The “Ethicist” column in the New York Times Magazine has a rather intriguing piece up today titled, “Do I Have to Tell About a Co-Worker’s Rape?”
Intriguing because it deals with the rape of an intern for an unnamed politician that was covered-up by senior members of the campaign when it was reported seven years ago:
From the New York Times:
My first job out of college was at a major political campaign. Late in the year, an intern told me she had been raped by one of my colleagues and that campaign higher-ups made the problem go away. I’m not sure what that means, but the police weren’t involved, nothing made the news, all the people involved kept their jobs. To my knowledge, this young woman told me and one other colleague. I kept the secret to myself for the last seven years until the other night. I let slip to a journalist friend the very basics of what happened, and now I’m being asked for contacts who can confirm that it happened.
Now here comes the part that makes it interesting. The politician in question is running again:
The candidate I worked for is running again. I still support the candidate, and I do not want the opponent in office. On the other hand, I am aghast that the organization would cover up such a heinous crime.
There it is. We have allegations of a heinous crime that was covered up seven years ago and that the candidate for which this intern worked is running again. Who is it? Can anyone think of any candidate that might fit this profile?
It’s “tantalizing,” to say the least:
What could be worse, however, is that none of the actual “ethicists” who opined on this awful crime focus on the cover-up or the rape and they actually think that the person who wrote the letter is the problem:
Amy Bloom: Also, although I appreciate the letter writer feeling ashamed for not saying anything at the time, I think he or she ought to be ashamed for saying something now to a journalist friend without permission. The intern didn’t say, “I’m going to tell you this, and I hope whenever it suits you in the course of a conversation you share this with a journalist.” I realize that she didn’t forbid that — or at least we don’t know that she did — but the thing that’s wrong now is that the letter writer brought it up.
Yoshino: I really hope this journalist friend can be prevailed upon not to make this story public unless and until the intern makes it known that she wishes to make it public.
Appiah: One reason we don’t have the right to settle this question is that you haven’t consulted the woman. But another is that you have absolutely no idea what happened. You don’t know, for example, whether this woman is actually telling the truth. This is an allegation you’ve heard in a conversation with the person.
Interesting takes from these ethicists.