Sunday, February 26, 2017

Senior (Part 7)


     The joint trial lasted five days, Jane testifying on three of them.  Knowing our presence would aggravate, Bekka and I sat in the rear, stepping in right before the opening gavel, and splitting as soon as the show was over.  Lance and Vance's statements after booking were considered the centerpiece for the prosecution, as the two boys had, in the course of their interviews, confirmed that Jane's account of things were pretty much spot on.  While neither of them said, "We had committing rape on our minds," both did say, in so many words, that Jane would be propositioned for sex, with both of them.  And if she said no, Lance had assured Vance that they'd start anyway, Jane was such a nympho that she'd get into it once things were moving along.  She was kinky, she'd probably love the fact that she'd initially been forced into it.
     Jane on the stand was cool, objective, unshakable.  She was essentially being asked to not only describe every single moment from when the doorbell rang until the arrival of Encinitas PD, she was also asked about what she was thinking at every step.  The defense attorney had channeled the asshole interviewer from EPD, asking why she hadn't just slammed the door when she saw Lance standing there.  "Lance and I split up in September.  While is was somewhat painful, I felt no genuine animosity for Lance, and he'd never shown any for me.  We attend the same high school and were both in drama club together, so we would have to at least be civil.  When Lance and Vance arrived at my house, it had been months since Lance and I had a real conversation, and even then there was no hostility.  Him showing up seemed a little odd, but I'd have no reason to suspect malice."
     "So when the two young men supposedly began acting in an aggressive manner, why didn't you close the door then?" asked the defense attorney.
     Jane slowly shook her head and said, "Because.... There was a sense of disbelief for me.  Lance is someone I trusted innately for an entire school year.  The entire time we dated, not once had I ever witnessed any signs of aggressive or violent tendencies.  Him getting aggressive with me was so out of character for him, I just don't think I was really processing it."
      "And you never wondered about the presence of Vance?"
     "I knew Vance was on the track team, I knew he and Lance hung out together sometimes.  He was just another guy from school.  So him and Lance are hanging out tonight, and apparently drinking.  Okay.  I'd have no reason to suspect malice from Vance."
     "When the doorbell rang, were you hoping it might be Lance and his friend, coming over to party with you?"
     "Objection," called the prosecutor.  "Speculation on the part of the defense.  Why not ask if Ms. Osborne was hoping it was space aliens?"
     "Sustained," said the judge.  "Proceed."
     "Ms. Osborne, you have a certain reputation at your school...." started the defense attorney.
     Apparently Jane had learned how to stare from the Hell's Angels, as she fixed one of those steel-bending glares on the attorney and smilingly replied, "I'm sure I have a few reputations at Carlsbad High.  Which one is on your mind?"
     "That you are very sexually active."
     "You can ask Lance about sexually active I am.  In my junior year, he was the person I was sexually active with.  And no one else."
     "So you were monogamous with Lance the entire time you dated?" asked the defense.
     "Spot on," Jane replied;.
     "How about before you dated Lance? Or afterwards?"
     Jane gave the attorney a you're-a-moron look and said, "How could I be monogamous with Lance if I wasn't dating him?"
     "Objection," called the prosecutor. 
     The judge looked at the defense attorney and intoned, "Ms. Osborne's sexual history or dating habits are not what we're examining today.  We care about the events of the night in question, do not pursue an examination of Ms. Osborne's personal life."
     "I am trying to show that Ms. Osborne's....  personal activities.... would cause young men to make certain assumptions about her."
     From the stand, Jane said, "Sir?  Just use the word 'slut,' it will save time."
     The judge looked at Jane and said, "Ms. Osborne, please do not interject from the stand."  He turned his attention back to the defense attorney and said, "Ms. Osborne's reputation as her school, or her personal proclivities, are not the subject of this trial.  You will base your questions on the events of the evening in question, and that is all."
     The defense attorney stared briefly at a corner of the stand, then continued. "Why did you allow the two young men to enter the house?"
     "I had no way of preventing them," Jane stated.  "Things were going downhill very fast.  Lance was blocking the door with his foot and had pulled on the tie of my robe, opening it.  Then Vance pulled the robe off of me.  I knew being in close contact with them would be dangerous at that point, so I spit in Vance's face and ran up the stairs.  They had already edged in close enough over the previous couple minutes there was no way to keep them out."
     "So, you run upstairs and grab a gun from a drawer in the kitchen."
     "How did you know the gun was there?"
     "My roommates, Lenny and Bekka, had shown me where it was, in case of an emergency.  This was definitely an emergency."
     "Would you have shot either young man?" asked the attorney.
      Jane gave a wolf-s grin and said, "If I believed they would try to attack me, even after I had the gun in my hands, absolutely.  In a heartbeat."
      "And you fired the gun twice."
