Tag Archives: innocent until proven guilty

Mom Pens Heartfelt Message About Son’s Bogus Conviction

After publishing an article Thursday afternoon about the Army’s prosecution of Sgt. Todd Knight on allegations he raped a woman while stationed in Germany, I shared a link to the article with Knight’s mother, Teresa McQueen, and she replied about two hours later with a heartfelt message about the chain of events during which her son was found guilty of sexual assault, sentenced to one year in prison, a loss of rank to the lowest enlisted grade and, upon completion of his sentence, a dishonorable discharge and a life spent as a convicted sex offender. Below, with her permission, I share her reply:

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

Wow.  I can’t believe that these women are allowed to continue with their daily lives as if they did not ruin a person’s career and life. I was so proud of my son for choosing to join the military. His love of the military is what inspired his younger two siblings to join the military. Todd has suffered so much as a result of this.  Each year he is forced to go through the process of registering as a sex offender which is especially difficult for him since he knows that the alleged victim lied. He is forced to commute well over an hour a day to work — and that is with good traffic — because its easier for him to live in a more rural area.

Earlier this month, the military started garnishing his paycheck to repay the reenlistment bonus he was given prior to this incident. So now, depending on how much overtime he works, approximately $400 is taken out of each of his paychecks until a balance of $20,000 is paid.  He didn’t even get $20,000 as an enlistment bonus which leads us to believe the military is actually charging him interest!

This photo shows Todd Knight in his Army uniform prior to being accused of rape and convicted on a lesser charge.

This photo shows Todd Knight in his Army uniform prior to being accused of rape and convicted on a lesser charge.

To be quite honest, I do not know how Todd pushes through, day after day, but he does.  He is such a “glass half full” person and is always trying to help others.  In fact, sadly, it is he who is constantly consoling me about this whole situation.  I have never felt so powerless in my life.  I wish you could have been at Todd’s court-martial.  He was guilty before the trial even began.  As his family, we had to watch how his command turned on him.  While food and water was brought to the alleged victim, Todd, who was supposed to have been considered innocent at that time, and his family (myself, his sister and step-father), were forced to go without eating lest we not make it back in time for when the trial resumed.  They knew we did not have a vehicle and were dependent on them for a ride.

However, what I found most disturbing was that we were not allowed in the courtroom during Todd’s trial. So we could not give him the support of at least seeing a friendly face and knowing that he was not in this alone. The alleged victim was allowed to be in the courtroom with one of her friends. I can only imagine, the panel probably believed he was such a terrible person (that) his own family did not feel it was necessary to be with him during this terrible ordeal.

His lawyer told me repeatedly prior to the trial, that I needed to prepare myself because, short of the alleged victim retracting her story at trial, he would be convicted. Having a law degree myself (although not being familiar with criminal law and having a father who is a public defender), never in my wildest dreams did I think they would actually convict him based on the evidence presented at trial. Little did I know that all it takes is to be accused of sexual assault.  Once you are accused, it’s a done deal. There is no “innocent until proven guilty.” It’s ‘You’re guilty, and we will just see how much time you will get.’”

When Todd began serving his sentence, his apartment was literally a ‘free for all,’ thanks to his immediate superiors, the people who were supposed to be making sure his apartment was packed up and his belongs shipped to me in California. Because I believed his superiors were looking out for “one of their own,” I never bothered to go through any of the crates that were now being kept in storage until Todd’s release. It was not until about a month before Todd was scheduled to be released that I visited the storage unit to retrieve and wash his clothes so that he would have some form of normalcy by having his own things. Also, he told me he had a few suits which he had had tailored and should have been in (the storage unit). Because he had an interview scheduled for the week following his return, I wanted to have (the suits) dry cleaned.

It was with horror that I saw many of the things that were shipped were either not his or basically just trash. None of the items Todd said should have been shipped to me were included in that shipment. His computer was gone. His laptop was gone. His camcorder was gone. All of his computer software, his PS4 and its games were gone. His new flat screen TV was gone. There was not one piece of furniture delivered. As God is my witness, there wasn’t even one pair of shoes included in that shipment. Anyone who knows Todd knows he is a clothes and shoe hoarder.  Todd was single, he liked nice things, and he bought nice things. They took everything.  After a lot of complaining, they finally sent a second shipment of kitchenware and an old broken TV Todd actually did tell his command they could have.

At one point, I even learned one of his superiors was driving around in Todd’s car that was supposed to have been sold and the money given to Todd. After many calls to that guy and his superior, I was finally able to at least get something in writing which released Todd from any liability should someone have an accident in that vehicle.

Although Todd is trying to get on with his life and stay positive, there is always something — like the garnishment — that seems to make him move back five or six steps. He finally has a job that he loves and the people love him. However, now everyone knows that something is going on in Todd’s life, because his paychecks are being garnished by the military.

It’s very upsetting to me as I am sure you can imagine. No one deserves to have something like this happen to them. Everyone deserves a fair trial. Do you know that after Todd’s conviction, in order to try to get the least amount of time as possible, they actually expected him to apologize to the alleged victim. Although at the time, believing he would end up with more like seven years, I encouraged Todd to just say what they wanted him to say if it meant he would get less time. But I must admit, Todd stuck to his guns and refused to apologize for something he did not do.

This whole thing has been a nightmare for me, and I’m not even the person who had to serve time and go through God only knows what while in prison. I just wish the military would rethink how they approach accusations of sexual assault. The accused is not guilty simply because the accuser says he is. With Todd’s investigation, they did not care if he was innocent. Their entire investigation stemmed on gathering only that evidence that would aid the prosecution in obtaining a guilty verdict, regardless of whether the accuser was guilty or not.

Sorry for the long rant. I am just heartbroken over this whole thing.

