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Radford / Stollznow defamation case: What we know and what we can infer or extrapolate reasonably

I’ve noticed a trend in amongst the so-called “skeptics” who have, from the get-go, denied every single claim of harassment in the community. That trend is denialism masquerading as skepticism, and a willingness to lie about who said what, when. That’s why I’ve been fighting that trend by building timelines. Someone needs to document what was actually said, and what can be reasonably inferred from these events. It also helps to document the attacks launched by certain people against certain other people, because it helps define the tribal lines against which these denialists are aligning.

[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”right” width=”30%”]”I didn’t write it, I never agreed to it, I never signed it, and I’m not the liar here.”
–Karen Stollznow, Twitter, March 25th, 2014[/pullquote]

One of these big accusations of harassment has resurfaced in the past few weeks, with new movements occurring for the first time in months. As a refresher, here’s all the points from my sexual harassment accusations timeline.

I don’t claim to know for certain that these allegations are true, but I can certainly develop a narrative that, I think, accounts for all the actual points we apparently do know, as well as what we could reasonably extrapolate.

August 6th, 2013

Possibly emboldened by Ashley Paramore’s stand, Karen Stollznow comes forward with her own story of having been serially sexually harassed and assaulted over the course of several years. (DOWN)

Ian Murphy points the finger at Ben Radford as the serial harasser discussed in Karen Stollznow’s post, via Twitter.

PZ Myers updates a post linking to Stollznow’s blog several hours after Ian Murphy names Radford to verify that a number of others had named him as well in private emails.

August 7th, 2013

Carrie Poppy releases a series of email bombs about the Ben Radford case and describes the major events leading up to her leaving her job as Communications Director of JREF after being serially mistreated by DJ.

August 8th, 2013

10:35am Central: Matthew Baxter, Karen Stollznow’s husband, in a comment on Blake Smith’s Facebook page, corroborates Stollznow’s story. Speaking directly to Ben Radford, he says that Radford persistently continued to contact Stollznow after being asked for years to stop. Baxter says that he and Stollznow have copies of correspondence backing this up. He also says that when Stollznow cut off communication with Radford, Radford called her “disrespectful.”

August 12th, 2013

Joe Anderson corroborates Karen Stollznow’s story, stating that he was one of the folks deposed by CFI’s investigators about the behaviour he witnessed from Radford.

The original post by Karen Stollznow is taken down after Ron Lindsay sends a letter to Scientific American. Karen is told by SA staff that it was taken down due to legal threats, while Ron Lindsay claims to have only asked for corrections. The Google Cache version of the page now also 404s, but a copy still exists on Scrible.

Stephanie Zvan analyzes the differences and commonalities extensively between Ron Lindsay’s letter demanding corrections of SciAm, and Karen Stollznow’s original allegations. Most relevant is the fact that Lindsay concedes the harassment actually happened.

That catches us up to where we were when I stopped adding to that original timeline.

Then comes the new developments.

February 17th, 2014

Ben Radford files a defamation suit against Karen Stollznow in Sandoval County, New Mexico.

February 26th, 2014

Ben Radford writes a blog post for CFI about false claims of sexual harassment. This post was so terrible in its lack of skepticism and its fallacy soup and motivated reasoning that the next day…

February 27th, 2014

Ron Lindsay himself disavowed Radford’s “false accusations” analysis in a post of his own, scathingly titled “Evidence-Based Reasoning: Comments on a Blog Post”.

March 3rd, 2014

Ben Radford posts a scan of the first page of the complaint to his Facebook wall.

March 4th, 2014

Ophelia Benson points out the timing of the lawsuit and the false claims post, and suggests that Radford may be seriously hurting his standing within CFI by playing such games with their blog. At the very least, it’s highly doubtful any lawyers were involved in either the blog post or posting the complaint to his Facebook wall.

March 22nd, 2014

Ben Radford posts an image to his Facebook wall titled “Retraction / Statement”. He claims that it is a statement by Stollznow, and that she had agreed to it as part of their settlement.

Transcript by HJ Hornbeck:

In 2013 Karen Stollznow accused Benjamin Radford of stalking, sexual harassment, and both physical and sexual assault. She made these accusations in a complaint to Ben Radford’s employer (the Center for Inquiry), in a guest blog written for the Scientific American Mind website and to various individuals in private communications.

These accusations and complaints against Benjamin Radford were false and Karen Stollznow retracts them. Radford was disciplined by the Center for Inquiry on the basis of them. One of Stollznow’s minor complaints (that Radford briefly stood in front of her during an argument when she wanted to walk past him) was the result of miscommunication during their relationship, but the accusations of sexual harassment, stalking, sexual assault, unwanted emails and the like were and are categorically false.

These serious and polarizing false accusations created divisiveness within the skeptical community. Most of the outrage directed at Radford as a consequence of the false accusations came from people with no knowledge of Radford’s and Stollznow’s relationship, who uncritically repeated the false accusations.

Stollznow cannot fully undo the damage Radford’s career and reputation cause by her false accusations, but this retraction is a sincere effort to set the record straight. Karen Stollznow and Ben Radford ask that bloggers and others that have repeated these allegations against Radford please remove them from their sites and not repeat them. Any blogs or other published references to these false accusations only serve to perpetuate the harm to both parties.

This issue has unfortunately detracted from the success that both Benjamin Radford and Karen Stollznow have worked hard to achieve in skepticism and public science education. Both Ben and Karen wish to move on with their lives and careers and put this matter behind them and that their friends and colleagues also let the matter drop.

There is no signature or anything marking this in any way as being part of legal proceedings.

He accompanied this statement with the following note:

Last year Dr. Karen Stollznow, a sometime colleague and former lover, accused me of, among other things, stalking and sexual harassment. At the time and for many months afterward I was prohibited from publicly responding to her claims. My lack of a response was widely taken as a tacit admission of guilt, but I am innocent of these accusations.

Karen has now acknowledged that her accusations were false and she has retracted her claims. Most of the public venom over this issue has come from people with no knowledge of our situation or relationship, and who uncritically repeated rumors and half-truths. Ironically this demonstrates exactly the sort of rush to judgment and lack of critical thinking that both Karen and I have spent years fighting. I have no further comment and we ask that this matter be laid to rest. Thank you.

Many “skeptics”, believing this to be absolutely true, swarm to Radford’s Facebook post to express their support. Considering the only “statement” on the matter was an entirely unofficial image of a Word document written in third-person, with nothing to indicate it was remotely official, and with no corroboration from Stollznow, some of us who’ve been following this story have been understandably skeptical.

One of his supporters, Amy Stoker, says: “It’s signed by Karen and notarized. Ben was over at my house tonight. I’m sure Ben will address this in the morning or at some point. For tonight he wanted to focus on those family and friends that have been by his side.”

PZ Myers comments on his blog that Stollznow didn’t write the statement, that Ben Radford did, and that she did not sign but he posted anyway.

March 23rd, 2014

Karen Stollznow takes to Twitter, making the first public statement on the matter since the lawsuit was filed, though the tweet itself is incredibly vague. She says, “Some “skeptics” should be more skeptical…”

A number of Ben’s supporters demand that she confirm or deny that the retraction was agreed-to by her. Amongst Ben’s supporters, a new meme grows — that those of us who suspect this “retraction” was an attempt at public coercion in the case are like Birthers demanding Obama’s birth certificate; that we’re being “hyperskeptical”. (The word has special significance to this blog and this whole fight, incidentally. I created that meme to combat the pro-harassment skeptics in the harassment policies campaign two years ago.)

March 25th, 2014

Stollznow again takes to Twitter to say: “I didn’t write it, I never agreed to it, I never signed it, and I’m not the liar here.”

Matthew Baxter writes, “I wrote a joint statement, they morphed it into an apology, said that I worked on it with them, and claimed that @karenstollznow agreed.”

Radford is notified of Stollznow’s tweet, but evidently not Baxter’s, because he posts this image of personal correspondences between he and Baxter on his Facebook post, and says “Yep, I saw that. I’ll be addressing that shortly. It’s a strange comment given that her husband Baxter e-mailed me a few days ago telling me that she agreed to it and would be having it notarized today.”

Given everything that’s public, we can make some fairly well-evidenced assumptions in this case, without assuming anyone’s lying about anything. The narrative squares with both parties’ accounts, short of the specific points of contention, and takes into account the different mindsets between the two parties. The narrative runs in my estimation thusly:

Radford and Stollznow were once in a relationship, while also maintaining a professional relationship in relation to CFI. At some point, they broke up. Judging by Radford’s repeated use of the phrase “former lover”, Radford evidently assumed the role of jilted lover at this point, continuing his pursuit of her.

In September of 2012, Stollznow and Baxter married. Despite this, Radford continued pursuing Stollznow. I presume that the break-up between Stollznow and Radford preceded the nuptials because of Baxter’s statements on the matter, and Joe Anderson’s corroboration, though I could be wrong.

The harassment got so bad during 2013 that Stollznow went to CFI and, with respect to their zero-tolerance policy, submitted to investigators the contents of her email and other personal communications. Inferring from Ron Lindsay’s statement on the matter, the investigators appear to have suspended Radford as a result of the investigation, but that suspension coincided with some vacation time that Radford was taking. Whether the vacation was a post-hoc rationalization of his time-off or not is a matter not in evidence, unfortunately, but the suspension is questionable regardless.

Lindsay claims in his letter that punishment was NOT set up to coincide with vacation time, so if there WAS punishment (which Lindsay strongly implies there was!), then it’s likely that someone told Karen he had been on vacation instead. My going suspicion on this point is that Radford himself suggested to others that he’d been taking vacation, rather than having been suspended, to explain his absence and save face. Stollznow may have heard this and taken the story at face value, and assumed duplicity on CFI’s part, rather than Radford’s.

Stollznow was stonewalled by CFI about the results of that investigation because they couldn’t release it “to the public”. She continued to work with Radford in a professional capacity, to do with CFI and Monster Talk.

During the groundswell of anti-harassment sentiment in the skeptical community evidently fed up with the culture of protecting harassers and harassment in general (chronicled in the anti-harassment campaign post mentioned at the top of this one), Stollznow found the courage to talk about her experiences publicly in Scientific American. She did not name Radford. Others in the skeptical community named Radford on her behalf, though, since they had been variously deposed by CFI’s investigators or witnessed this untoward behaviour themselves.

CFI then demanded that SciAm publish corrections on the post for “inaccuracies”, for which SciAm simply pulled the post, though it appears the only points of contention were how CFI treated the investigation. It can be inferred from Lindsay’s post that the investigation did in fact happen, and that Radford had in fact been “punished”, to whatever degree the punishment might actually be called one.

Carrie Poppy had stated that Stollznow claimed to have been assaulted on three occasions at TAM by Radford. The nature of these assaults is not public knowledge, though DJ Grothe was evidently informed and declined to act on them.

Radford later filed the defamation suit. I can guess that they were going to settle, since I have heard it rumoured a number of places that Stollznow did not have the resources to fight it, and Stollznow has repeatedly expressed a desire that this not impact her career and has evidently worked with him professionally despite the nature of their personal “relationship”. Matthew Baxter drafted a joint statement that would have been filed with the settlement, which Radford then altered to become an “apology” (and ostensibly also a retraction).

Radford then jumped the gun and posted it, evidently with the belief that Stollznow would sign and notarize this version of the statement on March 25th. However, having posted it in advance on his Facebook page, with alterations that Baxter evidently did not agree to, Stollznow and Baxter look to be prepared to fight.

One might reasonably postulate that despite their financial straits and their desire to make it all go away, Radford’s premature victory lap which spun events beyond what Baxter or Stollznow had agreed to has resulted in them being catalyzed to fight. If this is the case, expect a legal defense fundraiser soon.

UPDATE, 11:53pm CST March 25th: Radford has removed the retraction post and all comments from his Facebook page. He has replaced it with this statement:

Clarification on the Stollznow Retraction

As many of you know, several weeks ago I filed a lawsuit against Karen Stollznow, who last year accused me of, among other things, stalking and sexual harassment. Over the past few weeks I have been in discussions with Karen via her husband Matthew Baxter, who contacted me to discuss a retraction. He and I worked together on a statement, which I posted to my Facebook page on Saturday. It has come to my attention that Karen has now stated that she never agreed to the statement I posted. This surprised me and is a grave concern to me, and I want to clarify the situation.

I did not fabricate the retraction out of thin air; it was the result of a collaboration between myself, Matthew Baxter, and my lawyer. To begin with, I have not spoken with Karen personally in well over a year. Instead I have been dealing with her husband Baxter, who has acted as a mediator. The retraction statement I posted on Saturday evening March 22 was the same retraction statement that Baxter and I worked on for two weeks. Nothing had been changed. Furthermore the retraction that Karen now disavows is the same statement that Matthew Baxter told me only a few days ago that Karen agreed to and would sign (though she could not get it notarized, which is needed to make it official, until Tuesday March 25).

Not only that but the morning of Saturday March 22 I wrote to Baxter and told him that, based on the agreement he told me Karen had agreed to, I wanted to go ahead and make the statement public, as I had been waiting over a year for the retraction. He replied, “Well we won’t be able to get ours signed and notarized right away but you can do what you want to do with this if you feel confident that nothing will go wrong.” (See the attached screen shot of our e-mail exchange.) I responded to him that I understood, and that I was confident that nothing would go wrong as long as Karen had indeed agreed to the retraction. I told him that I planned to post it to Facebook that night. He never wrote back with any objections, and so I did.

Whether I jumped the gun or not is a legitimate question, and one I accept responsibility for. I probably should have waited until I had the signed and notarized statement in hand. But I saw no reason to wait to make it public, since I’d been told clearly several times that Karen had agreed to it. When I posted the retraction, I did so in the sincere belief that Karen Stollznow had agreed to it, and knowing that her husband Baxter had given his approval. I did not intend to deceive or mislead anyone, and I would never have posted the agreement if I had known she did not agree to it.

Now that I have a clear, formal acknowledgement from Karen that she has in fact disavowed the agreement that Baxter and I spent two weeks working on and that I was told several times she agreed to, I have deleted it. I’ll have no further comment on this matter, as anything I say will only further complicate matters for all of us. I look forward to this matter being resolved through the courts.

This does not square with Baxter’s indication that the statement had been morphed into an apology without Stollznow’s or Baxter’s knowledge. One or the other is mistaken (or lying to save face).

UPDATE 2: The screenshot of Baxter’s email exchange appears to have been taken on March 23rd due to the “1 day ago” fuzzy datestamp that Gmail uses. This could be anywhere up to ~1 day 12 hrs after the email. It seems odd that the email exchange would be screenshotted in advance, except if he was passing it around to others before posting it to Facebook.

UPDATE 3 – March 27th, 11:27am CST: Karen Stollznow has created an IndieGogo project for her legal defense. It is set for $30,000, and it expires in 15 days.

By 12:43pm CST, it is at $9,506 USD with 133 backers.

Text of the defense fund plea:

My name is Karen Stollznow. I am an author and researcher with a PhD in Linguistics. In recent months, I wrote an article for a Scientific American Mind blog in which I spoke out about sexual harassment I’d endured from a male colleague for several years. I did this to highlight the wide problem of sexual harassment in the workplace for women, including those in scientific and academic fields. Many people who read the article immediately identified my harasser by name, and spoke publicly about my situation on their own blogs and other social media. They knew who my harasser was because he had recently been disciplined by his employer for his behavior.

As a result, my harasser filed a defamation suit against me, trying to bully me into silence. Although he’s spent thousands of dollars on a lawyer to clear his name, he knew that I could not afford the same. In my attempts to settle out of court he has tried to bully me into signing a retraction, which claimed that I had lied about the whole ordeal, including his ongoing harassment of me, and assaults at one of our professional conferences. Although I didn’t sign the retraction, he posted the document on his very public Facebook page and announced victory over me. This also lead to false public edits being made to my Wikipedia page.

I never lied about the harassment I endured and I have evidence and witnesses to attest to my experiences. The only crime I have committed is not being rich enough to defend myself. If you believe in justice and in protecting victims who are bullied into silence, please dig deep and help support this legal fund. I must raise $30,000 in the next two weeks in order to find legal counsel to fight these allegations and clear my own name. If my harasser succeeds in bullying me into silence, it will only serve to embolden harassers, and teach victims that they should never speak up, lest it ruin their lives.

Any money raised through this campaign that is not spent on these legal expenses will be donated to Colorado’s Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center.
Thank you for listening to my story, and please give as you can. To contact me about this fundraising campaign, email stollznowlegaldefense@gmail.com.

This indicates that the previous assumptions of a lack of funds and an effort to settle out of court to “make it all go away” were likely accurate. This paints Radford and/or his lawyers as aggressors — they wanted more than to just make it all go away, they wanted an admission that Stollznow lied about the whole thing. This was obviously a concession Stollznow was unwilling to make given her reaction to the “retraction” letter.

Whether or not the concession was agreed-upon by Baxter as her proxy is not in evidence, however. I urge skepticism on that point — the only part of that email thread that has been presented by Radford publicly does not show this fact, and it’s extremely important with regard to whether or not Radford or his lawyer tried to overreach. Baxter claims they had altered it beyond what he’d agreed to in his tweet on the matter on March 25th; Radford claims they hadn’t altered it in his “clarification” Facebook post.

As of 1:13pm CST, Stollznow’s legal defense fund is at $14,506 with 196 backers.

UPDATE 4:

I added the following in the above speculation timeline:

Lindsay claims in his letter that punishment was NOT set up to coincide with vacation time, so if there WAS punishment (which Lindsay strongly implies there was!), then it’s likely that someone told Karen he had been on vacation instead. My going suspicion on this point is that Radford himself suggested to others that he’d been taking vacation, rather than having been suspended, to explain his absence and save face. Stollznow may have heard this and taken the story at face value, and assumed duplicity on CFI’s part, rather than Radford’s.

In communications with Paul Fidalgo, I was asked to correct that point and the point of whether or not CFI asked SciAm to take Stollznow’s post down entirely. From Fidalgo, I have confirmed that the employee that Ron Lindsay was referring to in his post and letter to Scientific American was, indeed, suspended, and that the suspension was intentionally arranged so as to NOT coincide with any vacation time. He cannot refer to names in discussing this case, obviously, in this letter, but it was written explicitly with the intent of obtaining a correction of only the specific points brought up, not a takedown of the post or for any other implied or proffered reasons regarding sides-taking. I’d urge everyone reread Ron Lindsay’s post on this point. It fits quite well with my current line of speculation.

UPDATE 5:

At 5:19pm CST, just under 6 hrs after being posted, the IndieGogo was fully funded for $30,000. Stollznow will be fighting the case. This is likely not enough money to cover all legal costs, though. Defamation costs can get fairly steep. It is evident that, regardless of the outcome of this specific case, this community is extremely motivated to fight back against harassment. The alacrity with which these funds were collected reminds me of Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter, which raised $120,000 mostly on the back of the harassment she was receiving — both before the Kickstarter, and the order of magnitude more she was getting afterward.

One point I will note is that at least two people decided to “satirize” this fight by donating to Stollznow under the names Sara Mayhew and Justin Vacula — two people who pride themselves on being against people who generally fight harassment. I know, it feels good to take a poke at someone who spends all day, every day trying to tear down everything you stand for. But if we are the good guys, we’ll not do things like that — especially since it invites further harassment of the person you’re trying to help with the donation. Take those pokes under your own name if you want, but don’t call down the winged monkeys on someone else’s behalf.

The defamation filing is apparently a matter of public record, and I’ll be trying to obtain a copy from the court as soon as possible. (Likely only this weekend, unless someone else has a copy.) I understand from people who’ve read it that it contains many terrible allegations against Stollznow. It’s possible much of it is bluster, but there’s often a kernel of truth behind every person’s experience of events, so I’d like to see what the allegations actually are and whether they’re supported by any evidence in the public record.

Additionally, Baxter evidently briefly posted a more complete copy of the email thread between him and Radford / Radford’s lawyer, but pulled it from his Facebook page recently. I don’t have a copy of that either, so I don’t know what it says, and if it provides any of the context missing from Radford’s questionable screenshot.

UPDATE 6:

On March 31st, Brian Thompson, former JREF Outreach Coordinator, posts this to his Facebook wall:

Let me explain why I’m supporting Karen Stollznow’s legal defense fund. Maybe some of my Facebook friends don’t know who she is or what this is all about. Karen is a linguist, writer, and investigator who looks into claims of the paranormal, the supernatural, and the outrageous with a skeptical eye. Skeptics like her do a lot of good for the world in ways large and small. They’re the ones fighting against the kind of scientific ignorance that keeps people from vaccinating their kids, for example. And if it weren’t for skeptical investigators, I might still be cowered in fear every night thinking aliens were going to abduct me or ghosts were going to throw things around my bedroom. Now I’m just cowered in fear thinking that I might never be on one of those interior design makeover shows. This is progress.

I believe so strongly in the good work these skeptics do that several years ago I started hanging out with them, working on activism projects with them, and drinking lots and lots of booze with them. I went to their conferences and meetings and pre-swingers’ parties, and for a couple of years I even worked in an official capacity with one of the world’s most well-known skeptical activism nonprofits, the James Randi Educational Foundation.

In that time I got to know a lot of great people. I’m not going to name them all, because I know I’ll leave out Christian Walters, and then our lovemaking will take a passive-aggressive turn. But a lot of people who share this common interest in making the world a better place through rationalism are kind, honest, funny, talented, and valuable friends. Then there are people like Christian who are maybe just two or three of those.

But I no longer identify with this community of benevolent know-it-alls, because not all of them are the best folks in the world. In fact, a good percentage of the top ten worst humans I’ve ever met are prominent members of the skeptics’ club. They’re dishonest, mean-spirited, narcissistic, misogynistic. Pick a personality flaw, and I can probably point you to someone who epitomizes it. And that person has probably had a speaking slot at a major skeptical conference.
I grew particularly disgusted with the boys’ club attitude I saw among skeptical leaders and luminaries. The kind of attitude that’s dismissive of women, sexually predatory, and downright gross. When I first started going to skeptical conferences as a fresh-faced know-it-all, I started hearing things about people I once admired. Then I started seeing things myself. Then I got a job with the JREF, and the pattern continued.

There’s a particular guy popular with the skeptical crowd who writes books, gives talks, and wears bicycle shorts. What’s not to love? Well, a female friend of mine told me she didn’t like it very much when he locked eyes with her from across a room and pointed to his dick. When I started working for the JREF, my boss described this same guy as an “old school misogynist”. Then a friend told me this same skeptical celebrity had groped another speaker at a conference. Grabbed her breast without invitation. Sexually assaulted her. Then my boss told me that not only did this assault happen, but that he witnessed it and intervened. The woman who was assaulted won’t name names for fear of being dragged through the mud. Another woman I know has told me that this same guy assaulted her. Others have confirmed her story to me. I believe her. But she’s remained anonymous for much the same reasons.

I’m tired of this. I’m tired of hearing about sexual predators like Mr. Bicycle Shorts, who has yet again been invited to speak at the JREF’s annual conference. I’m tired of hearing things like what I’ve heard from [redacted]. That my old boss grabbed his junk in a car and said he would be “presidentially displeased” if [redacted] didn’t give my old boss a kiss.

I’m tired of people like Richard Dawkins, whose lashing out at my friend Rebecca Watson for having the nerve to talk about what kind of male attention makes her uncomfortable has led to years of the most heinous abuse being flung at her and her colleagues. Heinous, woman-hating abuse from enthusiastic members of this broken little community of freethinkers.

Pardon my Yiddish, but oy, that shit’s fucked. And it’s also fucked that people are afraid to speak out about their stories for fear that it will become the focus of their careers or that their privacy will be destroyed or that they’ll be sued or that they’ll somehow damage organizations that do a lot of good work.
This makes me sick, and it makes me mad. So of course I’m going to help Karen speak up and fight back.
Here’s the situation in a nutshell: Karen used to work with another writer and investigator named Ben Radford at an organization called CFI. Karen says Radford continually harassed and abused her. She brought the situation to CFI, which found Radford guilty of some of Karen’s charges. Then they let him off with a slap on the wrist. Karen blogged about this. Radford sued her for defamation.

Based on the evidence I’ve seen, my own experience with Radford’s dishonest and creepy behavior, and the assurances from friends of mine who know more about this situation than I do, I’m willing to believe Karen. And more than that, I’m willing to put my money behind her efforts to fight back in court. Because she deserves the chance to make her case instead of having to fold under insurmountable financial pressure. Defending yourself in court isn’t cheap.
Also, I don’t like bullies or creeps. Especially the kinds of bullies and creeps who have been protected by their peers and allies in a community that places pseudo-celebrity and books about how lake monsters aren’t real above the well-being of women who are at least as vital to fighting the good fight. A fight, by the way, that’s about the righteousness of the truth.

So I’ve given to Karen’s fund. You can do the same here:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/give-a-voice-to-harassment-victims/x/6875853

The post gets shared a few times, then Thompson removed it from his wall — I’m not sure if under legal threat, or simply because he was distracting from the issue by implicating DJ Grothe and Michael Shermer (without naming either) in other misdeeds. (This means I have to update my other harassment timeline, I guess.)

I’m playing catch-up presently. Updates will continue momentarily.

UPDATE 7:

One of Radford’s friends, Angie Mattke, puts up a Rockethub legal fund to help defray his legal offense costs on March 23rd. It gets no publicity — nobody’s spreading it around. Tenured antifeminist troll and general attack dog Mykeru is working hard on getting Dean Esmay, of A Voice For Men, to “do something”.

On April 2, Ben Radford himself makes public a website full of document dumps, pictures, and scans of printouts, at benrlegal.info. This is, by my count, his fourth “final public statement” on the matter. I’m in the process of downloading everything here in case it goes away when a lawyer decides that was a bullshit move. But there’s a lot here, and it provides a lot of context to the fight.

Whois data on the server shows that the domain was registered on January 20th 2014, and updated March 22nd 2014. I presume the update was to point it to the GoDaddy servers where the domain is now also hosted as well as being registered. He registered the domain well in advance of any other telegraphs of legal action, and started hosting services the same day as making the “retraction” public. My guess is he was using the website as a negotiating bargaining chip to get them to settle, to sign the “retraction”, or else the “bomb” would be dropped and all his evidence would be made public.

One good thing came of this — he saved me the trouble of getting the filing from the courthouse directly. Assuming his PDF is identical to the filed copy, of course.

One of the specific claims on the filed complaint with the court (PDF) is that Stollznow edited emails that were used to prove that he had inappropriate contact with Stollznow over the period claimed in the original CFI investigation. This claim differs from the original claims in Stollznow’s narrative in two important ways. It means Radford knows which specific emails were claimed to prove that he was harassing Stollznow, which resulted in a two-week suspension without pay, and that he believes Stollznow definitely edited them, whereas Stollznow says that she gave the investigators full access to her emails and was not privy to any of the results whatsoever. Radford had access to the results of the investigation at least as far as which specific emails “proved” he was contacting her inappropriately. Stollznow claims to not have had any access to it whatsoever. So Radford claims to know exactly which emails were used to damn him, that Stollznow selected specifically for that purpose, and how they were forged, whereas Stollznow just claims to have given investigators access to her email and to have been locked out of the process from then on.

Something I’ve learned personally in digging on this topic is that sometime around 2012, CFI moved from another email provider to Google Apps. I am asking around presently to find out if this coincides with the time presented on those “edited” emails. It seems entirely plausible to me that this migration was not going to include a full port of emails, and that Stollznow instead forwarded everything in her old mail to her new mailbox over a period of several days. This would certainly have the appearance of being “poorly edited”, as the emails in the validation report that Radford paid for only validate that the timestamps in the specific emails in question actually showed the original dates of 2010.

It could further prove incompetence on the part of the hired investigators if they mistook these emails’ timestamps. Radford’s investigators claim that the timestamps in Google are proprietary — but mail itself is not proprietary, headers are not proprietary. The only part of the headers that Google has a say in are the SMTP IDs, which pretty obviously contain a datestamp that could have been edited too if someone was actually mucking about with email headers. An example from my own:

by mx.google.com with ESMTPS id q45si4540386yhb.95.2014.04.02.20.46.24

This contains the following: a unique identifier (q45…yhb.95), and a timestamp (2014.04.02.20.46.24). That’s April 2, 2014, 8:46.24 PM in its local time. (It was actually received at 10:46pm CST.)

If someone was actually mucking with email headers to get the timestamps to look different, they’d have to ignore this patently obvious timestamp. It’s possible that’s actually what happened — that Stollznow edited these emails and missed the ESMTP ID, or that she did a particularly clumsy job of collating some emails and claiming the year stamps were different than what they actually were. But it’s also possible that the rest of the headers were not actually edited, because these emails weren’t actually edited, but were rather forwarded from Stollznow to herself during the migration and the investigators mistook the year of the email migration for the actual year of the email.

Without seeing the results of CFI’s investigation, I can’t make any claim to know what exactly they considered damning evidence of Radford — all we have is a scan of a printout or photocopy of some emails that he claims came from the investigation. We don’t actually have real proof that it was specifically from the investigation, or that Stollznow had any hand in the investigation results being what they were — we do, on the other hand, have claims by Stollznow that she was locked out of the process early on and was stonewalled thereafter. It’s extremely possible that he did, in fact, get punished for specific incidents that didn’t happen. But, that doesn’t mean that harassment didn’t happen in toto, at least in Stollznow’s eyes — only that the investigators who punished him were wrong about something. Hopefully the entirety of the CFI investigation will be entered into evidence so we can determine what exactly they claimed to have used as proof that Radford did indeed deserve the two weeks suspension.

A lot of what’s on this site is irrelevant character assassination, in an attempt to prove that she’s jealous, vindictive, and a proven liar. This includes an apparently sealed police document involving a domestic dispute between Baxter and Stollznow, which he apparently obtained, including three pictures — two of which are mugshots of Stollznow. Baxter and everyone commenting publicly on this have claimed that this was entirely unrelated and brought up solely to prove she’s violent and jealous. I’m not sure how Radford obtained these sealed records. I’m also not sure how it proves that he didn’t harass her — only that she is jealous and has been violent in the past.

He also published an email he claims to be from Baxter confiding in him about he and Stollznow’s rocky relationship, though there’s little proof that this email actually happened — as with most of the “emails” he’s publishing, he’s actually using Gmail print function then saving as PDF. It’s well possible to edit these after the fact, so it’s not actually proving much about the emails without any headers or the likes — as he himself should know, considering the headers on emails are what ostensibly exonerates him from the harassment. But we can still assume the email is legit, and it only proves that Baxter and Stollznow’s relationship was rocky, and that Baxter thought Radford was a friend enough to confide in him at one time.

There’s additionally one very particularly sleazy thing on here — a selfie Radford took of him topless (at least) in bed, with an apparently also topless Stollznow. Radford is grinning widely while Stollznow is shielding her face from the camera with her hand — she evidently didn’t want her picture taken. I’m not sure what he intended to prove with this, but the EXIF data on the image he uploaded conveniently leaves out the timestamp. (It leaves in such details as exposure time, camera model, etc., but “date taken” is all zeros.) It proves that, at one time, they were in a sexual relationship — something nobody’s ever actually disputed. It kind of seems like the “you consented once” argument, which, if that’s the way he’s going, is really distasteful and frankly damning of his character.

Making that argument worse is the claim by Bob Blaskiewicz at Pharyngula that there are pictures of “enthusiastic consent” that the courts might see.

There is the fact that the documents that he was disciplined for (the emails) at CFI, and which have been the basis for endless numbers of attacks on him seem to be forged. Badly. That’s why the lawsuit is not just for defamation but for fraud. It is basically unthinkable how those copy and paste jobs she presented will stand up in court, honestly. The judge is going to want to see her email accounts like Ben presented his and compare. That’s what will determine this.

My understanding that photos of her enthusiastically consenting at a time she says they were not involved are not included on the website. I suspect they will be seen in court, however.

Emphasis mine.

It’s not actually clear that these images will prove anything, since the one posted on the website presently doesn’t actually show a timestamp (TRIGGER WARNING: this is Radford’s semi-nude selfie with probably-Stollznow!!) despite showing all sorts of other information. Exif data in the timestamp field exists on the three photos from the police report, so we can tell definitively that neither his server nor WordPress (his content platform on this server) is (even inadvertently) stripping timestamps.

Never mind that this is effectively a claim that Radford took pictures of himself and Stollznow while having sex, evidently with Stollznow being less than willing to participate in the photography, and that he’s now holding that over her to threaten to show it to the courts. And that he may have shown the sex pics to Blaskiewicz (no good skeptic would make a claim like this publicly without seeing the evidence, yeah?). Even without any other context around this, that’s incredibly fucked up and probably illegal, since I’m sure that among his evidence he doesn’t also have a modelling release form allowing him to show these pictures publicly.

This case is almost entirely going to be tried on the basis of whose character is more believable, though, and as a result of all of this well-poisoning irrelevant info, it may well be that Stollznow would lose even if the alleged harassment and assault actually happened. That doesn’t mean I think Stollznow is a saint, though. A lot of people are doing a lot of polarizing in this fight, but I don’t think it’s entirely cut-and-dry. It’s entirely possible that Stollznow is, in fact, vindictive and jealous and mercurial, and that Radford may even have the evidence of such. But remember that even proven liars should be taken seriously enough to have their claims investigated properly. Being vindictive and jealous doesn’t preclude you from having someone harass the hell out of you — including what seems a lot like “revenge porn” pics and threatening to release them to the world. That qualifies as harassment on its own, to me.

UPDATE 8 – July 19, 2014, 12:15pm CST:
Things have been mercifully quiet for a long time, with no further inadvisable document dumps or public statements being made by either side. Radford has been making numerous subtle and not-so-subtle changes to his Ben R Legal website, which HJ Hornbeck documented in the comments below, but nothing particularly bombshell-like has come of it in my estimation.

However, there is news today that Radford’s “legal info” site, where he maintained an archive of his own allegations against Stollznow and his “evidence” of lack of wrongdoing on his behalf, has been turned off, and unconfirmed rumors are that it had been due to a cease and desist letter (I’d previously worded this stronger than I have direct evidence for, so I’ve amended the record here). If the C&D also required deleting all archives, apparently web.archive.org is still up. It would fall on Radford to submit the purge request as the owner of the domain in question.

In slightly less portentious news, apparently slimepitter Brive1987’s own attempt at a timeline, at Weebly has also vanished. It’s NOT on web.archive.org. No big loss, honestly — he was as bit a player as I am in this. Possibly this is also the result of a C&D; or maybe the slimepitter’s “historian extraordinaire” is sad about the fact that no FtBer has yet retracted their statements on the Stollznow/Radford case after Radford presented what he claimed to be a retraction by Stollznow but turned out to be something else entirely.

