When You Wish Upon a Starr
If you don't believe in karma, or at least ironic whimsy of God, you'll have to come up with your own explanation for Ken Starr being demoted as president of Baylor University to chancellor and then resigning yesterday over a sex-rape scandal. And yes, that Ken Starr. The Ken Starr who endlessly and relentlessly pursued President Bill Clinton by taking the Whitewater investigation and using his authority to turn it into a sex scandal that lead to impeachment and a trial that he failed to convict.
That Ken Starr. Who's now resigned as chancellor of Baylor, the victim of his own irresponsibility in not pursuing an actual sex scandal of expansive proportions.
Don't tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor. And a sense of justice.
In brief, last week, Baylor took the rare stop of firing its highly successful football coach Art Briles as a result of a history of rapes and sexual abuse by several of his players that largely went unpunished -- until it became public. When further evidence show that the Baylor University administration had turned a blind eye, as well, and the problems were so egregious, that was when Starr was stripped of his position as president. But to the outrage of many, he wasn't fired from the university, but made chancellor and allowed to keep teaching at the school in his position of a tenured law professor.
That outrage continued, as did press reports, and finally Ken Starr announced his resignation yesterday. Though the story isn't yet over, because he still is on staff teaching law. Something many critics find incomprehensible, given the reasons he was stripped of his presidency and then chancellorship. Among the charges by women who had brought the sexual attacks against them to the attention of the school's administration are that not only did the school not act on them, but faced pressure and harassment.
ESPN ran an interview with Ken Starr which was pretty awful. He said he had no idea what was going on, though as president took responsibility. And felt contrition. It sounded pretty noble -- as long as you didn't know the background. Or listened to what else he said. Like, referring to the problem as one of "interpersonal violence."
Interpersonal violence? That could be someone slapping a person who was a friend. Or punching someone. But seriously, interpersonal violence?? It was rape.
Again, this from the man who pursued Bill Clinton based on a dress that had a semen stain on it.
It didn't sound too noble, though, to one of the young women, identified as "Sarah," who had brought charges to the attention of the Baylor administration. She found his resigning because of the "need for transparency" ironic because "it's the lack of transparency which is why we are here today. My email was addressed to Ken Starr."
It also sounded pretty awful to reporter Diana Moskovitz who's been covering the story for deadspin.com, who said that it's inexplicable that Ken Starr is able to remain on campus teaching law and ethics, since the charges or rape he ignored were acts that were against the law. "I'm still lost as to what he's doing there," she noted with disbelief, "let alone how can he claim he didn't know that this was going on, it either requires a massive level of incompetence -- or something more like willful ignorance. Or he's lying"
Nor did it sound noble to ESPN reporter Paula Lavigne who thought the question that should be put to Ken Starr when said he didn't know what was going on, was "Did that mean you did not know there were sexual assaults -- or you didn't know they were handled so poorly?"
She added that it was not believable that Ken Starr couldn't know, even today, since the Baylor student newspaper of January, 2014 reported Kevin Elliot's rape conviction -- where he was named by five women -- on the front page. And on the same front page of the school paper, there was a picture of Ken Starr!
This isn't a case of "What did you know, and when did you know it?" This is "How could you possibly have not known, and why on earth didn't you know long before you said you knew?"
It's bizarre that Ken Starr of all people didn't learn the lesson of decades of scandals going back to Watergate that it's the cover-up that often causes you the biggest problems. O hoist on thine own pitard, thou art king.
So, I don't think this story is over. And Ken Starr is likely holding onto his tenured law professor's job with spit and gum.
Yes, that Ken Starr. It couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy.
Oh, the whimsy of God.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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