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Guest Editorial
Dredging Up Old Stories
My Own Assault Memories of Long Ago, and Ken Starr's Modus Operandi

Friday, March 5, 1999 -- St. Paul, Minnesota -- In the Internet hubbub over Juanita Hickey/Broaddrick and her on-again, off-again rape story, I got to thinking about how Mrs. H/B's account was so detailed -- and matched almost exactly the letter sent her in 1992 by Philip Yoakum, GOP activist and arch-Clinton-foe Sheffield Nelson's best bud.

In this infamous letter, he "reminds" her -- or is it "coaches" or "witness-tampers" her? -- of a story that should burned into her brain. The only thing he leaves out is the date.

There's a reason for that: it's because the persons who claim that this incident really happened -- Mrs. H/B, her two sister-friends, Mr. Broaddrick (Juanita's current husband), and Mr. Yaokum -- had a hard time picking out a year in which this incident happened, much less a date. It took NBC's news team to supply the Broaddricks with a date in April of 1978.

Think about this for a minute: an alleged soul-shattering event supposedly made an unavoidably strong impression on Mrs. Broaddrick -- but not her then-husband, Mr. Gary Hickey, who says he never heard of the alleged rape, never noticed the disfiguring "black" lip wound allegedly suffered by his then-wife, and never heard her tell any "cover stories" to explain away the alleged lip injury. It also allegedly affected Mr. Broaddrick, Ms. Rogers and her sister, and the other members of the Jane Doe #5 camp... yet they barely remember the year, and none of them can remember the month it happened, much less the date!

Full disclosure here:

I have been sexually taken advantage of. It wasn't quite a rape (much less one as soul-searingly brutal as what JD5 alleges) but it was something I felt quite queasy about at the time and which causes me twinges to this day.

It happened when I was attending Cottey College, a two-year liberal arts institution in Nevada, Missouri, which is ten miles from the Kansas border and 100 miles due south of Kansas City. It was my second year of college, in early September 1982, in the first weekend of September, in the wee hours of either Saturday or Sunday morning.

My friends and I had been at the bars in Fort Scott, Kansas and we were invited to a frat house for a party after the bars had closed. I'd gotten drunk, went upstairs with one frat boy, and suddenly, without my consent, it turned into a gang-bang situation, which didn't bother me until the effects of the beer started to wear off.

Upon sobering up, I was disgusted with myself for a) allowing multiple men to have their way with me in a not-quite-consensual fashion and b) enjoying a good portion of it, at least while still drunk. The frat boys were somewhat disappointed when I asked to be allowed to leave, but they let me go without incident. Because of the fuzziness of the incident (it had, at any rate, started out consensually), and because I literally couldn't remember much of it after sobering up, I decided that it wasn't clear-cut enough to rate my pursuing it.

Now, I was tired and drunk at the time of my incident. I can barely recall what the first frat boy who accosted me looked like (I think he was dark-haired, had glasses, mustache, yellow sweatshirt, medium build, about 5'8" to 5'10") or what the interior of the frat house looked like (my main impression is that it seemed to be well-kept, which surprised me at the time -- I always thought of frat boys as, to use the famous phrases, "Bears with Furniture").

Juanita Hickey (now Broaddrick), her two female friends, and her then-lover/now-husband were presumably neither drunk nor dead tired at the time of her alleged incident.

How come I can remember the year, the approximate time of year, and the two most likely days of the week on which my incident could have occurred -- and none of the folks in Mrs. Hickey/Broaddrick's camp, including Mrs. Jane Doe #5 herself, can even remember the year in which her far more serious incident allegedly took place?

Were they waiting for some reporter to tell them -- as NBC did?

"Vulnerable" Indeed -- But to Whom?

You all have no idea how much it pisses me off to see rape used in this fashion -- not only because rape smears are just about the lowest form of mudslinging short of accusing someone of mass murder (which, by the way, Clinton's foes do on a daily basis in the mainstream media), but also because each phony rape story makes it that much harder for genuine victims to be believed.

And I don't just hate rape smears when they're used by the right wing, either.

I was aghast to see Tawana Bradley's story promoted the way it was by the Rev. Al Sharpton. I wasn't angry so much at Tawana. She was just a teenager who originally merely wanted to avoid having the tar whupped out of her by her mom's boyfriend for staying out late, and I remember doing similar stunts at her age for similar reasons... although smearing feces on my body was not one of the options I considered. I was hellaciously angry at the adults who were pushing her story even when it got to be nearly as ridiculous as Paula Jones' ever-evolving tale -- and who still push it today.

It's a little bit harder for me to feel sorry for Juanita Hickey-Broaddrick.