Comments

  1. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Your section “Transcript by HJ Hornbeck:” has a bad blockquote escape, terminating too soon.

    Someone needs to document what was actually said, and what can be reasonably inferred from these events.

    It is appreciated. Thank you.

    (To quibble: It is not needful, but it is useful)

  2. says

    Also, I think your reading of the situation makes plenty of sense. I can believe that Stollznow would be willing to come to a settlement to avoid a lengthy and expensive process that would do her zero good under the best circumstances… Radford loses(like he did at his job, according to the timeline) and that just means she spent a crapload of money to maintain the status quo. Radford, being a well-known fool and abusive shitheel, couldn’t accept a neutral settlement and had to re-write history just one more time to maintain that he’s the victim in this situation even though he’s always presented himself (with witnesses) as a fool and abusive shitheel. So he rewrites the statement, dishonestly posts it, and his “skeptic” fellow abusers jump all over it.

    I guess when those folks are used to swimming in poop, even more crapping in the pool seems like a positive next move in any situation.

  3. says

    Some comments:

    *The blockquoting for the “retraction” is borked, ending after the first paragraph.
    *Might want to note that PZ (at least) redacted posts about Radford and the harassment at Karen’s request, following the lawsuit filing. Allegedly, others have been asked to do the same.
    *Hopefully someone is screengrabbing most of this stuff; for instance, I can’t see that Facebook thread of Blake Smith’s anymore, for whatever reason. Given the tendency for memory-holing already, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these links going dead.
    *Nothing in Radford’s image-post of his e-mail exchange with Baxter contradicts Baxter’s claim that Radford and/or his lawyers altered the letter before posting it. In fact, since all those e-mails are dated March 22nd, it’s possible/probable that the e-mails predate the posting of the letter to Radford’s Facebook page.

  4. says

    Thanks John. I’d munged some other blockquotes pretty badly, thanks to a last-second check in the visual editor. I should learn not to do that any more and just rely on my previews.

  5. says

    Tom: I’ll look through some of the stuff I’d saved to my Windows partition way back when the harassment timeline was being curated. I may actually have Blake’s Facebook page.

  6. hjhornbeck says

    Also, that image of his email account? It’s now over here, with this:

    Clarification on the Stollznow Retraction

    As many of you know, several weeks ago I filed a lawsuit against Karen Stollznow, who last year accused me of, among other things, stalking and sexual harassment. Over the past few weeks I have been in discussions with Karen via her husband Matthew Baxter, who contacted me to discuss a retraction. He and I worked together on a statement, which I posted to my Facebook page on Saturday. It has come to my attention that Karen has now stated that she never agreed to the statement I posted. This surprised me and is a grave concern to me, and I want to clarify the situation.

    I did not fabricate the retraction out of thin air; it was the result of a collaboration between myself, Matthew Baxter, and my lawyer. To begin with, I have not spoken with Karen personally in well over a year. Instead I have been dealing with her husband Baxter, who has acted as a mediator. The retraction statement I posted on Saturday evening March 22 was the same retraction statement that Baxter and I worked on for two weeks. Nothing had been changed. Furthermore the retraction that Karen now disavows is the same statement that Matthew Baxter told me only a few days ago that Karen agreed to and would sign (though she could not get it notarized, which is needed to make it official, until Tuesday March 25).

    Not only that but the morning of Saturday March 22 I wrote to Baxter and told him that, based on the agreement he told me Karen had agreed to, I wanted to go ahead and make the statement public, as I had been waiting over a year for the retraction. He replied, “Well we won’t be able to get ours signed and notarized right away but you can do what you want to do with this if you feel confident that nothing will go wrong.” (See the attached screen shot of our e-mail exchange.) I responded to him that I understood, and that I was confident that nothing would go wrong as long as Karen had indeed agreed to the retraction. I told him that I planned to post it to Facebook that night. He never wrote back with any objections, and so I did.

    Whether I jumped the gun or not is a legitimate question, and one I accept responsibility for. I probably should have waited until I had the signed and notarized statement in hand. But I saw no reason to wait to make it public, since I’d been told clearly several times that Karen had agreed to it. When I posted the retraction, I did so in the sincere belief that Karen Stollznow had agreed to it, and knowing that her husband Baxter had given his approval. I did not intend to deceive or mislead anyone, and I would never have posted the agreement if I had known she did not agree to it.

    Now that I have a clear, formal acknowledgement from Karen that she has in fact disavowed the agreement that Baxter and I spent two weeks working on and that I was told several times she agreed to, I have deleted it. I’ll have no further comment on this matter, as anything I say will only further complicate matters for all of us. I look forward to this matter being resolved through the courts.

    [*sigh*], I believe there was talk of a legal defense fund?

  7. says

    This does not square with Baxter’s indication that the statement had been morphed into an apology without Stollznow’s or Baxter’s knowledge. One or the other is mistaken (or lying to save face).

    I have strong priors which lead me to a particular conclusion on which…

  8. Corvus Whiteneck says

    1) The syntax of the statement and context of relationships involved leads me to believe the “they” Baxter is referring to is BR+lawyers/others. This may seem obvious to some, but I think it is worth pointing out/thinking through, b/c very shortly a pitter or dudebro will claim the “they” is BR+KS and Baxter was out of the loop so just dismiss that statement of his. Oh, and ALL other statements he’s made, since he is clearly out of the loop perpetually.

    2) If you lie down with dogs, you risk getting up with fleas…. and you should have known better. But if there are going to be fundraisers, maybe we should also take up a collection for BR’s lawyer to buy a) a new desk and b) a new head. I’m sure his/hers is now in a state of disrepair.

    3) I looooooooooooooooove free speech. In that regard I am very grateful the US has better defamation laws than many other countries. But we are far from perfect, and this case *may* ultimately illustrate (at this point, it’s TBD) some of the serious and long-standing flaws in our system.

  9. says

    Yes, John Greg — I do so love being able to show that troll narratives aren’t at all how this stuff went down. As for high-placed people in the skeptical community fighting amongst one another over who was assaulted by whom, well, I don’t particularly relish that work, but I’ll roll up my sleeves. Since you pitter types are so good at documentation, perhaps you’ve got screenshots of the Facebook thread before Radford took it down? Ask Ryan Grant Long, he might.

  10. hjhornbeck says

    One thread that you missed, Thibeault, is Amy Stoker’s comments. On the surface, they’re easy to fit into the puzzle:

    Radford gets news of a settlement, then visits Stoker. He mentions a settlement is in the works; elated by the news, she shares her enthusiasm on Radford’s post. But thinking the settlement is done and signed, rather than on the way to being there, she mentions documents have been “signed and notarized.” Later, Radford discovers this comment, and issues a correction stating Stoker misheard him.

    So far, so fine. But when you dig into the details, it’s tough to support that reading:

    – Stoker’s “signed and notarized” comment was removed outright, either by Stoker or Radford. It would have been easier to just leave the comment there in light of the later correction.
    – Radford never commented on the missing comment until someone else asked about it. If it was an honest mistake, pro-actively stating as such the moment he knew about it would have been more likely in the above scenario.
    – When Radford did comment, he used an odd phrasing that never clarified if there was a signed document, yet from his most recent post it’s clear he never had such a document while writing that post. Why the verbal dance?
    – Stoker made two later comments, unrelated to that first one, which persisted for some time after that first had been removed. Then, they both vanish. Why? There was nothing incriminating there, that I can see.
    – Stoker’s profile is currently locked down, and isn’t even visible unless you’re logged in. Unfortunately, I have no idea if this came after the comments disappeared, or had been present for some time.

    It looks to me like Hyperdeath was sorta-right: Radford was trying to shove through this settlement, with the added bonus of having the skeptic community spit some venom at Stollznow, though he did have a partial agreement at least. He made the mistake of bragging he actually had a “signed and notarized” agreement to Stoker, however, and her comment was evidence he was making false claims about the legal case in private. He panicked, trashed the comment, ordered her to go silent, and hoped no-one would notice. From there, everything unraveled, and Radford was forced into plan B: stop negotiation and go forward with the lawsuit.

    Or at least, that’s my current hypothesis based on the evidence we have at hand.

  11. says

    Not a very charitable read, but certainly plausible, HJ. You’re right, it fits the facts quite well.

    I need to get to bed. I may add that in the morning, hopefully with any more nuance that comes from further developments overnight.

  12. says

    Pteryxx had a copy of Matthew Baxter’s comment on the Blake Smith thread. Will upload the screenshot eventually. It says:

    “Ben, I know that it is your job at this point to minimize things. You would never admit to the things that you did. Fine. I get that. The truth is that you were asked to back off for years and you didn’t. You acted like I didn’t even exist in your persistence with Karen. I am her husband and no matter what you think of me, I asked you like a gentleman to back off. I never came out and told you off for your repeated sexully charged contact. I tried to (erroneously) give you the benefit of the doubt. I hoped you would just get bored. You didn’t. You continued. When Karen cut your communication paths off, you started claiming that she was disrespectful to you. Do you really want this fight, Ben? We can back up our side of things. You are in the wrong. Period. No amount of claiming that someone gave you mixed signals will work when we both have copies of the cries for you to STOP. Just admit where you were wrong and apologize. Remember when things actually worked out for awhile? TAM 2011. You behaved and were a real gentleman. We forgave and things were smooth. We had always been willing to be reasonable as long as our wishes were honored. You just couldn’t let it go. You have a problem and need some help.”

    Yes, I transcribed that rather than uploading the picture. I type really, REALLY fast.

  13. Stacy says

    @Marcus Ranum #15

    Whatever happened to Shermer’s threats to sue PZ?

    Hey, it’s only been, what, 9 months? I’m sure Shermer will sue PZ any day now.

    Yup.

    Any day now.

  14. Stacy says

    …And after all he has got the money from that legal defense fund Emery Emery helpfully raised for him.

  15. Stacy says

    #johngreg #13

    This is fun, isn’t it, Jason.

    You’ve confused setting the record straight–which takes research, the application of critical thought–you know, work–with gleefully and mindlessly pissing on one’s enemies. The latter is the Slymepit idea of fun, isn’t it, johngreg.

  16. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Interesting how of all the people who’ve commented on the new post, none of them has bothered to point out that perhaps he shouldn’t have posted the ‘retraction’ if it wasn’t what Karen signed – particularly those who referred to skepticism in their admonishment of others.

  17. pneumo says

    Baxter’s claim is that the statement posted by Radford was a doctored version of something Stollznow was prepard to sign.

    I would be interested to know what the statement Stollznow was prepared to sign actually said.

    Hopefully it was at least better written.

  18. Cor O'Lary says

    Actually, everyone has been commenting over on “that place that shall not be named” about how absolutely stupid Radford has been to publicly post anything that wasn’t already signed.

    I have no idea at this point who is lying and who is telling the truth. All three may be lying to a certain extent. Or it may be that Stollznow had nothing to do with anything, and Baxter made promises to Radford which he knew he could not and would not uphold, because he sensed Radford was open to being legally punked.

    Radford probably jumped at any chance to settle quickly and painlessly in a way that allowed him to make a retraction public to clear his name. Maybe he did something malicious, or maybe he was stupid and naive.

    I would not be surprised if Radford has screwed his legal case somewhat with his overzealous crowing. He should produce his email correspondence with Baxter in court and let a judge try to figure out what the hell happened with that. Baxter has admitted he sent a statement to Radford which he claims Radford modified into an apology. Now, Baxter should produce the original statement so a judge can compare that to what Radford posted to determine if Radford has indeed been altering legal documents.

    If Radford made everything up, he should face legal consequences for doing so.

  19. carlie says

    This is such a minor thing, but the fact that he keeps referring to Karen’s husband by his last name only through his screed is such a petty and authority-grabbing move that I have to laugh at it. It’s the kind of thing people do when they despise someone so much that they can barely stand to acknowledge them. No “Matt”, no “Matthew”, not the courtesy of “Mr. Baxter”, just “Baxter”. Such a classic depersonalization strategy, especially when it’s coupled with her name as in “her husband Baxter”. Way to hide your emotions there, champ.

  20. says

    Several unrelated points:

    I don’t know for certain (I’ll leave unthinking certainty to Radford’s supporters), but I believe the most uncharitable explanation is the most likely. The retraction was a bizarre gambit on Radford’s part to get Stollznow to agree to a statement that trashed her, in return for dropping his threat of legal action. It’s the kind of “ingenious plan” you’d expect someone who vastly overestimates his own intelligence to use. At the same time, he was banking on the fact that his lies would inevitably be accepted as hard fact by that ridiculous mob of pseudoskeptics. They’re now as convinced as those fundamentalists who display “God said it; I believe it; that settles it” bumper stickers.

    What will happen to Michael Shermer’s attack fund? Will it be refunded to the (largely anonymous) donors, or will it end up in someone’s pocket?

    Finally, please would everyone stop using the phrase “hyperskepticism”. It implies a good thing taken to extremes, which is not what these people are doing. Proper skepticism is recursive; you don’t just doubt the original hypothesis, you also doubt the arguments used to challenge the hypothesis, and so on. What these people do is “denialism”; a superficial skepticism, which is in fact unexamined belief in the null hypothesis. The same as climate change denialism, and evolution denialism.

  21. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Speaking of uncharitable interpretations, I have to wonder if Radford has incriminating photographs of the entire CFI board, because I can’t come up with any other excuse for his continued employment other than CFI’s management is full of shit human beings.

  22. splen says

    What will happen to Michael Shermer’s attack fund? Will it be refunded to the (largely anonymous) donors, or will it end up in someone’s pocket?

    According to @emeryemeryii they’ve already spent some of it on the cease and desist letter they sent PZ Myers. Assuming that its not going ahead, the money will be split between Shermer and Emery himself and used to fund “skeptical projects”.

    Make of that what you will.

  23. says

    splen:

    …the money will be split between Shermer and Emery himself…

    Some people compare MRAtheists to the Ferrengi. But that’s unfair. The Ferrengi wouldn’t fall for something like that.

  24. splen says

    I’m sure most of the money came from thunderf00t fans. An horrific hybrid cross of tribbles and ferengi.

  25. mouse says

    I would really like to know more about exactly how the supposed retraction letter/joint statement was “morphed.” Typically in a settlement, people do not admit to guilt, fault, or liability of any sort. So for the time being my assumptions are that either Karen has a terrible lawyer (or is not represented at all by legal counsel), or that some parts of the “joint statement” were completely fabricated.

  26. Rieux says

    Splen @31:

    According to @emeryemeryii they’ve already spent some of [the Shermer legal donation fund] on the cease and desist letter they sent PZ Myers.

    Seems very plausible to me. Given the presumably very high billing rate Shermer’s counsel commands,* that letter probably cost Shermer and/or the fund several hundred dollars.

    (* Not a criticism: from the little evidence available to the public, it looks like Shermer is getting what he/his donors pay for. I.e., it appears to me that he’s received quite good representation.)

    Assuming that [Shermer’s lawsuit is] not going ahead, the money will be split between Shermer and Emery himself and used to fund “skeptical projects”.

    Make of that what you will.

    I’d call it “nice work if you can get it.”

  27. carlie says

    Stephanie – thanks, that makes sense. I guess I shouldn’t have been quite so uncharitable, it’s just a quirk I’ve seen before, such as from incensed students who are trying to make a point by referring to their instructor by last name only like that.

  28. hjhornbeck says

    Thibeault @18:

    Not a very charitable read, but certainly plausible, HJ.

    It’s weird being on the pessimistic side of the pool, for once. And I’ll admit the “ego + overconfidence” hypothesis is simpler and a better fit for the direct evidence.

    But when I factor in the weird actions around Stoker’s comment, the careful wording of Radford’s statements, the rumors he’s been privately spreading dirt about Stollznow, and her own description of the investigation at CFI, I can justify a carefully-concealed malicious streak. He may want to ruin Stollznow, and by exploiting the political divisions in the skeptic/atheist movement while being careful to minimize his paper trail he’s got a decent chance at pulling it off, without tarnishing his public reputation.

    Viewed through that lens, what seemed like a bizarre act turns into a win-win scenario. Either releasing that document would give him further leverage in the negotiations and further humiliate Stollznow, or it would scuttle the negotiations and give Radford what he really wanted all along: a lawsuit he knows Stollznow can’t afford, and a chance to air some of what he (may be) saying privately in public. Either way, his loyal followers in the skeptic/atheist movement would happily do his verbal dirty work for him, keeping his reputation clean. Even if they did find out they’d been mislead, he’s a capital-s Skeptic and has positioned himself as an opponent of these phony “social justice warriors.” They’ll forgive him, out of tribal loyalty.

    The big flaw in my interpretation is that it turns Radford into a bit of a dime-store villain (they don’t exist in real life) and it relies heavily on rumour and speculation. While I currently think this hypothesis is (just barely) the most plausible, I’m not placing any bets.

  29. says

    mouse #36
    I notice that the first and last paragraphs seem fairly reasonable and neutral. No admission of guilt on either side, just a quick summary of the issue and an agreement to let it drop.

  30. hjhornbeck says

    carlie @27:

    This is such a minor thing, but the fact that he keeps referring to Karen’s husband by his last name only through his screed is such a petty and authority-grabbing move that I have to laugh at it. It’s the kind of thing people do when they despise someone so much that they can barely stand to acknowledge them.

    Not in my case. A few years ago, I realized I had a bias: I’d usually refer to men by their last names, and women by their first. I did some quick analysis, and noted last names are usually reserved for high-status experts, while first names are used for peers you know personally. It was a case of subconscious sexism on my part, so I forced myself to default to one or the other, regardless of gender.

    Hence why I almost always use last names.

  31. says

    HJ: just because it requires use of the Villain Ball, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong. But it’s not in evidence, really, either. It makes the facts make sense, but it imputes motivation that we can’t really see.

    I wouldn’t place bets either. I’m disinterested in proving a villain and a victim, so much as disproving outlandish interpretations proffered by a number of people who believe themselves to be “more skepticaler than thou”.

  32. says

    HJ, I think the problem with that narrative is that it implies a level of intellect and planning that I do not think Radford possesses. Looking back at his history in the arguments and kerfuffles that he’s been involved with over social justice issues, there’s something of a pattern: Radford spouts off with statements designed to provoke attention, pretending to have some kind of expertise (the eating disorder article, the “girls like dolls” article, the article on rape, the article on false accusations). Others respond, pointing out his shoddy research and faulty reasoning. Ben puffs himself up and writes a smug, skepticker-than-thou post about how wrong his critics are, without actually saying anything of substance, and does a victory lap (his response in the Skepchick comments over the eating disorder article, his response to the Riley article, his “PZ done made a strawman he did” ‘satire’ piece over the rape article). Nowhere in that do I see evidence of a master planner and skilled manipulator. I see an egotist who cares more about his image and agenda than actual facts and evidence, who will willingly and obviously twist and cherry-pick data to suit his points, and who has a wildly inflated sense of self-importance and ability.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like if he were as intelligent as your hypothesis suggests, he’d be a much better writer.

  33. hjhornbeck says

    Two more quick notes. Did anyone spot this in Radford’s latest?

    Now that I have a clear, formal acknowledgement from Karen that she has in fact disavowed the agreement that Baxter and I spent two weeks working on and that I was told several times she agreed to, I have deleted it.

    That’s a weird detail to share. Also, is anyone else getting a “shut up shut up SHUT UP” vibe from Radford and “Amanda Devaus”?

    Amanda Devaus: I am going to make a request – Ben has said he will not be making any further comment, and I will not be either – I appreciate that people want to speculate and discuss and i cannot stop that.

    However this is causing pain and more stress to an already overly stressful situation. So i am asking to please leave this discussion as is and concentrate our energies to other work that we can do within the skeptical community.

    Those comments by “Amy Stoker” may have been very damaging. Or I might just be over-reading things to suit my hypothesis of the moment, it’s tough to tell.

  34. Corvus Whiteneck says

    HJ @44

    I don’t see it as weird exactly; messed-up, sure. But it’s just more of the usual “I didn’t do anything wrong,” responsibility-dodging, error-denying, and/or victim-blaming type of behavior he displays in response to any criticism. He didn’t falsify or edit a letter nor jump the gun, Baxter and Karen misled him. He didn’t say something stupid about girls and dolls, we misunderstood his article. He didn’t sexually harass anyone, they misinterpreted his totes-socially-acceptable behaviors.

    I don’t know who Amanda Deveus is, nor her relationship (if any) to BR. Maybe she’s a meatspace friend, maybe a pitter/bro, maybe a “let’s keep the tent as big as possible, don’t cause rifts in the movement by talking about that stuff” person. In any case, I suspect there’s a segment of his supporters who feel they went out a bit too far on that limb & don’t want to get caught exposed again. So while they won’t admit having erred, they will try to change the subject. It is pretty disingenuous since they immediately started crowing when he posted the document — where was the “shushing” and “focusing” then?

    As for if this damages his case, I kind of doubt it. A major factor, as I understand it from afar, is not one of “what is true?” but rather “who has what resources to employ?” and this event doesn’t change that power imbalance. So long as it persists, I’m not sure how much the accumulated evidence matters. I imagine it pissed off his lawyer something awful, though.

  35. Cor O'Lary says

    Whoever was doing the lying, falsifying of legal documents and making deals in bad faith, that person is going to be fucked in court.

    I hardly think, if Radford is indeed the one doing this, that his situation is anything close to “win/win.” If these shenanigans are of his making, a judge is going to rake his arse over the coals. The court hates it when their time is wasted and they prefer it when people settle out of court and save them the hassle. Whoever deliberately sabotaged that effort (there does seem to have been some legal communication between Radford and Baxter which had the goal of progressing towards a settlement) is boning their own legal case.

  36. screechymonkey says

    Cor O’Lary @46:

    I doubt the legal consequences will be as dire as you suggest.

    First, this may seem like a weird and dramatic situation for the skeptic community, but for a civil court judge, it’s much ado about nothing. It’s really not uncommon for litigants to think they have or are close to having a deal, only to have things fall apart over documentation — sometimes because drafting the documentation reveals that you still differ on important points, sometimes because one side simply changed its mind and is taking advantage of the fact that no binding agreement was signed yet, sometimes because parties or attorneys are bickering over insignificant stuff and playing chicken as to whether or not they’re willing to blow up the whole deal. Either way, I doubt a judge will so much as raise an eyebrow at another tale of a settlement that almost was.

    Second, I don’t know New Mexico law on the issue, but generally speaking, settlement offers are not admissible in evidence. So there’s not much reason for the court to wade into the details. Obviously, parties sometimes want to try to tell a judge those details in the hopes of biasing him or her, but I don’t know how effective that is. Unless they do things very differently in New Mexico, a judge is not likely to be interested in much more than (1) does either of you claim that there is a legally binding settlement agreement that was breached; and if not, (2) is there anything procedurally I can do to help you try to put a deal back together, i.e. send you to mediation, postpone the trial or other deadlines? In my experience, most judges are not terribly interested in hearing about who’s the “bad guy” in settlement negotiations, who’s being unreasonable, etc., in part because it’s not really the judge’s business but mostly because judges are too damn busy dealing with the stuff they have to deal with.

  37. R Johnston says

    screechmonkey @47:

    Settlement offers are not admissible to prove the value of the matter under contention or to impeach the a party’s testimony about facts that may have been provisionally admitted for the purpose of settlement, but they are generally admissible for other purposes. They would be admissible, for example to prove that one party was engaging in bad faith behavior and litigation and should be sanctioned. See generally Federal Rule of Evidence 408. I’d definitely think that Karen Stollznow could use the document her husband drafted as needed to prove Radford’s bad faith in settlement negotiations in a motion to recover fees and costs related to the drafting of the document and associated settlement efforts .

  38. screechymonkey says

    R Johnston,

    Yes, I’m aware of FRE 408. Hence my qualification about “generally.” Obviously if there is a dispute as to whether there is a binding settlement agreement, the settlement communications are admissible for that purpose; they can also be admissible for certain other purposes.

    But where are you getting this notion of “bad faith in settlement negotiations” as a basis for fees and costs? What are you saying is the bad faith, and what is the sanctions authority? I’ve heard of parties being sanctioned for failing to show up for a court-ordered mediation, but not for conduct in settlement discussions. I’m not aware of any authority for sanctioning a party for being unreasonable or aggressive in demands or in the drafting of a settlement agreement.

    Telling people on Facebook that you have a settlement when you don’t, and inserting language in a proposed agreement that the other party finds outrageous may be poor conduct, but I doubt it’s sanctionable. And in any event, given that Stollznow does not appear to have mounted any kind of substantive defense so far, I’d say the chances of that kind of aggressive motion are slim to none.

  39. R Johnston says

    I know that courts generally don’t like to sanction for such misbehavior, but they very clearly do have the power to do so and they really should use it more than they do. It doesn’t involve a signed pleading so this frivolous effort to increase the costs of litigation wouldn’t fall under Rule 11(b) or the local equivalent, but the court still retains the inherent power to sanction or otherwise deter or punish any frivolous effort to increase the costs of litigation absent some explicit rule to the contrary.

  40. hjhornbeck says

    Thibeault @42:

    I’m disinterested in proving a villain and a victim, so much as disproving outlandish interpretations proffered by a number of people who believe themselves to be “more skepticaler than thou”.

    Agreed. I never learned the concept of “sin” or “evil,” and I’ve no interest in slapping those labels on people now.

    just because it requires use of the Villain Ball, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong. But it’s not in evidence, really, either. It makes the facts make sense, but it imputes motivation that we can’t really see.

    Tom Foss @43:

    HJ, I think the problem with that narrative is that it implies a level of intellect and planning that I do not think Radford possesses. […] Nowhere in that do I see evidence of a master planner and skilled manipulator. I see an egotist who cares more about his image and agenda than actual facts and evidence, who will willingly and obviously twist and cherry-pick data to suit his points, and who has a wildly inflated sense of self-importance and ability.

    I agree in general, the “ego + overeager” hypothesis is simpler and more charitable than my “Machiavelli” one, and should be the default. I think the former has difficulty explaining some small details, but those are easy to misinterpret.

    I’m sticking with the “Machiavelli” hypothesis mainly because I’d like it proven wrong.

  41. says

    Some people compare MRAtheists to the Ferrengi. But that’s unfair. The Ferrengi wouldn’t fall for something like that.

    May I steal the term “MRAtheists”? :)

  42. hjhornbeck says

    Mmmm, we don’t have a text version of that email exchange, do we?

    Ben Radford [collapsed, dated March 21]:

    I assume John Boyd or his assistant Kaye sent you the documents this afternoo…

    Matthew Baxter [dated March 22, as are all future messages]:

    I did receive the documents.

    We will not be able to get to a notary until Tuesday but I will contact the list of bloggers and Ron in the interm.

    Ben Radford [collapsed]:

    Okay, thanks. Assuming we have an agreement and all that’s needed is a notary….

    Matthew Baxter [collapsed]:

    We need to have confirmation that the litigation is dropped before making the…

    Ben Radford:

    Well, I’ve already signed an agreement to drop the lawsuit and release Karen from liability if she signs the agreement, so there’s nothing to “go wrong” unless Karen decides not to sign it. The agreement is official once it’s signed and notarized. The litigation cannot NOT be dropped at that point. Issuing the statement and dropping the lawsuit is in everyone’s best interest (especially yours) and I’m legally obligated to do that anyway under the terms of the agreement.

    If you want to wait a little longer I guess I can deal with that, but the fact is that it’s not going to be “a few more days” if you can’t get the statement notarized until Tuesday (notaries are easy to find and work on weekends, including at the UPS Stores). Assuming you get it back to Boyd on Tuesday or Wednesday, he might not be able to file the paperwork for a few days (remember, it took him a week just to get this agreement), and because the court system is slow it may take a few days to get official confirmation that the suit is dismissed, and we’re back to next weekend, or maybe even the first week of April. I’m not trying to pull anything over on you or Karen, I’ve just been dealing with this for over a year now and I want this done and over, for all our sakes.

    Matthew Baxter:

    Well, we won’t be able to get ours signed and notarized right away but you can do what you want to do with this if you feel confident that nothing will go wrong.

    Ben Radford:

    Understood.

    [there may be more message text, the cropping makes it unclear]

  43. carlie says

    Hm. That email exchange as presented (without the full text of most of them) does support that Ben thought that all the ducks were in a row and it was just a matter of formality to get them signed. But it never says that the Baxter/Stollznows read the documents that Ben sent, just that they received them. If what M. Baxter is saying is true, that Ben changed the document after they had worked on it together, it could be that the entire exchange happened with him assuming the statement was as previously worded, and it wasn’t until sometime later that he took a look at it and realized it had been changed. I’ve had a similar situation happen before, that I’ve worked on something with another person, signed off on it, and then they changed it after because they thought that since I agreed to the point of the thing, the specific wording wasn’t all that important and it was no big deal. (which is so, so wrong, but not everyone agrees)

  44. =8)-DX says

    Heh, similar thing happened to me, when I was agreeing to buy my flat, the last version they sent had an added penalty if I chickened out or was unable to transfer the money after signing – basically if the bank left me hanging without a loan, I’d have to pay them some nice pocket money.

    I got them to take that out – it was highly unfair as there was no similar penalty for them if they failed to transfer ownership after the contract was signed.

  45. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    hjhornbeck,

    [there may be more message text, the cropping makes it unclear]

    Seems that Ben addressed the point himself:

    Paul- you are incorrect, I did not “choose to hide” the content of anything. A screen capture only has so much vertical space. I selected as much as I could that showed the gist of the conversation. If I hadn’t posted the screenshot, people would say I just made it up and that Baxter never told me she would retract. First you complain that I gave too much information, then that I gave too little. I’m not commenting on this further.

    “A screen capture only has so much vertical space”

    Weak excuse Interesting explanation.

  46. jenBPhillips says

    Radford said “It’s a strange comment given that her husband Baxter e-mailed me a few days ago telling me that she agreed to it and would be having it notarized today.”

    But I don’t see anywhere in that email exchange where Baxter tells Radford that Karen agreed to [sign the statement]. It may be in the part of the email exchange that was collapsed, but it why wouldn’t Radford show the part of that exchange that specifically supports his claim that Karen agreed to the retraction?

  47. hjhornbeck says

    Corvus Whiteneck @45:

    I don’t see it as weird exactly; messed-up, sure. But it’s just more of the usual “I didn’t do anything wrong,” responsibility-dodging, error-denying, and/or victim-blaming type of behavior he displays in response to any criticism.

    I don’t see how it fits that interpretation. Let me explain why I think it’s weird: put yourself in Radford’s shoes. He’s spent two weeks negotiating an agreement, and is finally overjoyed to have it accepted. A few days later, however, he’s shocked to find the other party has backed out of what he thought was a done deal. Does he:

    1. Retain the documents from that two-week period as evidence of good-faith negotiation on his part (as per screechymonkey and R Johnston, comments 47-50), or

    2. Delete those documents, allowing the “traitorous” Stollznow to modify her own copies to suggest bad faith on Radford’s part.

    It was a stupid, impulsive move, and if he somehow produces a copy of the documents at trial Stollznow’s lawyers can point to this statement as a sign he’s acting in bad faith.

    I don’t know who Amanda Deveus is, nor her relationship (if any) to BR. Maybe she’s a meatspace friend, maybe a pitter/bro, maybe a “let’s keep the tent as big as possible, don’t cause rifts in the movement by talking about that stuff” person.

    I don’t care, either. I only brought them up for two reasons: one, they claim to represent Radford, both in the deleted post and the new one.

    Amanda Devaus: if anyone has any questions in relation to this, why this route etc, please feel free to contact myself, rather then Ben direct. I will try to answer as best i can, but you can all appreciate we are just wanting to move forward now.

    Amanda Devaus: Ben will not be discussing this further. If you wish to, message me however I will be restricted to what I will say also. However please do send hugs – they are required.

    And two, in the deleted post they make some potentially libelous statements:

    Dave Austin: She [Stollznow] sounds mental, dude.
    Amanda Devaus: She is a lying nutjob. Yeah i said it.

    Amanda Devaus: Blake betrayed Ben and also made me think less of him with his public posts. I really hope now he does the right thing and admit he is wrong. But somehow i dont see that happening. It will also be why i will never support monstertalk or give any publicity to it.

    Rachael Dunlop: Will she be speaking at TAM? One would hope not after this admission.
    Amanda Devaus: Rachael – I hope JREF will understand that having someone who has lied and caused such horrible actions towards another person is not a good fit to be a speaker. It is certainly not representative of what rational thinking is all about.

    Orphia Nay: Well done for maintaining a dignified silence through this, Ben. And well done, Karen, for admitting you made a mistake.
    Amanda Devaus: She didnt make a mistake..she lied.

  48. says

    “A screen capture only has so much vertical space”

    Weak excuse Interesting explanation.

    yeah. at the most charitable, it translates to “I don’t really know how to do screen captures”; or “I’m too lazy to do this screen capture right”, depending on whether you thing “ignorant” or “lazy” is more charitable.

  49. says

    I hope JREF will understand that having someone who has lied and caused such horrible actions towards another person is not a good fit to be a speaker.

    *cough*

  50. says

    HJ Hornbeck:

    2. Delete those documents, allowing the “traitorous” Stollznow to modify her own copies to suggest bad faith on Radford’s part.

    I don’t read Radford’s comments as deleting the documents, but as deleting the post on his Facebook page that contained the picture of the documents.

    Also, thanks for those quotes. Time to unfollow Rachael Dunlop now, too.

  51. pneumo says

    why wouldn’t Radford show the part of that exchange that specifically supports his claim that Karen agreed to the retraction?

    I think he thinks he did.

    The “Well, we won’t be able to get ours signed and notarized right away but you can do what you want to do with this if you feel confident that nothing will go wrong” is taken to mean “she will sign it”.

  52. says

    Paul Fidalgo just asked me to amend my post — in my “narrative” opinionation after the timeline, I’d incorrectly said that CFI had asked SciAm to pull Stollznow’s post, when Ron Lindsay claims that he only asked for a correction to be posted. My error was unsupported and directly contradicted in the timeline itself. I’ve corrected that in the opinion bit at the end, but didn’t need to update the timeline.

