The University of Iowa Campus looking west from Old Capitol and the Pentacrest.

Custardo: No excuses for sexual assault

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Katrina Custardo 

katrina-custardo@uiowa.edu

In November 2015, University of Iowa students were alerted that there was a sexual predator roaming the West S0ide near the UI Hospitals and Clinics. In a Hawk Alert email after the fact, the UI police informed the community that the suspect was in custody. Now, as the case is advancing in the courts, Adam Weinstein, the accused, plans to claim insanity, diminished responsibility and intoxication as his defense. By pleading this, not only is he trying to ignore the fact that he did sexually assault women, he is instead blaming his actions on irrelevant excuses rather than his own depraved mind.

This trial was supposed to happen several months ago, but it was put on hold because Weinstein was apparently “incompetent” to stand trial for his crimes. The trial was then supposed to occur on May 23, but then it was again pushed back to July 25. It is set to stay on this date, and hopefully, Weinstein will be held accountable.

In order for Weinstein to be judged as “insane,” his lawyer, Eric Tindal, needs to prove that he could not understand right from wrong at the time of the assaults. In order to prove “diminished responsibility and intoxication,” Tindal would have to prove that Weinstein suffered from a condition that prevented him from forming specific intent to attack the women. Tindal has requested for an expert to come in and evaluate Weinstein and testify to his mental capabilities.

All of this ignores that these are excuses for him to use. He — allegedly —sexually assaulted numerous women on the UI campus and triggered two Hawk Alerts and numerous emails sent to students, staff, and the community. There are no excuses for this. You are not insane when you don’t know what the word “no” means. It’s one of the simplest words in the English language; even children know how to use it and what it means.

Weinstein is a 34-year-old man who knows what the word “no” means. He chose to ignore those women when they said it. That is not insanity, it’s assault. Even if Weinstein is mentally ill, this should not excuse his actions. If Weinstein is indeed mentally ill, his illness should not be used as a scapegoat for things he did wrong. That is not fair to others who are also mentally ill.

This can also be said to his other “defense” of diminished responsibility and intoxication. Weinsten is 34 years old. As an adult, there is an expectation of responsibility put on everyone. Adults are expected to take responsibility for their work, social lives, and especially their actions. I am an 18-year-old college student, and I understand the concept of responsibility. Not to mention, intoxication does not give people a free pass to do whatever they want (although, when women are intoxicated and get sexually assaulted, they’re apparently “asking for it”). Weinstein’s defenses are so weak, a first-year non-law major can see through his excuses.

According to his charges, which include third-degree sexual abuse and third-degree harassment, Weinstein faces up to 12 years and one month in jail. And he deserves every last day in confinement if he is found guilty. His sentence should not be lessened because of his plea of insanity. There are no excuses for sexual assault. The UI strives to be active in the fight against sexual assault, and holding Weinstein responsible for his actions must be a part of this.

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