She, contrary to being a "young and vulnerable" person, to use her own quote from the Lisa Myers interview, was 35 years old, a good four years older than Bill Clinton, who as we all know by now has not previously exhibited a taste for women older than himself. Hillary herself is a year younger than him, and we all know how the media went out of their way to make the then-21-year-old Presidential-kneepad-hunter Monica Lewinsky look like a cringing schoolgirl so they could accuse Bill Clinton of being a child molester. Folks, I'm 34. I work a day job. Unlike Juanita, I'm not my own boss, with all the freedom and responsibility which comes with such a role. Yet I don't consider myself "young and vulnerable": I've got too many gray hairs to buy that line.

If Juanita was ever "vulnerable", it probably wasn't to retaliation from then-State-Attorney-General Bill Clinton for reporting a rape: Arkansas, even in the late 70's, had rape shield laws that were strictly enforced.

She would be vulnerable, however, to someone like Ken Starr, who in early 1998 had already hit a brick wall with Whitewater and the other Faux-gates, and who was clinging desperately to L'Affaire Monica as his only chance of fulfilling his true mandate.

Obviously, a rape charge would be much more fertile dirt than consensual oral sex for growing the seed of an impeachment case. Therefore, Starr, as he had with the McDougals and Webb Hubbell, and as he was attempting to do with Ms. Lewinsky, decided to use his immense powers of persuasion to try to overturn Juanita Broaddrick's two previous affidavits, in which she swore under oath that the story was false.

Evidence has come to light showing that Mrs. B. was and is indeed vulnerable now: to charges of nursing-home mismanagement. She has had a number of judgements against her and is no stranger to legal actions. In addition, her facility, unlike most others in the area, is not exactly jam-packed with residents: she's had to advertise to get business, something few nursing homes in Arkansas need to do.

And even if Starr didn't have this to use as a lever against her, just the mere fact that he had the unlimited ability to pursue a perjury charge against her would be enough to make anyone cry "uncle", rather than run up $200,000 or more worth of legal bills and still risk losing one's case. A July 1998 The Nation article by Bruce Shapiro makes it clear just how Starr's ability to force people into bankruptcy through legal bullying has caused White House staffers to walk in utter terror of talking on-the-record to the press: just getting one's name in the paper is provocation enough for Starr's five-score gunsels to slap one upside the head with a subpoena or worse.

This, by the way, explains the "White House silence" that the media loves to make so much of.

As with Jim McDougal, Starr succeeded in "persuading" Mrs. Broaddrick to change her story... but also as with Jim McDougal, Starr wound up deciding not to pursue the allegations he had gone to so much trouble to elicit.

The reason Starr's office gives is that the alleged crime was not impeachable, and that there was no evidence of any White House attempts to cover it up, is nonsense. Starr was already going to obscene, and illegal, lengths to parlay a few clandestine blow jobs into "high crimes and misdemeanors", and to turn standard legal tactics and procedures into "perjury" and "obstruction of justice".

What's more, he and his 98-odd legal eagles had Tripp's tapes, wherein the two ladies discussed an alleged two-and-a-half-hour phone call between Clinton and a lady named "Juanita." Hmmmm... why didn't they try to parlay that into "evidence of obstruction of justice," as they did with the Betty Currie and Monica talks -- which weren't taped, and therefore far more open to interpretation?

The reason they didn't pursue it is because Starr and his 98-odd OIC staffers knew that this story stank to high heaven, reeking even worse than the bizarre and eminently unusable testimony they had elicited from the recently-deceased Jim McDougal.

Which leads me to my final point:

For those who question why no one in the legitimate media wanted to touch this story -- that is, until forced to by the slavering e-mail hordes led by Matt Drudge, the Star tabloid, the Lucianne-Goldberg-allied Freepers and FOX -- not NBC, not CBS, not even The Wall Street Journal's own hard-news section (whose Washington editor didn't find out about what his editorial brethren were planning to do until he read about it in the Drudge Report) wanted anything to do with it, they should consider the following:

The same folks pushing this story were the same ones pushing every other vile rumor about Bill Clinton, even those long since laughed out of the public eye:

The Mena drug-running story.

The "Clinton Body Count" story.

The "Hill and Bill killed Vince" story (this is the one for which I thought the editorialists at the WSJ would burn in hell forever, until JD#5 came along).

The "Bill Clinton 'finger-f***ed' his own daughter Chelsea" story related by Lucianne Goldberg to the New York Press (and she WILL burn in hell for pushing this particularly vile lie).

And my own personal favorite, the very recently revived-only-to-be zapped "Bill fathered a kid off of a black hooker" story, a tale calculated to really stir the racist underpinnings of the get-Bill movement.

If these folks don't flinch at promoting -- with a straight face, mind you -- all of the above tales (not to mention the discredited David-Hale-based Whitewater tale and the other Faux-Gate stories), including charges of *mass murder*, what makes you think they'd draw the line at reviving and hawking a phony rape charge?

    -- Tamara Baker

For an archive of previous guest editorials, click here.

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ISSN No. 1523-1690