Buck on rape case: ‘Buyer’s remorse’ comment taken out of context

If you’ve been reading the news coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck’s decision not to prosecute a man who admitted raping a 21-year-old University of Northern Colorado student in 2005, you know there’s a major omission: Ken Buck himself.

He’s not quoted in stories in The Denver Post, Associated Press, Politico, Roll Call, Politics Daily, ABC’s The Note, or the Colorado Independent, which was the first news outlet to obtain a transcript of an audio-taped discussion (pdf) between Buck and the alleged rape victim, and to interview her directly.

Buck is apparently not talking to the media about the case, leaving reporters to chat with his spokesman. Except, that is, for a reporter at the Greeley Tribune.

Buck talked directly to the Tribune’s Nate Miller, who wrote an excellent article covering different aspects of this complicated story.

The Tribune reports a key fact missed by other news outlets: that the perpetrator “told police she had told him no, but he thought she invited him to Greeley because she wanted to sleep with him.” (The Independent provided a transcript of this admission, as part of its in-depth and out-front coverage.)

The Tribune gives Buck ample inches to defend his decision not to prosecute, allowing him to point out that he had numerous deputies review the case, as well as the Boulder district attorney.

The Tribune also asked Buck about his statement to the Tribune in 2006 that a jury might think this was a case of “buyer’s remorse.”

At the time, a Tribune editorial criticized Buck for using the phrase. A Tribune editorial stated:

“Buck told the woman he could not press charges against her attacker, despite the man’s admission to police that she said no. Buck said he must only prosecute cases in which he has a reasonable chance of convicting someone, and this was not one of those cases.

‘A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse,’ Buck said.

While we support his legal reasoning, we believe Buck could have, should have been more sensitive in his choice of words, regardless of what he may have thought a jury or defense lawyer would conclude.

He added, ‘I don’t want victims to be deterred from the pitiful facts in this case from coming forward.’

We, too, hope other victims won’t be discouraged by this case. Again, though, Buck’s selection of words could have been more appropriate. Calling the facts of the case ‘pitiful’ could be construed by other victims as discouraging.”

Tuesday Buck told the Tribune that the phrase “buyer’s remorse” was taken out of context. The Tribune reported:

“I listed five or six reasons why I thought a jury would not convict in this case,” Buck told the Tribune. “She said she was passed out during the sexual act, so I wasn’t referring to whether she had buyer’s remorse for the act that they engaged in, but rather for the prior relationship they had.”

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About the Author

Jason Salzman

Former freelance media critic at the Rocky, he now blogs at www.bigmedia.org.
Jason@bigmedia.org | @bigmediablog

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