  53. says

    In order to square my opinionation with another point Fidalgo asked, I have added the following paragraph:

    Lindsay claims in his letter that punishment was NOT set up to coincide with vacation time, so if there WAS punishment (which Lindsay strongly implies there was!), then it’s likely that someone told Karen he had been on vacation instead. My going suspicion on this point is that Radford himself suggested to others that he’d been taking vacation, rather than having been suspended, to explain his absence and save face. Stollznow may have heard this and taken the story at face value, and assumed duplicity on CFI’s part, rather than Radford’s.

    This rings very plausible to me. It’s unlikely someone on suspension would announce it to the world; it’s unlikely your organization would announce his absence as a suspension; it’s likely only Stollznow would know it was a suspension; and it’s possible Stollznow (being stonewalled on the results of the investigation) might misinterpret the stories that he was “on vacation” as duplicity on CFI’s part. It assumes a white lie on Radford’s part and an error on Stollznow’s, rather than outright fabrication (which, in this case, is actually the most implausible).

  54. kaboobie says

    Tom Foss @ 61

    Also, thanks for those quotes. Time to unfollow Rachael Dunlop now, too.

    It’s disheartening. I used to admire the Skeptic Zone gang, and the Australian Skeptics have made great strides against the anti-vax movement. Unfortunately, Richard Saunders is a staunch supporter of Brian Dunning, and now Dr. Rachie is an even greater disappointment to me.

  55. hjhornbeck says

    Fishcake-SireSpout @56:

    Just to clarify, I was saying there could have been more text after Radford’s “Understood.” The way that image was cropped, it was impossible to tell if the email ended there or carried forward.

    Speaking of cropping, here’s what a typical GMail account looks like. It’s obvious Radford took a bigger capture, and cropped down. Adding on to that, in one of the updates above Thibeault spotted something I’d missed:

    The screenshot of Baxter’s email exchange appears to have been taken on March 23rd due to the “1 day ago” fuzzy datestamp that Gmail uses. This could be anywhere up to ~1 day 12 hrs after the email. It seems odd that the email exchange would be screenshotted in advance, except if he was passing it around to others before posting it to Facebook.

    On top of that, I note the image Radford captured was 720×656 pixels in size. On my computer, the window decoration, file, tab, and address bars, plus the GMail header, add up to 165 pixels. Radford’s monitor was at least 1280×1024 (if he made the browser “full-screen” it could plausibly be only 1024×768, but it’s unlikely he thought to do that). Some poking around in GIMP reveals that if I remove Radford’s first and last comments, and assume Baxter’s hidden comment was the same size as his others, he could have displayed that comment with roughly 200 pixels of screen space to spare. In comparison, the longest email is about 250 pixels in size.

    So Radford had the screen space to expand out more of that email thread, yet never did? He had roughly two days of time to crop a screenshot to a smaller size, yet was unable to take or piece together multiple shots? This smells like premeditated deception, to me.

  56. says

    Hey y’all – if you want to be in the “I donated to Karen Stollznow’s legal fund BEFORE it hit the original 30,000 USD goal” club, you had better hurry – it has less than 3,000 USD to go!

  57. kaboobie says

    She’s hit her goal. It’s so gratifying to see such a large contingent supporting her. I donated $50, wishing I could give more. Came home to find my husband had donated $50 as well. :)

  58. says

    HJ, tempting as it is to ascribe malice or deception to Radford’s selective screen-capping, there could just as easily be an element of laziness to it. Thinking that people have gone to trouble to make things appear the way they seem is often mistaken for the same people not going to sufficient trouble.

  59. hjhornbeck says

    Oooo, I’ve made another interesting discovery! I noticed that the message part of a GMail window automatically grows once you get past a certain size; by playing around with the size of the browser window, then comparing the width of the resulting message pane to what Radford published, I can estimate the size of the browser window he had originally. By eyeballing it then taking my own screencap, I get a width of about 1180 pixels.

    A trip to Wikipedia shows that while screen resolutions like 1152×768 or 1280×720 exist, they either date from a decade-old hardware or occur on specialty devices like tablets or HD TVs, all an unlikely source for that screenshot.

    It suggests Radford’s screen was about 1280×1024, further supporting my prior analysis.

  60. kaboobie says

    Pssst, new post on Matthew Baxter’s FB regarding that email exchange. It’s set for “friends of friends” so even though I am not a direct friend, I can see it.

  61. Corvus Whiteneck says

    Jason @69

    While your interpretation seems reasonable, it does not paint CFI leadership in a very good light, IMO. It’s supposition, etc. but consider:

    Assuming:
    a) BR was suspended but led others to believe he was taking vacation,
    b) CFI leadership in a position to know better said nothing to correct that error,
    c) Karen heard from others that he was on vacation when CFI had told her that he was suspended and erroneously concluded vacation & suspension were concurrent,
    then I would conclude CFI has unethical and/or cowardly people in positions of authority.

    Are we to believe that BR led the unaware to think he was on vacation & those who knew otherwise heard *nothing* about a vacation, though somehow Karen did? Not likely.

    So when those who knew of the suspension heard BR was taking a vacation, did they correct it? Seems not, since Karen persisted in believing his suspension & vacation were concurrent. For them to have corrected it amongst those who had been misled & for Karen to remain mistaken would require everyone who was initially lied to/misled to never mention the suspension to her after they had been made aware/corrected. That seems unlikely to me, but does depend on how many/who they were. At the very least whoever told her he was on vacation might have been prompted to reach out, knowing they had made an error.

    So what was the rationale for CFI leadership not correcting BR’s misstatement?
    His privacy? He brought it up by leading ppl to think he was taking vacation AND he apparently lied about it — as far as I care he forfeited as much of his privacy as is required to correct the error.
    Her privacy? Well they could have asked her if she wanted them to correct the misunderstanding floating around about his “vacation,” knowing that doing so would compromise her privacy & therefore should have her consent. If they had done this, she would have discovered right then that he was in fact suspended & not on vacation.
    Institutional privacy? If you suspend an employee for inappropriate workplace behavior and allow him to lie about it unopposed, then you’re acting like you don’t REALLY disapprove of his behavior, and your institution doesn’t have any standards worth defending, including a standard like institutional privacy.
    Legalistic ass-covering which would prohibit talking about it? Suspending an employee and hiding it/allowing him to hide it shows you aren’t really concerned about preventing future inappropriate behavior of the kind which merited the suspension. Your legal problems are just getting started.

    All in all, the scenario is unflattering to CFI. Of course, change something on the top end and it all shakes out differently, even just as suppositions..

  62. hjhornbeck says

    Xanthë, Amy of my threads @79:

    This proves… what, exactly?

    Not a hell of a lot, probably. But in addition to what I said at #51, there’s good reason to go digging: if what Stollznow has said about Radford is correct, he’ll probably try to shame her at the trial by publicly airing the dirty laundry he has saved up. Forcing Radford to give up on the lawsuit by poking holes in his claims is one way to help her out.

    Though it does mean I’ll veer dangerously close to conspiracy theory territory for the next little while. I apologize in advance, and I hope you and others will help ensure I don’t slip into that part of the pool.

    Speaking of little details, though, I just noticed this in Radford’s clarification:

    Not only that but the morning of Saturday March 22 I wrote to Baxter and told him that, based on the agreement he told me Karen had agreed to, I wanted to go ahead and make the statement public, as I had been waiting over a year for the retraction. He replied, “Well we won’t be able to get ours signed and notarized right away but you can do what you want to do with this if you feel confident that nothing will go wrong.” (See the attached screen shot of our e-mail exchange.)

    Emphasis mine. Fair enough, but if that’s the case then the email exchange should show Radford asking if he can take the statement to the pubic.

    It doesn’t. Well, maybe: those collapsed emails might contain the request, but Radford hasn’t shown them and given his most recent statements he’s unlikely to say much more.

    And that’s something that’s stuck with me, ever since Radford aired that letter. Sure, it’s possible Baxter and Stollznow agreed to the bizarrely-written retraction; sure, it’s possible that Amy Stoker deleted her own comments, for whatever reason; sure, it’s possible that Radford just happened to phrase his explanation of Stoker’s disappearance in such a way that it didn’t reveal if he had a signed copy or not; sure, it’s possible that Radford thought the best approach to resolving the miscommunication was to delete the retraction (thanks to Tom Foss @61 for correcting me there!); sure, it’s possible that Radford got lazy with a screen capture taken two days before.

    But those are an awful lot of coincidences, each of which just happen to fall in Radford’s favor. A few of my alarm bells are going off, and the potential payoff makes smacking into a few dead ends worthwhile.

  63. hjhornbeck says

    kaboobie @80:

    Pssst, new post on Matthew Baxter’s FB regarding that email exchange. It’s set for “friends of friends” so even though I am not a direct friend, I can see it.

    Aww, I can’t see it, even though I am a friend of a friend. [pouts] I’m assuming he wants to keep the info semi-private, given the privacy settings; if that changes, post something here.

  64. ryancunningham says

    if you feel confident that nothing will go wrong

    If we believe Radford’s version, why would Baxter say this? Why would he even bring up the idea of something going wrong in an email where he was agreeing to sign the document?

    Radford clearly left out some significant context here. Sketchy.

  65. says

    Corvus:

    I think the most likely is the institutional privacy. The simple fact that they claim to be legally bound to not mention “the employee”‘s name suggests to me that they CAN’T comment on many parts of this. Not that they don’t want to correct the record, or that there might be parts of it that aren’t actually right that CFI does in fact know better. My understanding of the independent investigation — which I understand cost them a lot of money — was that it was a third-party that did it, and that CFI was legally bound to abide by the findings. I don’t think we can say anything about CFI’s part in this without a lot more information. Frankly, there’s enough chaff to sort out between Radford and Stollznow that I don’t venture to speculate beyond what we’ve already seen publicly. What they’ve corrected is obviously what they felt comfortable correcting legally — and they have, as far as I can tell, intentionally avoided talking about anything else, possibly for legal reasons.

    I’m trying very hard not to impute motivations on any entities in this that aren’t in evidence. I don’t see CFI as being particularly evil in this. There IS one aspect of all this that bothers me though — what must Radford have on CFI that they haven’t fired him through all his absolutely odious skepticism for years, when that’s the one reason he’s still on payroll? Surely people within CFI know that he’s a pretty bad representative of skepticism, regardless of him being potentially a giant legal liability to have on staff. But now he’s essentially not fireable. If he did, he could put CFI out of business entirely, with or without a real case against them.

    Incidentally, Radford has worked for CFI from home for many years — it’s entirely possible the “misleading” was something along the lines of setting up an autoresponder on his email, and Karen or someone else saw this and the story was that Ben was on vacation when he was actually out because he was being suspended then. As I had telecommuted for almost a full year at my last position, I worked very long hours and my presence would have been missed, even when I wasn’t working there directly. But that presence doesn’t pervade the same way as being seen in a lunchroom.

  66. says

    You know, I said here that I would sell a guitar to donate to the defense fund. The defense fund got funded before I had a chance to post a guitar to sell online… but not soon enough for shitty slymepit-type to start harassing me about selling a guitar, as though any of them have a right to demand anything from any decent person.

    So now I have a new plan.

    The guitar I was going to sell I might could have gotten $250-300 for. Instead of that $300, I’m pledging to donate between $30-50 every two weeks for the next 12 months. The first $300 will either go to the current fundraiser or directly to Karen Stollznow (if I can make that happen without violating her privacy). From that point on, every two weeks I will donate an average of $40 to a social justice charity. And I’d like for those folks who were trolling me on Twitter today to know that they can blame themselves for people they hate getting a few extra dollars every month from me.

  67. hjhornbeck says

    The defamation filing is apparently a matter of public record, and I’ll be trying to obtain a copy from the court as soon as possible.

    Would that be this court over here, as per a certain nefarious character?

    Additionally, Baxter evidently briefly posted a more complete copy of the email thread between him and Radford / Radford’s lawyer, but pulled it from his Facebook page recently. I don’t have a copy of that either, so I don’t know what it says, and if it provides any of the context missing from Radford’s questionable screenshot.

    Dang, that would have plugged the omission I noted in #82. Ah well, it’s a bad idea to talk about a legal case in progress, as Radford has amply learned. If it helps her to keep those emails private, then I’m happy to remain in the dark.

    Besides, we can always try levering Radford. His email is the critical one, after all…

  68. hjhornbeck says

    On second thought, Thibeault, you should just get in touch with this person:

    I’ve seen Radford’s case. His lawyer sent me the accusations to silence me.

    It was little more than claims that Radford & Stollznow once had a relationship, and she said nice things to him then, and that she continued to try to be friendly after they broke up. Therefore, she’s evil. He offered to send me all of their correspondence that showed these facts. I didn’t take him up on it; there’s absolutely nothing in the fact that they once got along to logically demonstrate that he couldn’t be a harasser.

  69. AnInterestedPerson says

    I’m really really really trying not to get involved, but I will answer the question posted by the last paragraph of the 5th update, as I did see it on FB before it was taken down. The message was text-based, not a screenshot, and it carried the conversation into March 25 (maybe 26? I don’t remember). It contained a long response by Baxter that included more allegations about what happened at TAM, quite graphic, and I was pretty surprised that Baxter had posted it.

    These people (ALL involved, not just Ben, not just Karen and Baxter) need to realize this is serious. It’s going to court, there is at least one cut-throat lawyer involved, and it’s going to be expensive. They NEED TO STOP POSTING PUBLICLY. Everything written now can be taken out of context and used by the other side to make them look bad. Social media is great for some stuff, but there’s no such thing as privacy once it’s online.

  70. says

    Take those pokes under your own name if you want

    FWIW I did and was – and remain – completely unapologetic about it. I saw the “Sarah Mayhew” one (which I didn’t do) and thought it was pretty darned funny. I still do.

    There isn’t any moral high ground worth taking and holding, here.

  71. says

    What about Radford’s fund raiser? I forget the details of it, but wasn’t there some money raised to support Radford way back? Has my memory gone loopy or has it just not been added to the timeline. If it’s the latter, maybe it should be.

  72. says

    Also, what do these people believe it would mean if Baxter had purposfully misled Radford into believing that Dr. Stollznow had signed the agreement?
    Does that somehow retroactively change the facts? Did he magically NOT harass her because years later her husband was mean?

  73. says

    Giliell #97
    I think the idea is that it was some kind of evil master plan: Pretend to negotiate a settlement, get Radford to publicly announce the retraction before they’ve actually signed it (via mind control, presumably), and then renounce the agreement to make him look bad.

    Of course, such a plan would be patently idiotic, since all Ben would have to do is shut up until the documents were signed and if he did so, it would actually leave Stollznow worse off. She’d have to either sign the retraction or abandon the negotiations, showing bad faith.

    Honestly, I don’t think any of these “skeptics” have actually bothered to think through how this was supposed to work. They just know that Radford is innocent and then they go from there.

  74. Ihasgelato says

    Dear Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar.

    I am one of the people that taunted you on twitter. I think its good you are holding up to your word and giving money to someone/people in need. I’m not sure if the fundraiser for Karen still needs cash as its quite over the goal, but if you agree to the her charity of choice for excess funds then I’m happy you are donating. I myself donate to MSF, a children’s hospital and donate time and money to a statewide animal shelter. And I know that helping others in need does provide one with a sense they are making the world a better place. Which is worth more than money.

    I hope you aren’t putting yourself out by doing this and wish you all the best.

  75. hjhornbeck says

    I was wondering when Stollznow would update her the preamble to her fund:

    UPDATE: More Than a Fighting Chance

    What can I say? I am speechless with gratitude for all the generosity you have shown me in the short time this campaign has been live. As I write this, only a day has passed since I made this page, and together you have surpassed my original goal by over $10,000.

    When I started this campaign, I honestly doubted that I could raise $30,000, the bare minimum I needed to go forward with defending myself. I have never been more humbled or grateful to be wrong. Your additional donations will go toward what could be a very expensive legal battle indeed (some estimates for lawyer fees alone are above $50,000), with any remainder at the end of the case going toward the sexual assault victims’ center.

    Your donations will also help me to consider a counter suit, for the extreme damages I have suffered at the hands of my harasser and false accuser. Together, we can show victims that they have a voice.

    My original $30,000 goal was simply to give me a fighting chance. Now, thanks to your continued support, I have a chance to fight.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    -Karen

    I’m a bit surprised at the mention of a counter-suit, as my impression was that Stollznow just wanted the issue to go away. It provides a good reason to keep analyzing Radford’s statements, though; while the results are pretty useless for the court case against Stollznow, they were incredibly useful during negotiations as they constitute the seeds of a counter-suit.

  76. jenniferphillips says

    Hjhornbeck, I just noticed that too– I guess it goes along with speculation that if Radford really filed suit expecting a settlement because he knew Karen didn’t have the funds to fight it, he might be inclined to drop it now that she has the necessary financial backing–so maybe even *more* inclined to drop it if he thinks she has enough money not only to fight it but to countersue.
    ?

  77. Muz says

    As an aside, Radford’s general lack of technical competence was something of an infrequent running joke on Monstertalk back in the day.
    So regarding the screen caps, my first thought was he doesn’t know enough features of his machine or browser to do a proper job.
    There might be some detail or other that suggests otherwise. With that priming I’m inclined to give him the B of the D though.

  78. says

    I absolutely agree with AnInterestedPerson @91.

    I’d rather my job only entail documenting what’s publicly available when it’s available without prejudicing the case; I don’t actually like that more information is coming out now that the case is going to be tried.

    And since the case of defamation being made against Stollznow would only clear Radford’s name if won, and not damn Radford if lost, I’m not entirely surprised that a countersuit might be forthcoming. However, it’s a hell of an expensive fight and not one I’d recommend lightly.

    There’s also the distinct possibility that, even in the case where truth lies clearly with one person and not the other, missteps (intentional, malicious or otherwise) by either side might scuttle their case. That doesn’t necessarily mean that serious harassment did, or did not, happen. I don’t know why people are pinning their hopes and dreams to this defamation case as though it would prove Radford or Stollznow an unequivocal liar — even if it could be proved that one or the other definitely lied about something or definitely did something illegal.

    The defense fund gives Stollznow the cash to fight rather than folding; she’s going to fight and may win or may lose. If anyone wants to pretend to be a better skeptic than anyone else, they should stop pretending like one suit is going to win or lose the campaign against harassment. I would hate to see how demotivated we’d get if Stollznow lost on some technicality, or was forced to concede for some reason or because of some misdeed in her past.

    This is not a proxy battle for the whole issue of harassment in the community. Not even if Stollznow wins.

    However, the fundraising — that’s a different matter. The fact that the fundraising went so well and so quickly, should tell people that there is money and motivation in the community that we’re willing to pony up to fight harassment in ways that, until now, only the moneyed interests ostensibly DOING the harassment have had access to. That fundraising is a clear signal, divorced from this case, that we’re fed up as a community and willing to put money up to fight the bullshit we’re seeing daily.

  79. Donnie says

    I hope that Dr. Stollznow files suit against CFI in order to receive a copy of the report by the contracted 3rd party legal team that CFI hired. I was under the impression that Mr. Radford was able to review the accusations made by Dr. Stollznow and that is when he went, “the bitch be crazy” in response to the investigators. I could completely be mistaken, and I will concede it.

    My point is that Dr. Stollznow was never able to counter any accusations made by Mr. Radford against her in the report. For me, that report should have been provide to both parties for their information. To me, regardless of the analysis provided by Richard Carrier, Dr. Stollznow deserves a copy of that report and a suit against Mr. Radfor and naming CFI as a party to the suit may provide the document under subpoena powers. This will enable Dr. Stollznow read the report, and have her lawyers use it as part of their libel case against Mr. Radford.

    Of course, I am not a lawyer. I am not Dr. Stollznow. She can only decide how far to push the issue, and whatever decision she makes is fine by me As mentioned before, the worst case is that Mr. Radford pulls the suit, Dr. Stollznow does not file a counter suit and donates the money to a worthy charity (which I am all for), then Mr. Radford comes back later with a secondary suit.

    I am ‘all in’ regarding supporting Dr. Stollznow by contributing as much as I can for my portion of the legal fees for a counter-suit. $30,000+ in less than 6 hours indicates that a lot of people in the atheoskeptic movement are ‘all in’ as well, and will support Dr. Stollznow with whatever decision she makes.

    As Jason states, harassment did not start with Dr. Stollznow, and no matter how this case ends, harassment will be there. Hopefully, the majority of the atheoskeptic movement understand harassment, and will combat it in the future.

  80. screechymonkey says

    Jason @85:

    My understanding of the independent investigation — which I understand cost them a lot of money — was that it was a third-party that did it, and that CFI was legally bound to abide by the findings.

    I would quibble a little with that: unless there’s something very unusual going on here, I doubt CFI was “legally bound” by the findings. But since the point of commissioning such an investigation is to be able to say “see, we had a neutral party investigate, and here’s what they found…” then yeah, it would be odd to then contradict it.

    These investigations are a mix (depending on the players involved, and your own personal degree of cynicism) of a genuine desire to get to the facts, or to create the appearance of doing so for purposes of legal protection to the company for whatever decision it makes about a complaint. Companies aren’t (necessarily) automatically liable for the harassment of one employee by another — depending on which laws we’re talking about, how senior the alleged harasser was, etc., an employee may have to show that the employer knew of and tolerated harassment, or to put it slightly differently, a company may be able to defend itself in litigation by showing that it diligently and appropriately responded to any harassment allegations that it knew of.

    Donnie @105: You don’t need to name someone as a defendant in a lawsuit to seek discovery from them. Subpoenas are issued and served on non-parties all the time. Though I’m not sure to what extent such a report is protected from discovery if the employer doesn’t wish to disclose it.

  81. Hj Hornbeck says

    Now might be a good time to look more directly at what Radford is alleging. I don’t have access to the official complaint, just the extract Radford posted on his Facebook, but that’s a both a start and something that won’t damage Stollznow’s case.

    COMPLAINT FOR DEFAMATION, FRAUD AND INTERFERENCE WITH BENEFICIAL CONTRACTUAL RELATIONS

    General Nature of Plaintiff’s Claims

    1. Plaintiff Benjamin Radford (“Radford”) brings this complaint to recover damages arising from malicious, false, and defamatory public and private statements made about him by defendent Karen Stollznow (“Stollznow”) in 2013; to recover damages arising from her fraudulent conduct and; to recover damages from her intentional, wrongful and fraudulent interference with Radford’s business relationships with others.

    There’s a lot more going on there than Myers’ comment suggests. Only a third of the claims might relate to harassment or assault, surprisingly, and there’s a charge of financial interference which is strangely familiar:

    From late 2009 onwards I made repeated requests for his personal communication to cease but these were ignored. He began manipulating the boundaries by contacting me on the pretext of it being work-related. Then came the quid pro quo harassment. He would find opportunities for me within the company and recommend me to television producers, but only if I was nicer to him. One day the company offered me an honorary position that I’d worked hard for, but he warned me that he had the power to thwart that offer.

    If you’ve been bullied at all, you’ve likely experienced tit-for-tat accusations, where your bully accuses you of doing the same thing they did to you. It’s very rare to have this pattern occur in real life, so the odds are good that either Stollznow or Radford are engaged in bullying, over that charge at least. As Radford has consistently been aggressive over the last while, by pursuing the lawsuit and posting that “retraction” before the ink was dry, the odds favor him being the bully. This point also looks strange against the “retraction” posted by Radford. Where are the mentions of financial wrongdoing there? They could either have been compromised away during negotiations, or they were just used to pad out the complaint and offer Radford more leverage.

    “Fraudulent conduct” is too vague to be sure of; this could relate to CFI’s investigation, or something else.

    Defamation is more familiar ground; libel is a major form of defamation, and we did a good job discussing libel when Shermer filed against Myers. To win a libel case you must either demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a statement is false or that the person making a statement was “malicious,” or had reason to think that statement was false but made it anyway. This time, malice is the infeasible route as in many (but not all!) cases you know quite conclusively whether or not you were assaulted.

    But sufficiently demonstrating “sexual harassment, stalking, sexual assault, [and] unwanted emails” did not happen is a massive hill to climb, especially when there’s at least eight people verifying parts of Stollznow’s story, plus that investigation by CFI which concluded against Radford. If what Myers says is accurate, Radford’s strategy is to demonstrate that since Stollznow consented to a relationship with him once, she consented to a relationship permanently. This would be doomed to fail.

    Summing up, I figure one of Radford’s complaints has almost no hope, one is suspicious, and one I can’t say anything about.

  82. Hj Hornbeck says

    A Hermit @107:

    Posted without comment…the Ben Radford Legal Fund:

    They’re going heavy on the autographed loot, I see. Shermer’s fund was less egotistical, which is saying something.

    Oh well, wish’m luck, and I hope it doesn’t wind up demoralizing Radford’s supporters.

  83. psanity says

    …the Ben Radford Legal Fund:

    Now, that made me laugh out loud.

    For those who are wondering about the possible countersuit — I believe that is a fairly usual response to a suit like this one (a pretty obvious SLAPP-type suit). Some folks have wondered what-if Radford drops his suit in the face of financially supported resistance, then starts up again after the money is donated onward — the countersuit is a tool for obtaining an agreement that disallows further legal harassment. So, he doesn’t just get to say, “Oh, never mind” and then try again later.

    Disclaimer: IANAL (but I did grow up in a lawyer tribe*). I’m sure the resident legal beagles will have a much more complete understanding than I do.

    *which is not quite the same as being raised by wolves

  84. Corvus Whiteneck says

    I will present the following without… HAHAHAHA *ahem*, I mean, *ahem*… without much comment:

    Regarding the rockethub.com “Ben Radford Legal Fund”, as of time of posting this comment, the “activity” log reads as such:
    1) Was launched by Angie Mattke (w/ avi) – 6 days ago
    2) Was funded by Angie Mattke (w/ avi) and Donor (w/o avi) – 5 days ago
    3) Angie Mattke (w/ avi) added a new reward X 12 (presumably defining the 12 different levels of swag listed elsewhere on the site) – 5 days ago
    4) Was funded by Barbara A. Drescher (w/ avi) – 5 days ago
    5) Was funded by Emily Dickinson (w/o avi) – 2 hrs ago

    Goal: $10,000. Raised: $475. Funders: 4. Days remaining: 32.

    So, a few questions (totes serious, not comments!!!):

    So, how many days ago was this thing started exactly?
    When did the Baxter/Radford email exchange occur exactly?
    When did Radford post a document to FB exactly?
    What did he claim at that time?
    What did he claim shortly thereafter?
    WWMS (What Would Mayhew Say) about Steve Martin’s name being used in this fundraiser?

    Interesting, isn’t it?

  85. carlie says

    Some folks have wondered what-if Radford drops his suit in the face of financially supported resistance, then starts up again after the money is donated onward — the countersuit is a tool for obtaining an agreement that disallows further legal harassment. So, he doesn’t just get to say, “Oh, never mind” and then try again later.

    That makes a lot of sense, thanks – I was wondering what she could get out of a countersuit, and this is it exactly.

  86. kellym says

    Interesting that Barbara Drescher, the Educational Programs Consultant of the JREF, is a funder for Ben Radford’s attempt to silence his victim with a lawsuit he knew she couldn’t afford to fight. Didn’t Uri Geller attempt to silence James Randi with a lawsuit? I was inspired by Randi’s courage and determination to tell the truth. So inspired, that I plan to donate even more next payday to Dr. Stollznow’s legal defense fund so she can continue to tell the truth and not be silenced by her harasser.

  87. says

    Kellym: That neglects the fact that Barbara Drescher is the goddamn worst. She’s a professional contrarian. Remember when she tried to psychoanalyze Jen McCreight over the Internet? Her “women do so have women’s intuition, Rebecca, as long as we redefine ‘intuition’ and it’s not just women who have it” article? Yeah, she’s terrible.

    Happy to see the stark contrast between Karen and Ben’s funds. Also, I really hope Sara M. is up in arms that someone would be using Emily Dickinson’s name to raise TENS OF DOLLARS!

  88. Hj Hornbeck says

    Corvus Whiteneck @111:

    Daaamn, that was a good find. Here’s one way to fit that into the timeline:

    March 22nd
    After getting what he thought was confirmation from Baxter (see screenshot), Radford fires off that retraction to Facebook. Later that night, he visits Amy Stoker and mentions the good news.

    March 23rd
    Baxter or Stollznow spot the Facebook post. Baxter sends an angry email back, and Stollznow sends that cryptic tweet. Radford, not expecting this, takes a screenshot of the email thread and starts circulating it among his friends, complaining that Stollznow is backing out of the settlement. Angie Mattke, fearing the worst, sets up a defense fund that night. For his part, Radford replies back to Baxter, pointing out that he did agree to the statement.

    March 24th
    After several angry emails with Baxter, Radford can tell they aren’t backing down, yet is still convinced he got approval to post the retraction. Mattke alerts Radford to the fundraiser, who approves and agrees to chip in some merch as an incentive. Baxter and Stollznow seek help from friends, and mull over those emails of the 22nd.

    It’s still weird to launch a legal fundraiser when you think you’ve got your retraction, and it suggests Radford was very open about his case to his close friends. The latter isn’t a bad thing (Myers was in the loop with Stollznow and Baxter), so long as your friends are cautious about what they say.

  89. A Hermit says

    I had my hip waders and respirator on last night for a stroll through a certain slimy neighborhood which is where I came across the Radford fund link. the narrative there is every bit as malicious and un-skeptical as one might imagine.

  90. Hj Hornbeck says

    They were making statements they had reason to think were false, but presented as truth anyway?

    </ba dum bum pssssssh>

  91. says

    Hj Hornbeck @115

    It’s still weird to launch a legal fundraiser when you think you’ve got your retraction…

    Doesn’t it suggest that Radford thought his total legal expense would be about ten grand? He must have thought that except for filing some documents with the court, his lawyer’s task was complete.

  92. psanity says

    Not only that but the morning of Saturday March 22 I wrote to Baxter and told him that, based on the agreement he told me Karen had agreed to, I wanted to go ahead and make the statement public, as I had been waiting over a year for the retraction. He replied, “Well we won’t be able to get ours signed and notarized right away but you can do what you want to do with this if you feel confident that nothing will go wrong.”

    I am more and more — well, not astonished, exactly, more some combination of amazed, perplexed, dumfounded, fascinated, and disgusted — at the wild combination of unrestrained impulsiveness and blind ego that is Ben Radford. Certainly everything I know about him from the written record shows a man whose behavior is consistent, and even predictable, in that light. At this point, I find myself almost wondering how he is able to negotiate a staircase safely.

  93. rsm says

    Just wanted to say thanks for the work you all put in here. As a casual member of ‘the community’ this stuff gets endlessly frustrating to try to figure out. The timeline and public documentation goes a long way to make this easier for me to get a quick handle on.

    Much appreciated. And in all seriousness, some kind of documentation storage solution is needed for this kind of stuff so that links don’t go dead… Maybe someone should do a kickstarter for that :P

  94. Hj Hornbeck says

    OK, you just got a message from one of your skeptical heroes (Mattke’s RocketHub profile photo appears to have Radford mugging in the background); they thought they had a settlement in the bag, but their treacherous targets have cried fowl. It looks like a lawsuit is inevitable, so it’s time to set up a fund to help your hero! The path is pretty obvious:

    1. Set up a fundraising page, maybe with some incentives.
    2. Publicize the page.
    3. Wait, as the money flows in to benefit your hero.

    Step one was certainly done. But I can’t find any evidence of step two occurring; in all my Googling, only the SlymePit has mentioned the fundraiser, and even then some anonymous guest account brought it up five days after it was created. Barbara Drescher and Mattke have been silent.

    So why didn’t this get broadcast out? It would have been perfect to share four days ago, when Stollznow and Baxter made the disagreement official. If you look at the timeline, however, the campaign corresponds roughly to the time Stoker’s comment disappeared, probably some time on March 23rd.

    Actually, it may correspond exactly; while the creation date of the fundraiser isn’t explicitly listed, it rolled over from “6 days ago” to “7 days ago” a few hours earlier. That might mean the zero hour was exactly seven days ago, on the evening of the 22nd. If my memory serves, I saw the timer roll over on Drescher’s contribution around noon, which would then mean the campaign fizzled out around noon the next day.

    So the night Amy Stoker thought the lawsuit was averted, Angie Mattke thought the lawsuit was going forward? And the campaign froze up the day Stoker’s comment went missing?

    New theory: Radford’s a liar, and he got exposed privately on the 23rd. I still have to solidify the timing on that campaign, though.

  95. Hj Hornbeck says

    Dave W @118:

    Doesn’t it suggest that Radford thought his total legal expense would be about ten grand? He must have thought that except for filing some documents with the court, his lawyer’s task was complete.

    It’s also possible Mattke set the total, not Radford. On the other hand:

    1. Mattke had to know (or “know”) the lawsuit was going forward, otherwise why create the fundraiser? That implies she’d been in contact with Radford before the fundraiser was started, maybe earlier than my timelines suggest.

    2. As mentioned, Mattke’s photo on RocketHub features Radford. Some googling reveals both their names appeared on at least one old Facebook event. And why would Radford be talking about the internals of his case to a mere acquaintance? Not only was contact made, it may have been extensive.

    3. There’s the description of the fundraiser:

    Ben Radford endured ruinous legal costs in an effort to clear his name from slander and libel. Let’s help defray some of these costs and let him know his friends support him.

    Ruinous? Didn’t the rumours state that Radford was flexing his wallet to intimidate Stollznow? Maybe Radford thought a court case would be cheap, while everyone else was going “wow, he must be well-off to afford lawyers like that.” Radford is certainly impulsive, and others have mentioned he doesn’t appear that savvy. Such a person could easily leap before they look, and have no idea what they’ve gotten into.

    I’m not convinced Radford low-balled his lawyer’s expenses, but I’ll admit it’s a tempting hypothesis.

  96. says

    Hj Hornbeck @121: Given the number of autographed incentives, Radford must have been an active participant in setting up the fundraiser, even if he wasn’t the person who actually clicked the buttons online. So unless you want to think that Angie Mattke had a stack of (potentially) 400 autographed photos of Radford lying around, assume instead that Mattke acted as nothing more than a proxy for Radford in setting up the RocketHub fundraiser. The planning alone, in terms of which funding levels deserved what swag, must have taken at least hours, and necessarily required Radford’s approval.

    It’s a fair assumption, isn’t it, that the personal, hand-written thank-you notes would be written by Radford, isn’t it? The perks list doesn’t say that explicitly, but I think it’s a fair reading that at the end of April, Angie Mattke was expecting Radford to do a shitload of note writing and autograph signing. It couldn’t have been an independent endeavor. Radford must have seen draft list(s) of swag and made the calculations of how many games and books he’d be giving away and how much of his time it was going to take to write notes and sign stuff, and he must have said “okay, do it” before Angie Mattke copied-and-pasted all that stuff into RocketHub forms.

