Review: What happened?
You Be The Jury
(in the court of public opinion)
Jordan Holm did not receive a trial by jury. The judge, formerly a prosecuting attorney for 20 years, was the only one to hear the case and provide a verdict. Due to recent local events involving criminal activities of athletes in the media, political considerations surrounding re-election, and material mistakes in representation, justice was not blind in Jordan’s case. However, we believe the court of public opinion is powerful. We invite you to take some time to carefully consider Jordan’s situation and make your own verdict. We encourage you to learn the details so your decision will be factually supported. We also invite dissenting opinion, provided you have given a real effort to understand the truth. As a disclaimer, what you are about to read is, at times, graphic in nature due to the accusation brought against Jordan.
The judge who found Jordan guilty stated he believed that “some sex act occurred that night.” Jordan was not accused of “some sex act.” It is important to understand exactly what he was accused of in order to fully evaluate whether it is believable. Jordan had specific permission to go upstairs to a bedroom to sleep. He entered the only unlocked room where he saw that two people were lying on the bed under the covers. The prosecution would then have you to believe that after allowing a moment for his eyes to adjust to the dark room, Jordan made a split-second decision to uncover these people, see that one was male and the other female, and note that the female was naked. Then this 200 lb man allegedly climbed onto the bed, while not disturbing the man lying next to her, positioning her body in such a way as to receive oral sex and then forced her to allow him to perform this sex act on her to her arousal, and this despite the fact that she was at the end of her menstrual cycle. He supposedly did all of this in a matter of a few minutes while she lay next to her boyfriend who remained undisturbed.
This is an accusation that is difficult to believe.
The evidence used in this case was limited but valuable. There were no eyewitnesses to the alleged crime. The only potential eyewitness was the woman’s boyfriend who was sleeping next to her in bed. He stated clearly on multiple occasions that he did not believe her. She underwent a sexual assault exam and DNA was found to be not present on any of the multiple vaginal swabs. Jordan’s DNA was found on her leg. A renowned DNA expert with a doctorate from Johns Hopkins and Harvard testified that the DNA evidence was “absolutely inconsistent” with oral sex. He based this on the size of the DNA gathered and the location of where it was found given the nature of the crime that Jordan was accused of. The expert explained it was the amount of DNA that would easily fit on the pointed end of a pin and that greater quantities are often transferred from a doorknob when opening a door or onto the surface of a pen when writing a short note. How did it get on her leg? There are many possible explanations as to how Jordan’s DNA ended up on her person, other than the postulation that the DNA that came from his saliva. Both sides agreed that there was contact between them that was nonsexual in nature, which would have allowed for transfer of DNA. For example, she acknowledged running her hands through his hair that evening, which was full of hair wax‐ a readily transferable substance. Many studies have shown that DNA is transferred in a secondary fashion quite readily. Perhaps more important was the lack of DNA on multiple vaginal swabs. There was never an explanation given by the prosecution as to why the readily transferrable DNA found in saliva was not transferred to the vagina, an area that is designed to capture DNA. The fact that DNA was found on a layer of dead epithelial cells while none was found in the viscous vaginal region does nothing but point to the fact that there was never any physical contact in this area. To put it plainly, the expert said, “There’s no evidence that [oral sex] happened.”
To summarize the little evidence in this case, the only potential eyewitness to the alleged incident did not believe the accuser, and the DNA evidence was concluded by a well-qualified DNA expert to be inconsistent with oral sex. In other words, the evidence is far more consistent with Jordan’s version of the events that took place that evening. Based on the evidence alone, this is no longer a he-said, she-said case, but rather a case in which the prosecution needs to provide a compelling argument that would lead you to believe this accusation to be possible, especially given the fact that the circumstances of the alleged event are exceptionally difficult to envision.
There are two accusations in this case. Jordan is being accused of performing oral sex on a stranger. Lindsay is being accused of lying about a stranger performing oral sex on her. Both of these sound pretty absurd. Who would do either of those things? Aside from the physical evidence, this is the matter upon which the case hinges. This is the central question- who is more capable of committing such a crime? You assuredly must answer this question in order to make a just determination.
(As an aside, the judge also considered this to be the central question, but he answered it based on preconceived notions of “typical” male college athletes and very little knowledge about the accuser. He was given almost no information to work with in regard to the character or past behaviors of either person, yet, he tragically hinged the case on his understanding of who he believed to be more credible. This spoke only to his biases, which were not accurate or rightly applied in any matter to this particular case.)
Why do sexual predators act so boldly in violating the rights of others? For self-satisfaction. It goes without saying, right? In one hundred percent of cases, however, predators didn’t first learn sexual gratification through rape. Conscience and morality in that area were so degraded over time that typical means of sexual gratification were no longer satisfying and greater risk and agency was taken to achieve the same level of gratification. Types of predators may vary, but psychological consensus shows that there is always progressive past behavior leading up to a sex crime. Even if these guys seem like the nicest next door neighbors, friends, or family men a person could want, they have built up to the point of rape in their own worlds of lust. They have progressed along a continuum of sexual gratification until their inhibitions have lessened and their desires have increased to the point where they are willing to violate someone else’s rights. So Jordan’s alleged motive goes without saying, right? The prosecution never needs to mention it. It is just assumed that he’s another one of these predators who has finally reached the point where his desires have conquered his inhibitions.
