Thursday, June 23, 2016

Presumed Innocent: Indianapolis Councilor Has Criminal Complaint Filed Against Him By Private Citizen w/Update & Correction

The Indianapolis Star reports:
A 19-year-old man accused City-County Council Vice President Zach Adamson of rape, an allegation that Adamson has strongly denied.
The incident was reported to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on June 20, according to police records obtained by IndyStar. Documents indicate the alleged
incident happened last September.
"We are working with  the Marion County prosecutor’s office on the investigation and any public comment will be released by the prosecutor’s office," said IMPD Lt. Rick Riddle in a statement.
Adamson also issued a statement denying the allegations.
“I’ve only recently become aware of accusations against me, which are completely untrue and without merit," Adamson said. “Unfortunately, it appears I’ve become a target of ridiculous accusations. These allegations of impropriety are false. I can’t say that any more strongly.
“Until it is resolved, I’ll refrain from further comment and refer all questions to my attorney, Kathleen Sweeney."
First, let me just say I consider myself a friend of Zach's and I assume he considers me a friend as well.  Knowing him, I have trouble believing that he has a dark, sinister side that I am not aware of.  The fact that something like this was not reported until 9 months after it supposedly happens makes me doubt the accusation even more.

Contrary to what some may think, "victims" do sometimes make up stories. It is a situation I know all too well. Shortly after graduating from law school,  I had a classmate who I'd been friends with for years file for a protective order against me with the bizarre claim that she was afraid I might attack her....though I had never once done so up to that point.  It was the most bizarre thing I ever experienced. She testified under oath in a deposition she did not know me and had never been alone with me.   It was completely false...we had been very good friends and had been alone together hundreds of times.  Hearing her testify though sent chills up my spine - I think she believed every word she was saying was true and could have probably convinced any jury.  The fact is she had had some mental health challenges, let's call them, and I foolishly did what I thought good friends did - try to be there to help her through her issues.  I had no idea what she was capable of doing.  None.  A painfully long story made short, I got the court to order her to undergo a psych test.  She decided to dismiss the case after her examination but before the psychologist could issue what I expected (I talked to the psychologist) would have been a negative report on her mental health.

From time to time, political enemies of mine will bring up this 26 year old lawsuit in an effort to try to smear my character.  Of course, the story of the "victim" not knowing me and needing a protective order because I might suddenly attack her is, upon reflection, ridiculous. So they conveniently change the allegation to the more believable, but never asserted, "stalking."  I have come to accept that there people who will jump at the chance to lie about what happened to tarnish my reputation.  I'm confident there is a special place in hell waiting for those people who will do that sort of thing.

It is so easy to lodge allegations against someone in court.  Even when those allegations are of a sexual nature, many times they are not true.  That's why our legal system presumes people, with respect to all crimes, are innocent until proven guilty.  My friend, Zach, deserves that same presumption of innocence, and the fact he is a public figure does not change that.

UPDATE:  In early August, the Special Prosecutor appointed to review the evidence concluded: "I determined criminal charges were not merited based on the information we had."  As a result, Adamson has been cleared of any potential criminal prosecution as a result of the allegations made against him. This is certain welcome, but certainly not unexpected, news.  This is the link to the follow-up story I wrote about the charges not being pursued.

CORRECTION:  The original headline talked about a "criminal charge" being filed. That was an extremely poor choice of words on my part.  A private citizen filed a criminal "complaint" against Zac Adamson,, which simply involves filling out a form at the prosecutor's office and can be done regardless of what proof actually backs up those allegations.  But it is the prosecutor who decides whether to file "charges," a decision that should be backed by some level of factual support. While lay people may inaccurately use the terms interchangeably, words matter, and I, as an attorney, should not have made that lay mistake in penning the story.  I apologize to Zac and his family and to anyone who might have reached the wrong conclusion from the erroneous headline.


Anonymous said...

There is no question in my mind that these allegations against Councillor Adamson are false.

leon dixon said... Hmm...So Trump follows the law but doesn't get a pass from Paul? As to your political enemies may they ES&D.

Anonymous said...

I remember when "Raoul" brought that up years ago! What a doofus he is!

Paul K. Ogden said...

Leon, Not sure the relevance, but I'll bite. When has Donald Trump followed the law? It was not legal to scam people out of their money via Trump University. It was not legal to be involved in the jewelry box scam that avoided paying sales tax by sending empty jewelry boxes to a fictitious New Jersey address where Trump didn't live. It's not legal to not pay people overtime or the money they're owed as employees or contractors. It's not legal to bring people here via H1B visa promising them $50,000 a year salaries and then pay them a pittance. It's not legal to bring foreign low skilled workers to the US to work at his Florida resort when there are plenty of local Americans here who could have been hired. It's not legal to not pay taxes. Even when it's legal to do something such as work with local government try to take a woman's home away via eminent domain for more parking for limos at his casino, it doesn't mean it's morally right to do so. Donald Trump is hardly a law abiding citizen. He's a two bit con man who is constantly walking out on financial and moral obligations.

Anonymous said...

This probably wont be approved...
Zach has assumed Paul Upton was guilty even though the case hasn't even gone to court yet. Why should we assume Zach is innocent when he does not afford Paul the same courtesy?

Christine Scales said...