    In other words, I’m certain that Radford thought of the fundraiser as a way of paying off the legal costs he’d already incurred, so there’s no question he would have done this after he thought everything was going to be over and done. In still other words, I think that at the time they started the fundraiser, nobody thought the lawsuit was going forward, they all thought it was finished but for the notarizing.

    By the way: Angie Mattke, Ben Radford, Barbara Drescher and Amy Stoker have all been completely silent about the fundraiser on Facebook and Twitter. As a friend of mine noted, “Not gonna raise much money if it’s a fucking secret.”

  97. says

    The unmentioned fundraiser is definitely weird. Especially in light of the fact that Stollznow is mentioning a countersuit, in which case Radford’s legal costs would soar.

    As people are alluding to above, I think it’s possible that Mattke, Stoker, and Drescher have seen something not made public, realised he was lying, and have quietly abandoned him.

  98. pneumo says

    It seems the person to ask about these matters is Robert Blaskiewicz.

    If I remember correctly, and there is of course a high likelihood that I don’t:

    Blaskiewicz claimed – in a now deleted comment to the “retraction” – to have seen evidence that emails containing Radford’s harassment were forged. I have to assume he meant forged by Dr Stollznow.

    Again; I may have dreamt it, or confused comments with each other. But I do recall seeing Blaskiewicz make comments to the effect that he had seen actual evidence regarding the original harassment claims.

  99. Hj Hornbeck says

    This narrative also explains the creation of the screencap (“OK, fine, there wasn’t a signed document, but it was as GOOD as signed! See?!”), the overabundance of detail in Radford’s Clarification (as nothing less would convince his now-skeptical friends), and why he took the announcements of Stollznow and Baxter relatively well (he’d already been down that territory with his friends, and had an explanation ready).

    While I still haven’t locked down the times of each event on Mattke’s fundraiser, I can be confident of some relative timings. It was ten hours between Mattke creating the fundraiser and Drescher’s contribution, the last major activity. Nothing happened for about nine hours, then everything from Mattke chipping in funding to the addition of rewards happened in a flurry of activity spanning less than half-an-hour.

    Here’s an updated theory:

    March 22nd
    Mattke spots Radford’s Facebook post, and contacts him to share her congratulations. Radford replies back (maybe stating he had a signed document?), and mentions he’s “endured ruinous legal costs” as Mattke would later put it. That evening, while Radford is at Stoker’s house, Mattke gets the idea of launching a fundraiser to help defray those costs. She sets up a fundraiser, and fires Radford a message asking if that’s OK and what incentives she can add.

    March 23rd
    That morning, Radford replies back with an enthusiastic yes, giving a list of incentives. Mattke chips in her contribution, and starts filling the incentives in, while Radford starts privately sharing the fundraiser. Suspicion starts to set in, though, as Stollznow remains silent save that one cryptic Tweet. Some may have noticed Stoker’s comment was deleted, or been contacted by her after she got a nastygram from Radford. For his part, Radford deflects questions with that screenshot. His friends aren’t convinced. Mattke plays wait-and-see.

    March 24th
    Silence from Stollznow on a business day deepens their suspicions. More people hear about Stoker’s missing comment. Radford continues brainstorming ways to save face.

    March 25th
    Stollznow and Baxter go public, outing Radford as a liar to his friends. He deletes the old thread to cover Stoker’s missing comment, and creates that new FB post with his best excuse while strenuously emphasizing he’ll be silent and everyone else should too. No-one buys it.

  100. Hj Hornbeck says

    Actually, skip the nastygram to Amy Stoker. It’s more likely Radford sent her a message asking her to not talk about the details of his case after she made two more comments, which set off a warning light; why would he want her to remain silent and go so far as to delete her comment, if he was publicly stating it was all but done? Conflicted, she stayed silent until Monday rolled around, and Stollznow still remained silent. The warning lights turned into alarm bells, and Stoker withdrew or deleted her remaining comments.

    It’s all speculation, but the pieces fit to a remarkable degree.

    I can’t back up pneumo, though; I managed to look at that thread fairly close to when it was deleted, and didn’t see anything from Blaskiewicz. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, it just dramatically narrows the window for when it could have happened and thus makes it less likely.

  101. says

    Since Bob Blaskiewicz has been emphatic lately in advising people to stop talking (a line reiterated by the pseudonymous poster above at #91) I would not be surprised if he applied that regimen to himself. There can be lots of reasons why people retract Facebook comments, and one could imagine a comment with the content pneumo alleges in #125 being viewed as problematic.

  102. Hj Hornbeck says

    I’ve been spending my free time putting specific timestamps on key moments. Pneumo, I can verify I saw Radford’s “retraction” one minute after he posted the clarification, which suggests that if that the comment really did exist, it was deleted by Radford before I got there. Is there any way you can nail down the exact minute you saw the comment, or even better, pull that page out of your browser’s cache?

    As for that fundraiser, I’ve got much more precise times. It was set up a few hours after midnight on the 23rd, which raises the faint possibility that Mattke was at Stoker’s party (though I’m leaning against this). Drescher’s contribution came just before noon. Those fit in well with the timeline.

    Those updates aren’t much, but may came in handy later. In the meantime, I’m getting weird times back from Radford’s Facebook pages…

  103. Hj Hornbeck says

    … actually, it may be Stollznow’s tweet of the 25th that’s dating funny. My browser says she sent it out at 8:34PM MDT, which doesn’t square with Radford’s retraction page. Did anyone spot it closer to 2:34PM?

  104. Pteryxx says

    Hornbeck: my screenshot of Stollznow’s “I didn’t write it” tweet shows it with a timestamp of 6:34 PM. I assume you’re correcting for time zones across the board?

    Also, note that you cannot compare Twitter’s direct timestamps (xx:xx PM) with the relative timestamps (1 hour ago) directly. I just checked a tweet from fifteen minutes ago (currently 1:15 PM Central, my time zone) and on the tweet itself, the timestamp is 10:59 AM, local to the person sending it. (Or at least to their account settings.) I assume FB works the same way.

  105. Pteryxx says

    ah, my info was out of date. Apparently Twitter sets ALL direct timestamps to default to Pacific timezone, because that’s where it’s headquartered I guess. Anyone logged into Twitter will be seeing timestamps converted to their local (or settings) time, but the general public (like me) will see Pacific time for everything.

    So, my screenshot shows Stollznow’s tweet at 6:34 PM *Pacific* time.

  106. kaboobie says

    kellym @ 113

    Interesting that Barbara Drescher, the Educational Programs Consultant of the JREF, is a funder for Ben Radford’s attempt to silence his victim with a lawsuit he knew she couldn’t afford to fight.

    It’s especially interesting given that Dr. Stollznow is a JREF fellow who is speaking at TAM this year. I am sure she has weighed the risks and benefits, but I’m concerned that the usual suspects will make things unpleasant for her there. Between Drescher publicly supporting her harasser and Grothe’s unwillingness to lift a finger to combat sexual harassment, I can’t help but feel uneasy.

  107. Hj Hornbeck says

    Pteryxx @132:

    So why, then, do I have 8:34PM listed on mine? Twitter must display their timestamps in local time then, but over on Radford’s “retraction” I have someone commenting on both Stollznow’s and Baxter’s tweet (which came a half-hour later) at 1:31PM.

    I’m beginning to loathe time zones. :P

    Also, while I’m still skeptical of pneumo’s memory, I do have some mild evidence in their favor. Said comment about Stollznow and Baxter came at 1:31PM, but the first reply wasn’t until 8:17PM, followed by a flurry of activity. That’s almost seven hours of silence over a major bit of news; in contrast, Radford’s clarification earned a flurry of new comments within the first two hours. I can think of two explanations:

    1. The feeling of being mislead by Radford overrode everyone’s distrust of Stollznow, and they stayed silent to see how Radford would react. Once he did, the floodgates opened.

    2. At least one person was angry at Stollznow’s betrayal of trust, and posted an incriminating “WTF?!” comment that was later deleted by Radford.

    Neither paints Radford in a favorable light. Again, if anyone has a screencap or saved page of Radford’s “retraction” dating from the afternoon of the 25th, please send it to Stollznow or her lawyers. It won’t help her defense, but it would be very handy for a counter-suit.

  108. Hj Hornbeck says

    AHA! The fault is on my end, I’d accidentally pulled the timestamp from the previous comment. So this particular timeline is now:

    7:34PM: Stollznow’s tweet.
    8:00PM: Baxter’s tweet.
    8:17PM: Someone brings up both on Radford’s thread.
    8:22PM: Radford posts the email screenshot, below “Yep, I saw that. I’ll be addressing that shortly. It’s a strange comment given that her husband Baxter e-mailed me a few days ago telling me that she agreed to it and would be having it notarized today.”
    8:54PM: Radford posts his clarification, with that screenshot up top.

    Nothing odd here. Sorry, pneumo.

    (Also, this computer seems to have a skew of one hour for some reason. Weird, and a pain to compensate for…)

  109. says

    kaboobie at #133:

    It’s especially interesting given that Dr. Stollznow is a JREF fellow who is speaking at TAM this year. I am sure she has weighed the risks and benefits, but I’m concerned that the usual suspects will make things unpleasant for her there. Between Drescher publicly supporting her harasser and Grothe’s unwillingness to lift a finger to combat sexual harassment, I can’t help but feel uneasy.

    Oh fuck.

    If I could afford to, I’d go just so she’d have some support. I’m feeling uneasy about this as well. Maybe she’ll pull out? TAM is not a friendly place at all in this case (if it ever was for anything other than mainstream “skepticism”). I hope there are some people going who can support her, or she pulls out of speaking.

    Damnit.

  110. Hj Hornbeck says

    Oh yeah, part of this is applicable here too:

    Here’s the situation in a nutshell: Karen used to work with another writer and investigator named Ben Radford at an organization called CFI. Karen says Radford continually harassed and abused her. She brought the situation to CFI, which found Radford guilty of some of Karen’s charges. Then they let him off with a slap on the wrist. Karen blogged about this. Radford sued her for defamation.

    Based on the evidence I’ve seen, my own experience with Radford’s dishonest and creepy behavior, and the assurances from friends of mine who know more about this situation than I do, I’m willing to believe Karen. And more than that, I’m willing to put my money behind her efforts to fight back in court. Because she deserves the chance to make her case instead of having to fold under insurmountable financial pressure. Defending yourself in court isn’t cheap.

    No new information (he even backed up Stollznow’s story when it first broke), but it’s worth noting Thompson hasn’t changed his mind.

  111. BushKangaroo says

    Tom Foss @ 61

    Also, thanks for those quotes. Time to unfollow Rachael Dunlop now, too.

    kaboobie @ 72
    It’s disheartening. I used to admire the Skeptic Zone gang, and the Australian Skeptics have made great strides against the anti-vax movement. Unfortunately, Richard Saunders is a staunch supporter of Brian Dunning, and now Dr. Rachie is an even greater disappointment to me.

    The Australian Skeptics have never treated Dr Stollznow well [sexism complaints are a longstanding problem with their organization] and it’s one of the reasons she left that country and has never been welcomed or invited to their events. Don’t expect anyone involved with the AS &/or TAMoz to support her in a time of need.

  112. kellym says

    DJ Grothe has supported Radford all along. After Dr. Stollznow informed him of Radford’s harassment, Grothe responded: “I am happy to learn from you that the CFI has responded to your complaints with the seriousness they deserve.” Implying that Dr. Stollznow was lying. Grothe is also friends with Radford. I’m not sorry that I will never attend another TAM or support the JREF in any way.

  113. says

    Honestly, DJ has repeatedly demonstrated that he doesn’t give a fuck and will happily throw victims under the bus to hush things up. DJ has zero credit with me and I consider his continued employment at JREF as a serious mark against that organization.

  114. Hj Hornbeck says

    Uuughhh. My earlier estimate of when that fundraiser was created has to be revised, more recent evidence has shifted it later. I was going to type up an updated narrative, but I realized I’d misinterpreted Stoker’s comment and noted some comments from Radford that shot it down.

    While I scratch my head over these changes, how about I instead share the timestamps I was going to use to create it? I still haven’t locked down that hour shift I noted, though, so some of these may wiggle a bit:

    Sat Mar 22 17:29:01 MDT 2014 # Radford’s “retraction” is published

    Sun Mar 23 Early Morning # Stoker’s comment:

    It’s signed by Karen and notarized. Ben was over at my house tonight. I’m sure Ben will address this in the morning or at some point. For tonight he wanted to focus on those family and friends that have been by his side.

    Sun Mar 23 06:49:41 MDT 2014 # The image to Radford’s fund is uploaded
    Sun Mar 23 ~08:00 MDT 2014 # Angie Mattke publishes the Radford legal fund
    Sun Mar 23 Sometime # Stoker’s comment is deleted
    Sun Mar 23 08:19:30 MDT 2014 # Radford’s first comment to retraction:

    Seeing these comments and supporters brought tears to my eyes. I’m enormously grateful for all the support, especially from Laurie Miller Tarr, who courageously took a stand in my defense from the very beginning, long before I was able to tell my side. The retraction is real, and Karen has agreed to it. I’ll be dealing with this emotionally, financially, and in other ways for months and years to come, but for now I just want to move on.

    Sun Mar 23 9:00:14 MDT 2014 # Radford’s second comment to retraction:

    I’ve been told that some people have contacted the JREF, where Karen is a speaker at the TAM skeptics conference later this year, and asked that she be removed from the program. Please don’t do that; Karen tried to get me banned from TAM using her false accusations, and I don’t want the same thing done to her in my name. She has done good skeptical work and has a right to speak there.

    Sun Mar 23 12:13:00 MDT 2014 # Stollznow’s cryptic Tweet
    Sun Mar 23 ~12:00-14:00 MDT 2014 # Stoker comments twice more

    Sun Mar 23 ~16:00 MDT 2014 # Mattke chips in funds, begins adding incentives
    Sun Mar 23 ~17:00 MDT 2014 # Barbara Drescher donates, fund goes silent
    Sun Mar 23 Afternoon or Evening # Radford takes screenshot

    Tue Mar 25 Sometime # Stoker’s other two comments disappear
    Tue Mar 25 08:43:22 MDT 2014 # Matt Lowry points out missing comment:

    Ummm, why has this thread been edited? Specifically, Amy Stoker’s earlier claim that she saw the signed and notarized letter while Ben was over at her house has been removed. I am trying to make sense out of all this, and edits to this very thread regarding such important claims seem to only confuse things more

    Tue Mar 25 09:14:36 MDT 2014 # Ben Radford responds:

    Matt- Amy did not state that she had seen a signed, notarized letter, but that was how it was interpreted. She removed it to avoid further confusion and because it was incorrect, and she misunderstood what I told her.

    Tue Mar 25 20:17:30 MDT 2014 # Mad Skeptic points out the Stollznow and Baxter Tweets
    Tue Mar 25 20:22:46 MDT 2014 # Ben Radford responds in a comment including the screencap:

    Yep, I saw that. I’ll be addressing that shortly. It’s a strange comment given that her husband Baxter e-mailed me a few days ago telling me that she agreed to it and would be having it notarized today.

    Tue Mar 25 20:41:13 MDT 2014 # Mad Skeptic’s interpretation:

    So, judging from what’s been posted, you thought this retraction would be signed and notarized by today but something changed between the sending of those emails and the Twitter comments. Do you think Baxter’s comment to “do what you want with this” really didn’t include making the retraction public?

    Tue Mar 25 20:43:01 MDT 2014 # Ben Radford’s probable last comment to that thread:

    I have no idea. I dont even care anymore. I’m posting a response soon and will be done with this.

    Tue Mar 25 20:53:59 MDT 2014 # Radford’s Clarification, with aforementioned screenshot. Several commentors analyze both Stollznow’s and Radford’s responses.

    Wed Mar 26 08:13:51 MDT 2014 # Paul Vella adds his opinion to that thread of discussion:

    Liz, yes, that did occur to me – I just think it is really bad form to post a private email conversation to a public forum. It certainly doesn’t provide anyone who might want to confide in Ben with any reassurance that he will keep conversations confidential.

    As someone who works in the legal field, there is a legal expectation of confidentiality when negotiating – Ben has thoroughly broken that trust.

    I also note that Ben chose to hide the content of some of those emails, so far from being ‘open’, he is being selective. Either way, I don’t care, I just think it is bad form by both parties. It’s a real shame.

    Wed Mar 26 08:31:38 MDT 2014 # Radford breaks his vow of silence

    Paul- you are incorrect, I did not “choose to hide” the content of anything. A screen capture only has so much vertical space. I selected as much as I could that showed the gist of the conversation. If I hadn’t posted the screenshot, people would say I just made it up and that Baxter never told me she would retract. First you complain that I gave too much information, then that I gave too little. I’m not commenting on this further.

    Fri Mar 28 22:30 # A guest post in the SlymePit alerts them to the Radford fund
    Fri Mar 28 ~23:00 MDT 2014 # “Emily Dickinson” donates to Radford’s fundraiser

  115. Hj Hornbeck says

    (Oh, and just to be clear: that mystery “Donor” donation came while Mattke was adding incentives.)

  116. pneumo says

    What is “long before I was able to tell my side” in reference to? Did the CFI investigation involve some sort of gag order?

  117. Pteryxx says

    Did the CFI investigation involve some sort of gag order?

    Probably, given both Radford’s comments and Stollznow’s original article referencing confidentiality.

  118. Muz says

    BushKangaroo @139
    Got any more on that backstory? I’m intrigued if not entirely surprised (Aus skepticism is mainly a crusty old guard same as the US).
    Bummed though I am, I would have assumed Rachie and Saunders (if he ever said anything) would stick with Radford as they are long time pals. But have Stollznow and those folks had disagreements before?

  119. says

    @Muz 147:

    I did some googling since it seemed bizarre to me and found

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/a-big-day-for-bruno-20090629-d2j0.html

    Inspired by the American debunker of the paranormal, James Randi, the group is best known for its annual Bent Spoon Award, bestowed for the worst “paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle”. But the group is being forced to defend itself against Stollznow’s charge that “scepticism in Australia is still for cantankerous bearded bespectacled old men”.

  120. Hj Hornbeck says

    There’s a lot of material here because it’s important to be as open as possible and rebut her claims, while not complicating the legal situation (a defamation and fraud lawsuit against Karen has been filed), nor violating our privacy.

    Publishing emails, photos, and police reports doesn’t violate someone’s privacy?

    I mentioned defamation was similar to libel before, but there’s an important difference. One type of defamation is violating someone’s right to privacy. There’s an exception made for information that’s in the public’s best interest (think whistleblowers), but a fair chunk of this is just old love letters. A lot of it is simply irrelevant; even if Stollznow did get arrested for domestic assault in the past, that has nothing to do with the claims she made about Radford in that blog post.

    Radford just handed Stollznow a guaranteed-to-win defamation lawsuit, outed himself as someone who doesn’t respect other’s privacy, and more than likely torched his reputation in the skeptic movement.

    He’s earned a lot of friends in the MRA movement, though.

  121. says

    Here’s what I make of it: somehow, people who would be quick to point out that poking holes in evolution doesn’t prove creationism can’t see the same tactic being used on a topic they agree with.

    It’s all the usual “perfect victim” nonsense. If the victim can be smeared (she was promiscuous, she previously dated the accused, he was a drug-using thug, etc.), then somehow the victim must have deserved it or made it up. We reserve our sympathy and our outrage only for those victims who are pure and white as a fresh snowman (because we all know that snow-women are liars).

    I do like Radford citing that article about the Australian Skeptics. “The founder said they’re not sexist, and that’s good enough for me!” Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I also have some intimately detailed e-mails from Matthew Baxter that are totes real even without any information that would identify them. Also, I do not understand how Facebook messaging works or what it is called, or why people might find screengrabs more convincing than scanned-in printouts.

  122. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    According to PZ, Radford has dumped a whole stack of personal correspondence between him and Karen Stollznow on the web.

    Including pictures.

    What a complete and utter worthless piece of scumsucking filth he is. So hoping that this comes back to bite him on the ass in a huge way.

  123. Corvus Whiteneck says

    Even if he had been, previously, as pure as snow and completely in the right in regards to the accusations & defamation suit… it would still be a completely contemptible, scumbag move to dump those documents/images onto the web.

  124. Pteryxx says

    pneumo #125:

    Blaskiewicz claimed – in a now deleted comment to the “retraction” – to have seen evidence that emails containing Radford’s harassment were forged. I have to assume he meant forged by Dr Stollznow.

    Again; I may have dreamt it, or confused comments with each other. But I do recall seeing Blaskiewicz make comments to the effect that he had seen actual evidence regarding the original harassment claims.

    Blaskiewicz just repeated that claim on PZ’s thread.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/04/02/jesus-f-christ/comment-page-1/#comment-777179

    There is the fact that the documents that he was disciplined for (the emails) at CFI, and which have been the basis for endless numbers of attacks on him seem to be forged. Badly. That’s why the lawsuit is not just for defamation but for fraud. It is basically unthinkable how those copy and paste jobs she presented will stand up in court, honestly. The judge is going to want to see her email accounts like Ben presented his and compare. That’s what will determine this.

  125. Corvus Whiteneck says

    Blaskiewicz is making a case that CFI is incompetent either on a skeptical/evidence/inquiry level, or on a corporate governance level. Either way, I don’t think that he intends to imply this, but there it is.

  126. Hj Hornbeck says

    From Radford’s most recent Facebook post (which I can’t find a link for, oddly):

    Response to Karen Stollznow’s Accusations

    Last August a former lover and sometime colleague, Karen Stollznow, falsely accused me of stalking and sexual harassment and other bad acts. At the time, and for many months afterward, I was prohibited from defending myself or responding to her claims. Through my lawyer, I demanded that she retract the accusations, which were false, as demonstrated by her statements about our relationship in the hundreds of emails she sent me during the period she later claimed I had been stalking and harassing her. Those emails and other documents give the lie to her accusations. Her husband told me that she had agreed to retract her statements but she apparently changed her mind. I have filed a lawsuit against her for, among other things, defamation and fraud. I expect this matter will be resolved in the courts, but meanwhile I have a right to respond to her accusations in detail, and I have done so. You can find my response at the web site below, which includes emails between us and other documents that entirely discredit her accusations. I will have no further comment on this matter. I invite those with questions about this issue to look at the evidence and come to their own conclusions.

    That’s his second edit, however, dated Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 5:28pm MDT. Here’s the first, from 4:45pm:

    Response to Karen Stollznow’s Accusations

    Last August a former lover and sometime colleague, Karen Stollznow, accused me of stalking and sexual harassment. At the time and for many months afterward I was prohibited from defending myself or responding to her claims. She was asked to retract her accusations, and according to her husband had agreed to do so, but then abruptly changed her mind. I expect this matter will be resolved in the courts, but meanwhile I have a right and a duty to respond to her accusations. You can find my detailed response at the web site below. I will have no further comment on this matter, and I invite those with questions to look at the evidence and come to their own conclusions.

    How many times has he said “I’ll have no further comment on the matter,” then commented further? I’ve lost count…

  127. doubtthat says

    I have perused the Radford site. It’s full of confusing, irrelevant shit. It’s also full of a number of things that, if correct, do muddy this case to a stunning degree.

    The forgery issue, for example, is presented in a convincing manner on that site (it’s his website, he claims that all this has been confirmed…blah blah, I’m not particularly swayed by that). If he’s correct about that, I would file a suit were I him. That’s some serious bullshit.

    Or he forged older emails that looked like the later emails used in the CFI investigation (if those were the one’s actually used in the CFI investigations).

    I think my point is that this is a fucking mess.

  128. Hj Hornbeck says

    While Myers has posted this elsewhere, it’s worth repeating the comment here:

    Ben Radford: I’m sure Karen or Baxter will soon respond; I couldn’t care less. Tell them to save it for the judge. [April 2nd, 2014 at 6:10pm MDT]

    Also, looking over his latest post I fail to see two names: Laurie Miller Tarr, who Radford personally thanked for supporting him in the “retraction;” and Amanda Devaus, who was his pseudo-spokesperson the last two posts. In six hours, neither has registered a single comment despite being quick and active last time.

    Those who were betting that original “retraction” cost Radford some friends, get ready to collect.

  129. Hj Hornbeck says

    Some notable comments from Myers, who has insider information:

    It was intimidation, plain and simple. [Radford’s lawyer] was trying to compel me to take down posts that were critical of Radford, so he sent me this mountain of crap to tell me that their case was sooooo strong, there was no way they could lose.

    It really just confirmed to me that Radford was a world class creeper.

    Don’t get cocky. Apparently, Radford’s lawyer has a bit of a reputation as a rabid dog…there’s been some difficulty getting representation because everyone hates to go up against him and deal with the slime. Doing a public data dump to poison the well sounds like exactly the kind of thing this guy would do to win, win, win.

    You can also tell what their court case would be. “She’s a slut, she’s mean and vindictive, so she deserves to be punished.” And there are many people who will fall for that.

    I’m withholding judgement on the issue of forgery, because as Adam pointed out, these documents passed the inspection of previous investigators, and the only claim of forgery is so far coming from experts commissioned by Radford to demonstrate that they are forged.

    But even if they are, it doesn’t change the fact that there were eyewitnesses, and that Radford is acting like a serious sleaze here — it would be a point that would hurt Stollznow in any court case.

    And while there are too many to post over here, follow Marcus Ranum’s comments; as an IT guy, he knows a bit about email systems and potential forgeries.

  130. doubtthat says

    I’m withholding judgement on the issue of forgery, because as Adam pointed out, these documents passed the inspection of previous investigators, and the only claim of forgery is so far coming from experts commissioned by Radford to demonstrate that they are forged.

    But even if they are, it doesn’t change the fact that there were eyewitnesses, and that Radford is acting like a serious sleaze here — it would be a point that would hurt Stollznow in any court case.

    I’m not sure I agree with that. Radford’s contention is that Stollznow gave the CFI investigators emails from 2008-2010 when they were involved in a romantic relationship but changed the dates to 2012. If that’s true, it doesn’t mean Radford isn’t an asshole, but…if someone did that to you, wouldn’t you be up in arms?

    This forgery issue seems like a big one to me. If there were eyewitnesses and they were compelling, why forge the dates? If those e-mail dates really are forged (I’m not believing Radford and his “experts” without hearing the other side), that seems like a pretty malicious act to just wave away.

  131. says

    I am an IT guy too, and in my gigantic added updates, I provided what forensic info I could — however, there’s a major point of contention in the forging of email timestamps, insofar as none of us actually has the originals to look at, nor what the investigators’ methodology was. Stollznow claims she gave the investigators full access to her email and was shut out of proceedings thereafter. Radford claims that the specific emails used to damn him had the wrong year stamp. His claim of the proof used to damn him is the only one we have on record, when Stollznow herself never claimed to have seen any such thing; and they’re certainly not original enough for anyone independent to verify without asking for them directly.

  132. doubtthat says

    @163

    There are a lot of blank spots for me on the forgery issue, I look forward to some knowledgable folks chiming in.

    I get concerned, however, when I read an assertion that it just doesn’t matter if e-mail dates were forged to generate incredibly misleading (at best) evidence.

    My position is that I’m more prepared to believe there was chicanery on Radford’s side, but some confirmation of forgery (does Google have that original evidence stored?) would likely lead me to wash my hands of this case. It wouldn’t exonerate Radford, but it would sure give him a legitimate claim against Stollznow. It could (hypothetically) both be true that Radford sexually harassed Stollznow and that Stollznow engaged in fraudulent and malicious activity to harm Radford’s employment.

    I know neither of these parties but I’ve been and attorney for the last 7 years. I’ll just say that the cases where both parties are in the mud greatly outnumber the cases where one party was righteous and the other was vile.

  133. says

    doubtthat: yes, that’s why from the beginning I’ve been urging that this is not a proxy battle for feminism-vs-mra’s or harassment-vs-antiharassment. Stollznow may in fact not be the “perfect victim” and may be ripe for being nut-and-slutted to a legal victory against her. But that still doesn’t mean the alleged harassment didn’t happen. If there’s actual ironclad evidence either way, we’ve yet to see it. We have the allegation on one side, and a whole lot of sleazeball bullshit and some counter-allegations that may in fact be true as well on the other.

    I’ve already committed to chronicling this as much as possible, and I’m going to see it through no matter where the evidence leads. All I know so far is that people on both sides of the peanut gallery are out for blood.

  134. doubtthat says

    Just read the explanation about the forgery in the update.

    If it was the forwarding that confused CFI, wouldn’t that result in the changed dates all being within a few days or weeks of one another? The emails Radford links to run basically throughout 2012.

    I get that most of this is useless speculation as the originals are the only way to solve this issue. It just strikes me as an excellent point to focus on as:

    1) Both parties are making diametrically opposite claims.
    2) One of them has to have forged the dates on the emails (unless it was an error as Jason describes), and
    3) There’s a possibility of getting a definitive answer if originals can be used.

  135. doubtthat says

    …this is not a proxy battle for feminism-vs-mra’s or harassment-vs-antiharassment.

    Couldn’t agree with that more.

  136. says

    That’s what bugs me too. Without seeing what CFI’s investigator said proved what, and what their methodologies were, we don’t know why they think these random dates from 2010 were all the same dates but in 2012. Assuming no villains, you’re left with incompetence on the investigators’ part. Assuming a villain means either one is lying in that specific instance to damn the other.

    But that still doesn’t prove or disprove harassment and assault in general. And Stollznow is wisely clammed up publicly, short of the few short bursts of data from Baxter which were squelched in a hurry.

  137. Corvus Whiteneck says

    You know how Good Skeptics love their maxims/razors? Isn’t there one about incompetence and malice? Such as: never assume a someone falsified some technical shit about emails when you can assume someone else fucked up an analysis of some technical shit about emails.

    I don’t see any way of this case being adjudicated w/o CFI’s investigation being laid bare. As Robert B. has so usefully pointed out in PZ’s thread, the suit involved not only defamation (Sci Am article) but also fraud (resulting in CFI’s investigation/suspension). To understand if there was fraud, the court will have to know what was stated, shown, concluded, and decided in that matter. Best case for CFI is the embarrassment of one disgracefully-behaved employee + the effort to hush it up being a failure. Worst case? Oh, hell, let your imagination wander.

    One of the consistent things about BR’s statements in this matter, aside from the repeated “this is my final statement on this matter guys, I’m super cereal this time,” is the “Here is Document X, which shows Y” statement which causes one to question his honesty when, upon review, doc X shows Z and not Y. If the final analysis of all available evidence shows that he is correct on the larger point and she is not, one would still be led to the conclusion that he is a shit-poor communicator and evidence-evaluator.

  138. pneumo says

    By the way Hornbeck: I do not think Radford has lost friends over this. Devaus and others are still in his camp, as evidenced by comments made elsewhere on Facebook. You should pull back on the speculatin’.

  139. says

    You know what makes him a whole lot more believable that her, specially in regard to the ‘forged email’ scenario (which I think most normal thinking people would look at as smoking gun evidence of fraud and abuse)? Because he still works for CFI. CFI knows what it researched in the first instance. If they felt like his new claims were bogus (based on a review and comparison to their previous investigation) he’d be fired.

    Is it relevant that she has a police record involving abuse? You can bet it would if the police got called into question again on behalf of her bruised and broken husband. Is her strained departure from the Aussie Skeptics (under similarly odd circumstances) of any relevance?

    If I were a fan of hers I would start the million dollar lawsuit payout fund immediately.

    Enjoy.

  140. doubtthat says

    Without seeing what CFI’s investigator said proved what, and what their methodologies were, we don’t know why they think these random dates from 2010 were all the same dates but in 2012.

    It occurs to me that Radford clearly dumped the email exhibits from the CFI investigation but did not dump the investigation, itself. I find that behavior fairly suspicious, as the explanation for this – whether it was an error or whether the decision was based on something other than the emails entirely – could be contained in whatever documentation Radford clearly has.

    I don’t see any way of this case being adjudicated w/o CFI’s investigation being laid bare

    I agree with that, and if Radford wanted to attempt to keep it sealed during the court case, he’s more or less submarined that possibility by publicizing the exhibits with the emails. Stollznow can argue that there’s context, and there’s no way Radford is going to be able to keep just his self serving leak public or in court while squelching the rest of the document.

  141. Hj Hornbeck says

    pneumo @172:

    I do not think Radford has lost friends over this. Devaus and others are still in his camp, as evidenced by comments made elsewhere on Facebook. You should pull back on the speculatin’.

    Interesting, it turns out Bertrand Russell never said his infamous “not enough evidence, God” quote. The closest he came is this, apparently:

    I have failed to find any persuasive evidence, even in the most earnest allegations of spiritualists, trans-migrationists, or psychical researchers, that would lead me to take seriously the assumption that we, or vaporous parts of us, survive death. But I remain open to conviction; if respectable data ever come along, I should examine them with great care.

    All I have in front of me is Radford’s latest response, and even sixteen hours later I see no comment from either person. I also note the odd silence over Radford’s legal fund. Based on the evidence I have, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that this has cost Radford some friends.

    I’m open to other evidence, though.

  142. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, I can back up Thibeault’s observation of the zeroed timestamps. Here are selected portions of a minutes-old exiftool dump (the entire thing is too long to post in full):

    ExifTool Version Number : 9.46
    File Name : P1010082-copy-2.jpg
    [1 line deleted]
    File Size : 612 kB
    File Modification Date/Time : 2014:02:17 17:38:15-07:00
    File Access Date/Time : 2014:04:03 09:43:35-06:00
    File Inode Change Date/Time : 2014:04:03 09:43:26-06:00
    [1 line deleted]
    File Type : JPEG
    [2 lines deleted]
    Image Description : OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    Make : OLYMPUS CORPORATION
    Camera Model Name : X100,D540Z,C310Z
    Orientation : Horizontal (normal)
    [4 lines deleted]
    Modify Date : 0000:00:00 00:00:00
    [6 lines deleted]
    Date/Time Original : 0000:00:00 00:00:00
    Create Date : 0000:00:00 00:00:00
    [6 lines deleted]
    Flash : Auto, Fired
    Focal Length : 5.8 mm
    [44 lines deleted]
    Aperture : 2.9
    Image Size : 2048×1536
    Scale Factor To 35 mm Equivalent: 6.0
    Shutter Speed : 1/30
    [2 lines deleted]
    Field Of View : 54.4 deg
    Focal Length : 5.8 mm (35 mm equivalent: 35.1 mm)
    Hyperfocal Distance : 2.33 m
    Light Value : 8.0

  143. Flip the second says

    I read the suit that Bradford has filed. I noticed among many other things,
    1. It reads like a heavy quote-mine from emails (I did not take the time to explore whether the emails themselves were posted)
    2. He’s asking for *millions*. Apparently his reputation and income are worth that much?

