April 9, 2014
Proponents of the witch-hunt narrative have a particular kind of blindness to real abuse. That is, they don’t see sexual abuse in places where it is obvious to others. The book (The Witch-Hunt Narrative) is full of examples where real abuse is described as a false accusation or false conviction by proponents of the narrative. This post describes an example that could not fit into the book: Judith Levine’s portrayal (in chapter 4 of her book, Harmful to Minors) of Kier Fiore’s conviction for felonious sexual assault in New Hampshire as “young love,” not as a crime.
The case involved a 22-year-old man who met a 13-year-old girl on the Internet and fled town with her after his arrest for statutory rape. Levine claims that the case was “narrated” by the police to fit a social text in which Fiore was the bad guy and the girl she calls Heather was painted as the “victim.”Levine mocked the idea that Fiore was considered “armed and dangerous” while on the run with Heather and she dismissed reports from two ex-wives that Fiore was abusive as “shady and disputed” facts.
But an examination of original court documents reveals a host of errors and omissions in Levine’s version of this case. First, Levine omitted the fact that the police issued the “armed and dangerous” advisory because Fiore had a gun permit when he ran off with the eighth-grade girl. Second, she minimized Fiore’s prior threatening behavior. Fiore’s first wife, who was 14-years-old when they met, described physical and emotional abuse, including his threat once to shoot her with a rifle.  Levine labeled these facts “disputed” because Fiore, in an undocumented prison interview, apparently said that they were in dispute. Third, Levine does not reveal that when Fiore made threats to a different 14-year-old girl who he tried to lure through the Internet to meet him at a motel room for paid sex, the child handed the phone to a parent, who heard the subsequent threats and reported them to the police.  That adult’s complaint resulted in some of the charges that Levine minimized. Fiore was also charged with trying to lure her 13-year old friend to perform sexual favors for money. All of those developments were within months of when, according to Levine, Fiore was stricken with “young love” with another 13-year-old girl, Heather.
Finally, it should be noted that Levine’s account of this case omitted the fact that Fiore was in possession of child pornography. It also omitted any mention of the witness tampering charges to which Fiore pleaded guilty  and of the fact that Fiore agreed to enter sex-offender treatment, after saying in court, “I am deeply sorry for what I have done.” Fiore admitted in court that he was “was trying to control” Heather , something Levine does not acknowledge. In short, an examination of original sources suggests that Levine, not the police, had a predetermined narrative to impose on the facts of this case. Unfortunately, if you see witch-hunts everywhere, you miss a lot of real abuse.
 Domestic Violence Petition, Hill County, New Hampshire. March 3, 1995. Contains details of threats made by defendant against the life of his common-law wife and their baby.
 Incident Report, Holliston [New Hampshire] Police Department, Entered 1/23/97. Contains details of solicitation and subsequent threats against two other young teenage girls.
 Acknowledgement and Waiver of Rights, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. July 2, 1997. Contains defendant’s acknowledgment of guilt, specifically of “intentionally and knowingly” committing the following acts charged in the indictment: felonious sexual assault, witness tampering, misdemeanor sexual assault, interference with custody.
 6-page Sentencing Statement by defendant, U.S. v. Fiore. 10/20/97.