I applaud your willingness to publicly speak on behalf of Zach and remind everyone of the "presumption of innocence" legal protections extended to each citizen. I wish to also voice my support for Zach Adamson as publicly as I did privately when I sent him the message that I stand with him.
Paul's example from his own life is a reminder to all of us, and particularly those who serve in public roles, and specifically, political ones. We can easily become the target of unfounded ugly allegations which could severely damage our reputations. I have been subjected to such damage created by falsehoods sent out in campaign mailers. It's a heartbreaking experience.
Please try to walk in the shoes of the person cavalierly being denigrated.
I have only known Zach to be a person willing to extend kindness and thoughtfulness to me and others in a multitude of ways. He tenderly and actively cares for the least among us-both of the human and small furry creature kind. It is my hope and prayer that Zach will soon be vindicated, and in the most public of ways, so all will know.

leon dixon said... Two points: KELO is the law of the land even if wrongly decided by fools bowing to a Masonic Court's previous knock it off about Trump and the takings clause.

As for your political enemies may they consume excrement, suffer, and die.

As for judges and the legal process a lot of people are getting tired of frivolous lawsuits and judges who are too damned subservient or deferential to the various administrative state petty tyrants and liars. It reminds me of the legal profession in Germany after Hitler made them subservient and deferential and complicit in the denial of basic human our crap legal profession is doing more and more of.

leon dixon said...

Isn't that Trump University matter being litigated under the presumption of innocent until proven guilty? Just asking.

Anonymous said...

It's good the prosecutor's recused himself for reasons of personal relationship. Yet it bears mention that former not guilty 2015 Colt Josh McNary had charges in his case immediately released to media.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Leon, Trump University is a civil case, not a criminal one. The presumption of innocence is only in criminal cases.

As far as eminent domain, have you forgotten what BSU tried to do to that Muncie businessman? Did you say at the time, they could do that so it was okay? I'm sorry but if it were any other candidate doing what Trump did to that old woman, trying to take her home for parking for limos at his casino you'd be lined up condemning that person...and rightfully so. But Trump, as always, gets a pass from the Trumpites. He literally could kill someone and the Trumpites would find a way to blame the victim or claim that the shooting was misreported. It's one excuse after another why Trump shouldn't be held accountable for his actions and words.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Zach is presumed innocent. It is likely that the rape allegation is being used to bully Zach for some reason known only to the 19-year-old male. People are not always who they seem to be. Many years ago, I attended meetings for women who had been in abusive relationships, and I learned of unusual tactics used to manipulate and bully women. I was always trying to figure out why the abusers used such bullying behavior. I was warned by the group, "If you can figure it out, then we are worried for you; that means you are just as sick as they are!"

Donald Trump misuses the law to bully people, and if they don't fight back, he wins. In Atlantic City, the property owners fought back, and Trump lost.

"In one case here, CRDA is acquiring a person's home in order to convey the land to Trump for surface parking. In the other two cases it is extinguishing two ongoing businesses each of which benefits from its location by acquiring and conveying land to Trump for green space. ...In this case a public agency, through the power of eminent domain, if successful, will have effectively created an assemblage of land for future development by Trump under circumstances where CRDA could not do so under N.J.S.A. 5:12-173.1-8 and where Trump is unable or unwilling to do so itself on the open market. When, how, and if the property is developed in the future will be outside the control of CRDA except for the fact that Trump,
a casino hotel operator, will have to develop and use the property consistent with the business in which it is already engaged.

In looking at the consequences and effects of these condemnation actions the court must conclude that under the circumstances present here, any potential public benefit is overwhelmed by the private benefit received by Trump in the form of assemblage and future control over development and use of parcels of prime real estate in Atlantic City. ...

For the reasons stated, when the court considers the consequences and effects of these three condemnation actions it must conclude that the primary interest served here is a private rather than a public one and as such the actions cannot be justified under the law. Accordingly a judgment shall be entered dismissing the actions.
Casino Reinvestment Dev. Auth. v. Banin, 320 N.J.Super. 342, 727 A.2d 102 (Law Div.1998)

According to The Washington Post, in September 2014, Trump Plaza closed its doors. "Trump’s name was still on the casino, but he no longer ran the enterprise — and he’d sued to have his name removed from the building, claiming it was too shabby to be associated with him."

Anonymous said...

It's reported a protection order has been filed. Has delayed release of original charges been a time buying effort on someone's part that's backfired as a protective order? If the alleged victim were a 19 year old woman, how would this story be handled? What would we think about a middle age guy in intimate company with a 19 year old woman who works under their professional direction even assuming it's consensual? Is PC fear driving avoidance of honest discussion and if so isn't that a problem of complicity? Regardless of where facts lead this story is tragic. The fact is charges have been filed & why compound this tragedy by ignoring that?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 11:18, my understanding and the media reports are that no charges have yet been filed.

Anonymous said...

PO- Charges referenced are synonymous with criminal accusations or complaint filed by the alleged victim that have not yet resulted in charges filed by police investigating the matter. What form is being followed here by police and prosecutor who share relationships and a party with the mayor?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 9:36,

Basically all that exists right now is an accusation of a crime. The prosecutor files the charges not the police, whose responsibility it is to investigate and turn that info over to the prosecutor. Curry, the Prosecutor, has indicated he will step down for a special prosecutor to consider the information.

Melyssa Hubbard said...

People have accused me of crimes more than once. Even a mayor did.

No good deed goes unpunished, Paul.

Thanks for standing up for our friend Zach.

Anonymous said...

Absence of charges is something of a clay model. Delay and they go away. Why or how does a prosecutor recuse themselves from something that isn't actionable?

LamLawIndy said...

Well, one of the duties of a Prosecutor's Office is SCREENING allegations to be sure that probable cause exists. Recusal is important even BEFORE screening to ensure that the appearance of impropriety doesn't exist.