    Thanks for this timeline by the way. I have not been following this like other people and found the timeline really useful for catching up.

  144. says

    Because he still works for CFI. CFI knows what it researched in the first instance. If they felt like his new claims were bogus (based on a review and comparison to their previous investigation) he’d be fired.

    Swing and a miss, there, Tim.
    1) What evidence do we have that this would constitute a firing offense at CFI?
    2) As Ron Lindsay said, Karen Stollznow was never a CFI employee.

    So he’s more believable when you only consider some of the evidence. Sounds super skeptical.

  145. Hj Hornbeck says

    Dagnabbit, Angie Mattke just updated her fundraiser for Radford:

    04/02/14: http://benrlegal.info for Ben’s response to accusations.

    Most of my theories had her holding back because of something Radford shared in private, then abandoning the fund when that “retraction” came down. It seems, though, she’s still supporting Radford. So why did she never publicize the fund? Was she told to hold off until Radford was ready?

    [sigh], so little of this makes sense…

  146. Hj Hornbeck says

    I just double-checked the date stamps on when Radford uploaded the images to his site; of the 64 it contains, 59 date from February 17th and March 5th, with none dating earlier and the remainder dating after March 30th. It adds support to Thibeault’s WhoIs domain data evidence: this website was Radford’s plan all along. Either his lawsuit silenced Stollznow, and presumably he took down this website, or the case went forward, and he publicized it widely.

    That’s blackmail.

  147. says

    Good possibility he registered the domain, built the site on a sandbox, got hosting services and uploaded the pre-built site on March 22nd. Or, maybe there was some other alteration interim between creation of the domain and the last update. I’m not sure what would have been altered. Either way, yes, it seems the site was a bargaining chip (a.k.a blackmail).

    The file timestamps are all good clues, but file timestamps are trivial to edit, frankly. And I haven’t seen a single file with a timestamp outside the Jan-Apr 2014 range yet, to be perfectly honest, meaning those file timestamps were probably considered “altered” when they were published, e.g. the destination set a “created” date of when they were uploaded rather than retaining the original date.

    That, coupled with the loss of exif data, makes me extremely wary of any claims of any dates, even by that third-party forensics company he used. And the whole idea of “the emails were hacked” is actually kind of getting on my nerves. Without seeing the originals, full headers, and logs on the originating and destination servers (presumably Gmail in both cases), you’re not going to see any datestamps that can actually prove anything. What we really need is the methodology of the people involved in the CFI investigation, and if there are holes in THEIR story, that proves THEIR incompetence, not necessarily Stollznow’s fraud.

  148. doubtthat says

    What we really need is the methodology of the people involved in the CFI investigation, and if there are holes in THEIR story, that proves THEIR incompetence, not necessarily Stollznow’s fraud.

    I find that end of things interesting, as well, because it should be fairly obvious from the full report what Stollznow’s role was and what evidence CFI used to draw their conclusions. If it says, “CFI scoured through Stollznow’s email account to which she had given access and we found these questionable emails,” that more or less means that the dates, if inaccurate, were established by CFI.

    Then Radford would have a grievance against his employer, not Stollznow, and any attempt to go after her for what CFI did would be doubly stupid as he wouldn’t win against Stollznow and he’d lose his opportunity to recover damages or regain his status with CFI.

    Now, perhaps CFI doesn’t have much of a grievance procedure. I actually worked on a case that was very similar to this one – an office romance, a party begins making allegations and the complaints instigate an in-house investigation, and it results in disciplinary procedures against the employee – That investigation was bullshit though and though, and fortunately there was a union that I could work with to ensure that the employee wouldn’t be fired.

    After we were certain that his employment situation was internally resolved, and what roles the various parties played in all facets of the situation, then we moved ahead with a defamation case (and related complaints) that we surprisingly won (these cases are insanely difficult to prove – they really require the defaming party to engage in a cartoonish amount of transparent malice).

    I’m having trouble understanding Radford’s assertion with this forgery because we’re looking at such a small fraction of the available data. It just baffles me that an attorney would move forward with the case without ascertaining that it wasn’t some random employee of investigator at CFI that screwed up.

  149. Corvus Whiteneck says

    In regards to the email times/dates and the allegation of fraud as those times/dates relate to CFI’s investigation, I have a question for the legal types:

    Let’s say the times/dates of some emails were altered. In order to win the part of the lawsuit related to fraud, wouldn’t the plaintiff have to show that the *defendant* is the person who made the changes, and not merely that changes occurred? And *when* those changes were made? And that CFI’s findings/punishment would have been different if the evidence they based their conclusion upon had been different?

    Seems like there’s a lot of work left to be done to get there.

  150. carlie says

    Thing is, even if he never harassed her before, he has now. Revenge porn is illegal in a few states, and that guy who was the primary traffic site for it finally got arrested in December. Him posting that picture of them could be the basis for an entirely new set of charges.

  151. Kokopilau says

    Radford appears to have edited the “Relationships with Karen Stollznow” section of his site…the entire paragraph about the picture of him in bed with a woman covering her face that he said was Stollznow, including the link to that picture, is now gone.

  152. says

    Interesting, Kokopilau. And this so very shortly after Blaskiewicz — who is claiming special knowledge of their relationship, you’ll note — says that Stollznow was totes just moving her hair out of her face in that selfie pic. If it weren’t obviously taken by Ben, I’d ask if he was the photog.

    So now I wonder if someone pressured him to remove it. MAYBE his lawyer grew a conscience? MAYBE his lawyer pointed out that that part was actually actionable??

  153. moonglaive says

    And what was the point of posting that panel video? The video spends so much time with the camera pointed at the other guest speakers, only the guests speaking into the mics can be heard, and Stollznow spends all of it in some kind of boundary-enforcing posture directed at Radford, for whatever reason.

    And whatever happened to Joe Anderson? It makes sense at this point not to say anything, but the only reference I can find of him is in the corroboration link posted shortly after the SciAm article went up.

  154. ChasCPeterson says

    All I know so far is that people on both sides of the peanut gallery are out for blood.

    yep. Conclusions have been leapt to and confirmation bias is dominating the bloody discussion.

    Blaskiewicz…says that Stollznow was totes just moving her hair out of her face in that selfie pic. If it weren’t obviously taken by Ben, I’d ask if he was the photog.

    Unfair. He’s merely paraphrasing what Radford said about the pic: that KS’s face was obscured because she was reaching for her hair.

  155. Corvus Whiteneck says

    Seems unlikely that he would build that website month(s) in advance, and only AFTER it goes live his lawyer either a) finds out about it or b) vets it, or c) that his lawyer would have approved it in advance but after going live changes his mind. Is it possible? Sure, it’s possible, but how does it mesh with our prior knowledge?

  156. David Marjanović says

    He’s merely paraphrasing what Radford said about the pic: that KS’s face was obscured because she was reaching for her hair.

    Having seen the photo (one of the links in the OP still works!), I really wouldn’t use “merely” here. She’s carefully holding her hair over her right eye, the one closer to the camera.

  157. carlie says

    He’s merely paraphrasing what Radford said about the pic: that KS’s face was obscured because she was reaching for her hair.

    Riiiight. And if it was, as has been claimed, innocently taken in a moment of intimate fun, we’re to believe they wouldn’t have both gone “oh no, that’s an awful one, let’s try again and take another!” and then taken one even more clearly her that he would have published instead.

  158. Hj Hornbeck says

    Copy-pasta from Pharyngula, about the edits Radford has been making:

    ======

    I can say with confidence that four images have been deleted from the site since this morning: KSHandComparison.jpg, KS-hand-crop.jpg, P1010082-copy-2.jpg, Stollznow-hand-from-arrest-pic-crop.jpg. He’s also changed one section of HTML from:

    <p>Photographs used to place Karen and me at a San Francisco hotel in April 2010 (and referenced in the photo authentication report) can be viewed here: <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/P1010084.jpg” target=”_blank”>One</a> || <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ClaySt_B.jpg” target=”_blank”>Two</a> || <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ClaySt_C.jpg” target=”_blank”>Three</a> || <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ClaySt_A.jpg” target=”_blank”>Four</a> || <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/P1010082-copy-2.jpg” target=”_blank”>Five</a></p>
    <p>If any additional photographic proof is needed that Karen and I shared a bed in mid-2010 (a year after she claims to have cut off all communication with me because of stalking and harassment), I took a photo of us. Her face is obscured because she’s reaching for her hair, but we can match Karen’s <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/KS-hand-crop.jpg” target=”_blank”> right hand as it appears in one of the Club Quarters photographs</a> with her <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Stollznow-hand-from-arrest-pic-crop.jpg” target=”_blank”> right hand as it appeared several months later in police photos taken during her domestic violence arrest in Arvada, Colorado</a>. <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/KSHandComparison.jpg” target=”_blank”>See a side-by-side comparison</a>, especially the mole on her hand just above the wrist, the prominent inward bend of her forefinger, the identical French nail manicure, the prominent oval knuckle pads, and so on.</p>

    2014-04-02T00:39:14+00:00
    to:

    <p>Photographs used to place  Karen and me at a San Francisco hotel in April 2010 (and referenced in the photo authentication report) can be viewed here: <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/P1010084.jpg” target=”_blank”>One</a> || <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ClaySt_B.jpg” target=”_blank”>Two</a> || <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ClaySt_C.jpg” target=”_blank”>Three</a> || <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ClaySt_A.jpg” target=”_blank”>Four</a> <a href=”http://benrlegal.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/P1010082-copy-2.jpg” target=”_blank”><br />
    </a></p>

    2014-04-03T16:00:26+00:00
    But, that’s it. So either Jacob Schmidt is mistaken (which I find highly unlikely), or Radford has made multiple edits that website since it went up, presumably due to feedback from his lawyer or from us. He is re-writing history on-the-fly, in an attempt to wiggle away from his own statements.
    This is not the action of an innocent man

  159. Corvus Whiteneck says

    Documenting who does what, and when, is great and all, but I doubt very much he’s going to try and hide from the fact he posted revenge-porn-ish pix. That sort of thing is done on purpose. That sort of thing is about sending a message. Taking it down quickly, though after his fans have already downloaded it to their hard-drives, just gives plausible deniability: “oops, i made a mistake, so sorry, but not really.”

    The message? I did this. I own this. This was mine. Look at me. And I’ll post more if you don’t give up right now.

  160. Hj Hornbeck says

    Thibeault @183:

    The file timestamps are all good clues, but file timestamps are trivial to edit, frankly. And I haven’t seen a single file with a timestamp outside the Jan-Apr 2014 range yet, to be perfectly honest, meaning those file timestamps were probably considered “altered” when they were published, e.g. the destination set a “created” date of when they were uploaded rather than retaining the original date.

    That can still be very useful. It demonstrates Radford began building the site right around the time he filed that lawsuit (39 of the timestamps date from February 17th, all of which happened between 17:20 and 18:43 MDT and many were uploaded simultaneously), and it can also demonstrates some of those files have been modified since. Look carefully, here:

    Mar 3 13:24 2014/03/Serra-photo-authent_PhoneBlock.pdf
    Mar 3 15:40 2014/02/KS-4.18.2010-copy1.pdf
    Mar 3 16:21 2014/03/Flashback-Authentication-Report.pdf
    Mar 3 19:48 2014/03/KS-9.26.20102.pdf
    Mar 3 19:48 2014/03/KS-3.2.2010-copy.pdf
    Mar 5 07:13 2014/02/3-Mar-1-20101.pdf
    Mar 5 07:19 2014/02/KS-9.26.201021.pdf
    Mar 5 13:46 2014/02/KS-4.18.2010-copy2.pdf
    Mar 5 13:50 2014/02/3-Mar-1-20102.pdf
    Mar 30 02:52 2014/02/Radford-Filed-Complaint-with-Court-2-1.pdf
    Apr 1 18:38 2014/02/KS-9.9.20101.pdf
    Apr 1 19:02 2014/02/BR-KS-7.18.2010-copy2.pdf
    Apr 1 19:17 2014/03/KS-9.26.20102page.pdf
    Apr 2 16:20 2014/02/KS-9.26.20102page.pdf

    This is incredibly valuable information for a counter-suit, because it allows you to generate edit histories via subpoena.

    And the whole idea of “the emails were hacked” is actually kind of getting on my nerves. Without seeing the originals, full headers, and logs on the originating and destination servers (presumably Gmail in both cases), you’re not going to see any datestamps that can actually prove anything. What we really need is the methodology of the people involved in the CFI investigation, and if there are holes in THEIR story, that proves THEIR incompetence, not necessarily Stollznow’s fraud.

    Bingo. The most chilling thing about this comes from two lines in Stollznow’s blog post:

    I threatened to complain to his employer, but he bragged that another woman had accused him of sexual harassment previously and her complaints were ignored. According to him, she had been declared “batshit crazy”.

    If she’s right, this isn’t the first time he’s pulled something like this, only the first time it went public. It looks likely Radford has built up a plan for getting away with his harassment, and refined it over time. It’s probable that “retraction” wasn’t a misunderstanding, it was designed to keep the pressure on Stollznow and extract even more from her. He’s probably well aware of how far he can push things legally, as well as the politics in the skeptic movement. He’s counting on the SlymePit to spread the info around, and dictionary skeptics to uncritically go along with the tribe. For us, he’s hoping we generate plenty of heat as that not only gives his lawyers more targets to intimidate, it helps justify his massive damage claim.

    He’s playing the entire skeptic movement like a harp.

    Or at least trying to, if the above is correct (and I’ll admit it’s a pessimistic interpretation). It also means he’s in new territory and forced to make things up on the fly. A large chunk of the skeptic/atheist movement now has their guard up, and are eagerly plying their various trades to shoot holes in his case.

    Trying to fool skeptics is a dangerous game.

  161. Hj Hornbeck says

    Incidentally, here’s a list of the last edit to most of the pages on his site, as of a few hours ago:

    Thu Apr 3 16:00:26 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/relationship-with-stollznow/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 00:04:00 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/karen-stollznows-history-of-false-accusations/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 00:04:55 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/faq/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 00:05:49 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/timeline/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 00:42:26 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/gifts-correspondence/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 00:43:17 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/stollznows-falsified-documents-and-fraud/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 01:02:52 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/tam-allegations/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 22:23:55 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/introduction-overview/index.html

    That information is hidden within the <meta> tags at the top of each page. If your archive has different dates listed, you know you’ve got an edited page and should forward it on to Stollznow or her lawyers.

  162. sully says

    The EXIF metadata is worrying. I’ve seen it incorrectly recorded before (0 for shutter speed) but never a missing timestamp. That the timestamp is a crucial piece of evidence in the validity of the photograph that has since been removed is something I’d like to know more about. He either removed it on realising that it wasn’t verifiable, or recognising that it’s not a little creepy.

    Also, on the assumption that KS is able to take the matter to court, validating the emails will happen. It would be insane to pull such a stunt, on either side. The truth about that would come out in court, surely.

    He’s probably not revealed everything he has. I’m sure KS has more too. What he has done is shown a lot of detail. Most of it is impossible to verify, but superficially, he’s obviously aware it appears compelling.

  163. Hj Hornbeck says

    Sadly, I won’t be able to analyze those email headers for some time; I have some deadlines up, and will have to go silent for almost a week. I’ll keep an eye on this thread, in case any requests pop up.

    And I won’t rule out popping by occasionally to share a few goodies. Speaking of which, who wants EXIF data?! “exiftool” is not only the favorite tool of the experts, it can generate purty-looking HTML. Now you too can be a forensic scientist!

    Once you grab a white coat and microscope, that is.

  164. says

    they’re certainly not original enough for anyone independent to verify without asking for them directly

    I don’t know if you’re tracking the amazing amount of speculation about digital forensics that’s going on in PZ’s thread. In case you’re not, for a digital forensic analysis, you wouldn’t want a potentially altered message anyway – all you’d want is the message-ID and then ask Berkeley and Google to check their MTA logs during the time that the message says it was transmitted. Any alteration or non-alteration would be immediately and unarguably obvious.

    (Disclaimer: I am not retained so I am not offering my opinion as an expert; this is mere speculation, though I have served as an expert on digital forensics cases before.)

  165. says

    If it was the forwarding that confused CFI

    Forwarding a message does not result in the original headers being re-written, as they are now in the body of the forwarded message. The date/timestamp on the forwarded message would be from the time when the message was forwarded, and the message would have a new message-ID assigned to it by the originating MTA.

  166. Hj Hornbeck says

    <delurk>

    Sheesh, why didn’t I think of searching for timestamps within the HTML? It turns out they’re all over the place, making dating much easier:

    2014-02-11 04:08:24 UTC benrlegal.info/timeline/index.html
    2014-02-11 11:08:24 UTC benrlegal.info/timeline/index.html
    2014-02-17 17:41:44 UTC benrlegal.info/gifts-correspondence/index.html
    2014-02-17 17:43:46 UTC benrlegal.info/relationship-with-stollznow/index.html
    2014-02-17 17:57:36 UTC benrlegal.info/introduction-overview/index.html
    2014-02-17 18:02:49 UTC benrlegal.info/stollznows-falsified-documents-and-fraud/index.html
    2014-02-18 00:41:44 UTC benrlegal.info/gifts-correspondence/index.html
    2014-02-18 00:43:46 UTC benrlegal.info/relationship-with-stollznow/index.html
    2014-02-18 00:57:36 UTC benrlegal.info/introduction-overview/index.html
    2014-02-18 01:02:49 UTC benrlegal.info/stollznows-falsified-documents-and-fraud/index.html
    2014-02-18 19:07:02 UTC benrlegal.info/faq/index.html
    2014-02-19 02:07:02 UTC benrlegal.info/faq/index.html
    2014-02-20 04:38:54 UTC benrlegal.info/tam-allegations/index.html
    2014-02-20 11:38:54 UTC benrlegal.info/tam-allegations/index.html
    2014-02-20 18:35:15 UTC benrlegal.info/karen-stollznows-history-of-false-accusations/index.html
    2014-02-21 01:35:15 UTC benrlegal.info/karen-stollznows-history-of-false-accusations/index.html
    2014-03-31 14:32:52 UTC benrlegal.info/index.html
    2014-04-02 00:04:00 UTC benrlegal.info/karen-stollznows-history-of-false-accusations/index.html
    2014-04-02 00:04:55 UTC benrlegal.info/faq/index.html
    2014-04-02 00:05:49 UTC benrlegal.info/timeline/index.html
    2014-04-02 00:42:26 UTC benrlegal.info/gifts-correspondence/index.html
    2014-04-02 00:43:17 UTC benrlegal.info/stollznows-falsified-documents-and-fraud/index.html
    2014-04-02 01:02:52 UTC benrlegal.info/tam-allegations/index.html
    2014-04-02 22:23:55 UTC benrlegal.info/introduction-overview/index.html
    2014-04-03 16:00:26 UTC benrlegal.info/relationship-with-stollznow/index.html

    Those first two are very interesting, as they further demonstrate Radford started working on the site even before filing the lawsuit.

    </delurk>

  167. MyaR says

    Something that leapt out at me when I looked at the report on the email dates (aside from the creeeeeeppy content of some of the emails) — did CFI give permission for Radford to give out his login credentials for his email address? Every work email account I’ve ever had has made the point explicitly that the email account and emails belong to the corporation, not the employee. Usually, the point is also made that you cannot give out the login credentials/allow access to other parties except at the direction of the employer. Also that the email account is to be used for work and not personal stuff, but in practice that’s more a warning about expectation of privacy (i.e., you shouldn’t have one).

    Now, CFI may not care (although I think they should), or they may have granted permission.

  168. says

    I read over the forensic report and my opinion is that “it’s complicated” Here’s what I see: I see that the forensic team spent a substantial amount of space and time authenticating that some screen shots provided by Radford were provided by Radford, and that some email that was in Radford’s inbox was in Radford’s inbox.

    And … that’s it.

    That has some value, but only if the question being asked is “are the emails in these screenshots the same as the emails in Radford’s mailbox?” The forensic report does a good job of establishing this.

    The forensic report makes no attempt to establish the origin of the emails and omits the detailed message headers that would make this possible. That is a critical omission, since it’s very relevant to the forensic analysts’ mission in this report, namely authenticating the messages in question. The forensic report makes no reference to attempting to match the messages to any corroborating log entries, another critical omission. I would describe this as a “half-assed job” though it’s possible that the forensic analysts did exactly and only the analysis they were asked to and didn’t go further for that reason. That is unknown. However, as someone who has done this kind of work, my opinion is that it’s a consultative process – you meet with the client, find out what the question is they are trying to answer, and then build an action plan that will support an answer based on that action plan. I would expect an experienced forensic analyst to have raised the issue of corroborating logs and message headers with their client.

    Without more detailed analysis, which was not performed, it remains possible that the emails were altered before being injected into Radford’s gmail account. It remains possible that anyone could have done it, even Radford himself. It remains possible that the email messages are untampered-with. It remains possible that there was a system error with the clock on the originating system and that there is no deliberate message-editing going on at all.

    Many organizations keep system log data for a surprisingly long time and I’d say there’s about a 60% chance that either google or berkeley still have access to the logs that could conclusively authenticate the messages. Without them, we’re just speculating. I’d give the forensics report writers the benefit of the doubt and assume that they did what they were asked to do, and exactly nothing more.

    I did a little thinking this morning, and came up with a couple ways of injecting messages into Google after editing them. Perhaps the easiest is this:
    https://support.google.com/mail/answer/21289?hl=en
    Simply edit your message, drop it into an IMAP or POP server you control, then import it. Depending on the logging options on google’s mail processes, it might not even record the transaction. Of course you’d then have an email message that had no matching MTA received: log.
    There are other ways, too, every one of which would leave a different set of fingerprints somewhere.

  169. says

    One other comment on the forensic report: the author writes
    The timestamps stored by Google are not user ‐ editable. In more than six hundred forensic engagements, I have neither experienced – nor heard of – the successful modification of timestamps within Gmail to “backdate” emails.

    I have neither experienced it nor heard of it, but it took me all of 15 minutes over my morning coffee to think of one plausible way to do it. Actually, I thought of several.

    The best way to authenticate a message is the server logs at the time of its transmission and receipt.

  170. says

    Oh, yeah, gmail also allows imap access to your mailbox.

    So, fire up thunderbird, and set it up to talk to your gmail inbox. Sync the inbox down. Drag the message you want to edit into a local folder. Exit thunderbird. Edit your message in the local folder (you can learn where it is through the account settings option on thunderbird) when you’re done, fire up thunderbird then drag the edited message into your gmail box and let IMAP sync it.

    There are also loads of tools for manipulating IMAP mailboxes remotely, e.g.: http://www.broobles.com/imapsize/

  171. says

    In more than six hundred forensic engagements, I have neither experienced – nor heard of – the successful modification of timestamps within Gmail to “backdate” emails.

    “I have never heard of this happening and can’t think of how it could be done. Therefore it’s impossible.” Seems like there’s a term for that kind of reasoning.

  172. Hj Hornbeck says

    More observations, in point form:

    – At one point, I spotted 64 uploadsed files; yesterday evening, I confirmed four (and only four) had disappeared upthread. Now I see there are 57 uploads, yet no new edits besides what I noted.

    – Of those 57, 10 are exact, bit-for-bit, duplicates. They have the same filename, but appended with “1” or “copy1″ or something similar. Looks like Radford didn’t know how to link to existing file uploads, so he just re-uploaded them each time he needed to reference one.

    – Radford is hilariously incompetent at protecting email addresses within a PDF. Someone upthread mentioned Radford wasn’t very technically savvy; this and the previous point provides further evidence.

    – The earliest file timestamp on that website is February 10th, relating to an internal WordPress file.

  173. says

    “I have never heard of this happening and can’t think of how it could be done. Therefore it’s impossible.” Seems like there’s a term for that kind of reasoning.

    What Marcus said is more akin to this: “In my professional experience, as an acknowledged expert in the field, I have never heard of this happening, and can’t think of how it could be done. Therefore it’s extremely unlikely.”

  174. says

    Flewellyn:

    What Marcus said

    Marcus was quoting the investigators in that instance, and followed by explaining exactly what it was: an argument from ignorance. Obviously Marcus has a more well-developed imagination than CFI’s $40,000 inspectors.

  175. says

    Marcus @204-206, I invite you to revisit your comments to me in the Pharyngula thread, where you were fairly unpleasant to me for making essentially the same points you’re making now.

  176. says

    you were fairly unpleasant to me

    Have you perhaps mistaken me for another commenter? If I recall correctly, my comments in the pharyngula thread were pretty dry and impersonal and I’ve said more or less the same thing as here.
    “Fairly unpleasant”? Which comment of mine was “fairly unpleasant”?

  177. says

    Well, I thought it was mildly unpleasant to be told by you that I “obviously know nothing about the topic”, and was “veering off into conspiracy theory-land”. Then when you said neither of us knew what Flashback’s methods were and I pointed out that the methods were documented in their report, you told me that I should hire you to read it. That was more baffling than unpleasant, I guess.

    Honestly, I take back the “unpleasant” thing. But here’s what I saw, summarized:

    Me: Flashback is saying that the timestamps weren’t altered, which is something they could only know if they’d done a more detailed investigation than they did. So they shouldn’t be saying that. Here’s an easy way to fake headers that Flashback wouldn’t necessarily have noticed.
    You: We don’t know what their investigation involved. A good one would turn up evidence if there were faked headers.
    Me: But they’re saying that the headers weren’t faked, and they’re also saying they didn’t do a detailed investigation. Here’s the report which says so.
    You: If you want me to read that report, let’s talk about billing. Besides, a detailed investigation would turn up evidence of faked headers.
    Me: No thanks on the billing thing, but they didn’t do a detailed investigation.
    You: Why the fuck would they have to?
    *time passes*
    You, on a different thread: Flashback didn’t really do a detailed investigation, so they can’t say with certainty that the timestamps weren’t altered. Here’s an easy way to fake headers that Flashback wouldn’t necessarily have noticed.
    Me: *headdesk*

    I don’t know what to call that.

  178. shari says

    me, I am just wondering why he’s posting blackmail pics if he is . . . the defamed party.

    He is protesting about being wronged, she flat out says, “I’m not the liar”.

    She has everything to lose, he has proven himself a foul persona by his own recent actions, let alone what he allegedly did in front of witnesses…..

    I’m going back to Shakespeare, but it is Not the lady who protesteth too much.

    And if I KNEW I was in the right, I wouldn’t arrive at ‘blackmail and tar and poison the well’ as a reasonable response. But I’ve never had the urge to manipulate anyone but recalcitrant children under the age of 10, so I am speaking out of my experience, here….

  179. says

    @Josh L.
    What you saw as confusing was me approaching the situation with my professional hat on. I was withholding judgement about pretty much everything, until I decided that I was interested enough to learn more, at which point I was willing to offer more commentary. When I was first responding to your comments, I had not read the experts’ report, so I certainly wasn’t going to take some random guy on the internet’s word for what the report said or didn’t say, and (you may notice) I kept my commentary pretty much focused on what I knew, in order to avoid speculating. That’s why I was mostly focusing on system log analysis – because it’s a topic I know quite a bit about. After a while I finally got interested enough to read the forensic report and, as I said, I was – nonplussed – by it. Note that I didn’t read Josh L’s opinion of the forensic report and allow that to make me nonplussed by the forensic report; yes, I completely and utterly dismissed your opinion about the report because in a professional context I don’t take anything anyone says as a fact unless I can support it. That’s the only way, I believe, to approach that kind of analysis, because – in case you hadn’t noticed – there is a lot of partisan thinking going on and for forensic analysis you have to let the data speak for itself. Once I had more information, I had more opinions that I was willing to share.

    Initially I was not interested at all in the forensic report because (as I tried to imply) it’s really a silly problem that can easily be solved through proper analysis of system logs. I didn’t think it was worth wasting my time second-guessing the forensic analysis pro bono, which is why I wanted to be clear on the question of whether I was “working” or “just playing” and my subsequent comments were carefully written to preserve that distinction. If someone asks me a question about this kind of thing in a professional capacity my reaction is going to be very different from if I decide on my own initiative to see what cluster fuck the internet doth bring me with my morning coffee. Besides, a lot of these problems seem clearer with a bit of subconscious mulling-over and once I started forming ideas, I then had to read the forensic report, etc.

    It’s not that I don’t distrust your opinion about this stuff. It’s that I don’t even trust mine and am therefore careful not to form one. My attitude certainly wasn’t personal, or intended to be unpleasant. I will say, however, that chiding me for failing to live up to your expectations is pretty thin-skinned; perhaps you are not ready to be on the Internet.

  180. says

    Josh L.
    You, on a different thread: Flashback didn’t really do a detailed investigation

    Do not put words in my mouth. I did not say that or anything like that.

    In a few places I implicitly contrasted Flashback’s methods with the ones I would have preferred if I were doing the investigation, but I deliberately left open the possibility that Flashback did (as I say at comment #204) exactly what they were asked to.

  181. ryancunningham says

    I’d give the forensics report writers the benefit of the doubt and assume that they did what they were asked to do, and exactly nothing more.

    Exactly the impression that I got. Essentially, they worked to prove something that’s mostly irrelevant to the case Ben wants to make, because Ben doesn’t understand what he asked them to do. He also doesn’t understand what their response means. He thinks that forensic report is smoking gun evidence that there are forged email timestamps. The report actually says that image they have match his image, and that they saw the same dates he’s displaying in the image.

    Which is why I’ve been speculating that he probably ALSO doesn’t understand the timestamps in the report, or he’s misinterpreting the report. If his brain is weaving conspiracy theories and seeing irrelevant facts as clinching proof that confirm his theories, he’s probably doing it while reading the report itself. We don’t have access to the full report. We don’t know if the timeline was central to the report. We don’t know if these timestamps were important to the investigators. For all we know, he could just be anomaly hunting through a large document. He found dates differ from his inbox. Is that the result of a clerical error or a tech error? Could it be a misunderstanding? Or is it evidence of a deliberate fraud meant to undermine Ben’s career? They’re other possibilities are more likely, but he’s myopically scanning the report searching for the latter.

    If we have evidence he did a shit job interpreting the forensic report, we should probably assume he did a shit job interpreting the sexual harassment report, too. He says the timestamps are wrong. So what? There are probably spelling errors in the report, too. Are they also evidence of fraud?

  182. says

    I don’t know what to call that.

    What you call that is “an outsider’s view of someone forming an opinion as a series of slices in time.” It’s why, if I actually we working on the case, I wouldn’t say anything to anyone because you never know what’s going in the executive summary of your report until it’s time to draw a line under your columns and write the damn thing.

    Another way of looking at it is that I ploddingly duplicated your work and came to similar conclusions, thereby vindicating you as clever, quick, and brilliant and me as the pedant who slowly retraced your nimble footsteps. Do you feel better, now?

  183. says

    The thing is, you weren’t just dismissing my opinion. I’d understand that. You were arguing that my opinion of the report was wrong, when I’d read the report and you hadn’t. That goes beyond withholding judgment and into assuming bad faith, which, granted, is a pretty safe assumption online. If you want to say that calling me a conspiracy theorist who doesn’t know what I’m talking about is just a consequence of you having your professional hat on at the time, well, that’s your prerogative. It’s not what I’d want to put out there as my professional persona, but I’m not you. *shrug*

    As for being thin-skinned, eh. I saw it as calling out dickish behavior more than crying about having my feelings hurt. But whatever. We both agree that the report is not particularly useful for establishing when any given message was sent, because that’s probably not what they were hired to do. I called it irresponsible and you called it half-assed, so I think we can at least agree on the basic idea I was trying to get across earlier, and I already agreed with you about how difficult it would be to really hide evidence of altered message headers from a thorough investigation. We both win, hooray!

  184. ryancunningham says

    Good. I’m glad you two are mostly on the same page now. Reading through your posts over on Pharyngula, I could see you were both mostly talking past each other while essentially agreeing.

    Now that we all agree that the forensic report doesn’t mean what Ben thinks it means, do you guys agree with me that it’s very likely the sexual harassment report doesn’t mean what Ben thinks it means?

  185. says

    > Flashback didn’t really do a detailed investigation
    Do not put words in my mouth. I did not say that or anything like that.

    I’m sorry, you’re right. You used the passive voice: Without more detailed analysis, which was not performed, it remains possible that …

    But maybe you weren’t talking about Flashback at that point. I mean, neither of us has done more detailed analysis here either, so maybe you were talking about us.

    Look, it’s pretty simple. We both agree that in order to establish the time a message was sent, you’d need to look at server logs. We both agree that Flashback didn’t look at server logs. We both agree that they probably weren’t hired to look at server logs. Where we seem to disagree is that I think it’s therefore irresponsible of them to claim or imply that they have established the time those messages were sent, and you think it’s wrong for me to say that.

    So, whatever. I give up. You’re the expert in the field, your opinion is the correct one; I’ll go back to lurking.

  186. ryancunningham says

    No, Josh! Don’t retreat into the shadows. You two disagree about something pretty minor. So what? You’ve both been very helpful in parsing out the details of that forensic report and explaining exact details of the technology. Hashing out details like that is important. Having multiple perspectives is useful.

    Stick around and keep posting!

  187. says

    As for being thin-skinned, eh. I saw it as calling out dickish behavior more than crying about having my feelings hurt.

    “Dickish” huh? Gendered insult much? Would you make up your mind whether I was “unpleasant” to you or not, then let me know why I should care about your precious feelings? I seem to have forgotten why your feelings are so important to me, perhaps the dog ate my notes.

    If you want to say that calling me a conspiracy theorist

    My goodness, you are sensitive!!! Here, let me put a band-aid on your boo-boo, and make it all better. Sheesh.

    That goes beyond withholding judgment

    I was talking about you not the forensic analysts’ report. I’m perfectly willing to be judgemental about you. Especially since you are appearing more and more to be a typical internet bore, who is deeply concerned with scoring trivial points on an otherwise pointless issue. Picture me yawning.

