Ken Buck spokesman: Rape case stories smears that may scare women away from reporting

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Ken Buck.
On Monday, we told you about Ken Buck's decision not to prosecute an alleged 2005 rape, which liberal organizations view as evidence that he lacks compassion for women.

Buck spokesman Owen Loftus sees something different -- an unfair assault on Buck's character that exploits the woman at the center of this particular incident even as it potentially makes other women less willing to step forward if they become victims.

The 2005 incident involved a University of Northern Colorado student who went public anonymously the following year after Buck, in his capacity as Weld County district attorney, decided not to prosecute what she said was an example of date rape. In a 2006 Greeley Tribune article, Buck explained that "a jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer's remorse" due to the facts of the case.

Previously, Buck laid out some of the obstacles to a successful prosecution amid a meeting with the victim. In the session, Buck told her, "You had consumed a lot of alcohol. You had a prior relationship. According to him, you were naked from the top up when he came into the bedroom."

She had also called to invite the man to come over -- but both she and the man confirmed that she said "no" to sex on multiple occasions.

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Kjersten Forseth.
During a September 21 news conference highlighting Buck's opposition to abortion in cases of rape and incest, Kjersten Forseth, executive director of the liberal organization ProgressNow Colorado, mentioned the "buyer's remorse" comment, but none of the media organizations followed up on it. However, the Colorado Independent's Scot Kersgaard, who hadn't been able to attend the press event, contacted ProgressNow after being sent a release and the Tribune article. He asked to speak to the victim, who Forseth had been in touch with for several months. After checking with the woman, Forseth says she put her and Kersgaard together.

The Monday Colorado Independent story that resulted featured a transcript of Buck's meeting with the victim, which had been recorded, while a Huffington Post piece published yesterday included an audio clip edited to obscure the woman's identity. The Michael Bennet campaign promoted the HuffPo item in a subsequent e-mail blast, leading to its mainstreaming in today's Denver Post.

Loftus's take on the brouhaha? "This is a coordinated attack by ProgressNow," he says. "They've been trying to push this story for months, but no news organization was picking it up. So they pushed it to their sister organization, the Colorado Independent."

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