     "Yes.  Once to keep Lance at his distance, I shot between his feet.  Then Vance became aggressive with me, so I fired at him.  He's very lucky, I did intent to wound him.  I merely grazed his arm."
     The defense attorney paused, then said, "How would the two young men get the impression that you would be interested in having a liaison with both of them at the same time?"
    Jane put her wolf's grin back on and replied, "Almost certainly from Lance getting drunk and running his mouth to Vance.  I'm sure Lance had bragged about his sexual history with me in the past.  Teenage boys tend to have sex in the forefront of their minds to begin with.  They can also have active imaginations.  Lance certainly reasoned that if Jane liked to do A, B, and C. then she probably also likes to do D, E, F, G, and the rest of the alphabet.  Lance simply looked back at our relationship, remembered the sort of fun we used to have together, and assumed I would be interested in all kinds of different activities."
     "Would Lance be wrong in those assumptions?"
     "Very much so.  While we were together, I would share fantasies with Lance.  However, I would remind him that these were fantasies, not things I wished to do in real life.  He should know me better than that, to assume a fantasy I may have shared with him implied a desire to act out the fantasy."
     After a pause, the defense attorney asked, "Ms. Osborne, have you been sexually abused in the past?"
     Jane stared straight at him for three seconds, then said, "Yes.  I was in an incestuous relationship with my father from age twelve to age sixteen....."
     The crowd began muttering to each other.  The judge banged his gavel for quiet, then said to Jane, "Continue."
     She sighed and said, "The start of that relationship was very coerced.  Basically, my father raped me the first four or five times.  But he would tell me now much he loved me afterwards, telling me he'd never do anything to hurt me.  My will was weak enough at the age of twelve that I stopped fighting him, cooperating instead."  She paused and stared down at the floor, showing her teeth.  Then she continued, "And, to be brutally frank, I began to really enjoy the physical pleasure of what we were doing.  So, I would accommodate my father willingly.  And he would always tell me how much he loved me, how special I was to him.  Our sexual relationship only ended when I left home at the age of sixteen."
     "So you take pleasure from sexual activity that is physically coerced," said the defense.
     Another stare, then Jane replied, "You weren't paying attention to what I just said.  The first four or five times I had sex with my father, it was him raping me.  He was larger, he was stronger, and I had no place to run to.  I didn't enjoy that at all, it was misery.  It took weeks of psychological manipulation on my father's part to get me to be cooperative.  One could say our relationship was consensual after a certain point, but that was due to my father's mental games.  Essentially, my father brainwashed me into accepting him as a sexual partner."  She paused and said, "If you think I enjoyed being physically assaulted and raped, you are a stupid, stupid man."
     "Maybe you shared your history with Lance, and gave the impression you had enjoyed the experiences," posited the defense attorney.
     "I never told Lance about me and my father.  Up until now, the only people who knew about us were myself, my father, Lenny Schneider, and Bekka Schneider.  I'm not sure if my mother was aware or not.  But my relationship with my father has been a very closely guarded secret.... Up until now, I suppose."  She paused to chuckle.  "The truth can be an ugly thing, can't it?"
     The murmuring from the audience had started back up, and had grown stronger over the previous couple of minutes.  The judge banged his gavel again and said, "Do you have any further questions to ask Ms. Osborne?"
     "No, your honor."
     "Then this court will take a fifteen minute recess."  He gave a single bang to the gavel and stood up, heading towards a side door.
     Jane stood up in the stand, spotted us, and began heading in our direction.  She had her arms out for a hug by the time she reached me.  We tightly squeezed each other, and I said, "Pet.... I'm so sorry you had to do that. You really didn't need to."
     "Maybe not," Jane shrugged with a smile.  "But I had an ulterior motive.  I figure Lance's family has always assumed I'm just some crazy nympho.  Maybe they'll have the deductive powers to figure out why I turned out to be the person I am.  I've said it before: my father warped me. and the warps are permanent.  Okay, I'm very oversexed.  But now they have a clue why, and will hopefully comprehend it's not just a personality quirk of mine.  Someone else made me the horny bitch I am."  She chuckled briefly, then looked at me and said, "But to be honest?  I kind of have a hunch I'd be a pretty horny bitch even without my history.  I'd just be a little more low-key."
     We went out to the Falcon and got in, so Jane could smoke.  Standing outside juvenile court with a lit cigarette is a bad idea, if you're under eighteen.... Although I suspect that, considering what she'd just told a full courtroom, Jane would probably get a pass.  Bekka jumped in back, then leaned forward and said, "You've done fantastic, pet."
     "I figured the defense attorney was gonna lean on me, so I was expecting it.  I went in with a steel rod in my back pre-installed.  And generally, neither the prosecutors or the judge is letting him get away with any shit."
