On Tuesday of this week, the Kansas City Star ran an AP article headlined, “High school rape gets drawn into immigration debate.”
Two students at a Maryland high school, one of them an 18-year-old illegally in the country from Guatemala, are accused of raping a 14-year-old girl in a school bathroom.
Understandably, this story has gotten national media attention, however reluctantly, in no small part because the “undocumented” alleged rapist, Henry Sanchez, was apprehended by Border Patrol, ordered to appear before an immigration judge and let loose to enroll in high school.
Sanchez’s 17-year-old partner in crime is likely illegal as well, but authorities will not admit as much because he is a minor.
A story that has not gotten attention beyond Kansas City, however, involves a rape that took place a month ago on the campus of the University of Missouri, Kansas City, UMKC.
Despite the nationwide focus on campus rape, this story has passed unnoticed because the Kansas City Star, a McClatchy newspaper, has suppressed the “illegal” angle of the story.
Yes, the Star reported the rape, most recently on March 13, but then only because of the furor that broke out on campus.
All that Star readers would learn about the rapist – and this 12 paragraphs deep in the story – was that police identified him as “Juan Contreras of Colorado.”
In the way of background, Juan Contreras, an illegal alien from Mexico, raped a woman in a UMKC dorm. It is likely he drugged her at a dance he and the woman attended together.
For certain, Contreras carried her unconscious into her dorm and had sex with her obviously without her consent.
There was undoubtedly a lapse in UMKC security. Someone failed to prevent Contreras from carrying his victim into the dorm, but that is not the problem student activists hoped to address, and the student misdirection was fine with the Star.
A meeting with UMKC administration last week dealt less with practical security concerns and more with “rape culture” as a “broader, societal phenomenon.” Said one staff member, the silence surrounding rape and rape culture “allows it to flourish.”
Speaking of silence, the University News agreed not to record the meeting at the request of a university PR specialist “to provide a safe space for students and others to speak.”
If any of those speakers addressed the issue of Contreras’ illegal presence in the country, the U-News did not report it.
Not unlike the hysteria about racism that flourished on the University of Missouri Columbia campus in 2015, this one is being ginned up in no small part by people who draw their identity from their status as victims.
Even if the university wanted to discourage the casual hook-up culture that can lead to date rape, the student body would rebel.
On an urban campus like UMKC, however, there is a real danger of sexual assault by strangers. Preventing this, as far as is practically possible, is the responsibility of the university and the media.
Students, however, have a responsibility as well. They should be wary of non-students like Contreras, those who have no stake in society, in the campus, or in their well-being.
At the very least they certainly should be allowed to talk about the subject, and the Star should be encouraging them to talk. The UMKC case, like the Maryland case, should become part of the national immigration debate.
Instead, Star editors mimic Jack Smith, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, who told the press, “Some try to make this into an issue of immigration. We would like to change the conversation.”
Smith was covering his butt. The Star is supposed to cover the news. “To change the conversation” is to betray its reason for being.
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