher. Are the standards for rape convictions changing? This panel will discuss this, and the ethical questions involved in those prosecutions.”

For more information about the program, please call Meyers at (661) 664-2072.