     I commented, "The thing is, from what I can tell your reputation at school isn't really bad.  Yeah, you're a real wild and flamboyant person, and you're highly sexed, but no one thinks you're a slut.  They'd have no reason to think that, unless they extrapolate that just because you're highly sexed."  After a chuckle, I said, "Every boy in you school would love to be a slut.  They've got the drive, and would be overjoyed to constantly engage in nearly spontaneous sex.  Guys should be worthy of the label 'slut,' too."
     Bekka noted, "That's one of the implications of the word 'stud.'  In horse breeding, a stud is a male horse who is brought in to mate with whichever females they're trying to impregnate.  The male horse doesn't care, he's just happy because, once again, he's getting laid."
     We finished out cigarettes and went back in.  Jane resumed  her place at the prosecution table.  I stepped up with her to talk with our lawyer.
    "I loved the defense's attempts at cultivating innuendo," he said.  Looking at Jane, he asked, "If you don't mind me prying....  Do you have a bad reputation at your school?"
     Jane giggled at this.  "It depends on who you ask, and what you mean by 'bad.'  I have a terrible reputation with the administration.  I'm the blue-haired chick who dresses like a sex bomb, rides motorcycles and drives hot rods, puts up with shit from no one, is legally emancipated, which means they can't call my parents to complain about me.... And gets straight As.  So far as other students go, okay, Jane is the crazy chick, the one who lives large.  And Jane is really oversexed, it's always on her mind.  But I've never engaged in any slutty behavior, so it would be hard to successfully pin that label on me."
     I chimed in, "Among her fellow residents of the smoking section, Jane has probably done more to promote sexual equality than a thousand Camille Paglia essays.  Some headbanger would start sorta giving her shit for talking very honestly about sex.  She'd point out that teenage boys don't hold a patent on being horny, they're just the ones who it rides harder.  And at least she's honest about how she feels.  She doesn't do the coy little flirting games other girls engage in, like they're expecting guys to read their minds.  She encourages boys and girls to engage in honest, open communication about sex.  If they do that, people's feelings don't get hurt, there's no mixed signals, and everybody has a higher level of trust."
     The lawyer looked at Jane and said, "Just be very happy you're not in some suburban town in the Midwest.  You'd break people's brains."
      "Let's just say they're very repressed in those places."
     With a sharp smile, Jane said, "And one of the reasons I'm so honest and open about sexuality is to end that repression.  People can learn that being honest with each other, and themselves, on the subject of sex won't turn you into a pervert, God won't smite you down, and you actually are more relaxed about the subject, it stops feeling so scary."
     Looking off into the distance, the lawyer said, "Yeah, well, these are towns where the sex ed in public schools is the 'abstinence only' teaching.  Basically, kids, here's the biological blueprint for reproduction.  And all those urges you have?  Ignore them until you're married.  One of the slogans is, 'The Only Safe Sex Is No Sex.'  Haw!  And the people in those towns wonder why their teenage pregnancy rates are higher than in places with real sex ed."
     "What marvelous logic," I said.  "I'm sure the same people would try to get your mind off food by starving you to death."
     Jane groaned and rolled her eyes.  "Oh, God!  I swear, there are, like, so many places in this country I never want to go to.  Whole cities full of tight-assed, humorless, joyless, prigs that think sex is actually God's way of testing us.  If we give in to the urge, God hates us for being so weak, or something."
     :"Spot on," I said.  "If we're having sex for fun, that's time and energy we should be spending in prayer and worship.  So really, to those people God is actually Idi Amin without the uniform.  Worship him, be subservient, or pay the price."
     The judge came back in and got the ball rolling.

     The trial concluded, and sentencing was two days later.  Without a jury, juvenile court moves much faster than regular court.
     The bottom line: Lance Grisham, guilty on all four counts.  Vance Lewis, guilty on all five counts (he had a minor in possession of alcohol charge, too).  Both parents from both families pleaded leniency, of course.  And the judge was, to an extent.  Both young men would have a delay in starting their sentences, they wouldn't be incarcerated until after the school year ended.  Neither had any priors, and squeaky clean histories at school.  And this was attempted rape, not rape.  Lance got nine months, Vance got ten.
     Vicky still wasn't happy.  "Your honor, Lance should be starting at UC Santa Barbara in the fall."
     The judge gazed at Vicky and said, "He will still be able to enroll in the spring semester, if he's been accepted by UC.  Yes, there will be a delay in his college education.  But his education will not be derailed."
     Looking stiff as a board, Ross asked, "Where will Lance be serving his nine months?"
    "The CYA facility in Chino," the judge answered.
    "I'm familiar with the Chino facility," said Ross, looking tense.  "Should a kid like Lance really be there?  He's not a gang-banger, he's a good kid...."