    Now, I’m going back and reviewing those comments and I see now why you were trying to put the words “did not perform a detailed investigation” in my mouth. Apparently you think that would make you right, with respect to my comment @#182.

    you called it half-assed

    Again, you’re putting words in my mouth. I don’t recall ever saying the report was “half-assed”; I choose my words more carefully than that. I believe I said my opinion was that “it’s complicated” – that’s a far cry from “half-assed” Are you trying to get me to respect your intellectual honesty? Because it’s not working very well.

    I was reacting to this:
    I’m saying that Flashback’s claim that the date Gmail displays for a message isn’t user-editable is not accurate.
    Which is incorrect because it’s vague.

    The date gmail displays is not user-editable and the report is literally correct about that. There may be ways to attempt to fool it – which is another matter entirely – as the report points out, the guy who wrote it can’t appear to imagine any, whereas I can. Google has no supported interface for editing date displays. But that brings in a whole different question which has to do with falsifying messages and I addressed that over and over again by pointing out that log artifacts would reveal tampering or falsified messages.

    At #176 you were staking much bolder claims, which I reacted to. You claimed:
    This is not a responsible conclusion, and the investigator should be ashamed of him- or herself.
    That is not a reasonable conclusion for you to draw from the report and what you appear to know about its production – and again I tried to explain why: the forensic analysts might be investigating only exactly what they were told to; you don’t know that and you can’t know that and therefore you are blathering in ignorance on a blog and are not very convincing.

    Look, I get it. It’s very important to you to be “right” and to be acknowledged as “right” or you’re apparently going to feel that I was “unpleasant” to you. Fate forfend!!!

    Now that you’ve latched your teeth onto my ankle, will you ever let go? Will boredom perhaps accomplish that? I’m certainly bored of you. It must be boring to be you. How do you survive it?

  188. says

    We both agree that in order to establish the time a message was sent, you’d need to look at server logs.

    I mostly agree with that; there might be other ways to do it, actually, and I suggested several and implied others in my comments over at Pharyngula. I have said over and over and over that server logs would be “conclusive” and the easiest route.

    We both agree that Flashback didn’t look at server logs.

    No, we don’t agree. We don’t know whether Flashback looked at server logs or not. Their report doesn’t say anything about server logs. I wish it did. If it was one of my reports, it would not just say what I did, it would also say what I didn’t do and why I didn’t do it. (For example, my report would also explain why I didn’t have detailed headers from the messages, either)

    We both agree that they probably weren’t hired to look at server logs.

    We don’t agree at all.
    I really would like you to stop putting words in my mouth, or implying we agree about things that you have no way of knowing whether I agree about or not.
    All we know is what it says in the report, which says nothing about server logs. You’re making an assumption there. See?

    Where we seem to disagree is that I think it’s therefore irresponsible of them to claim or imply that they have established the time those messages were sent, and you think it’s wrong for me to say that.

    They didn’t claim they established the time those messages were sent!

    They claim:

    The account examined shows the emails with the subject lines “just wondering” and “a shame” were sent in 2010 and nothing examined indicated otherwise

    Now you’re putting words in their mouths. I read that claim as that they examined the account and the messages in the account purport to show what they show given what they looked at. It doesn’t say they didn’t look at logs, it doesn’t say they didn’t look at headers, it doesn’t say a thing except maybe that you can’t read simple English sentences without jumping off and making untoward assumptions.

  189. A Masked Avenger says

    Would you make up your mind whether I was “unpleasant” to you or not, then let me know why I should care about your precious feelings? I seem to have forgotten why your feelings are so important to me, perhaps the dog ate my notes.

    FWIW, Josh is right, and you’re being an asshole. Note that above you say, “The best way to authenticate a message is the server logs at the time of its transmission and receipt.” I said the same in the other thread, adding that their value lies in the fact that they come from a disinterested third party, because they, like emails, are easy to tamper with.

    You replied to me, like you did Josh, by moving the goalposts: suddenly you were talking about fucking inode tables, as if anyone is getting their hands on the physical server, and as if the logs weren’t already rotated and archived. You topped it off with a belittling remark along the lines of, “oh, cute–someone recently heard of syslogs.” By now it’s clear that, while you may be a professional, you’ll pretty mech say anything to try and best others (like repeatedly saying, “I win!”), and will cheerfully say the same thing as them later, except that it’s awesome when you say it, and pathetic animal mimicry when they say it.

    Note that “you may be a professional” is meant to sound dubious, because you’ve also said some asinine things. You’ve implied that ctimes can’t be changed, for example, and that message IDs are all you need to know to settle the matter. So while you may be qualified, we know you’ll say transparently false things to win dick-size wars that you yourself started.

  190. says

    Marcus, did you hit the burgundy again this evening? Your brusque and distracted manner last night might have been excusable by intoxication. Your splitting the finest of hairs, semantically speaking, to avoid admitting that you might have been imprecise, is a really immature display for a pro. You can be so much better than this. It’s not like you lose karma points in the comments section of a blog for being fallible — but you do lose them for acting like a pompous git.

  191. ryancunningham says

    You had an out, Marcus. You could’ve taken it. Instead, you doubled down on being an asshole and derailed a productive conversation. Is being the center of attention that important to you?

  192. Hj Hornbeck says

    Let’s get this back on track. In one of Thibeault’s updates:

    Whois data on the server shows that the domain was registered on January 20th 2014, and updated March 22nd 2014. I presume the update was to point it to the GoDaddy servers where the domain is now also hosted as well as being registered.

    There are lots of whois lookup websites online, many of which are slow to update, which means we can go time-traveling. Turns out there was only one change to the DNS record, made March 22nd, and only one part was changed: the block on domain transfers was lifted.

    It turns out GoDaddy prevents domain transfers for the first 60 days of a domain, and March 22nd is roughly 60 days past the registration date.

    Given Radford’s lack of technical skill, I’d bet he kept the website online and visible the entire time, but only shared the info to select people. When his “retraction” gambit didn’t pan out, he delivered on his threat to publicize the case and drag her name through the dirt.

    No wonder Stollznow was so eager to settle, and Baxter seemed so defeated in the publicized email exchange.

  193. says

    @228

    No wonder Stollznow was so eager to settle, and Baxter seemed so defeated in the publicized email exchange.

    Yeah, this is kind of what breaks my heart, here. Stollznow has made it quite clear from the beginning that her priority has been to retain some semblance of her career and professional reputation. This is why I thought it was a shitty thing from the very beginning that someone else named Radford as the harasser in her post. Not okay. I don’t care if you think you’re doing the victim a favor, or if you think you’re dong the Wider Movement a favor, no one else (except for other people who had been harassed, and were attesting to their own experience) had the right to name Stollznow’s harasser.

    Side question: Considering that Stollznow did not name Radford in her post, and that she didn’t even confirm it was Radford until several other people had already come out and said it was…why is she the one being sued?

    This is also why I was uncomfortable with all the calls for Stollznow to put up a legal fight. Especially because we clearly did not have all the information. She did. She was aware of what Radford had collected on her. She was aware that his lawyer was apparently planning a scorched earth Nut-and-Slut. She made the choice to try to salvage whatever she could of her career and reputation, even knowing that by settling, she would give support to Radford’s defenders. That should have been respected. (Note: I know that there were plenty of people who did respect her decision. However, I’ve also seen many people who’ve been acting she had the responsibility to keep fighting, and an entitled sense that she was personally letting down The Movement or Feminism by settling.)

    Now, we have a pretty good idea why Stollznow was so keen to settle. The tragic thing is that even if she prevails in court, this might very well cause permanent damage to her career and reputation. There are sadly plenty of people–even skeptics and atheists, clearly–who lose all respect for a woman who has ever appeared to enjoy sex. This is one reason why Revenge Porn is so powerful, and effective.

  194. pneumo says

    Good points, Eirin.

    I can’t lie, learning that Stollznow had been in a relationship with Radford did instinctively diminish her in my estimation. And this was before I even knew about the harrasment, and I had only met Radford once.

    I have since worked through it, but that was my first instinct: “yuck, how could she?”. Being a judgmental asshole comes naturally to me, I guess. I apologize.

    However, when I read her SciAm article this sentence jumped out at me: “His targets are chubby, shy, lonely, and insecure, just like I used to be.” That did put an explanatory light on the situation for me.

    I think also that sentence explains not only the BR/KS relationship, but also some of Radford’s current female defenders. And maybe a few of the male.

  195. says

    No wonder Stollznow was so eager to settle, and Baxter seemed so defeated in the publicized email exchange.

    We were sued once. And though we won and the judge really made it clear that he thought the other side to be assholes, it did not magically erase the emotional toll we paid during that time.

  196. Great American Satan says

    Pneumo @230 – I am suddenly afraid that your feelings are extremely widespread because now – of all the times I would have thought the fund would be taking off – it’s creeping along much more slowly than it did at first. Even aside from that affirmation that lends to BR’s slimy crapheel strategy, this paints the ostensibly progressive side of the issue in an ill light.

    I say this as someone who has sexually harassed people before (wasn’t aware of what I was doing at the time, feel like a shit when I remember it): This guys harassing ass has got to be demolished. If anything, stalking-styled crapola tends to be worse when a relationship was had. What does this all change?

    It reminds many of us that we’re sex negative puritan misogynists at heart & we cave in to that a little.
    Fuckin’ yay! :-(

  197. says

    pneumo, that is part of the psychology that leads to victim blaming. Judging people based on past relationships is a childish instinct we all need to get over. People enter relationships for all kinds of reasons. We don’t know the circumstances. Karen is cool. I don’t see any evidence she hurt anyone. Who cares?

    Also, we’re all turned on by things we wouldn’t necessarily want public. We’ve all been embarrassed before or done something we’re not proud of. Kinks, sex, and relationships are all over a spectrum. That someone likes something you don’t shouldn’t be a big deal. Judge not lest ye be judged.

    To me, the worst part about all this is that those photos constitute leverage of any kind. In an ideal world, Ben could release photos and videos and all kinds of details, and we’d all just ignore them and treat Karen the same. Who cares? People can have sex with whoever.

    If anyone should be ashamed of those pictures, it’s the person who needed to take a memento. Instead of enjoying spending time with a person, he was more interested in collecting a trophy. That is shallow. That is embarrassing.

    (Oh, and to be clear, I understand you don’t feel this way anymore. I’m emphasizing your point.)

  198. pneumo says

    GAS: I don’t rightly know why the fund is creeping along. As you say, it should be moving along strongly. But it is moving at all at close to double the target is encouraging though.

    It could be that those most likely to donate have done so already. After all, we are talking about the skeptic movement which is a really small pond to fish in. Or that KS supporters on average don’t have a lot of money to spend.

    Also, let’s not forget that there are a lot of people who haven’t heard about the fund at all. And when they do, consider it a private matter and don’t understand the importance.

  199. Great American Satan says

    He says he can date the photos (which apparently include no face shots) to prove there was an on-again/off-again thing that lasted past the point she claimed to want no further contact from him. However, regardless of what acts are seen in the undisclosed photos, there can be no evidence in them that she wasn’t wheedled/cajoled/plied with booze into that situation at a point when she had already asked him to stop bothering her & he didn’t let up. That’s assuming the dates do what he thinks they do.

    People who have experience being stalked and harassed that have read the e-mails say they demonstrate exactly that kind of behavior on his part, and submitting to it at some point doesn’t mean that she wasn’t honest in wanting him to fuck off both before and after the fact (I can imagine especially after) and her desire for him to fuck off + him not fucking off = harassment, which multiple people have witnessed and is borne out by some of the “evidence” he has presented.

    As common as the crime is, that he is guilty of sexually harassing her is the most believable position (court of public opinion + my opinion = beyond reasonable doubt is an unreasonable standard outside physical courtrooms), and that he sexually harassed her in presenting this “defense” is true beyond a reasonable doubt.

  200. =8)-DX says

    there was an on-again/off-again thing that lasted past the point she claimed to want no further contact from him.

    Throughout all this it seems to me an important bit should be stressed over and over – Karen only really mentioned the harassing behaviour starting at the end of 2009, which is still perfectly consistent with an off-and-on relationship during 2010 (like, as in, people often move to the “off” part of a relationship when their partner is harassing them/ etc. then loneliness/ emotinal attachment pull them back).

    GAS makes a similar point wonderfully – reading the e-mails I found exactly the kind of things I have said a few times and had said to me. People try so hard to make themselves feel better, without realising they are hurting the other person.

  201. Another Person says

    Being a Judge Judy junkie and having seen over 3000 of her cases, while I agree that one can still be harassed and then agree to an on-again relationship (e.g., “No means ‘no'” but later yes means yes), IF that is the case, then it could really depend on the judge and/or jury (last I spoke with Baxter, they hadn’t decided what they would request if they had a choice).

    In Judy’s case – which is small-claims so could be different – she outright rejects any claims of harassment for anything that happened before the last sexual encounter. The reason is that she considers the voluntary sexual encounter as Condonation (“Condonation, or condonance may be made when an accuser has previously forgiven or condoned (in some way or at some level supported) the act about which they are complaining. In some legal jurisdictions, and for certain behaviors, it may prevent the accuser from prevailing.” –Wikipedia).

    So, IF Radford can prove that Stollznow did engage in voluntary sexual relations with him after she complained of harassment, then that really could hurt her case and help his. At least for those events.

  202. =8)-DX says

    So, IF Radford can prove that Stollznow did engage in voluntary sexual relations with him after she complained of harassment, then that really could hurt her case and help his. At least for those events.

    But the question wasn’t whether or not she “forgave” him for some of his harassment – or even legally condoned it, because Radford is trying to make a defamation and fraud case against Karen. The question is whether there was any harassment at all (was Karen lying), plus the issue of fraud (did she fake the dates on those e-mails).

  203. pneumo says

    I do like the creative spirit of defending oneself against the charge of being a shitty human being using the defense: “look; I’m a shitty human being”.

  204. Another Person says

    @240: I think there are many parts to this and they will have to be argued by both sides: Radford v Stollznow — (1) Was there harassment? If no to 1, then (2) was there fraud to make it look like there was? If yes to 1, then (2) when and what? (3) Was it ever condoned (i.e., the situation I raised), and did some of it occur after the last condonation?

    Stollznow v Radford (for hypothetical counter-claim) — (1) If we went down the “yes” path to #1 above, and continued with “yes” thereafter, we can continue with conduct after the lawsuit, including the (5) Does Radford’s behavior and public postings constitute further harassment and illegal “revenge porn?”

    To be clear, I don’t think any harassment is ever warranted or acceptable, and I think that even in cases of a “non-ideal” plaintiff or defendant (in this case, what Radford appears to be trying to do to Stollznow with the public website), that does not mean they are “asking for it” or retaliation like this is ever acceptable. I also consider Karen and Matthew good friends … but, I’m trying to be objective, and I think that if what’s been presented is accurate, while Radford may ultimately lose, Stollznow may not be able to collect as much as she otherwise would in a counter-claim because of the condonation complication.

  205. Hj Hornbeck says

    Finally, some free time!

    pneumo @236:

    I don’t rightly know why the fund is creeping along. As you say, it should be moving along strongly. But it is moving at all at close to double the target is encouraging though.

    It could be that those most likely to donate have done so already.

    You pretty much nailed it in that last sentence. The behavior of these funds is due to four main factors: 1) the number of people aware of its existence, 2) the value those people place on it, 3) the speed the information travels, and 4) how connected those people are. Speed is correlated with value, though, as high-value information jumps the priority queue, and connectedness loosely depends both on the number of people aware as well as their value of it (as high-value information is more likely to “leak” out of a community). So if you want to shift the behavior, you should primarily focus on increasing awareness, either by sharing it widely or debunking it thoroughly, or altering the value.

    A few days ago I had a look around the online community, and was surprised at how little publicity Stollznow’s fund had gotten. A number of bloggers at FtB pointed there, SkepChick did too, and that was it. Everything else must have been through word-of-mouth or via Facebook/Twitter. The pool of people in the know is relatively small, and likely had already come to a decision on Stollznow’s guilt or innocence.

    In other words, neither the pool of people aware of Stollznow’s fund, nor the value they placed on it, was significantly altered by Radford’s website. I’ve been checking in on it periodically, and what you used to view as a drop-off looks like normal behavior for a fund reaching saturation to me. The average donation has dropped from about $100 to just over $40, and the donation rate is tailing off, with fewer new people becoming aware of its existence.

    In comparison, Radford’s fund has not seen a drop-off in donation rate nor a decrease in the average donation. A lot of that is due to activism by the SlymePit, which has steadily increased the pool of aware people. Yesterday I spotted a fresh influx of people from Australia, and an article about it on A Voice For Men just led to another funding bump.

    The implication is clear: if you want Stollznow’s fund to crank up again, either expand the number of people aware of it via activism, or demonstrate it’s more valuable than most people realize.

  206. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, this jumped out at me from Radford’s website:

    These accusations have cost me greatly. They have tarnished a reputation I’ve spent nearly twenty years building; cost me opportunities and huge sums of money; they have ended valued friendships and caused both colleagues and strangers to attack me publicly. A legal defense fund has been set up by a friend of mine to help pay my legal costs in clearing my name from these false accusations. I did not set it up but I approved it and have offered items for it. Donations of any amount are appreciated, and the site can be found HERE.

    Looks like the earlier speculation was bang-on; Mattke set it up of her own free will, likely in response to a complaint by Radford. The emphasis is in the original, too, which feeds into my earlier musings about Radford being poorer than most people realize.

    I was also caught off guard by this:

    I understand that Karen also claims that at a TAM 2012 conference panel, I rubbed her leg in a sexually suggestive manner and passed her notes of a romantic or sexual nature while we were onstage together. It is apparently this incident that Karen has characterized as “sexual harassment” (see her July 20 letter to the JREF board, written by Carrie Poppy.)

    This sexual harassment, Karen claims, took place in front of hundreds of people.

    I double-checked, and didn’t find any of that in her blog post nor in that letter. Thinking I’d missed something, I opened up the case he filed against her, but no; it only refers to said blog post, and the website itself never says where Stollznow stated those things.

    He’s claiming that Stollznow claimed those things, without any evidence that she actually did make those claims. Those claims aren’t even part of his lawsuit! Where the hell did they come from? Why did he present them as being a part of his lawsuit, when they are not?

    I’m no lawyer, but I’m willing to wager that will not be looked kindly on by the courts.

  207. Flip the second says

    @Hj Hornbeck

    Vagueness in a defamation suit is a bad thing if you’re the plaintiff. My guess is if he has something specific to complain about and it wasn’t put into the suit: he’s either lying and he knows it; or he has no chance of winning on the specifics anyway; or his lawyer is an idiot.

  208. says

    He’s claiming that Stollznow claimed those things, without any evidence that she actually did make those claims. Those claims aren’t even part of his lawsuit! Where the hell did they come from?

    Presumably they were part of the original complaint Stollznow made to CFI.

    I think very likely he never expected the suit to actually go to court. He figured he’d be able to force through a settlement and I think he’s still banking on that. It’s the only way I can make sense of his behavior.

  209. Clydey15 says

    This is perhaps a silly question, given the bias that exists on this website, but why is everyone’s focus on Radford being a shitty human being for posting those documents? If you thought you were innocent of harassment charges, wouldn’t you be eager to prove your innocence publicly?

    Courts are all well and good, but he has already been convicted in the court of public opinion. Winning a legal case certainly wouldn’t convince anyone on FtB, so how else is he supposed to persuade those who are already convinced of his guilt?

    The documents he has posted, if verified, are pretty damning. One would be forced to engage in all sorts of gymnastics to take Karen’s side.

  210. says

    If you thought you were innocent of harassment charges, wouldn’t you be eager to prove your innocence publicly?

    If you were a non-harrassing person, why would you try to prove it by doing things that, in themselves, might qualify as harassment? Regardless of the facts of the case, posting private photos, taken in the bedroom, without the permission of the person in those photos, is highly problematic.

    The documents he has posted, if verified, are pretty damning.

    Why? Which ones do you find particularly damning and for what reasons? What do you think they show, in relation to the case in question?
    Serious question.

  211. Clydey15 says

    @LykeX

    I find the e-mails pretty damning, given that they contradict Karen’s version of events. Long after she claims to have told Ben to back off, she not only interacted with him as friends but also offered to have an affair.

    Assuming the e-mails turn out to be genuine, doesn’t that in and of itself blow a massive hole in her story?

    On another note, Ben posting the picture of himself and Karen was obscene. I can’t imagine what he was thinking or why he thought that would help his case.

  212. Jacob Schmidt says

    HJ

    I double-checked, and didn’t find any of that in her blog post nor in that letter. Thinking I’d missed something, I opened up the case he filed against her, but no; it only refers to said blog post, and the website itself never says where Stollznow stated those things.

    To my knowledge, that’s entirely new. In fact, a video of that panel (I think) made a few rounds a few months back without any mention of Stollznow accusing Radford of anything.

  213. noxiousnan says

    Clydey15 @248 “…why is everyone’s focus on Radford being a shitty human being for posting those documents? If you thought you were innocent of harassment charges, wouldn’t you be eager to prove your innocence publicly?”

    Clydey15 @250 “…Ben posting the picture of himself and Karen was obscene. I can’t imagine what he was thinking or why he thought that would help his case.”

    I think you answered your own question there Clydey15. I’ve seen hundreds of comments from people (like you) who think that was a shitty thing to do and many (like me) asserting that BR is a shitty human for doing it.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of research and speculation on the veracity of the documents that might be considered relevant to a harassment/fraud suit. If I thought I was innocent, why would I be threatened that people were poring over the evidence I produced?

  214. Hj Hornbeck says

    Clydey15 @248:

    This is perhaps a silly question, given the bias that exists on this website, but why is everyone’s focus on Radford being a shitty human being for posting those documents?

    It’s not my focus. I’ve been keeping track of the claims and evidence for said claims. Radford has shared his complete lawsuit, and provided evidence for his claims. Cool! What is that evidence? Does it support what he says?

    Courts are all well and good, but he has already been convicted in the court of public opinion.

    The only person who’s discussed this case to any degree in the public sphere has been Radford. He was the one who broke the news of his defamation case against Stollznow; his lawyer was the one that tried to silence Myers by sending him copy of the case; Stollznow, in fact, was the one who silenced Myers by requesting he take down the resulting blog post; Radford is the one who went public with an unsigned “retraction;” Radford is the one who set up a website on his case for public consumption.

    If Radford’s been “convicted in the court of public opinion,” as you claim, it’s been by his own hand and through his own actions. I fail to see how that’s a bad thing.

  215. Clydey15 says

    Are you really going to suggest that Radford’s guilt wasn’t assumed on here the moment the accusation was made public? You know better than that. On the flip side, his innocence was just as readily assumed by many of his supporters.

    This whole issue has become way too tribal.

    Posting that picture was a shitty thing to do, no doubt. That doesn’t mean it has to obscure everything else, though.

  216. Hj Hornbeck says

    Clydey15 @254:

    Are you really going to suggest that Radford’s guilt wasn’t assumed on here the moment the accusation was made public? You know better than that.

    No, I don’t. But you’re derailing the thread; we’re discussing Radford’s case against Stollznow, not Stollznow’s accusations against Radford. If you really want to revive that old discussion, take it to Thunderdome.

  217. noxiousnan says

    “Posting that picture was a shitty thing to do, no doubt. That doesn’t mean it has to obscure everything else, though.”

    I guess that depends on your POV. For me it was one more action of his, not singular, but it certainly was a clincher. And though I do try to be unbiased, I can see where it singularly would be the only needed action for me to determine him a shitty human being (if for example, I had personal experience of having intimate photos of me published against my will).

    I also consider the posting of the photo to be evidence of BR harassing KS.

  218. TurtleGoodyLo says

    Hj @255,
    Stollznow’s accusations against Radford were addressed in the blog post to which these comments are attached, so clearly that’s not off-topic. Additionally, that Stollznow’s accusations were bogus is Radford’s case, so they really are not separate and distinct topics anyway.

    Also, this isn’t PZ’s playground, so what’s with the Thunderdome invite?

  219. carlie says

    On another note, Ben posting the picture of himself and Karen was obscene. I can’t imagine what he was thinking or why he thought that would help his case.

    It wasn’t just obscene, it was harassment. He’s doing the very thing he claims he never did and is not the kind of person who would. And best bet is that he didn’t think it would help his case, he thought it would intimidate Karen into completely backing down and accepting whatever settlement he wants.

  220. Flip the second says

    @Clydey15

    Long after she claims to have told Ben to back off, she not only interacted with him as friends but also offered to have an affair.

    Actually if you take a look at the screenshot, it’s quite clear that there’s more text to that email but is cut off due to the way the emails are collapsed. It could be that she’s suggesting *someone else* to be set up with Radford, he shoots her down, and then she says “well, I offered” (to set you up with my friend). There’s a few cases were there were only excerpts of the email shown.

    Frankly, there’s far too little context to those emails to be making much of anything. For or against Radford, for or against Stollznow. If one were to make any determinations about anything, you’d need the complete emails and not just excerpts, and you would need the full conversation thread not just a handful pulled from the lot.

  221. Hj Hornbeck says

    TurtleGoodyLo @257:

    Stollznow’s accusations against Radford were addressed in the blog post to which these comments are attached, so clearly that’s not off-topic. Additionally, that Stollznow’s accusations were bogus is Radford’s case, so they really are not separate and distinct topics anyway.

    No, they most certainly are. It’s possible to be (probably) guilty of a crime, yet have a not guilty verdict handed to you (think OJ Simpson), and it’s also possible to be found guilty when you are probably innocent (see the Innocence Project). Radford could be as innocent as snow, but if he fails to provide sufficient evidence to convict a judge or jury he could still fail to prove defamation.

    Past history suggests Radford has an uphill battle. Of the 41 defamation cases that made it to US courts between 1993 and 2002, only six resulted in convictions, and three of those convictions were overturned on appeal when the law was declared unconstitutional. The same applies to Stollznow, of course, but she could benefit from anti-SLAPP laws.

    Stollznow’s accusations are mostly irrelevant.

  222. TurtleGoodyLo says

    Hj @ 260,

    Stollznow’s accusations are mostly irrelevant.

    Nothing you have said lends any credence to this statement.

    Of course one may be guilty or a crime but found innocent in trial (or vice versa) – who ever suggested otherwise? And what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? That Karen’s accusations are irrelevant (as you claim) does not follow logically from the premise that Radford could be innocent but still fail to provide sufficient evidence. One simply does not follow from the other.

    Additionally (as I said before) Karen’s accusations were addressed by Jason in the blog post above, and so clearly he thought they were relevant to this discussion.

    If you don’t feel like addressing the topic of Karen’s accusations or her allegedly faked emails, that’s fine and dandy. You have every right to skip over discussions that don’t interest you. But kindly refrain from trying to silence others from discussing these topics with silly claims about being off-topic or invites to take the conversation to another blog entirely.

  223. TurtleGoodyLo says

    Hj @ 260,
    Your link is borked.

    Wikipedia says:
    “Between 1992 and August 2004, 41 criminal defamation cases were brought to court in the United States, among which six defendants were convicted.”

    That statistic is in reference to CRIMINAL defamation cases, which would not be applicable in this instance.

  224. Clydey15 says

    @Flip the second

    I’m not sure how you could interpret that exchange as anything other what it appears to be. Karen offering to set up Ben to have an affair with someone would be a total non sequitur.

    Read the whole exchange again.

    In response to the suggestion of an affair, he addresses her directly:

    “I don’t have affairs, I don’t cheat on my partners. If I’m committed, I’m committed. If I’m not, I’m not. You should know that.

    Besides, as you wrote: Sex with each other just isn’t a good idea anymore”

    It’s pretty clear that Karen was asking for Ben to carry on an affair with her.

  225. Kokopilau says

    It’s an odd, confusing exchange, though. Radford tells her “We could be…having great sex”, to which she replies the next day with “Sex with each other just isn’t a good idea anymore”…and then the day after that she’s offering to have an affair with him and he’s turning her down by saying he doesn’t have affairs or cheat on his partners?

  226. Rob says

    All the publicly available information has demonstrated to me is that the whole situation is pretty messy. There are clear examples of Karen asking for appropriate boundaries and also examples of her seeming to walk that back. On the face of it confusing and frustrating for Ben. I find his pattern of behaviour incredibly distasteful overall though and certainly harassing.

    I’m also under-whelmed by the ‘proof’ Radford has published. It is certainly open to other reasonable interpretations and that is without adding in the totality of the communication involved in the relationship. I mean, does anyone seriously think we know all the facts?

    I don’t know who is ‘right’, but my sympathy and financial support have gone to Stollznow.

  227. Hj Hornbeck says

    TurtleGoodyLo @261

    That Karen’s accusations are irrelevant (as you claim) does not follow logically from the premise that Radford could be innocent but still fail to provide sufficient evidence.

    If Radford fails to provide sufficient evidence, then he is very unlikely to get a guilty conviction. If he does land a guilty verdict despite failing to provide sufficient evidence, or vice-versa, then that must have been due to biases within the system.

    Note anything missing from that last paragraph? Stollznow’s innocence only enters into the discussion if Radford provides sufficient evidence, but then there is no discussion: it follows that Stollznow is guilty of what Radford claimed in his suit, nothing less and nothing more.

    Stollznow’s innocence either plays no role, or is determined by the discussion. Hence, it is irrelevant.

    But kindly refrain from trying to silence others from discussing these topics with silly claims about being off-topic or invites to take the conversation to another blog entirely.

    I’m not silencing, I’m pointing out we’ve already discussed Stollznow’s guilt or innocence before, and this thread itself provides an abundance of evidence in the forms of timelines and direct links. Most of us have already come to a decision, based on prior discussion and evidence, and the new evidence provides more evidential sway over the fate of Radford’s lawsuit than it does Stollznow’s guilt or innocence.

    Reviving the discussion over Stollznow’s guilt/innocence would just bog down and polarize this thread. Why not focus on Radford’s case instead, and let everyone participate regardless of their views of Stollznow?

    TurtleGoodyLo @262:

    That statistic is in reference to CRIMINAL defamation cases, which would not be applicable in this instance.

    Good catch, I didn’t notice that! I went digging for better numbers, and came across this table:

    Summary Data of U.S. State Court Litigation in 2005

    Number of Civil Claims: 7.4 million
    Number of Civil Trials: 26,948
    % of Civil Claims Which Reached Trial: 0.36%
    Number of Tort Trials: 16,397
    Number of Slander/Libel Trials: 187

    Later on, it states that 39.5% of slander/libel trials were won by the plaintiff, and 62.5% were awarded less than $50,000 while only 12.5% got over $1,000,000. Radford has a so-so chance of collecting if he makes it to trial, but he still has to run the pre-trial gauntlet and his dreams of a million-dollar payout are unrealistic.

  228. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, if you’re reading Radford’s complaint, it would be wise to keep the New Mexico jury instructions for defamation in mind. Just to get his foot in the door, Radford has to show:

    [(1) The defendant published the communication; and]
    [(2) The communication contains a statement of fact; and]
    [(3) The communication was concerning the plaintiff; and]
    [(4) The statement of fact was false; and]
    [(5) The communication was defamatory; and]
    [(6) The person[s] receiving the communication understood it to be defamatory; and]
    [(7) The defendant [knew that the communication was false or negligently failed to recognize that it was false] [or] [acted with malice]; and]
    [(8) The communication caused actual injury to the plaintiff’s reputation; and]
    [(9) The defendant abused [its] privilege to publish the communication.]

    “Malice” in a legal context means “had reasonable doubts a statement was false, but presented it as truth anyway.” Intent is irrelevant here. Stollznow has a number of defenses she can deploy, even if Radford can hit all nine points, so this is just the bare minimum.

    I’d link to the source, but the website I’m looking at doesn’t make it easy. Instead, go here and search for “13-1002 Defamation action.”

  229. TurtleGoodyLo says

    Hj @266,
    First, you seem to have pulled a bit of a bait and switch, but I’m sure it was an honest mistake. We were discussing your assertion that Stollznow’s accusations against Radford are irrelevant and off-topic, in terms of this discussion thread. Now all of a sudden you are discussing Stollznow’s innocence being irrelevant. Have you conceded the point that her accusations are indeed perfectly relevant and are now switching topics?

    Assuming that is not the case and that you will kindly return to the topic at hand… The relevancy of Stollznow’s accusations against Radford.

    If Radford fails to provide sufficient evidence, then he is very unlikely to get a guilty conviction.

    If Radford fails to provide evidence of what, pray tell? (I’ll answer my own question, for the sake of efficiency)

    If he fails to provide evidence that Stollznow’s accusations against him were false, that’s what. That is precisely what the case is about, in part. Surely you have read the complaint against Stollznow and surely you understand the fundamentals of defamation, it being necessary (but not sufficient) for Radford to prove that her accusations were false.

    With respect, since you seem so confused by what amounts to a pretty basic point, then I’m not sure any further discussion on this point would be fruitful.

    Reviving the discussion over Stollznow’s guilt/innocence would just bog down and polarize this thread. Why not focus on Radford’s case instead, and let everyone participate regardless of their views of Stollznow?

    Why not do what I suggested and skip over the comments that you don’t care to read or respond to, and let everyone else do the same? Is there a reason you feel the need to try and police the discussion, as if we aren’t all fully functioning adults?

    Is there any reason you repeatedly fail to address the point that the author of this blog post saw fit to discuss Stollznow’s role (including her accusations, etc.), which makes your assertion that it’s irrelevant and off-topic quite silly? If you can convince Jason to delete all of the info about Stollznow’s role from his blog post, I will happily concede that such is now irrelevant and off-topic in the context of this discussion thread. Unless and until then, you are blowing hot air.

  230. TurtleGoodyLo says

    Hj @267,
    “The communication” noted in every single item refers to Stollznow’s accusations against Radford. You realize that, right? So how are Stollznow’s accusations not relevant again?

  231. Flip the second says

    @Clydey15

    I’m not sure how you could interpret that exchange as anything other what it appears to be. Karen offering to set up Ben to have an affair with someone would be a total non sequitur.

    Maybe you missed my point.

    It was that:
    a) The emails are not shown in full, as shown by the ellipses outlined in grey border. This is how Gmail shows that the message is collapsed. (I’m willing to concede that may only happen when the content below is made up of the forward/reply text… I don’t have time to confirm this and don’t use Gmail as my regular account)
    b) Therefore important information and context is missing
    c) Therefore one can’t make *any* statements about what either party meant or understood

    My example of Stollznow setting up an affair for Bradford was an example of how easily you could read into those emails and invent whatever you want.

    There is clearly content missing, therefore there is clearly context missing. It’s not clear to me that there is anything there. In fact, I’m quite clearly proposing that the null hypothesis be “we don’t know what either intended because there’s not enough information present”.

