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October 15, 2010 06:38 PM UTC

Buck Rape Case Scandal Continues to Grow

  • by: Colorado Pols

The Denver newspaper published their interview today with the victim of an alleged rape committed in 2005, a crime that now-GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck dismissively refused to prosecute, telling newspapers at the time that that a jury might conclude it was a case of “buyer’s remorse.” Today’s story by reporter Allison Sherry is just the latest in a series of damaging revelations about this case, which began Monday with a story in the online Colorado Independent.

Today’s story accurately relays the view of this alleged rape victim, as reported by the Independent yesterday in their interview, that Buck immediately cast the circumstances of her case under a cloud of prejudicial suspicion–she believes that Buck focused unfairly on, in her words, “what I did wrong.”

“It sounds like he’s threatening me,” the alleged victim says of her recorded conversation with Buck.

Like we said yesterday, the alleged victim’s willingness to come forward and talk to the press destroys the Buck campaign’s “shoot the messenger” defense against this scandal–you can’t continue to impugn this story as the work of “liberal smear merchants” when this victim is telling her side of the story all by herself. What’s more, as the Independent reported in their interview but the Denver paper missed, the alleged perpetrator was recorded admitting to the crime. Lingering questions about the admissibility of that recording, and what affect that admission may or may not have had on Buck’s decision not to prosecute the case, remain unanswered.

In addition, Buck’s campaign told Sherry, and other media outlets this week, that his “buyer’s remorse” quote was merely intended to illustrate what a potential jury might conclude in the case, not his personal view of it. Unfortunately, the recording of that conversation totally undermines this defense (from yesterday’s Independent story):

“I’m telling you that’s what circumstances suggest to people, including myself, [Pols emphasis] who have looked at it. Although you never said the word ‘yes,’ the appearance is of consent.” Buck said.

Also of note, apparently the Buck campaign responded yesterday with a rape victim of their own, whose case Buck did choose to prosecute. Now, the circumstances of that case appear very different–it was a random assault, not a date rape, therefore a much clearer-cut case–and for reasons unknown, this person didn’t make it into the Denver newspaper’s report. Perhaps because the circumstances were so different? Perhaps because it was plainly a defensive move by Buck’s campaign to muddy this story? We can’t say for sure, but we’ll be watching for developments. We expect to see more of this defense, even if it’s apples-to-oranges compared to the case in question–not to mention that their prior “exploiting a rape victim” defense is rendered hypocritical.

None of this changes the fundamental point of why the original story is harmful to Buck; it’s not about whether he was or was not justified in not prosecuting the case, but about his statements to, and treatment of, the alleged victim.

Bottom line: the story can’t be contained at this point–it’s been covered from coast to coast, online, on local and cable news, and now in the state’s newspaper of record. We’ve heard that very potent TV spots on this scandal are imminent, and could start rolling before the weekend is out. We have also heard that internal daily tracking numbers are showing heavy damage to Buck from this, especially among women. This is reinforced by the shrill and defensive response to the story from conservative-leaning media–they know this is a potentially race-ending situation. Once the ads roll out, watch for that trajectory to steepen, both in terms of shrill responses and damage done.

We’ve maintained from the moment this scandal broke that we could be looking at the end of the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Colorado. Nothing has happened since Monday to change our minds.


47 thoughts on “Buck Rape Case Scandal Continues to Grow

  1. I didn’t quite understand the Buck campaign’s response.

    Does the campaign think the issue is that he prosecuted NO rape cases?  I thought the issue was that he only prosecuted SOME rape cases.

    @StateLine: this is going to be a very close race.  If only a couple of percent of people are moved by this story, Buck loses.

    1.  Interesting numbers here:


      In Colorado and Florida both most of the undecided voters are GOP leaning. In Colorado 53% of them voted for John McCain and 38% for Barack Obama. In Florida they skew even more strongly to the Republicans- 60% voted for McCain and only 33% for Obama.

      Usually you would expect those folks to end up coming home but here’s another fact about those voters: they hate the GOP candidates. Buck’s favorability with undecided voters is 5/42. Scott’s is 3/47. So those voters are going to have to decide between their competing instincts of supporting the GOP and opposing these particular GOP candidates.

      The couple percent you mentioned, eh, Ralphie?