    "Who has been convicted for attempting to commit a very violent and brutal crime," the judge said pointedly.  "Yes, Lance has stayed out of trouble and been a good student his whole life.  I took that very deeply into consideration, that's why his sentence is only nine months.  Mr. Ross, your stepson assaulted, and was going to rape, a seventeen year old girl.  I feel I am being extremely lenient with Lance.  So long as he keeps his nose clean and stays out of trouble while at Chino, Lance will be released, he will continue on with his life, and his conviction will remain sealed in the juvenile records, where he won't have the conviction hovering over his head when looking for a job or an apartment.  Given the gravity of the crimes he has been convicted for, Lance is going to have a very easy time of it, overall."
     As a cop, Ross had spent enough time in courtrooms to know better than argue with a judge.  He put his hand on Vicky's shoulder, and they exited the courtroom.  He aimed the briefest glance at me, Bekka, Jane, and our lawyer.  Vicky was staring openly at Jane, as though she was worried Jane would shoot lasers out of her eyes, cutting down everyone present.  (I knew of Vicky's visit from Rizzo and the boys.  Vinny had simply said, "Don't worry, the problem is taken care of.  They didn't have to get heavy, we got our message across, and the message seemed to be taken seriously.")
     We took the lawyer out to dinner at Evelyn's.  He was amused they served Jane.  He was even more amused by Jane's order of Wild Turkey over ice, hardly a drink most seventeen year old girls would enjoy.  He asked her, "I'm curious about something.  When you were asked about if you'd been sexually abused, you told of a situation which most people would be unable to discuss without a lot of emotion coming through, if they were willing to discuss it at all.  I'm amazed you responded how you did, and the way you did.  Have you had any counseling?"
     "No," Jane re[plied.  "In my own head, I've been able to deal with my father's abuse in an objective manner.  I know what he did wasn't my fault, I didn't somehow ask for it.  When it came to his psychological manipulation, I kind of allowed him to do it.  I figured, well, he's gonna keep doing this with me, no matter what, and just allowing it makes it way easier than trying to struggle and fight.  So at a certain level, I let myself believe he really was trying to show how much he loved me, like he'd always say to me."  She paused, then, "And this probably sounds horrible, but the physical pleasure made his abuse easier to cope with.  I had my first vaginal orgasm, and was like, 'Okay, here's one hell of a silver lining.'  And I had enough objective self-awareness to know I didn't come because it was my father fucking me, I came because I was getting fucked, it was a physical reaction that anyone with a penis could theoretically cause in me.  So.... It was just sort of a part of life.  I never threatened to tell on him, but my father was very indulgent of me, to keep me happy.  Most fourteen year old girls can't ask their dads to buy them a twelve-pack of Budweiser, buy I could ask my dad.  Other girls had curfews, and I never did.  If I felt like going out to dinner on any given night, I"d just ask Dad, and he'd smooth it over with Mom.
     "He could have been a lot worse.  He could have gotten off on beating me, or engaging in physical force.  He could have pimped me out, or shared me with his buddies.  He could have just treated me like it was my duty a chore I'd been assigned, and just used me like an inflatable doll.  Every time, he'd always tell me how much he loved me and how special I was.  He didn't start fucking me out of hate or contempt or control, he just decided his young teenage daughter was hot."
     "Have you ever considered prosecuting him?" asked the lawyer.
      Sighing, Jane said, "Every now and then.  But really?  At this point, that would mean spending God knows how much time back in Gainesville, and I just don't want to be bothered.  He wasn't a serial child molester, and I don't have any sisters, so it's not like I'd be protecting anyone by sending him to prison.  Besides, I believe in karma.  And I'm sure that karma will bite him on the ass in a big way, sooner or later."
     The lawyer rubbed his chin and stared at Jane from across the table.  "You're pretty philosophical about your abuse.  Especially for a teenage girl."
     "I kind of have to be.  Lenny and Bekka were the only two people I came to trust and love well enough to tell the truth.  Lenny had sort of guessed at it anyway.  But like I said, yes, it was abuse.  But it could have been much, much worse.   Besides, it's over with now.  Lenny and Bekka love me unconditionally, which is a hard thing to do with a teenage girl."  Everyone chuckled.  "What he did was sick, and wrong, and offensive.  Every culture in the history of the world has had a major taboo against incest.  So obviously, incest is a really bad thing, right?  Well, shit, I survived an incestuous relationship with my brains and self-worth intact, so I must be a pretty damn strong person.  That's how I like to think about it, anyway."
     Reaching across the table, the lawyer put his hand on Jane's and said, "With your personal strength, you're going to go places in the world."
     Jane grinned at him and said, "Are you familiar with Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley?"  The lawyer answered in the affirmative.  "I've already been accepted.  You're goddamn right I'm going places."
     In a sarcastic voice, I said, "We just need to work on Jane's self-confidence a little more.  She shouldn't be so unsure of herself, you know?"
     Bekka laughed and said, "Teddy Roosevelt could have only dreamed of having Jane's self-confidence."

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