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October  11

Montclair Rape Update

Now we don't feel so bad about not being the first to hear about the football scandal. Local officials forgot to tell Mayor Ed Remsen as well. Remsen, who took some heat here and on the Cooler for his comments to the New York Times on the footballer rape case, explained that his comments were off the cuff because he didn't find out about the story until it broke in the newspapers. We asked Remsen how that could be, since school officals knew about it by last Wednesday, two days before the story broke. He tells us that town manager Joe Hartnett and police chief David Sabagh, both new to their jobs, failed to brief him. Remsen plans to get a full briefing from Hartnett, Sabagh and schools superintendent Frank Alvarez today ... Essex County prosecutors are still deciding whether to try the accused football players, 15 and 16, as adults ... You think it's easy to cover a high school rape case story? The New York Times put five reporters and one rewrite man on the case ... The story breaks at just the wrong time for the Montclair Times, the day after its weekly publication, but they caught up in their electronic edition yesterday... Surprise, surprise, the residents of Montclair don't like press coverage of the story, particulary a line in the first New York Times story about "gritty streets with hair-braiding parlors." .... And denizens of Glen Ridge, where a high school athlete rape case rocked the town in 1989, are unhappy about the inevitable comparisons.

October 11, 2004 in Scandal | Permalink


I think it is inexcusible and/or unbelievable that Remsen and Co. "didn't find out about it until it broke in the newspapers." You would have to be living in cave not to have heard about the case on the local news channels. How come thousands of John & Jane Q. Publics knew about the case before our elected officials? I, for one, don't buy it.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Oct 11, 2004 9:21:59 AM

Maybe he didn't watch the news that night? I think I noticed an article in the 'Ledger,' but didn't read the first coverage.

Also, I felt that the 'Times' painted a clear picture of the divisions in Montclair. It may not be pretty because it isn't always pretty. For those of us who know the town, we can see more shades of difference, for those who don't, the writer illustrated with words.

Posted by: Kevin Lee Allen | Oct 11, 2004 10:34:44 AM

I too find it a bit difficult to believe that the mayor didn't find out about the story till Thursday-- when the complaint was made to the police on Tuesday. But, since he's publicly stating that the police chief and town manager didn't tell him, I can only conclude that it must be true.

As for the divisions in the town, of course they are real, but the writers of the story made it sound like half the town is filled with Newark-like projects! Drive around the South End-- that is patently false. And the statement about the 14-year-old black girls in miniskirts peddling for small change or however it was phrased-- was racist and inexcusable. Are the 14-year-old Upper Montclair white girls somehow pure and innocent, as compared to these hos? Disgusting.

Posted by: latebloomer | Oct 11, 2004 10:54:44 AM

I find it incredibly hard to believe that the mayor didnt know about the rape. And, if he didn't, well, then he's not doing his job very well, nor is he representing Montclair very well in the press! Perhaps he should have just referred the reporter to call Hartnett. Oh, and I love how he passes the buck onto the town manager and sheriff for his lack of knowledge...sounds like a Bush thing to do!

Anyway, I found the NYTimes articles full of subtle racisms and sexisms...there was mentionings of all the "young 14 yr old girls in mini skirts" (as if somehow that means you deserve it, or as if young white girls dont wear miniskirts) and the "gritty side of town".

I mean, seriously, what the hell does the side of town have anything to do with it?? It doesn't serve any purpose to the story, other than trying to put classism and racism into it.

Posted by: Butchcjg2 | Oct 11, 2004 10:58:12 AM

Biased reporting at the New York Times? I'm shocked! *Shocked* I tell you!

Thank goodness we have other outlets like CBS!

Posted by: Right of Center | Oct 11, 2004 11:09:02 AM

"Maybe he didn't watch the news that night?"

I'm sorry but if you're the Mayor, it's kinda your yob to know what's going on in town.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Oct 11, 2004 11:25:47 AM

"I'm sorry but if you're the Mayor, it's kinda your yob to know what's going on in town."

I think it is unreasonable to expect him (or anyone for that matter) to know *everything* going on in town. But even so, I don't fault him for not knowing. What did you expect him to do with the 'knowing' anyway?

Posted by: Right of Center | Oct 11, 2004 12:05:40 PM

"I think it is unreasonable to expect him (or anyone for that matter) to know *everything* going on in town. But even so, I don't fault him for not knowing. What did you expect him to do with the 'knowing' anyway?"