    Again, it comes back to not having complete emails or the complete conversation thread. All we have is cherry-picked emails from Bradford. I’m not willing to ‘pick a side’ based on cherry-picked information, in either direction.

  232. Hj Hornbeck says

    TurtleGoodyLo @268:

    With respect, since you seem so confused by what amounts to a pretty basic point, then I’m not sure any further discussion on this point would be fruitful.

    You stole the words right out of my head. Then tacked on a few extra, unfortunately.

  233. Hj Hornbeck says

    Oh yes, and Stollznow has posted an update to her fundraiser:

    My harasser continues to try to spread false information about me while demonstrating his harassment. He has recruited the help of a hate group to help spread his word. “A Voice For Men”. They claim now that this campaign is a violation of Indiegogo’s terms. It is not. They claim that I am planning to just pocket this money. I am not. They claim that my insurance is covering my costs so this money is fraudulently requested. Not true. My harasser was clever in his lawsuit and included things that my insurance could not cover, like claims of fraud.

    These are the same techniques of silencing the victim that many of us have encountered and suffered through. I will no longer be silent. My day in court is coming…

    We’re almost back to where we were a day after Radford posted that “retraction.” Both sides are still giving very different stories, and neither is backing down. One person is going to look very bad when the dust settles, yet again, but this time fewer skeptics would bet that’s Stollznow.

  234. says

    New statement on the Stollznow fund.

    My harasser continues to try to spread false information about me while demonstrating his harassment. He has recruited the help of a hate group to help spread his word. “A Voice For Men”. They claim now that this campaign is a violation of Indiegogo’s terms. It is not. They claim that I am planning to just pocket this money. I am not. They claim that my insurance is covering my costs so this money is fraudulently requested. Not true. My harasser was clever in his lawsuit and included things that my insurance could not cover, like claims of fraud.

    These are the same techniques of silencing the victim that many of us have encountered and suffered through. I will no longer be silent. My day in court is coming…

    It being on AVfM might be considered harassment, a consequence of his ” dossier” of cherry picked “evidence” being promoted by MRAs. They are monitored by the SPLC after all. Radford has not said a word against a hate group supporting him, one that is notorious in harassing their targets.

  235. says

    Mattke updated Radford’s fund, too:

    04/11/14: What started as a private disagreement between two prominent skeptics involved in a relationship is tearing the skeptical community apart. There are growing pains in any sustained movement and friendships are forged and broken. Many of us know the people involved personally and find it difficult to support one because that would be at the expense of the other. Many people took sides before any evidence became available, and are fighting the all-too-human tendency to dig heels deeper because they have already taken a stance.

    There’s another paragraph that ironically appeals to skeptics’ desire to eliminate bias.

  236. Hj Hornbeck says

    That other paragraph has some interesting details. With emphasis from me:

    Ben tried repeatedly to resolve this issue privately, but was ultimately forced to file a lawsuit to clear his name. After reading http://www.benrlegal.info and considering the evidence, I hope you will return here and donate to his legal fund. Having truth and evidence on your side is not enough; legal representation is enormously expensive, and Ben and his family have spent almost $30,000 (as of this writing) in an effort to clear a name and reputation that he has spent 20 years building, and that cost increases by the week. Skeptics pride themselves on being able to consider evidence, and being aware of (and trying to eliminate) bias as much as possible. Whatever our personal agenda, one of our members has convincing evidence that allegations against him are false, and he has endured ruinous legal and professional costs in an effort to clear his name. Please help Ben fight for justice and fight these false accusations. Please give generously!

    I think this establishes a strong personal connection between Mattke and Radford, and that Radford would have financial difficulty bringing this lawsuit to trial. He may be forced to drop the complaint, which I bet he’ll excuse as Stollznow being able to outspend him in legal fees. His main lifeline at the moment is his legal offence fund.

    And with the average donation amount dropping, and the donation frequency decreasing, it’s clear that fund is approaching saturation…

  237. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ugh. My time looking over Radford’s complaint has been quite frustrating. Every time I spot something that looks odd, I go looking through other defamation complaints and at best find it’s rare but with precedence. Take this paragraph:

    52. Because of the intentional and malicious nature of Stollznow’s defamatory statements and publications regarding Radford, Radford is entitled to recover punitive damages from her in an amount reasonably calculated to deter her from ever engaging in such conduct again, whether in relation to Radford or anyone else. Radford reasonably estimates the amount of punitive damages necessary to accomplish this at ten fold the amount of actual damages allowable under New Mexico law.

    Punitive damages are controversial. One of the key differences between civil and criminal proceedings is that criminal verdicts have punishment by society as a core goal, while civil verdicts do not. This is one reason why the burden of proof is much lower in civil cases, as the restriction of rights is confined to monetary compensation and nothing more. Nonetheless, assigning extra financial penalties as a deterrent is well-established in common law, and while it isn’t a normal thing to ask for in a civil defamation case, it isn’t rare either.

    Earning punitive damages is another matter, though. According to the ‘pedia:

    Punitive damages are a focal point of the tort reform debate in the United States, where numerous highly publicized multi-million dollar verdicts have led to a fairly common perception that punitive damage awards tend to be excessive. However, statistical studies by law professors and the Department of Justice have found that punitive damages are only awarded in two percent of civil cases which go to trial, and that the median punitive damage award is between $38,000 and $50,000.

    What sort of cases earn a ten-fold award of punitive damage? Here are two examples, the first being one that most of you have heard of:

    Stella Liebeck […] placed the cup between her knees and attempted to remove the plastic lid from the cup. As she removed the lid, the entire contents of the cup spilled into her lap. […]
    A vascular surgeon determined that Liebeck suffered full thickness burns (or third-degree burns) over 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas. […]
    During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims involved third-degree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This history documented McDonalds’ knowledge about the extent and nature of this hazard.
    McDonalds also said during discovery that, based on a consultants advice, it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to maintain optimum taste. He admitted that he had not evaluated the safety ramifications at this temperature. Other establishments sell coffee at substantially lower temperatures, and coffee served at home is generally 135 to 140 degrees.
    Further, McDonalds’ quality assurance manager testified that the company actively enforces a requirement that coffee be held in the pot at 185 degrees, plus or minus five degrees. He also testified that a burn hazard exists with any food substance served at 140 degrees or above, and that McDonalds coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured into styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn the mouth and throat. The quality assurance manager admitted that burns would occur, but testified that McDonalds had no intention of reducing the “holding temperature” of its coffee.

    The second is the one that established the ten-fold “limit:”

    Although investigators and witnesses concluded that Curtis Campbell caused an accident in which one person was killed and another permanently disabled, his insurer, petitioner State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm), contested liability, declined to settle the ensuing claims for the $50,000 policy limit, ignored its own investigators’ advice, and took the case to trial, assuring Campbell and his wife that they had no liability for the accident, that State Farm would represent their interests, and that they did not need separate counsel. In fact, a Utah jury returned a judgment for over three times the policy limit, and State Farm refused to appeal. The Utah Supreme Court denied Campbell’s own appeal, and State Farm paid the entire judgment. The Campbells then sued State Farm for bad faith, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. […] The jury awarded the Campbells $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $145 million in punitive damages, which the trial court reduced to $1 million and $25 million respectively. Applying Gore, the Utah Supreme Court reinstated the $145 million punitive damages award.

    The ten-to-one ratio comes from the statement that, “in practice, few awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages will satisfy due process.” So is Radford within his rights to ask for such high punitive damages? Sure. Will asking for them hurt his case, even if he has absolutely no evidence to back up the request? Probably not.

    But here’s the thing: you don’t have to reveal all your evidence in the initial complaint. The complaint’s primary audience is the defendant, not the courts, so all you need is just enough to indicate you’ve got a non-trivial chance in court. It’s perfectly acceptable to dribble out the evidence you have during the complaint, negotiation and pre-trial phases, withholding until you absolutely need to. So while Radford is very, very unlikely to earn that scale of punitive damages, he may be hiding a smoking gun that could change everything. That would make him disingenuous:

    I am making this information public in order to set the record straight and correct misperceptions about this matter. There’s a lot of material here because it’s important to be as open as possible and rebut her claims, while not complicating the legal situation (a defamation and fraud lawsuit against Karen has been filed), nor violating our privacy. […]

    Where Karen provided a few hundred words of rumor, innuendo, and vague claims with no supporting evidence, I have supplied thousands of words of detailed rebuttals, supported by extensive references; original, authenticated documentation; and independent analysis.

    But is it illegal to be disingenuous? Radford’s lawyer doesn’t specialize in defamation, but they do have forty years of experience. They know how exactly far they can push things, legally, without shooting themselves in the foot. Quite a few times, we’ve seen Radford appear to take advantage of that.

    If those appearances are true, that’s not the action of an innocent man.

  238. TurtleGoodyLo says

    Hj @276,

    If those appearances are true, that’s not the action of an innocent man.

    Hj, surely you are not suggesting that a person defending themselves as vigorously as possible against public accusation is a sign that they are guilty. That’s not what you meant, right? Could you clarify specifically what Radford did that you find to be a sign of guilt and why?

    Also, if you want to discuss what makes someone appear guilty, what about Stollznow allegedly falsifying email dates? If those appearances are true, does that make her look innocent or guilty? Just curious to see if you are willing to apply your reasoning consistently to both parties, or not.

  239. Flip the second says

    I’m an idiot. I just now realised I’ve been referring to Radford as Bradford. I don’t know how I managed to mix it up. Anyway my apologies…

  240. Flip the second says

    @276

    Radford’s lawyer doesn’t specialize in defamation, but they do have forty years of experience.

    The page says he has experience in free speech cases. Pretty sure that would include defamation issues.

    (Your links are borked by the way)

  241. Hj Hornbeck says

    TurtleGoodyLo @277:

    Could you clarify specifically what Radford did that you find to be a sign of guilt and why?

    I sort of allude to it in my last comment, where I say Radford has repeatedly pushed the line. But if you’d like something more explicit:

    1. That “retraction.” They’re usually written in the first person, and shared by the person doing the retracting. Neither was true for that one.

    2. No clarification. Many people thought Radford had that retraction “signed and notarized,” yet even when explicitly asked about it his wording never clarified that he didn’t. Rather than clarify Amy Stoker’s comment that reinforced their beliefs, he had it removed instead.

    3. Stoker’s comments. Why was Radford talking on behalf of Stoker? Why did her other two comments, which had nothing to do with the case, suddenly disappear?

    4. Removing the retraction thread. He could have edited the main text to say the retraction hadn’t been agreed to, and added a comment saying as such. Instead, Radford deleted it, conveniently removing the evidence that Stoker’s comments had disappeared.

    5. That screenshot of his email. It was missing critical context, and taken two days before it was needed. He had plenty of time to stitch together multiple screenshots, and in retrospect we know he had the screen real estate to show off sufficient context. But Radford never included said context, even after he took flack for it.

    6. The fundraiser. Who sets up a fund, then doesn’t publicize it? I haven’t seen anything from Angie Mattke or Barbara Drescher about it, yet the former set it up and the latter was an early funder. In hindsight, Radford probably ordered Mattke to keep quiet until his website was ready, but that’s still strange given how badly Radford says he needs the cash.

    7. That website. “benrlegal.info” was set up before his legal case was filed, and probably had been primed and ready to go within a few days of the official filing. So why did he stay silent about it for a month and a half, even though he says it contains the same information as in his public case, and even as speculation continued to swirl? Why would he open himself up to the charge of blackmail?

    8. Not shutting up. How many times did he say “this is my final word,” only to speak up again? On his clarification, he stated “I’ll have no further comment on this matter, as anything I say will only further complicate matters for all of us.” That was less than a week before he shared his website with the world.

    9. The revenge porn. That photo was uploaded to his website the day his case was filed. He thought it was critical to his case, as it demonstrated he and Stollznow had a sexual liaison after she claimed things things had broken off, and he added several supplementary shots that went to great length to demonstrate Stollznow was the woman in the shot. Yet the timestamps were explicitly wiped from the key shot, and an independent report could only say it was taken before a certain date, so all that evidence amounted to “trust me.” And then he deleted this “critical” bit of evidence a day after the site was shared, with no notification.

    10. Misrepresenting his case. See my comment at #244. Some of what’s on his website is above and beyond what’s in his defamation filing, yet from the context it’s easy to think it’s included.

    Now, it’s easy to brush off several of these as no big deal. Radford made some mistakes, it’s easy to read too much into things, and so on. But when Radford consistently and repeatedly pushes the line, over and over again, at some point these stop being coincidences, and start becoming evidence pointing to deliberate action.

    Speaking of which:

    Also, if you want to discuss what makes someone appear guilty, what about Stollznow allegedly falsifying email dates?

    11. Falsified emails. Radford has no problems taking screenshots of his email inbox, and he has the resources to have his emails verified by a forensics team or dig up sealed and anonymized police cases. But when it comes to those falsified emails, all he can present is a Xerox of someone’s hand-typed notes, with parts manually blacked out by a marker?

    But let’s forgive that, because there’s a simple explanation: the emails were on Stollznow’s side, and all Radford had access to was that CFI investigation report, which presumably contained copies of emails taken from Stollznow’s inbox. Fair enough. But think about this from Stollznow’s point of view: do you think she would try falsifying the dates on emails she received from Radford, when she knew the investigator probably had easy access to Radford’s email account as well? Do you honestly think she’s that stupid?

    There are better theories out there. Radford is not very computer-savvy, and as Thibeault points out in the OP, CFI switched their email systems around 2012. It’s possible the dates got screwed up in the process, or Stollznow transferred her old emails by forwarding them, or the investigator put the wrong year down when manually typing them in, or some combination.

    Radford’s claims are quite far-fetched in comparison. The more I dig into his website, the less impressed I am with the evidence presented.

  242. Clydey15 says

    @HJ Hornbeck

    If the roles were reversed and Radford was being accused of falsifying e-mails, would you be giving him the same benefit of the doubt? Please, answer honestly.

  243. carlie says

    Ben and his family have spent almost $30,000 (as of this writing) in an effort to clear a name and reputation that he has spent 20 years building, and that cost increases by the week.

    HE IS THE ONE WHO FILED THE LAWSUIT. The fact that he has spent that much is solely on him. What harm had come to him by being named? Not a lot. I have no sympathy for the amount he spent on a suit against someone else who had done nothing more than write a single article that even left him anonymous until she was pushed on it.

  244. Another Person says

    @282: That’s actually something I really don’t understand about this lawsuit in general. Karen didn’t name anyone. Other people did and then PZ Meyers was the one who publicly named him. Then others did. Karen was even incredibly vague in her SciAm article about what job this had been at. So, could someone please explain (I don’t care which “side” you’re on) to me why Karen was the one sued, and how Ben can get over that issue that Karen didn’t name him or provide identifiable details until well after other people had named him?

  245. doubtthat says

    @Clydey15

    At first I found the falsified emails to be a major issue, and if true, they would still more or less sink Stollznow’s case, but after looking at Radford’s “evidence” and comparing it with what we know, by far the most plausible explanation is that the CFI investigators screwed up the dates. Stollznow explained that she gave CFI access to her email account and had no further involvement long before accusations of falsifying emails came out.

    Radford links the exhibits used by CFI but doesn’t bother to link the entire report, so we have no context for the document. Interestingly, another explanation for the date discrepancies is that Radford forged the email dates on the “originals” he gave.

    Holding to the position that it was a screw up somewhere along the line is giving both parties the benefit of the doubt.

  246. Ann says

    It looks to me as if some of the words in the redacted part of the hand-typed email doc read “these were sent to my,” followed by a word that’s underscored like an email address.

    It also looks to me as if it’s signed “Karen.”

    However, even if so, that raises the question: Why the f’ing f is it redacted?

    (Possibly what’s written there is an explanation.)

    @284 —

    I don’t think it would sink her case, even if she was in error. There’s only Radford’s word for it that those emails were key to the investigation. And that’s not very persuasive, given that (a) there were more than two years of further communications prior to the CFI investigation, about which he’s mostly silent; and (b) the Monster Talk spat he mentions just isn’t plausibly the kind of thing anyone is crazy enough to go for someone’s throat over.

    (Even if she’s exactly the person he describes, it wouldn’t be. He doesn’t mention any other instances of her indulging in emotional drama about work.)

  247. Hj Hornbeck says

    Flip the second @279:

    (Your links are borked by the way)

    Dammit, that’s what I get for blindly copy-pasting. The fix is easy enough, just delete the last character off the URL.

  248. Hj Hornbeck says

    Oh shoot, I missed the more important part:

    Flip the second @279:

    The page says he has experience in free speech cases. Pretty sure that would include defamation issues.

    I’ve heard the contrary, as free speech in the legal sphere typically refers to the First Amendment, which is dominated by concerns over government interference. I’ve also heard the same, however, as various parts of Wikipedia give me different opinions and I haven’t had the time to look at non-‘pedia sources.

  249. Hj Hornbeck says

    Clydey15 @281:

    If the roles were reversed and Radford was being accused of falsifying e-mails, would you be giving him the same benefit of the doubt?

    If I was being honest in my weighing of the evidence, I’d tell the truth and say I would. If I was being dishonest, I’d lie and say I would.

    Please, answer honestly.

    What a strange request, as in either case I’d give the same answer. Why don’t you quit asking useless questions, and start paying more attention to the evidence? I know of something that gives mild support to Radford’s case, but I won’t have the chance to properly mention it for a few days.

    Think you can spot it, before I reveal it? To prevent the charge that I just went along with whatever you found, here’s an encrypted document:

    begin 644 pro_radford.gpg
    MC`T$"@,"A'`V$@10K[5@TL!C`?!5,E`)]K2)G+@-*=?^-4;!Y?FH:#M#H><5
    M&.J$(XPLMWR0`P$"'4_\"-`$F4.:)Z_8587Y4AP-0"E?=,">#,Y5B=*0BS;&
    MW.W%>`;+3:476#.RK!!-CE"]F,1'AOA2RQU6#9P8-1#&H.<C)6*?QC;3O]@,
    M4JNH$;$D3(HUD1P?J&^:--D)@C+39SQG1:QL0^<[J$.<1=\`55^D#2I=Y/<Y
    M*8$3ZSA<.'P%N.NBSA":(4\I;<F>5<BY\8,F-Z(Y"F?J;*SR+B.D+NX]5W#>
    M"6AU)N2\+.B[Q4JWS;L/ZG?+X+U&X_7X4(+,Q"8&>4?JHM!\B*HN9RTK/S;9
    G&]2/<D%\]K.Y^U3E)F6MA/)P9?.DF4-A3',T%<1XMZ?-`+[RR6BY
    `
    end

    Good luck. ;)

  250. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, before I run away, I need to make a mea culpa. My recent confidence that Radford had the screen real estate was based on the screenshots I spotted in the email validation report. I now realize that was his lawyer’s computer, logged into Radford’s account.

    Radford himself is running an Intel-CPU Mac with OS 10.6.8 loaded. I’m fairly sure the OS is an upgraded version, which would means his computer must have been manufactured between January 2006 and August 2009, and thus it’s entirely plausible his screen was too small to capture the entire email thread in one go.

    Copy-pasting multiple screenshots together, on the other hand…

  251. Flip the second says

    @286

    IANAL, but I spend a lot of time on Popehat.com. I assume from their pro-free-speech stance and their assistance in helping people fight defamation cases (where it’s about chilling free speech, which is what I think Radford is trying to do), and the tone/content with which they are discussed, that they are somewhat related issues. More than willing to be wrong on that, since as I said, IANAL. Either way it’s a minor point and not really worth siding with one party or the other over it.

    …. Actually thinking about it some more, you’re right: I’m conflating free speech as defined as restrictions on government actions, with free speech by citizens and private corporations. I still think they’re related, but yeah you have a point.

  252. doubtthat says

    @Ann

    I don’t think it would sink her case, even if she was in error…

    I’m in agreement with you on the substance of what you say, but you have to remember that this is going to be decided by a jury. Even if forged emails didn’t play a key role in the CFI investigation, it will be pretty hard to get a jury to believe her if there is compelling evidence that she forged email dates.

    It would show a pretty intense effort to trump up a case against Radford, and even if there was substance to her complaints, it would be really difficult to sequester the damage from a lie that significant: “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, sure the Defendant forged dates on emails and then submitted them to the Plaintiff’s employers, but she is being completely honest about everything else…”

    I just don’t think the damage could be controlled if that’s what happened. I, however, don’t really think that’s what happened as an error explains things much better than a concerted forgery plan and it requires less internet wizardry on the part of either Stollznow or Radford.

  253. Hj Hornbeck says

    doubtthat @284:

    Radford links the exhibits used by CFI but doesn’t bother to link the entire report, so we have no context for the document. Interestingly, another explanation for the date discrepancies is that Radford forged the email dates on the “originals” he gave.

    At this point, I wouldn’t put it past Radford. The email evidence amounts to a complicated shell game, and to prove that I need to juggle three citation sources.

    Let’s start with that email verification report that Radford loves. There are eight email threads in there, which I’ll label A through H. Now for the second citation source, via Radford:

    A list of a dozen or so e-mails provided by Karen as evidence of my harassment in 2012 can be seen here: KS DOCS 15.PDF AND KS DOCS 16.PDF

    Count the number of emails between those two documents, and you get… ten. Right off the top, we know Radford can’t have authenticated at least two of those emails (which I’ll label by their date). But it gets worse when you delve into the details, as only three of those ten show up in the authentication report! What’s with the other five, then? Hmm. Back to Radford:

    However a review of the original e-mails reveals that those e-mails were not sent by me in 2012 but instead in 2009 and 2010—two and three years earlier than Karen claims. Six of the original e-mails can be seen here:

    Whoa, six?! There were eight in that authentication report, eight which Radford had no qualms showing off to the world, eight which he had to have ready access to… and here he only shows off six? And that’s three more than are shared between the authentication report and the list of alleged forged emails! Time to dig into those six (which I’ll label by thread subject line):

    * Three of those are in the authentication report and the forged email list; I’ll call these [A | 7/26/2012 | “just wondering…], [B | 9/17/2012 | “a shame], and [D | 7/18/2012 | “You“]. Interesting side-note on that last one: Radford’s file naming scheme suggests it was written on October 7th, 2010 (“BR-KS-10.7.2010-copy1.pdf”). But anyway,

    * two are in the forged email list, but not the authentication report: [ 5/4/2012 | “please” ] and [ 2/3/2012 | “dream” ], and

    * one doesn’t show up anywhere else: [ “error” ]

    What. The. Hell. Radford had access to at least two of those allegedly forged emails, yet never bothered to send them in for authentication? And what’s up with that last one? Either there are more forged emails Radford isn’t showing us, at least one of which he could have got authenticated but didn’t, or he just lied right to our face. But back to Radford:

    The dates on the e-mails are clear and have been independently authenticated by a computer forensics firm. The authentication report can be seen here.

    Here’s what Radford’s lawyer requested of the email forensics team, taken straight from their report:

    1) Count e-mails sent [for specific email addresses] between 2009 and 2012.
    2) Please authenticate the following eight e-mails:

    And here’s what they delivered, which Radford himself quotes in the next paragraph:

    Regarding the authentication of the specific emails requested by Mr. Radford, those email chains were located by subject line and the entirety of the email was captured in a screenshot. The screenshot files were then authenticated via hash value to confirm they are the genuine captures.

    The account examined shows the emails with the subject lines “just wondering” and “a shame” were sent in 2010 and nothing examined indicated otherwise.

    Whoa whoa whoa, “authentication” just means “we took signed screenshots?!” The report itself only mentions TWO emails having their dates actually checked, [A | 7/26/2012 | “just wondering…”], and [B | 9/17/2012 | “a shame”]. And look at what they were requested to do: count emails and “authenticate” eight. They weren’t asked to verify the timestamps on any of them!

    So have those eight emails had their dates “authenticated,” as in “we took a signed screenshot of them?” Yeah, sure. But have those eight emails had their dates authenticated, as in “we verified the dates weren’t forged?” No, with two exceptions, and even those weren’t done at the request of Radford’s lawyer. Yet again, Radford is misleading us about his case, and he has the gall to quote the evidence straight to our face! But back to this paragraph:

    In seven out of the ten cases, the date that Karen attributed to those e-mails had been changed and was actually two years earlier (in one case three years earlier) than she claimed.

    Assuming that list of forged emails is legit, Radford has only demonstrated that for two of them. But look carefully at what he’s saying here: if seven of those ten emails had forged dates by Stollznow, then by elimination three of them did not. So even if we believe Radford 100%, here he admits he sent Stollznow three emails in 2012, which verifies what she was claiming!

    But earlier he implied all of those listed had their dates fudged. So which is correct? Note too that he explicitly mentions ten here, which implies those ten in the alleged forged list are all he has. So that email UFO we spotted earlier can’t be among them, which suggests he really did lie to our face.

    There is no innocent, plausible explanation for how these dates (tellingly, only the years and not the days or months) “mistakenly” came to be changed to falsely accuse me of sexual harassment.

    Several people in this thread, including myself, have suggested the dates were mistyped. Given those allegedly forged emails were typed in, that’s entirely plausible.

    This was not a series of seven typographical errors that just happened to make my e-mails appear sexually harassing.

    ….Waitaminute. Seven? There’s ten emails in the alleged forged list, eight in the authentication report, and six listed on his own website, of which only two can plausibly claim to be forged. I’m tempted to ask where he’s pulling his numbers from, but I fear it might involve a proctologist.

    Cripes, it’s no wonder the skeptic/atheist community has abandoned Radford. I’ve seen nothing but shady misrepresentation and innumeracy from him so far, and I’ve barely even started combing through his website.

  254. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @285:

    Aww, I was waiting for Clydey15 to guess that one. And no fair, you [accidentally] abused the mod queue to preempt my comment at 288! Ah well, the password is “5755 acab 21de a232 1330 2856 3b26 08d1″, and the encoded message is:

    In the blacked out portion of Doc-15, there appears to be “From” and “To” entries as if the entire thing was an email. The “From” portion might contain Stollznow’s GMail address, and a few lines down there’s a bit of text which appears to read “these were sent to my”. Maybe that’s where Radford is getting his charge of falsified emails from?

    I’ll have more to say about the blacked-out portion later. For now, though, I’ll mention I’ve got a big, link-filled comment sitting in the mod queue. It’ll be worth the wait…

  255. Ann says

    Aww, I was waiting for Clydey15 to guess that one. And no fair, you [accidentally] abused the mod queue to preempt my comment at 288!

    I’m so sorry. That was (accidentally) rude of me.

    But if that’s the case — ie, if that document shows the text of ten emails she sent to CFI’s investigators, which (for some reason, possibly where they were sent) she had to type up by hand rather than forward — then any fool you pulled in off the street to ask about why the dates were wrong would be able to tell you that it was because she inadvertently mistyped them.

    Or ninety-nine out of a hundred fools would, anyway. Because even the overwhelming majority of fools would be able effortlessly to conclude that nobody seriously attempts to cover up the fact that her allegations of sexual harassment are false and scurrilous by sending a bunch of blatant falsehoods that would be easily discoverable by twelve-year-olds to the professional investigators charged with looking into the matter.

    I mean, please. That just doesn’t happen. People watch too much television.

    Besides which, as a matter of common sense, there’s no way that those ten (or seven, or two, or however many) emails can have been all that key to the inquiry. By Radford’s own admission, there were hundreds and hundreds of exchanges. If all but ten (or seven, or two, or etc.) of them had been clean, it wouldn’t have merited suspension. Because if having a few off moments every several hundred days was grounds for sanction, nobody would have any employees left.

    No sale, in short.

  256. Ann says

    Assuming that list of forged emails is legit, Radford has only demonstrated that for two of them. But look carefully at what he’s saying here: if seven of those ten emails had forged dates by Stollznow, then by elimination three of them did not.

    Incidentally, you can add the one wishing her a nice Sunday to the misdated pile, if you haven’t done so already. The eighteenth of July wasn’t on a Sunday in 2012.

    I imagine that’s the kind of detail a conniving, deceitful forger who was bent on exacting revenge at all costs would probably think about. But I can’t say that I really know.

    So even if we believe Radford 100%, here he admits he sent Stollznow three emails in 2012, which verifies what she was claiming!

    In more ways than one, I’d say.

  257. says

    One thing I think is relevant, especially in light of some of the details HJ has uncovered, is Radford’s history of quote-mining, distorting, and misrepresenting evidence to make antifeminist points. It doesn’t mean that he’s quote-mining, distorting, and misrepresenting evidence now, but if he’s willing to resort to such tactics when the stakes are virtually nonexistent, it doesn’t give me much faith that he’d avoid them when the stakes are higher.

  258. Ann says

    @Tom Foss —

    By random chance, I know a little bit about his subject in those two pieces.

    And to be scrupulously fair, I’m not sure whether he’s quote-mining/distorting/misrepresenting evidence because he wants to make a point that’s not supported by it OR whether he just has an undiscerning mind. poor reading comprehension, and very little idea what he’s talking about.

    Either way, he has a history as an unreliable conduit for information, though.

  259. says

    Ann: I think there’s elements of both. His writing frequently shows him to be a sloppy thinker and extremely obtuse, willfully or not. But the degree to which he cherry-picked points from articles to support his position in that eating disorder piece, when the overall articles actually undermined the point he was trying to make, reeks of dishonesty, and assuming stupidity on his part gives him a benefit of the doubt that we would not offer to any creationist or paranormalist hack pulling the same tactic.

    At best, it shows that he does not understand the basics of building a valid argument, and that he does not grok relatively straightforward presentations by technical experts in a field. Even if we assume stupidity over dishonesty, we are led to the position of taking any of Radford’s statements about this case with a large grain of salt.

  260. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @295:

    Incidentally, you can add the one wishing her a nice Sunday to the misdated pile, if you haven’t done so already. The eighteenth of July wasn’t on a Sunday in 2012.

    It’s in the pile Radford claims is fudged. You’ve got an excellent eye for calendar dates, though, as had the year been 2010, that email would have been sent on a Sunday morning. In 2012, it would have fallen on a Wednesday, which is a wee bit early to be emailing about a Sunday. Good catch!

    Dagnabbit, and now that I return to my work I see [D | 7/18/2012 | “You”] should have been labeled [D | 10/7/2012 | “You”]. I was looking at the wrong date when I typed that in deliberately setting up a trail of misinformation to throw everyone off.

    More seriously, I double-checked and it doesn’t change much in my analysis. The date implied by the filename now agrees perfectly, so you can strike that aside off, but that’s all I can spot.

    Ann @294:

    But if that’s the case — ie, if that document shows the text of ten emails she sent to CFI’s investigators, which (for some reason, possibly where they were sent) she had to type up by hand rather than forward — then any fool you pulled in off the street to ask about why the dates were wrong would be able to tell you that it was because she inadvertently mistyped them.

    And that’s where things go sideways. In my analysis, I took Radford at his word. Stollznow, however, had this to say about the investigation:

    When I approached them with my accusations they appeared to be compassionate initially. I spent many hours explaining my story over the phone and days submitting evidence. Then they hired an attorney to collect the facts and I had to repeat the process. I provided access to my email account.

    If she provided them access to her email account (presumably by sharing the credentials), then why would she have to type out Radford’s emails herself? A more plausible scenario is that these emails came from the pre-investigation phase outlined above: Stollznow talked to a superior at CFI, who asked for evidence, and Stollznow typed out a bunch.

    Which this superior then turned over to Radford. Or someone close to the superior faxed a printout to Radford.

    It could explain why Radford would have blacked out the text (presuming he was the one to do that), as he was protecting his source. If Stollznow is to be believed, CFI wasn’t exactly friendly to her during the investigation, so the existence of a mole is plausible, and it could explain why they’ve been so resistant to sharing the full report with her.

  261. Hj Hornbeck says

    I’m betting five bucks Stollznow emailed those messages to someone with an “aol.com” address.

    Decoding more of what’s behind that black text would make things a lot clearer. Are there any programmers in the house, with some spare time to brute-force a muddy dataset?

  262. Ann says

    [A]ssuming stupidity on his part gives him a benefit of the doubt that we would not offer to any creationist or paranormalist hack pulling the same tactic.

    I might. Honestly, from a distance, it’s often very difficult to tell whether someone’s deliriously, dangerously wrong because he or she is crazy and/or vicious and/or stupid.

    (I’m not talking about Radford. I just mean generally.)

    Even if we assume stupidity over dishonesty, we are led to the position of taking any of Radford’s statements about this case with a large grain of salt.

    There we agree completely. Also…

    His writing frequently shows him to be a sloppy thinker

    He appears to be prone to category error, from what I’ve seen.

    Taking (for example) his column on false accusations:

    They do occur, though not that often. But the thing is that when they do, they virtually always conform to a pattern clearly on display in the examples he cites: They’re typically made by very young and/or very disturbed women who are trying to avoid being punished or penalized by someone to whom they’re subordinates or dependents. WRT workplace harassment, they’re also sometimes made for clear-cut professional or monetary gain.

    There’s almost no such thing as a false accusation made out of spite/vengeance, in itself, absent an ongoing central conflict over something of consequence — divorce, job status, flunking out of school, etc.

    Her situation doesn’t even remotely meet any of those criteria.

    The stuff he uses to ostensibly demonstrate she has a history of making false allegations is also rife with category confusion. Because — not to put too fine a point on it — none would be false allegations, even had they occurred exactly as he represents them. And they’re not circumstantially or factually parallel to her allegations against him, anyway.

    If she provided them access to her email account (presumably by sharing the credentials), then why would she have to type out Radford’s emails herself? A more plausible scenario is that these emails came from the pre-investigation phase outlined above: Stollznow talked to a superior at CFI, who asked for evidence, and Stollznow typed out a bunch.

    Yes, that’s very plausible. Or maybe she forwarded a gang of emails from one address, then cut-and-pasted those ten from another and wearily typed some dates on them before hitting send.

    It would necessarily have to be both extremely stressful and extremely tedious to prepare hundreds of upsetting communications that revealed all kinds of intimate, personal details about yourself for formal examination by people whom you’d like to have think of you in professional terms.

    I can see how a few typos might happen. I’d probably be drinking heavily, myself.

    The thing is: Falsifying documents is….I’m not sure how to characterize it. But it’s kind of an extraordinary act. An extreme act. It’s high-risk. Requires work and planning and amorality, etc. So if someone decides to go that route, it’s usually to produce something more like a smoking gun, in a more clearly goal-oriented situation.

    There’s nothing in those emails that would justify the effort, as far as I can see. A mistake just makes more sense.

