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October 14, 2010 09:02 AM UTC

Why isn't Buck apologizing for his "buyer's remorse" comment?

  • by: Jason Salzman

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 a  audio-taped discussion among Buck, the alleged rape victim, and two others, and to interview her directly.

Buck is apparently not talking to the media about the case, leaving reporters to chat with his spokesman.

Except, that is, for a reporter at 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 suspect “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 and leading 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 (Rape Case a No Win for Everyone, 3/9/2006) 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.

He added, ‘I don’t want victims to be deterred from the pitiful facts in this case from coming forward.’

We, too, hope other victims won’t be discouraged by this case. Again, though, Buck’s selection of words could have been more appropriate. Calling the facts of the case ‘pitiful’ could be construed by other victims as discouraging.”

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.

The Associated Press reported that he defended the joke, conceding that it “wasn’t very funny” and it was not meant to be offensive. But he was unapologetic.

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 doesn’t he think this merits an apology, along with other comments he made about the case, including 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.


3 thoughts on “Why isn’t Buck apologizing for his “buyer’s remorse” comment?

  1. because it was an accurate description as to how the jury might evaluate the facts as he understoood them.

    Buck does not need to apologize for giving an honest appraisal as to how the facts which would be presented to the jury might be interpreted by them.  His job is to project how the facts which the law would allow him to present would be interpreted in deciding whether to proceed with the case.  I have not seen any prosecutor second guess that decision.

    To all the people who attach significance to the “admission” of the defendant, exactly how is that going to get before the jury.  If the defense attorney crosses the “victim” and establishes she was drunk and does not remember if she said “no” immediately before she had sex with someone she invited to visit her at her place where they have had sex before and does not call the accused as a witness it does not get in.  Under those circumstances, where she made a complaint after learning she was pregnant, do you think the jury would convict of rape beyond any reasonable doubt?

    I don’t either.

    1. That’s insulting to the victim.

      As to the admission:

      1) The admission the suspect made directly to the victim was made on a phone call the next day when the victim was sober.  The victim can testify to the nature of that phone call, and the recording is admitted as evidence.

      2) The admission the suspect made to the police was entered in to the police report.  Provided the suspect gave the information freely and was not under arrest (or was read his Miranda rights), the police officer in charge could be the witness to that admission.

      3) The complaint in question was not made after she learned she was pregnant, unless I’m mistaken – the pregnancy issue with the suspect occurred when they had been seeing each other (almost a year earlier).

      Finally, if (1) and (2) are true, then the suspect will want to testify to rebut those calls, at which point he’s open to cross-examination.

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