July 11 letters to the editor

Dear Editor,

We support Ryann Bosetti and believe her testimony. We regret that the interpretation by Texas courts of “consent” does not take into account the traumatic nature of these circumstances and a woman’s vulnerability in them. We are dismayed by the pattern of discrediting these accounts and fear it will deter others from speaking up. We strongly disagree with Attorney DeGuerin’s comment that Bosetti coming forward diminishes the credible claims of other survivors. We stand in support of anyone who has experienced violation, abuse, or assault. We thank Bosetti for her bravery, and hope that her personal sacrifice will eventually lead to restorative remedies for survivors in the future, despite this setback.

Adrian Bernal Terry Mowers Jessie Browning Jeffrey Mull Bailey Burgess Chase Myers Michael Camacho Lauren Myers Gabriela Carballo Eileen Myles Neil Chavigny Ann Marie Nafziger Brenden Cicoria Patricia No Anna Devereux Peggy O’Brien Hope Dickens Rie Oh Nina Dietzel Ryan Paradiso JD DiFabbio Ryan Penland Becky Dugan Tori Raba Rowdy Dugan Zeke Raney Austin DuPree Dara Roberts Gretel Enk Emma Rogers Austin Fay Ashley Rowe Anett Gabriel Chrissie Saenz Chloe Gallagher Raul Saenz Jessica Garett Irma Salgado Ariele Gentiles Mary Lou Saxon Hannah Gentiles Adeline Schowengerdt Matthew Gientempo Angela Schowengerdt Jerik Gilly Craig Schowengerdt Suzi Gruschkus Allison Scott Rae Anna Hample Hilary Scruggs Elena Hernandez-Pena Brenda Silva Bentley Darby Hillman Suzy Simmons Deirdre Hisler Ada Smith Nicki Ittner Alexis Smith Mallory Jones Lena Spurgin Alicia Juarez Tyler Spurgin Jaime Juarez Peter Stanley Sam Karas Leslie Stevens Liam Kelly Ashley Tandy Travis Klunick Lindy Thorsen Jana La Brasca Salvatore Tornabene Jamie Lee Laura Tucker Claire Lindsay-McGinn Junie Villarreal Maggie Mccutcheon Lesley Villarreal Ralph McKay Molly Walker Sara Melancon Kendall Weir Sarah Melendez Bridget Weiss Marcy Mitchell Lizzy Wetzel Rachel Monroe Luann Williamson

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To the editor:

Facts are pesky critters. Folks with fixed opinions often ignore the true facts, especially when emotions interfere. Nonetheless, the truth emerged in Jeff Elrod’s trial, and the true facts are that Jeff and Ryann Bosetti, his accuser, spent six hours together last August, drinking, flirting with each other, and making a “pact” to date each other in the future; as they left Cochineal to walk to Jeff’s nearby studio, Jeff asked her if he could kiss her and she let him; after the kiss, they continued walking to Jeff’s studio and reclined on the couch, where the bartender from Cochineal saw them when he brought Jeff something Jeff left behind; Ryann left shortly thereafter. The next morning, Ryann texted a girlfriend and described what happened: “We got wasted…we made this…pact that WE WILL DATE…I AM WASTED… we walk him home and he’s like I have to kiss your breast and can I…And I let him.” And again “I was so bad and fucked up…I never kissed him but I let him touch me and kiss my fucking boob…I feel like the devil.” These are her words. Pesky facts. She told the same story to several friends in the next few days, and they were prepared to testify. Again, pesky facts. But then, her story changed and she deleted the texts quoted above. When she went to the Chief of Police she omitted telling him that Jeff asked for permission to kiss her and that she “let him.” She told prosecutor Sandy Stewart she had turned over all her texts, but she didn’t turn over the above quoted texts. In other words, she lied, by omission, to the Chief of Police and the Prosecutor, and she destroyed evidence. And so it was that Jeff Elrod was falsely accused: what was, at worst, a clumsy pass turned into a false accusation of sexual assault, and Jeff had to stand trial to be exonerated. Women, really anyone, who is actually assaulted should be respected and supported. But false accusations should be exposed. They diminish the clams of the true victims who come forward. Those that support Ryann should heed these pesky facts. It is the responsibility of the authorities to deal with Ryann’s false report and destruction of evidence. Now Jeff has to pick up the pieces after living under the shattering experience of being falsely accused. He’s been exonerated, but where does he go to get his fine reputation back?

