By Samuel Strait – May 24, 2017 It looks like the Triplicate and its editor Robin Fornoff have finally felt that they have milked the Scott Feller witch hunt in Crescent City of 2017 for all its worth and are moving on to the mundane and their normal course of fare that is boring us to death with Section B stories on the front page. I also hope that Ruth Rhodes was not too disappointed that her petition effort to fire Scott Feller did nothing to further the cause of “Gender Equality”. Maybe next time?
Yet, before we move on, and I know this may not find favor in the arena of Public Discourse, after all Ruth, in terms of Sexual Harassment, gender has very little to do with equality. It might be instructive to look at this case built entirely on unproven allegation, where facts might be buried which would give the public a better idea of what is what. To begin with, a perceptive person might question a comment made in one of the pile on crusaders against Scott Feller, Miep Roan O’Brien, who claimed, “that women rarely make up stories about Sexual Harassment”. In actual fact, that may be true for sexual assault, but the numbers might surprise you when talking about sexual harassment. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about 7,000 claims of sexual harassment have been filed in each of the last five years. Of those claims filed, and by no means is this representative of all sexual harassment instances, only 25% of those claims are found to have “reasonable cause” for the Commission to pursue. Fully 55% of the cases are found to be without REASONABLE CAUSE TO PURSUE. Bet that factoid would surprise most of the local witch hunters. In addition, a further 22% of cases are dismissed for administrative reasons. The EEOC further states that very few cases of sexual harassment are litigated, unless sexual assault is a part of the complaint. In that tiny fraction of less than 6%, the sexual harassment complaint fairs only slightly better than 25%, All in all, slightly better than 75% of all cases of sexual harassment submitted for review by the EEOC are dismissed.
That being said, and I know that public perception isn’t going to change much, there are ways for the public to get a better notion of what happened with Scott Feller as director of RHS by revealing a few things that were in the Triplicate, yet nothing further was made of those details.
First of all, it seemed that all of the complaints made by known employees and unnamed people were associated with the Harrington House. As someone mentioned in a comment in the Crescent City Times, her experiences with people who sexually harass normally have a history of that kind of behavior. Since Scott Feller has lived in this area for some time, it would support any case of sexual harassment if someone other than those associated with the Harrington House were to come forward. After all RHS provides many other services which likely would put Mr. Feller in contact with other female employees. Church maybe? Or some other venue.
Next, it has been alluded that because an insurance settlement was reached in one case, he must be guilty of something, not so fast. As I covered in the piece “Scott Feller’s Predicament”, insurance settlements are nearly always made with the cost of litigation in mind. It can almost be as good a sign that the allegations are weak or false with a settlement as litigation has its problems on both sides of the case which more often than not doesn’t appear to end well for the person bringing the claim. Lawyers know this and very often will negotiate a settlement, knowing that insurance companies have a settlement number in mind.
What really is troubling about this witch hunt by the Triplicate and others, is that the Triplicate continues to refer to an investigative report that supports the allegations, yet does not publish the findings in the investigators words. In addition the reporting by the Triplicate muddies the waters as to what is the source of the report. An RHS hired investigator? Someone hired by the RHS attorney? Or somebody hired by who knows who? It would seem that if the Triplicate really was interested in a resolution to this allegation of sexual harassment it would be a simple matter of producing the investigator’s report showing what was found to support charges of sexual harassment against Scott Feller. How can it be any simpler? Unless the Triplicate hasn’t seen any report of that nature and the real story is to be found in the CCTimes story, “Rural Human Services Hires investigator on Scott Feller Sexual Allegations”. This story claims no support for the sexual harassment allegations. So what is it Triplicate, where’s the beef?
While there are a number of other troubling details found in both the Triplicate’s reporting and the pile on witch hunter comments found in the Triplicate’s “Letters to the editor”, there is another way to reveal the truth of the allegations of which the Triplicate is silent about. In this age of modern technology there was stated in one of the Triplicate’s stories of the claim that there was recorded phone conversations of Scott Feller which show the alleged sexual harassment. Nothing simpler than to make a transcript of those conversations and publish them. Unless they aren’t what they claim to be.
The bottom line at this point is that there is nothing but unproven allegations of sexual harassment, opinions, and hearsay against Scott Feller, yet public opinion never mentions that detail. We are, supposed to be in a country that allows a person innocence until a reasonable level of proof is provided otherwise. To me at least, it seems there is no proof yet, and that there is a whole level of proof to be explored before Scott Feller is burned at the stake. I see that it is a possibility that it could happen, yet no one is making much of an effort to see beyond the “He said, She said” at all. The fact that Scott Feller resigned should not become a comfort zone where something has “Happened.” What is the truth here?