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Cee Lo Green: It's Not Rape if You Don't Remember

02-Sep-2014

Sometimes, it seems as if Twitter is nothing more than a platform for celebrities to say idiotic things and get themselves into trouble. Singer-songwriter and former The Voice judge Cee Lo Green is the latest to put his foot in his mouth after a couple of controversial tweets about rape.

Green was criminally charged after a woman says he drugged her without her knowledge and raped her after she was unconscious. Green admitted to having a sexual encounter with the woman but claimed it was consensual. A prosecutor dropped the rape charge due to insufficient evidence, but Green was still charged with a felony drug crime for spiking the woman's drink. Cee Lo pleaded no contest to the drug charge of supplying ecstasy, and was sentenced to 3 years of probation and 360 hours of community service.

After his sentence, however, he took to Twitter to try to rebuff the rape accusation, and in doing so, he unleashed a hailstorm of criticism that caused him to delete the offensive tweets and temporarily deactivate his account.

First, he addressed his no contest plea, which essentially allows him to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that the evidence against him would likely lead to conviction. He tweeted, "so if I TRIED but did NOT succeed but the person said I DID then what really happened?"

If this is meant to maintain his innocence, he seems to be going about it the wrong way--is he arguing that someone is not culpable for an attempted crime simply because he or she was unable to complete the act? This statement is proof positive of why criminal defense attorneys say you should never, ever speak to anyone except your lawyer about your case.

That first tweet just made Cee Lo look stupid. His next comments, however, enraged readers when he wrote that there is no rape without evidence, that it is not rape if the victim is unconscious, and that simply being with someone implies your consent to sex:

  • “When someone brakes on a home there is broken glass where is your plausible proof that anyone was raped.”
  • "Women who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!"
  • "If someone is passed out they're not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent."

Cee Lo issued a quasi-apology prior to deleting the posts, de-activating his account, and then re-instating it without the offending tweets. He said that he was sorry that his comments were taken "so far out of context," and that he does not condone the harm of women. Still, for most people, the apology is too little, too late. His offensive comments, once unleashed, cannot easily be taken back.

Ignoring the moral reprehensibility of implying that sex with an unconscious person is not rape, let us look at what the law says about sex with someone who is unconscious.

In Oklahoma, there are seven acts which constitute first degree rape enumerated in 21 O.S. § 1114. Among those are two acts which pertain to the allegations in the Cee Lo Green case:

  • "rape accomplished where the victim is intoxicated by a narcotic or anesthetic agent, administered by or with the privity of the accused as a means of forcing the victim to submit; 
  • or rape accomplished where the victim is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act and this fact is known to the accused"

According to state law, a person being unconscious during sex does not eliminate the act of rape--it creates it. An unconscious victim is a defining feature of first degree rape, not a mitigating factor.

Whether or not Green's accuser was actually raped will remain unknown.  However, the musician's offensive tweets make him look guilty, misogynistic, and stupid. His PR team will have their work cut out for them.



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