Dick DeGuerin Jeff Elrod’s lawyer.

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To the editor:

I am a criminal defense attorney who lives in Alpine and regularly visits Marfa. I attended the Marfa trial on July 9, in which Jeff Elrod was accused of assault by the State of Texas and acquitted. I observed the trial primarily because Mr. Elrod was represented by Dick DeGuerin, who I consider to be one of the best criminal-defense attorneys in Texas, if not the nation. For full disclosure, Liz Rogers, one of Mr. Elrod’s attorneys, is a close friend of mine. Since the trial, I have read and observed numerous accounts, in both traditional and social media. I write this letter because the accounts I have read do not capture adequately the evidence or the result of the trial. Mr. Elrod was accused of assault. The State offered as evidence the testimony of Ryann Bosetti. The State had the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he intentionally touched her when he reasonably should have believed that she would consider the touching offensive or provocative. For me, the most consequential portion of the trial was Mr. DeGuerin’s cross-examination. During her testimony, Ms. Bosetti made and admitted that she had made false statements, under oath. First, Mr. DeGuerin asked Ms. Bosetti whether she had told a friend that she and Mr. Elrod had made a pact to date if their respective relationships ended. She answered, unequivocally, that she had never told her friend that. Mr. DeGuerin confronted her with a text message in which she told her friend that they had made that type of pact. Second, Mr. DeGuerin asked Ms. Bosetti whether she had told a friend that she had let Mr. Elrod kiss her breast, after he had asked whether he could. She answered, unequivocally, that she had never told her friend that. Mr. DeGuerin confronted her with a text message in which she told her friend, “I let him.” When Mr. DeGuerin confronted Ms. Bosetti with the false statements she made under oath, she conceded that she had testified falsely. She also conceded that she had deleted the text messages, though she testified she had deleted them prior to being asked by the prosecutor for all relevant messages. After Ms. Bosetti’s testimony, the judge found Mr. Elrod not guilty because the State had failed to put on sufficient evidence to meet its burden. I believe the judge’s decision rested primarily on the fact that the State’s only witness had made false statements under oath. Since the trial, I have seen numerous people publicly advocate their continued belief in Ms. Bosetti’s account. If you know her personally, I think it is reasonable to allow your personal experiences with her to influence your assessment of her statements. As a person who does not know Ms. Bosetti, I feel a moral obligation to Mr. Elrod to discredit her testimony. A person who makes false statements under oath is not credible. This trial presented a rare scenario in which the reputation consequences far outweighed the criminal penalties. I fear that Ms. Bosetti was entirely correct when she declared on social media, “I’ve already won.” If people continue to credit her account purely because of the nature of her allegation, she will be correct. The public has an obligation to Mr. Elrod to resist that temptation. A person accused of a crime is entitled to a presumption of innocence. I hope never to live in a community in which we do not recognize that right for a person accused or, in this case, for a person acquitted.

Shane O’Neal Resident of Alpine

Dear editor,

Hurd’s Judgment “Trump’s Child Detention Camps Cost $775 Per Person Every Day”, https://is.gd/xMGm3h, answers some of why GOPers oppose a Green New Deal among progressive reforms. Condoning “Zero Tolerance” cruelty sends an intended message and politically connected friends in the private prison industry prosper, including former Trump Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly, https://is.gd/BgPLCm.35-40% of Americans agree with Trump: “If you don’t like the conditions, just tell them not to come”. Unconscionable, complicit with Evil happening to desperate people! Shameful, a hot poker for a functioning conscience! Texas 23rd District GOP Congressman Will Hurd; whose district is the longest bordering Mexico, appeared on Morning Joe and Meet the Press recently. He stated Dems didn’t pass his several billions dollar plan designed to improve conditions and fund Immigration Courts to process the backlog. Shouldn’t a former Intelligence Officer; although holding his punches due to political partisanship, know “why”? It’s called “Trust”. Squandered and trampled is Trust. The same Administration funneled $2,500,000 from National Park gate receipts had $92,000,000 for a misbegotten Soviet-style May Day Parade while Border Patrol claims they don’t have money for toiletries. Other Administration officials incredulously tell courts they don’t have to provide them, https://is.gd/WvrHwK!Trump’s lied 10,000+ times, including to federal courts about ending the policy of separation and to SCOTUS about the reasons for census citizenship question, https://is.gd/VK8lFJ.“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!” Trust? Not Trump, his supporters or Hurd’s judgment!

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah Alpine, TX