Stay tuned for updates on this case and other military justice cases I’m following.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Is Bill Cosby Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

Is Bill Cosby Innocent Until Proven Guilty? That question is at the heart of a virtual conversation I had over the weekend with a gentlemen on Facebook.

Facebook Post

In a Facebook status update posted Saturday morning after I had already “unfriended” the gentleman for reasons I will explain later in this piece, I shared the words below:

Debate is a lost art to many. A short while ago, I challenged a Facebook “friend” who had used a few dozen words in a status update to try — as in “hold a virtual trial” — and convict Bill Cosby. When I mentioned the fact that his finding of guilt — before any grand jury was convened and/or any criminal trial took place — reminded me of what Ferguson protesters seemed to want, he demanded an apology and threatened to block me. I saved him the trouble and clicked “UNFRIEND.”

What prompted me to share the words in blue above? The fact that this now-former Facebook friend — whom I’ll refer to as “Bubba” throughout the remainder of this piece — posted something on his Facebook page that made him appear eager and willing to serve as judge, jury and executioner for Cosby, the 77-year-old comedian and actor facing a flood of sexual assault allegations. After I commented on his status update, things went sour.

A short time after unfriending Bubba and posting the words in blue above on my Facebook page, Bubba caught wind of them and responded with his own comments. He could still do that, because my Facebook page is public and my settings allow it.

With only minor formatting changes and the removal of both the time element and “Like” button info, I share the virtual conversation (“Part One”) below, beginning at the point when I took notice of Bubba’s status update:

Bob McCarty Writes: Bubba – I must have missed the trial. When did it take place?

Bubba:  20+ women….and successful women that are not after his money have described in detail what he did. Bob, you have a lot more confidence in our system than I do. He CAN pay off a judge. Wake up, man! I wouldn’t let my kids watch him growing up. He has always been controversial. You believe what you want, but I am going to believe the drugged women that swears he raped them!

Bob McCarty Writes: Wake up? Bubba, I’ve waded through many records of trials involving sexual assault charges. Heck, I even wrote a book about one of the cases. Am I confident that the legal system would produce a fair result? Hardly. At the same time, I shudder to think anyone would believe the outcome in today’s “court of public opinion” that finds a man guilty based solely on the words of individuals whose motives may or may not be pure.

Bubba: I also said a judge can be placed and bought! I just want the truth known. Bob, I have written a lot, too, but that don’t make me the expert. You have your opinion and I have mine. That’s what I love about the 1st Amendment.

Bubba: Oh, and I do want a trial in a changed venue!

Bob McCarty Writes: So, you want a trial without a grand jury decision first? If so, you would fit in well with the Ferguson protesters. But I doubt that’s the case. Hope it is anyway.

Bubba: I never said I didn’t want a jury…that’s precisely what I want, with a fair and impartial judge.

Bubba: Bob, if you compare me to that Ferguson gang again, I will “block” you from be so ignorant on my page!!!! That one deserves an apology.

Bob McCarty Writes: I’ll save you that step. [Translation: I “unfriended” him on Facebook.]

Again, Bubba could still comment on the words in blue near the top of this piece, and he did.

In addition to rehashing the words in Part One above, he added more — and so did I. The conversation I’ll refer to as “Part Two” appears below:

Bubba: Bob, I appreciate that. You are a typical, book writing, know it all. I have not read any of your books, but I do hope for the sake of the ones that do, you don’t write with the same arrogance that you wrote here with.

Bubba: I am that so called “Ferguson sympathiser” Bob mentions. I think every one of them that disobeys an officer of the law should be jailed on the spot, tried, and let the judge or their peers decide their fate. Bob “skews” things. I wonder if he does that in his books??? Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis, Bubba

Bob McCarty Writes:  Gonna have to block you now, Bubba. You’ve gone lib on me with name-calling and personal attacks. Suggest you take a debate class. Adios.

Bubba: Oh, that is the complete conversation i posted for ole Bob above. I am an open book…got nothing to hide. Please read the conversation and you decide. Feel free to look at my page. If you like it, send me a friend request. Bubba

I added one more thing (see below) before deleting his comments so that I could post this long-winded piece:

Bob McCarty Writes:  The one thing Bubba forgot to include in his comments was his initial post that got things started.

After that, I kicked myself for failing to take a screenshot of the original Facebook status update in which Bubba skewered Cosby.

While I can tell you that it included a photo — from a linked news item, I think, but I’m not sure. The photo showed a protest sign that labeled Cosby a “pervert,” but I can’t tell you much more about it apart from the message it conveyed to me before any legal process had taken place: “Cosby is guilty!!!”

In short, Bubba’s status update reminded me of what Al Sharpton and so many others demanded on the fire- and smoke-filled streets of Ferguson, Mo., before any grand jury decision was announced. They wanted someone to pay a heavy price before guilt had been determined.

Don’t get me wrong. This piece has nothing to do with whether or not Cosby committed the alleged sexual assaults for which he stands accused by so many women; instead, it has everything to do with civil discourse and fair administration of justice. Instead, it begs the question, Do we really want to do away with the grand jury system and subject ourselves to a justice system more akin to mob rule than truth? Some Americans believe we are near a dangerous tipping point. Do you?

NOTE TO BUBBA: Yes, I do skew things in my books. In my nonfiction books, Three Days In August and The Clapper Memo, I skew toward the truth instead of relying on gossip, hearsay and conjecture. In my fiction novel, The National Bet, I skew toward realism and drama. You should read them to broaden your horizons a bit.

UPDATE 1/7/2015 at 4:39 p.m. Central:  I never expected the controversy over the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby to spill over into the subject matter of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, but it did today in London. [Note to Cosby: Do not, under any circumstances, accept such an offer.]

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.