No, he's not expected to know about "everything" but I think a rape allegation involving juveniles falls into the category of "something big."
Simply, he should be at least as well informed as the average citizen.
as the avergae cit

Posted by: Miss Martta | Oct 11, 2004 1:01:11 PM

Another imposter poster posing as a possible, but not probable, purveyor of pique! .

I would never say such a thing. 98% of all my friends are Liberals and quite smart!

Thank goodness someone's *real* voice can come through if it has been well established.

Wronggy-Right, you'll have to try harder!

Posted by: Right of Center | Oct 11, 2004 2:27:39 PM

What does Bush, Kerry, liberalism, Zoroastrianism, whatever have to do with this?

For the record, I'm a Republican.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Oct 11, 2004 3:44:29 PM


Nothing at all. Somone posting as 'Right of Center' who is not Right of Center (as in me) said:

"This just goes to show the stupidity of bush-hating liberals."

I suppose to make me look bad. So I had to make it clear I would not say such a thing. I guess I didn't.

Anyway, the topic has *nothing* to do with parties.

Posted by: Right of Center | Oct 11, 2004 3:51:47 PM

Perhaps (I certainly hope so) someone has already commented in this vein...but why the hell is it a "football players rape scandal?" Unless, just possibly, the idea is to characterize (young, here, but it probably applies across the chronological spectrum) men who play or follow this violent sport as thus fated to play out their bloodlust with the opposite sex? Would it have been any worse or any different if the accused had been, say, members of the chess club? Dungeons and Dragons freaks? And how about soccer players and/or fans? In both Europe and Latin America, they seem to account for an awfully large number of gang beatings and rapes. There's an unfortunate tendency to link interest in football to criminal behavior. But scumbags are scumbags and scuzzballs are scuzzballs when they go wrong whatever their other interests. The two youths currently accused are rape suspects who are apparently also members of a high school football team. But they're not accused of rape specifically because they're football players. At least they shouldn't be. There's too much typification of both football players and fans just itching to commit sexual mayhem. But that doesn't necessarily come with the territory, and it obviously has to be said again and again and again.

Posted by: cathar | Oct 11, 2004 8:12:57 PM

Heavens, no. I don't think anyone wants to associate a particular pastime with a negative social characteristic.

Except for students who play Dungeons and Dragons, of course. Because everyone knows that they're "freaks." They probably worship Satan or something. As a matter of fact, let's search their lockers.

Stereotypes aside, I think the identification of the suspects as football players is a combination of the obvious comparisons with Glen Ridge `89 and the general perception that athletes (from high school up to the pros) are often given a wink and a license to behave outside accepted norms.

Witness the mayor's initial comments: "Obviously, kids who are athletes sometimes go out and drink, but this doesn't sound right even for athletes." He can backpedal all he wants, but we all know that there are no circumstances under which he might have substituted "honor students" for "athletes" in that sentence.

I'm not blaming the mayor for being a product of our culture (but geez, Mr. Mayor. I mean, duh), but let's not pretend that a double standard doesn't exist.

Posted by: David P. Powell | Oct 12, 2004 9:40:24 AM

Okay, so the mayor sounded like a numbskull on this one. That seems obvious. But very few mayors, I gather, are ever renowned for their eloquence. (Giuliani post-9/11 might be an exception, and I'd personally cite Ed Koch, too.) And no, I agree, athletes aren't entitled to special treatment. Not in any sport. (You just try telling them that when one shows up with a passel of friends at a club, however.)

Posted by: cathar | Oct 12, 2004 2:23:36 PM

I'm originally from Jersey and didn't hear of the story until today when I read the Times online.

The media coverage has been pretty bad from what I'm getting and the subtle references to them being athletes is code I think for "black," as well as their mention of the progressive nature of the town and how integrated it is.

Almost like they're trying to bait you into figuring it out - none of the other stories I'd read explicitly said anything about race other than the Times. But then, I'm about 2,000 miles away

Posted by: Ron | Oct 18, 2004 9:19:53 AM

I just saw the film on lifetime today. I live nearby and eventhough it has happened years ago already, my views completely changed about 'the jocks.' Another situation that just happens everyday in each society..Justice being in the hands of the 'powerful' in this case. MONEY and a great mind used in the dumbest reasons. Thank you.

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