  2. that can make this story a game changer–if it reaches a wider audience, either by the Denver Post or a tv ad. I had two clients mention it today–it was the first they had heard about it and it was because they read it in the DP.

    We can bash the Post as much as we like but more people read it than they do a state political blog or the Colorado Independent.

    If it makes it to an ad, the impact on Unaffiliateds could be the difference in this race, since virtually every poll taken has it with MOE.  

    1. that unless/until the MSM picked it up – and tv ads were built around it – it had zero chance to be a game-changer.

      Having read the pieces in the un-nameable Denver paper, I’m not at all convinced Buck made the wrong call in deciding not to prosecute this case. (Quite aside from his attitude & language on the tapes.)

      That doesn’t mean a very nasty/persuasive negative ad can’t be built around the story however.

      NB: Your 2nd paragraph is spot-on.

      1. …still is, if Buck knew about the phone call in which the attacker admitted to rape, how did that factor into the 1) Investigation of the case by Greeley Police, and 2) The subsequent decision that the prosecution was not likely to prevail.

        Did police attempt to interview the attacker following this call, to get an admissible confession? Did the DA’s office consider whether there was enough probable cause in light of this call to have the cops charge him and then question him properly, i.e. either in the presence of counsel or having waived his rights to counsel?

        Buck hasn’t said, and at this point probably won’t. What can he say? “Yeah, we knew we had a guilty guy but decided not to prosecute because some jurors may have made the victim’s behavior the issue in this case”?

          1. and one woman like a good girl.  The bad girl drank alcohol and had been pregnant.  Neither woman should feel re-victimized by authorities in our legal system.  

      2. Your first comment:

        As loathsome as K. Buck is, this item is highly unlikely to deliver any sort of death blow to his candidacy.

        Buck may win (likely) or Buck may lose (one can always hope), but this one little story won’t make one iota of difference.

        Can we get back to substance now?

        Are you going to call me names now because I remember what you said better than you do?

    2. IMHO, because there is the legitimate issue of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecuters decide which cases they can prove and which they can’t. If the story is only Buck deciding that this case was not winnable, that’s not much of a story.

      IF there’s evidence that shows Buck’s personal moral beliefs influenced his decision to not prosecute the case, that is damage and a game changer.

    1. Put it this way…would Dean Singleton allow the Post to endorse a Senate candidate that at some point in their career said anything favorable about EFCA?

      1. I am also talking the impact of what I presume is some kind of democratic strategy…I think for all the women voters who are repulsed by Buck, there is an equal number of women who agree with him.

        So, I think this focus is not worth a whole hellva lot, IMHO.

          1. I am talking about strategy. This is a strategy which has the potential to backfire big time on the dems.

            I believe that the repubs are going to repeal Famiy Medical Leave Act and I think that they will have the votes to override Obama’s veto….that is what I am talking about.

            I don’t give a rat’s ass about a five year old rape case.  I care a whole hell of a lot about FMLA and kids with preexisting conditions getting medical care and affirmative action and civil rights…I care about Tancredo “bringing back our cultural values.”  I care a whole hell of a lot about Palin ridiculing the First Lady because it creates a climate which could roll back civil rights.

            You children  live in a dream .don’t know what the fifties sounded like.  I do.  I hear them every single god damm minute I turn on the gd radio…I fear for my country and I don’t think that we can recover from a November disaster…..anymore that we survived a bush presidency…

            1. I just happen to disagree with you.  I do care about how Ken Buck treats women, because the way he treats women tells me how he might vote on legislation as it relates to women.  That is obviously a more important issue to me than it is to you.

              1. The issue is whether or not he is going to be elected.  I do not think that this issue is going to get Bennet elected.

                I am concerned with election strategy.  I think that Buck will vote to roll back substantially  the civil rights of women, minorities and people with disabilities.  So it is critically important to me that he not be elected.  

                I do not see Bennet and/or the dems attacking back at Buck on the issues of economy and job.  I see CP and the people in the democratic hierarchy (the ones with money who are evidently calling the shots) absolutely fixated on any issue involving sex..,,,abortion, gays….and rape. Now,  I know the mantra, rape is not about sex, it is about violence.  However, the discussion about this poor kid up in Greeley is all about sex in the circles I am reporting about.