It shouldn’t be so simple for the prosecution to allow these underlying assumptions to exist. We should have to examine in detail the nature of the crime of which Jordan has been accused and then we should determine if Jordan is capable of committing such a crime. The accusation is that this sexually inexperienced young man made a split second decision to get his kicks out of performing oral sex on a girl who is lying next to her boyfriend in bed. For this to be possible, it must be assumed first of all that Jordan has a sexually deviant mind. No effort was placed into providing some sort of evidence to suggest that this was a possibility. This is not shocking, because it couldn’t be done. On the contrary, many men and women would testify that they have never observed Jordan act or even speak in such a way as to suggest that he would not treat a girl with the utmost respect and act in a dignified manner around them. Female friends, including those who have been romantically involved with him in the past, all attest to the same thing. Around guys, Jordan was very well known for demanding clean conversation and not participating in "locker room" talk that was demeaning towards women. He was not involved in sexual exploits and was not interested in hearing about those of others. And this was in the presence of a pretty tough crowd of wrestlers. It was not in his vocabulary to do so much as swear, much less to talk in a dirty or sexual manner about girls. Jordan has been shown to have a strong reputation for being the exception in these circumstances. And this is the kind of man who is assumed to be sexually deviant? This is entirely inconsistent with everything that is known about Jordan.
Next, it must be assumed that Jordan is extremely bold, cocky, and completely carefree in his decision-making abilities. It must not only be assumed that he made the choice to pleasure himself through performing oral sex on her, but also that he felt he would be able to perform such an act without being caught or at least without concern for the consequences of such an action. A quick decision to commit a crime such as this is not only against logic, it's against natural, self-preserving human instinct. Nearly everyone who knows Jordan knows that he is calculated, intentional, well thought out and slow to make decisions. Nothing about this accusation is fitting with the type of person Jordan is well known to be.
So what about the accusation that is being brought against Lindsay? It is an admirable and natural instinct to want to protect women so we are compelled to believe her. That is, unless there is something about her character that compels us to disbelieve her. Her own boyfriend did not believe her. Her friends at the party did not believe her. She stated herself that, “No one believed me.” This speaks volumes about her character. Imagine if your wife or girlfriend or friend were in the same scenario and she accused another man of such a crime. Would you stand up for her and defend her? I hope so. What was it then that made the story seem unbelievable coming from her? We have some clues. Lindsay had a clear reputation for lying. This pattern led her to earn the nickname, “Schemin’ Demon.” That’s not a nickname you pick up for telling a few “white lies.” Unfortunately, we don’t know all of the details that led to this reputation because the rape shield law limits probing into her background. We do, however, have an example of her character in action earlier that day. While at a bar with her boyfriend, she intentionally began to openly flirt with her ex boyfriend in an attempt to elicit a jealous response. When her boyfriend did not become jealous, she became angry and started fighting with him to the point where she was kicked out of the bar. Unsatisfied with her boyfriend’s reaction, she then headed to her ex-boyfriend’s house and made out with him before passing out. She later reunited with her boyfriend at the house party where Jordan was. I can’t say for sure what Lindsay’s motive was in accusing Jordan of this crime, but I can suggest based on the little that I know about her that it was about grasping for attention and about playing the victim. She’s demonstrated the extremes she will go to in order to get this attention.
Another example of Lindsay’s character is revealed to us in the evolution of her story. In her initial statement to police she painted a very different picture than what was said in court. She described a scenario where her boyfriend confronted Jordan in the upstairs bedroom, threw clothes at him, threatened him and forced him to leave the room. By contrast, her boyfriend’s statement to the investigating officer was that he did not see anyone in the bedroom. He also told the detective that he was kind to Jordan and did not believe Lindsay. Of course it is reasonable to conclude that Lindsay’s original statement to police was what she wanted the investigative officer and others to believe had happened.
In court, her boyfriend’s testimony reflected his initial statement to police while her story changed to account for glaring discrepancies. Initially she described a scenario where her boyfriend provided her with the attention she may have been seeking, which she originally wanted others to think had happened. This aligns well with her attention-seeking behavior from earlier that day.
Even with this little glimpse into Lindsay’s character and behavior, we can see that she has a real potential to fit the profile of someone who would make a false rape accusation. This profile is based on well-established research. Three different studies analyzing false rape claims in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand (Heenan & Murray, 2006; Kelly et al., 2005; Triggs et al., 2009), have shown that one of the most prominent features of a person making a false rape accusation is that they often suffer from mental illness and/or severe emotional and interpersonal disruptions. In her research, Joanne Archambault suggested that the dynamics of these cases may resemble Munchausen’s Syndrome, where an individual has a desperate need for attention, sympathy, and a compassionate response from others and seeks to elicit that response by fabricating or exaggerating symptoms of illness. There is a common assumption that the motive for a false report is typically assumed to be malice or revenge; people assume that most individuals who file a false report do so to harm the person who is accused. However, most false reports actually involve an unnamed stranger. This is consistent with the thought that real false reports are usually a cry for help, a desperate attempt to access services or to receive simple human compassion.
With a good understanding of the evidence presented in the case as well as what we know of the character of the two individuals involved, the correct verdict becomes quite clear. Jordan was the victim that night. The victim was punished with nearly 7 years in prison and that is a tragedy.
In a courtroom, I would commend you along the lines of considering whether you believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Jordan committed the crime of which he was accused. However, I want you to believe as I do, without any doubt, that Jordan did not commit this crime. Take the time to consider these facts and then, despite the judge’s misguided opinion, deliver your own verdict. I believe that the court of public opinion holds some weight in supporting Jordan and restoring his good name. We firmly believe that truth will shine in darkness and there will be justice for Jordan.
As an aside, it should be noted that we are not concerned with Lindsay. We hope she is leading a successful life and that she will continue to do so in the future. Maybe she’s a professional, maybe she’s married and is thinking about having kids. I hope she will be a fine wife and mother. I hope that she doesn’t have to face the court of public opinion. Vengeance will accomplish nothing. It doesn't belong to us and is not on our agenda in any sense of the word. Vindication is what we seek. We only want the truth.
Written from the perspective of Jordan's brother, Jason Holm