A True Crime or A Political Ruse?

By: The Arizona republic

There does appear to be a crime committed in the 30-year-old case of Mark Mitchell vs. an anonymous alleged-sexual-assault accuser.

But the allegations leveled against Tempe mayoral candidate Mitchell are sufficiently vague and, often, contradictory to question which crime, exactly, has been committed.

Is it a case of sexual assault? An attack committed in the early 1980s, when the accuser may have been 10 years old and the accused perhaps as young as 13?

Or is there a mean-spirited political crime at work here? Mitchell, who denies that any of the alleged sexual incidents took place, contends that the campaign of his opponent for mayor is at the bottom of an insidious whisper campaign. All of it, he says, is cooked up and false.

We can only deal now with what we know.

We do know that Tempe voters have found Mitchell’s character suitable to keep him on as a City Council member for 12 years. We know he has been an upstanding citizen as an adult, willing to serve his community.

And we do know campaigners for Mitchell’s opponent, Michael Monti, have been hawking the sexual-assault story for weeks to reporters. At the same time, they have been insisting vehemently that the story did not initiate from them.

Sexual assault is a terrible crime. No one should diminish an iota a serious accusation raised by a credible victim.

But voters must weigh what they believe is the truth in what has been laid before them now.

Are they witness to evidence of a credible crime committed by a child 30 years ago? Or are they seeing evidence of brutal politics at play?

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2012/05/10/20120510editorial0511-true-crime-political-ruse.html#ixzz1uartUGuN

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