                As for this quote:

                That is obviously a more important issue to me than it is to you

                No.  Your need to feel superior is far more important to you than trying to keep the repubs from taking over this country.

                I am so fed up with piss ant crappy comments.

                1. I find this very odd. I have no need to feel superior; and if I believed this wasn’t a legitimate issue, I would keep my mouth shut as I have in other areas.  I just have a different opinion and run in different circles than you do.  

                  The Bennet campaign did not run this story.  I suggest you talk to the campaign or ProgressNow, and tell them how you believe they should be running the campaign.  Attacking me does nothing. I believe Buck repulses many women (Democrats, Unaffiliated, and moderate Republicans) as he repulses me.  I would vote on this issue alone.

  3. Only knowing what I read, as they say. That bf admitted it was rape doesn’t make it non-defensible by any newly barred attorney. That another DA came to the same conclusion reinforces that decision.

    But his obvious condescension of the woman, her choices and lifestyl, is what makes him unworthy of another elected office. He (apparently) didn’t even try to help her, look for a possible way, double check everything, seek an avenue.  His mind was made up before he pretended to consider the case.

      1. and the story has been out there all week.  Without hearing from the Boulder DA’s office, I’m skeptical.  We don’t know if they received all the evidence, if it was just a quick phone call, or if it was anything.

    1. I don’t think the crux of the story is about Ken Buck’s decision not to prosecute.  It may well be that they didn’t have enough evidence to win – even with the admission from the ex that the sex was not consensual.  He probably concluded that a Weld county jury would not have been sympathetic to her case for all the reasons that he was not.

      The point of the story is that Ken Buck treated this rape victim like shit.

      1. was that women who have abortions don’t deserve equal protection under the law.

        The guy ends up being another government employee who brings his partisan extremism into the office and tries to slant the system to promote his extremist views.

        If he was a Democrat trying to push a UN takeover of bicycle programs, he would be condemned by the right wing for promoting his partisan agenda on the job.  Buck is no different with his disregard for women who have LEGAL abortions.  

  4. Big story or last minute smear?

    I’m not sure.

    It’s well known that Buck has big negatives with women and with undecideds, and Progress Now and any other liberal organization is going to want to push those in these last few weeks.  Conservatives will want to label this a smear and dismiss it as no big deal.  How does this square with the coverage in the state’s paper of record.

    The paper that dare not speak its name was late to the party on this story by about two days and its reporting, besides adding absolutely nothing, actually neglected pertinent facts previously exposed elsewhere: the alleged perpetrator “confessed”, and the transcripts suggest it was Buck’s own opinion that she had “buyer’s remorse.”  

    I’ve met Allison Sherry on a few occasions, and my impression of her is not of someone who does shoddy work, or would spin a story to the conservative side.

    The Post’s editorial policy clearly skews toward being a mouthpiece for its owner William Singleton’e views: See the extraordinary front page “bag man” editorial against Bill Ritter, and the “yeah he sucks but stay the course” endorsement of Bush in 2004.

    Newspapers proudly maintain that their news and editorial departments remain fiercely independent, but as owner and publisher as well as editorial board member (with presumed veto power) Singleton cannot separate those functions within himself.

    I think the Post reporting on this story is weak.  I worry that it evidences meddling to soft-pedal it in Buck’s favor.


      1. but with the Frazer endorsement. coupled with Pols and CNN hitting upon the GJ Billboard first.

        The pravda is trying to bury everything negative towards Buck and Tancredo.

        1. and all the other losers from the failed conservative paper the Rocky Mountain News.  The losers have infected the Denver Post with their hyper-conservative “kill government” carping.

      2. because he is supposed to be such an straight shooter.

        Picking who you will protect isn’t exactly impartially upholding the law.

        The editorial board will endorse Buck but it will just cheapen whatever credibility they have had that they impartially evaluate the candidates.  The stink from a once independent paper can be traced directly to Singletons office.

        Buck looks like an inexperienced John McCain and his flip flops make John Kerry look like a steady rock.

        1. I don’t have a link, but Caldwell from the editorial board was on CISO, tonight and said that by the time that show aired that the endorsement would be online and that Bennet was the man

          And to make it absolutely official, Caldera is whinning all over 38 states that the newspaper is unfair.

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