    Which this superior then turned over to Radford. Or someone close to the superior faxed a printout to Radford.

    It could explain why Radford would have blacked out the text (presuming he was the one to do that), as he was protecting his source. If Stollznow is to be believed, CFI wasn’t exactly friendly to her during the investigation, so the existence of a mole is plausible, and it could explain why they’ve been so resistant to sharing the full report with her.

    CFI and/or their legal counsel might also have done the redacting before giving it to Radford, though. I mean, there was an investigation. He would have had a right to review the evidence against him, presumably.

  263. ludicfallacy says

    Hj Hornbeck: The cognitive bias you should in your “research” efforts reminds me of the methodology 9/11 truthers use in “researching” the 9/11 attacks.

  264. ludicfallacy says

    Hj Hornbeck: Have you ever heard of the “Women are Wonderful Effect”?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E2%80%9CWomen_are_wonderful%E2%80%9D
    Perhaps this phenomenon is linked to your obvious cognitive bias and rife confirmation bias as is evident in your prose here?

    This article is an interesting read in the Forensic Examiner.

    http://www.theforensicexaminer.com/archive/spring09/15/

    I honestly don’t know who to believe but my default position emotionally is to support/believe the women vs. some ugly bald dude.

    Perhaps this is the “Women are Wonderful Effect” in my psyche?

  265. Stacy says

    your obvious cognitive bias and rife confirmation bias as is evident in your prose here?

    Can you give some examples of “rife confirmation bias” on Hj Hornbeck’s part? He obviously has a bias–as do you, and me, and presumably everyone who’s interested enough in this case to have read this comment thread–but where has he overlooked or minimized good evidence that counters his bias? I’m interested to see where he’s done that, and I imagine he will be, too.

  266. Stacy says

    And just to be clear: I can only speak for myself, but my “default position emotionally” is not to disbelieve Radford because he’s an “ugly bald dude.”

    It’s because he’s a sloppy thinker and a sexist. I noticed those things long before I ever heard of these sexual harassment allegations.

    Still, I’m trying hard to be open to evidence that disconfirms my bias in this case.

  267. ann says

    Perhaps this phenomenon is linked to your obvious cognitive bias and rife confirmation bias as is evident in your prose here?

    I don’t think that social-roles-theory effect means what you think that social-roles-theory-effect means.

    (Hint: It doesn’t mean anyone and/or the world and/or the culture and/or life privileges women over men.)

    This article is an interesting read in the Forensic Examiner.

    http://www.theforensicexaminer.com/archive/spring09/15/

    It’s not exactly news.

    I honestly don’t know who to believe but my default position emotionally is to support/believe the women vs. some ugly bald dude.

    Perhaps this is the “Women are Wonderful Effect” in my psyche?

    No. That has nothing to do with either whom people believe or support, or with ugliness and baldness. It’s about how people perceive….Oh, forget it.

    Sure. Believe the women if you’re dead-set on charting your course based on stereotypes.

  268. Ann says

    Still, I’m trying hard to be open to evidence that disconfirms my bias in this case.

    I bear in mind that there’s plenty I don’t know, I’d like to add explicitly and emphatically; my opinion — and I can’t help having one — is purely provisional and based on the very limited documentary record presently available.

    That said, though:

    He’s rebutting what he claims are false allegations of sexual harassment by posting emails that show him deciding to complain strenuously about her contributions to a podcast they both did because she (a) de-friended him on Facebook; and (b) “made malicious threats, accusations, and in general acted unprofessionally,” even though neither of those things has squat to do with the podcast or any other professional concern.

    In fact, both appear to be exactly the kind of “Hey, cool it and back off” message that he maintains she never sent.

    And that’s typical of most of the material on that website, in one way or another.

    So my bias is in favor of the evidence presented so far.

  269. says

    I set this specific post up such that reasonable hypothesis and poring over the available evidence was acceptable, and I’ve expressly tried to set the example that none of the “bias” that I have toward one person or another impacts whether or not I decide, arbitrarily, to throw the “Villain Ball” to anyone in order to make any hypothesis fit. I am expressly attempting to include the least outright intentional falsehoods in my proposed narrative by anyone, and present the most likely, most plausible scenario that does not require one person or another to be acting deliberately maliciously.

    That some people are airdropping in and saying that us presuming Stollznow is NOT a malicious actor is somehow bias, is amusing to me. In an “I’m very sorry for this fractured community” sort of way. As though one needs to assume one or the other malicious in presenting their interpretation of the same series of events. As though any malice is necessary from either party to make this strange, torturous relationship fit both parties’ accounts simultaneously.

  270. Hj Hornbeck says

    Hmmm, I see I’m slipping behind.

    doubtthat @291:

    I, however, don’t really think that’s what happened as an error explains things much better than a concerted forgery plan and it requires less internet wizardry on the part of either Stollznow or Radford.

    Ann @294:

    . Because even the overwhelming majority of fools would be able effortlessly to conclude that nobody seriously attempts to cover up the fact that her allegations of sexual harassment are false and scurrilous by sending a bunch of blatant falsehoods that would be easily discoverable by twelve-year-olds to the professional investigators charged with looking into the matter.

    I completely agree. A mistype on Stollznow’s part should be favored over deliberate fraud by either Stollznow or Radford.

    Ann @301:

    CFI and/or their legal counsel might also have done the redacting before giving it to Radford, though. I mean, there was an investigation. He would have had a right to review the evidence against him, presumably.

    Presumably. According to Stollznow, though, she was denied a copy. So why would they hand Radford a copy, and not Stollznow? Maybe Radford sent his lawyer after CFI, but even then they’d still be able to win the money war, and if word got out they’d handed a copy over they’d face even more backlash from the community. Alternatively, CFI caved in but handed over a copy of the report to Stollznow too, months after that blog post, on the condition she’d keep quiet unless legally necessary. I’ll admit that’s a tempting hypothesis.

    And on the surface, it has some evidential support. Radford claims this on his site:

    When these accusations were first made public, and for many months afterward, I was prohibited from responding to her claims. I am now able to do so, and can finally present my side.

    Having CFI drag their heels in handing over the report would be an easy explanation for the delay. A quick glance at the corner of some of the printed emails Radford shares demonstrates they were printed off on September 11th and 12th, 2013. In contrast, my earlier research on file upload and editing dates, combined with Thibeault’s observation of the domain name registration (see upthread), show a flurry of activity just before and a few days after the case was filed. That’s a four month gap of inaction that needs explaining, and sluggishness from CFI would do the job nicely.

    But it has a bit of a problem. That email from Stollznow which contains the “forged” dates was scanned on Wednesday, September 12th, 2013, from Radford’s computer, which was physically or virtually attached to one of these suckers, and it was done less than 15 minutes before printing off another email.

    I seriously doubt that was done at CFI’s office (Radford is rarely there, I recall hearing, and anyway lives half a country away), and the DPI is a bit too small for a faxed document. Radford very likely had a physical paper copy in hand as of September 12th, and printed it off from his day-job. The PDFs from those first two volleys were between 9:30PM and 11PM, then 11AM and noon, and later prints clustered around mid-to-late afternoon, which is consistent with the day-job hypothesis.

    So either the delay wasn’t due to CFI being slow with the report, or that isn’t from the report and Radford was delayed by CFI, or Radford flexed his PI or CFI contacts to prematurely grab a copy then pretended to wait until his lawyer had extracted a legit one. That first hypothesis is the most charitable, but it leaves us without an explanation for that four-month gap.

    Which gets us back to the original problem: if that’s CFI’s report, who redacted it? Would they really leave someone’s email address and some identifying words in the report, requiring manual blacking out, if they thought there was a chance it would be handed to either party? It makes more sense for the independent investigator to leave out that data in the first place, or for someone at CFI to edit a copy of the original. Even if Radford’s lawyer twisted their arm, they have quite a few lawyers of their own and could have easily delayed or brainstormed to properly redact the report.

    Maybe. I can come up with quite a few hypothesis that fit the given data, and none really stands out. [*sigh*]

    Stacy @304:

    I’m interested to see where [Hornbeck]’s done that, and I imagine he will be, too.

    You bet I am! What does everyone else think of the above evidence? What hypothesis do you think is the best fit, be they mine or yours?

  271. Hj Hornbeck says

    Oh, and I should mention: it’s also possible Radford would nip out to a 24 hour self-serve copy place, instead of “printing” those PDFs from work. I don’t think that’s likely, as Radford’s name is stamped over all the documents, except those clearly from his lawyer or Flashback, and I doubt such a place would hand out personal accounts on their computers.

    In addition, one of Radford’s documents was scanned on a piddly Brother scanner or multi-function, also “attached” to the same computer. I can’t see a copy shop having one of those around for customer use, but a company could easily have a clashing hodge-podge of scanning and printing hardware.

  272. Ann says

    So why would they hand Radford a copy, and not Stollznow?

    (Disclaimer: IANAL)

    I assume that CFI’s conduct throughout was/is dictated primarily by the wish to avoid potential liability issues with both parties — ie, to thoroughly investigate the charges and take appropriate remedial action regarding any problems found (in her case); to avoid incurring a whole new passel of retaliation/discrimination liability (in his case and hers).

    Not only the second but also the first part of that almost certainly means that Radford would have had the chance to see and respond to those emails. Because you can’t really thoroughly investigate something without getting both sides of the story. And because he’s obviously entitled to know what’s in his personnel file and why. In fact, I imagine he probably had representation of some kind — a designated person from HR, or whatever.

    Showing Stollznow the report, on the other hand, would just be inviting trouble in the form of a challenge to whether this or that part of the outcome was really appropriate, relative to other such cases, etc. So they’d be much better off simply saying: We investigated and took remedial action, end of story. And that’s evidently what they did.

    Incidentally, in the event that it needs saying, the one single great big huge indicator that there’s more to the story than Radford’s response suggests is that CFI suspended him. There’s no organization on earth — including organizations specifically dedicated to protecting workers from sexual harassment — that has a single, blessed reason to take more action than legally necessary, under such circumstances. It’s just asking for trouble. You might as well shout “To hell with good stewardship,” and set yourself on fire in front of the board of directors.

    And on the surface, it has some evidential support. Radford claims this on his site:

    When these accusations were first made public, and for many months afterward, I was prohibited from responding to her claims. I am now able to do so, and can finally present my side.

    Having CFI drag their heels in handing over the report would be an easy explanation for the delay.

    The word “prohibited” connotes something more formal than that to me.

    My guess is that CFI’s remedial-action terms included a prohibition on further acts and communications by Radford that could be construed as continued harassment, which they lifted in exchange for indemnification, either as part of a contract renegotiation or after he decided to sue. Probably the latter.

    Ron Lindsay’s public, showy disowning of the unfortunate implications of that false-accusations column could be read as a reflection of concerns of that kind, in fact. (Abundance of caution; he might have other complainants, known and/or unknown, to consider.)

  273. Ann says

    Would they really leave someone’s email address and some identifying words in the report, requiring manual blacking out, if they thought there was a chance it would be handed to either party?

    That doesn’t surprise me at all. Redaction is kind of scut-work, in its nature. It’s frequently a little sloppy, and sometimes more than a little, even when the federal government does it.

    Like xeroxing, more or less. It always looks like there’s all kinds of secret, forbidden, juicy stuff in there. Because that’s just how the imagination responds to the hidden. But again, it’s an abundance-of-caution type thing, usually. Most of the time there’s not really that much at stake or of interest.

  274. Hj Hornbeck says

    No time for a long message (short version: Ann’s pretty spot on), but I did notice something worth commenting on.

    Further evidence of Karen’s history of false accusations appears in statements made by several other sources, most prominently her current husband, Matthew Baxter. In a July 28, 2010 Facebook e-mail Baxter sought relationship advice from me and explicitly expressed his concerns that Karen “is either a huge liar or delusional” and that “She and I don’t seem to live in the same reality.” The e-mail, in its entirety, can be viewed here.

    Note Radford repeatedly states it’s a Facebook email, not a private message, both on his website and in the linked PDF. That’s a bit of a problem, as Facebook’s email service didn’t start until November 15th, 2010.

  275. ludicfallacy says

    I don’t think that social-roles-theory effect means what you think that social-roles-theory-effect means.

    (Hint: It doesn’t mean anyone and/or the world and/or the culture and/or life privileges women over men.)

    Social roles theory? I was talking about the “women are wonderful” effect though I guess it’s encompassed by “social roles theory” to the greater extent.

    OK so you are claiming I do not understand this effect? How did you come to that conclusion as I used the terms in a correct context.

    <blockquote. It doesn’t mean anyone and/or the world and/or the culture and/or life privileges women over men.

    Taken from Wikipedia.

    The “women are wonderful” effect is the phenomenon found in psychological research which suggests that people associate more positive attributes with the general social category of women compared to men. This effect reflects an emotional bias toward the female gender as a general case. The phrase was coined by Eagly & Mladinic (1994) after finding that both male and female participants tend to assign exceptionally positive traits to the female gender (males are also viewed positively, though not quite as positively), with female participants showing a far more pronounced bias. The authors supposed that the positive general evaluation of women might derive from the association between women and nurturing characteristics.

    Ann you are attempting to substitute the words I used for others and also to change the meaning of said words.

    WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

  276. ludicfallacy says

    Hj Hornbeck,

    Note Radford repeatedly states it’s a Facebook email, not a private message, both on his website and in the linked PDF. That’s a bit of a problem, as Facebook’s email service didn’t start until November 15th, 2010.

    Perhaps he means a Facebook personal message and not an actual email? It seems me if Baxter was to compose such prose he would have done so via PM and not email as most Luddites are aware email leaves a record where as they think PMs don’t “as much”. This is the Luddite perception no? I would be surprised if he would send such a message via email as he would be aware his future wife would be upset with such comments about her.

    Do we know who the wrong party is here?

    NO

    And any decent skeptic would reserve judgement until they have more information and a better picture of the events in question.

    When I was making reference to my emotional opinion I was not saying that’s the actual opinion I hold because I try to be a rational person who is not guided by emotion. I was trying to demonstrate the obvious bias towards women shown in these social circumstances and also that I’m guilty of such bias as is most people.

  277. says

    Ludic: exactly how much evidence must we have before we’re allowed to start examining it and interpreting it? Because there’s a shit-ton here. It’s not iron-clad evidence, but it’s certainly not so insufficient as to treat it like one of those “either God exists or he doesn’t so it’s all 50/50″ arguments you get from creationists.

    And really, you’re just upset that we’re not assuming villainy on Stollznow’s part when technological ignorance on a number of parties’ parts is more plausible. Considering that, pointing out Radford’s technological ignorance certainly isn’t out of bounds.

  278. Ann says

    OK so you are claiming I do not understand this effect? How did you come to that conclusion as I used the terms in a correct context.

    Not really. But my apologies. This…

    It doesn’t mean anyone and/or the world and/or the culture and/or life privileges women over men.

    …was not a clear (or even comprehensible) way of making the distinction between what it is and how you used it.

    Let’s go to wiki, with a little help from bolding:

    Taken from Wikipedia.

    The “women are wonderful” effect is the phenomenon found in psychological research which suggests that people associate more positive attributes with the general social category of women compared to men. This effect reflects an emotional bias toward the female gender as a general case. The phrase was coined by Eagly & Mladinic (1994) after finding that both male and female participants tend to assign exceptionally positive traits to the female gender (males are also viewed positively, though not quite as positively), with female participants showing a far more pronounced bias. The authors supposed that the positive general evaluation of women might derive from the association between women and nurturing characteristics.

    In other words: It doesn’t mean that opinions favor a real woman over a real man in real circumstances, or that as a baseline cultural condition, women are presumed to be good and men bad in advance of interaction with either, or anything of the kind.

    It has no particular specific implications, in fact. There’s a ton of social psychology research on gender bias that does. But the Women Are Wonderful Effect isn’t it. Because it’s not really a statement about how people view some, any or all women. It’s a statement about how they view the female gender.

    Ann you are attempting to substitute the words I used for others and also to change the meaning of said words.

    WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

    I’m not. There’s no need for hysteria. Please calm down.

  279. Ann says

    It has no particular specific implications, in fact.

    That’s not to say it doesn’t have any, though. It does. But they’re not applicable to sexual harassment cases. They’re more for questions like: In the abstract, whom would you rather have teaching your kid’s kindergarten class, a man or a woman? Whom would you rather have tending to you when you were sick, a man or a woman? Whom would you rather trust with a secret that requires sympathetic tact, a man or a woman?

  280. Ann says

    On consideration:

    The more I think about it, the clearer it gets that Ron Lindsay’s little homily in response to that false-accusations post is not a good sign for Radford.

    Especially this part of it:

    First, before going any further, I hope readers of our blog are aware of what we state in the About section of our blog, namely that viewpoints expressed on the Free Thinking blog represent the viewpoints of the individual blogger and not CFI. Ben Radford has offered his opinion; that opinion is not CFI’s position.

    ^^That’s just not a vote of confidence on Radford’s chances of prevailing in court.

    Here’s a question for everybody. If Radford regards it as false and defamatory for Karen Stollznow to say he sexually harassed her without naming him in a blog post on August 8, why isn’t he suing Ron Lindsay for doing the same thing in a blog post on August 12?

    Because that happened:

    I have been president & CEO from July 2008 forward. During that time, there have been only three complaints involving employees that could be described as involving sexual harassment claims, even under the broadest understanding of sexual harassment. This includes Ms. Stollznow’s claim. Ms. Stollznow’s claim is also the only one in which there was a specific finding of any sexual harassment, so the allegation that CFI has a “track record” of disciplining harassers lightly is false.

    What a sad mess

  281. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @311:

    that almost certainly means that Radford would have had the chance to see and respond to those emails. Because you can’t really thoroughly investigate something without getting both sides of the story. And because he’s obviously entitled to know what’s in his personnel file and why. In fact, I imagine he probably had representation of some kind — a designated person from HR, or whatever.

    Showing Stollznow the report, on the other hand, would just be inviting trouble in the form of a challenge to whether this or that part of the outcome was really appropriate, relative to other such cases, etc. So they’d be much better off simply saying: We investigated and took remedial action, end of story. And that’s evidently what they did.

    I understand how CFI’s HR department would think that, and it nicely explains why Stollznow viewed the proceedings as there to protect CFI, instead of resolve the situation, but under the surface is a bit of victim-blaming. If Stollznow truly was a victim, wouldn’t she be far more inclined to find some resolution to the incident, instead of look for vengeance? Protecting Radford is important, but so is protecting Stollznow and CFI; withholding information from Stollznow doesn’t help her feel like justice was done, and it raises the chance of litigation from her side. By assuming she was going to cause trouble, in this scenario, they gave her reason to cause trouble and the impression that they were more out to cover themselves than actually resolve the issue.

    It’s a poor way to resolve a case. But it’s not an uncommon line of thinking, sadly.

    My guess is that CFI’s remedial-action terms included a prohibition on further acts and communications by Radford that could be construed as continued harassment, which they lifted in exchange for indemnification, either as part of a contract renegotiation or after he decided to sue. Probably the latter.

    That still assumes some incompetence on CFI’s part, as a competent investigation wouldn’t have required any indemnification. CFI have little reason to be scared of Radford in the legal arena, they have deeper pockets and a number of lawyers on staff. His greatest threat to them is via PR disaster, which unfortunately seems to be something Radford is skilled at.

  282. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @312:

    That doesn’t surprise me at all. Redaction is kind of scut-work, in its nature. It’s frequently a little sloppy, and sometimes more than a little, even when the federal government does it.

    I’ll concede that someone at CFI doing a hand redaction of the report is plausible. The alternative hypotheses tend to stuff too many idiot balls in CFI’s hands. :P

  283. Ann says

    My guess is that CFI’s remedial-action terms included a prohibition on further acts and communications by Radford that could be construed as continued harassment, which they lifted in exchange for indemnification, either as part of a contract renegotiation or after he decided to sue. Probably the latter.

    That still assumes some incompetence on CFI’s part, as a competent investigation wouldn’t have required any indemnification. CFI have little reason to be scared of Radford in the legal arena, they have deeper pockets and a number of lawyers on staff. His greatest threat to them is via PR disaster, which unfortunately seems to be something Radford is skilled at.

    Either I don’t understand you, or I wasn’t understandable, because nothing I said assumes incompetence on CFI’s part. Or nothing I intended to say, anyway.

    I’ll try again.

    What I meant was that since both CFI and Radford would have been liable had Stollznow chosen to sue rather than to report the harassment, so would they be still, lo unto this very day, in the ordinary course of events.

    So what I’m suggesting is that CFI prohibited Radford from speaking publicly about the whole enchilada, on the grounds that what he said could potentially be construed as continued harassment for which they as well as he would be liable. Unless he indemnified them, and agreed to do it off-site, etc.

    Possibly that’s not the case. But in view of what he did say and do once he started speaking publicly, I’d say that was very wise of CFI. if it is. As far as I can tell, unless he can stone-cold prove that:

    (a) Those emails were intentionally misdated; and
    (b) had they not been, CFI would have exonerated him

    then he’s got less than nothing, since the rest appears to be either him complaining that she told the investigators about events as she perceived them; him complaining that after he was found by CFI to have harassed her, she told conference organizers as much; or the kind of thing that is, by definition, a matter of subjective opinion (when they broke up; etc).

    And meanwhile, he’s done stuff like splash her sealed arrest record, which is wholly unrelated to his suit, all over the internet. Hence the “less than.”

  284. Flip the second says

    @313

    Note Radford repeatedly states it’s a Facebook email, not a private message, both on his website and in the linked PDF.

    If one takes Radford’s lack of computer savvy as true, then that’s easily explained: Radford doesn’t know the difference between a Facebook email and a Facebook private message, or conflates the terms as interchangeable. No malice required, just a lack of knowledge about terminology.

  285. Hj Hornbeck says

    ludicfallacy @315:

    Perhaps he means a Facebook personal message and not an actual email?

    Flip the second @323:

    If one takes Radford’s lack of computer savvy as true, then that’s easily explained: Radford doesn’t know the difference between a Facebook email and a Facebook private message, or conflates the terms as interchangeable. No malice required, just a lack of knowledge about terminology.

    Bingo! It’s plausible he conflated general messages and email after the latter was introduced. This doesn’t show malice, but it does show a blindness to small details. If he could misunderstand something like this, what else could he misunderstand?

    ludicfallacy @315:

    Do we know who the wrong party is here?

    NO

    Actually, yes: Radford claims Stollznow is the wrong party. Whether that claim matches reality is another matter, but so what?

    And any decent skeptic would reserve judgement until they have more information and a better picture of the events in question.

    And as Thibeault pointed out, we have plenty of information. It may not be enough to come to a firm conclusion, but we won’t discover that until we’ve examined it. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. Want to join in?

  286. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @319:

    Here’s a question for everybody. If Radford regards it as false and defamatory for Karen Stollznow to say he sexually harassed her without naming him in a blog post on August 8, why isn’t he suing Ron Lindsay for doing the same thing in a blog post on August 12?

    I had half an answer to that, but you may have provided a plausible counter-hypothesis in 322 with the “indemnification” thing. I think I understand you now, though I’ve never heard of that type of deal before and CFI have deep enough pockets that being sued by Stollznow would merely be a nuisance. Do you have any links or references where I can study up on agreements like that?

    Anyway, back to my half answer: Radford *did* try suing CFI.

    In that hypothesis, Radford’s first move was to go after CFI for that report, and his initial step was to print off both his old emails and the email related portion of that report on September 11th and 12th. Radford then went looking for a lawyer, and found one that specialized in “employment law and complex commercial litigation,” and continued building up his case.

    After a few months, though, he changed his mind. CFI has deep pockets, could really damage his standing in the skeptical movement, and his lawyer advised him they’d done a good job of heading off liability in the report. So it was time for Plan B: go after Stollznow instead, using a retraction by her as leverage against CFI’s report. He’d recycle his research into the new case, which explains the oddball print dates and why the report dominates his lawsuit, when it was presumably her blog post that triggered the case.

    I say it’s only half an explanation, because:

    1. I’ve checked in both New York and New Mexico, and I can’t find any complaint filed by Radford other than the one against Stollznow. That’s kinda the first step in a lawsuit. I could (and just did) explain that by arguing Radford stopped early on, but that makes it tougher to fill the gap.

    2. It requires Radford to seriously consider going after CFI. The biggest skeptic/atheist organization out there, and the one cutting him a cheque. That’s quite the idiot ball to thrust in his hands.

    3. In this hypothesis, the email authentication report should have been done early, and not nearly as late as it actually was.

    4. So far, we haven’t found anything else dating from that four-month gap. The odds of having only one item to recycle in are pretty small.

    While the CFI lawsuit hypothesis is tempting, I can’t take it that seriously.

  287. Hj Hornbeck says

    Oh, and I’ve got an addendum for my email analysis back at #292. There’s another citation source I never considered: Radford’s complaint. It claims “Stollznow falsified at least a half-dozen such messages to wrongly incriminate Radford” (19) and “Radford later learned that Stollznow altered at least six documents to support her fabricated allegations” (40). It’s a bit weird they don’t give an exact answer, but no matter: via his lawsuit, Radford claims to have six emails, and possibly more, that had fudged dates.

    Yet there’s only three emails shared between Radford’s list of ten alleged emails and the eight examined by Flashback. Even if we claim the remaining five in the report were allegedly falsified but not shown, Radford’s lawyer did not request that Flashback verify the email dates, they only wanted “authentication,” or proof via a trusted third party that the emails existed in Radford’s inbox at some point.

    Either Radford or his lawyer had another method to verify those emails had been falsified, which Radford never refers to and decided not to share for unknown reasons, or they have no evidence of falsification despite what the complaint says.

  288. says

    @326: I think that speaks again to Radford’s technological ignorance. That’s the problem Marcus Ranum and I both seem to have with the “authentication” reports — they don’t actually seem to say what Radford claims them to say (though we don’t have the whole reports). They also don’t speak to who said what, who made what claim that Radford is pinning on Stollznow — so it’s every bit as likely that there’s a lot of techie Dunning-Kruger going on here as that someone’s actually carrying the Villain Ball. The fact that we keep seeing technological ignorance surfacing sorta bolsters the argument that technological ignorance could be a confounding factor in every aspect of this case, from who did what, to who claimed what, to whether or not any of it can be proved.

  289. Ann says

    I’ve never heard of that type of deal before and CFI have deep enough pockets that being sued by Stollznow would merely be a nuisance.

    First of all, there are generally more things to fear about being sued than the expense it will put you to, no matter who you are or how deep your pockets.

    Second of all, same goes double for being sued for sexual harassment.

    And third:

    I just checked their 990s. And while they do okay, they’re hardly rolling in dough. They basically break even on a year-to-year basis. (Meaning revenues and expenses are approximately equal, although they report that the latter exceeded the former by about $500,000 in their most recent filing.)

    But besides that, they’re dependent on grants and contributions for about half their revenues. And donors don’t like non-profits that sexually harass.

    Come to think of it, they could (very potentially) lose their exempt status in the event of a loss, although it’s not very likely. It would probably just be an audit, if anything. Hmm. Well. Even still. Best not to attract the scrutiny of the IRS.

    Do you have any links or references where I can study up on agreements like that?

    I have not. But there’s usually an indemnity clause in just about every contract for services anyone signs with anyone else. If you pick a field rife with independent contractors and search for a sample contract, it’s bound to have language stating that one party warrants x, y and z, and holds the other harmless against claims and actions.

    Or words to that effect.

    Anyway, back to my half answer: Radford *did* try suing CFI.

    HJ Hornbeck. Come to your senses. People do not sue their employers, if they wish to remain employed. And employers do not withhold reports that have consequential implications for the conduct and standing of an employee from said employee. He would not have had to sue to get the report, IOW.

    And anyway, the question was why didn’t he sue Ron Lindsay for defamation?

    (“Someone else said it first” is not a defense against libel, in case anyone’s wondering. But it’s pretty much a rhetorical question. TBH.)

    It’s a bit weird they don’t give an exact answer

    Nah. That’s just legalese for “There are six, but we’d like to give the impression of endless mendacity and besides, who knows? Maybe there are some we haven’t found yet. So we’ll tack on an “at least,” just for good measure.”

  290. says

    My understanding of the finances of CFI are that one very, very large regular donor is no longer donating. (Rumor mill info only though. No confirmation.) This could very well mean that Radford, as employee of CFI, knew that a lawsuit could break them and decided he didn’t want to do that to CFI, even if he felt they were complicit. Or it could mean he’s loyal to them, them having been loyal to him in keeping him on through all his shittiest bits of “skepticism”.

  291. Ann says

    Or it could be that his reasons for suing Stollznow weren’t limited to his outrage over feeling he’d been defamed..

  292. Hj Hornbeck says

    Thibeault @327:

    I think that speaks again to Radford’s technological ignorance. That’s the problem Marcus Ranum and I both seem to have with the “authentication” reports — they don’t actually seem to say what Radford claims them to say (though we don’t have the whole reports).

    Here’s one area where you could argue for malice. Radford’s lawyer has been in the biz for 40 years. They should know what to ask for, able to spot when they don’t get it, and it’s in their best interest to explain what they have to their client. They had about two months to talk to Radford and say, hey, “authentication” doesn’t mean what you think it means in that report I ordered.

    Note too the date on that Flashback report: February 11th, just six days before the complaint was filed in New Mexico. If there is another report which verified those dates, it was almost certainly done before Flashback did theirs. But then Radford should have known of that report, known why it was being requested (as he was paying for it), and splashed that thing around instead. And if that report exists, why hire Flashback? A good computer forensics lab would also provide authentication, I reckon, based merely on how little work is involved.

    And there’s still a giant elephant in the room. To demonstrate an email has been forged by someone, you either have to a) demonstrate the forged email has been tampered with by examining the headers, or b) validate the original email’s date and show someone was passing around a forged copy. a) doesn’t seem to be an option, if the best original Radford can come up with is that scanned document, leaving b). As pointed out earlier, though, Radford’s lawyer never requested Flashback validate the email dates, Flashback spontaneously did two of them as a freebie.

    I also can’t find any evidence the Flashback report was edited or abridged. The creation and modification dates are from the same day it was finalized, and it doesn’t look like it was created on a computer owned by Radford or his lawyer. The content flows logically, too, with no omissions I can see. What we’re seeing is probably what was handed to Radford’s lawyer.

    We can either explain all this by stating Radford’s lawyer was incompetent, or they have better proof of forgery which for some reason didn’t provide authentication, or they knew they couldn’t prove what Radford wanted and instead helped him craft a hopeless lawsuit that could be used as leverage against Stollznow. I’m having difficulty finding other hypotheses that fit the data, and the first two of those three require a sizable number of idiot balls.

  293. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @328:

    And employers do not withhold reports that have consequential implications for the conduct and standing of an employee from said employee. He would not have had to sue to get the report, IOW.

    I wouldn’t be so sure of that, if Richard Carrier is to be believed. I’ve been frustrated by an inability to find details about this law or legal custom, with this comment coming closest to spelling it out.

    But you still have a good point: suing your current employer is a stupid move, and I may be overestimating CFI’s ability to resist a defamation lawsuit, especially over sexual harassment and assault. There’s even some evidence Radford is trying to protect CFI. Take this passage from his website about the emails:

    A list of a dozen or so e-mails provided by Karen as evidence of my harassment in 2012 can be seen here. […]

    In presenting her “evidence” for my sexual harassment continuing through 2012, Karen picked out a handful of “romantic” e-mails from 2009 and 2010, when we were in a sexual relationship, and intentionally altered the dates on them, presenting them as if they had been sent to her in 2012, the year after which our sexual relationship ended.

    Who did Stollznow provide or present those emails to? Radford never says. If you read his legal complaint, though, that’s easily made explicit:

    CFI’s determination that Radford had sent Stollznow “inappropriate” emails, however, only occurred because Stollznow provided CFI’s investigator with what she correctly identified as emails that Radford had sent to her, but she altered their dates to make it appear that Radford had sent them two years later than he had. Stollznow’s purpose was to persuade CFI’s investigator that Radford had been sexually harassing her “for years,” and she did so by falsifying the dates on the emails […]

    To the extent that CFI found that any of Stollznow’s allegations against Radford
    had any basis, CFI’s conclusions were based upon false, defamatory and malicious statements by Stollznow which she intended to mislead CFI and its investigator, and through which she did fraudulently mislead CFI and its investigator. (19-20)

    Radford’s fraud page would have been more convincing if he’d explained where those allegedly forged emails came from. But he didn’t, and the most plausible reason is that he wanted to protect CFI.

    Ann @328:

    HJ Hornbeck. Come to your senses.

    Aww, but I don’t wanna! [pout]

  294. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, I’ve got a long-overdue mea culpa. Back in comment 289, I fairly confidently asserted Radford was running an upgraded version of OS 10.6.8. I based that on the presence of XMP metadata embedded in some of the PDFs, which was created by an Adobe library dating from a year before 10.6 was released, and the fact that Apple created a new Print-to-PDF pipeline for 10.6 which removed the need for a fake printer driver. I thought the best explanation for all that was Radford accidentally printing off a few emails by invoking an old Print-to-PDF pseudo-printer, and the existence of that driver was best explained by an upgraded OS.

    But now that I’ve had a better look at it, those PDFs with XMP metadata correspond exactly with PDFs that Radford edited, no exceptions. It’s more plausible the metadata was added by the editor, which didn’t embed its name to the metadata but invoked an old library, rather than an old printer driver.

  295. Flip the second says

    @324

    Bingo! It’s plausible he conflated general messages and email after the latter was introduced. This doesn’t show malice, but it does show a blindness to small details. If he could misunderstand something like this, what else could he misunderstand?

    Actually you can get even less malice-required than that. Website admins or those who provide CMS for forums etc can use different terms to refer to the same thing. I can easily see someone who is not paying attention to the terminology used to be confused by it, use a term they’re more used to from another site, or simply not be aware of what it’s called. I am not a user of Facebook and it took me a second to realise that there is indeed a difference between what they’d refer to as PMs and what they refer to as emails. If I can manage to be confused – and I’m not lacking in computer savvy – then so can someone else.

    It’s not like Facebook terminology is especially important to know as compared to being able to use the website. Example: I don’t need to know what “href” means in order to type it to create a hyperlink. (I don’t actually know what it means…) I also don’t *need* to know it as most sites provide a WYSIWYG editor which has a hyperlink button. The comments here provide the code for me below, even if it doesn’t explain what they are or do. Heck, how many non-savvy people know the editor is often called WYSIWYG? So yeah I can easily see how this doesn’t reflect poor thinking on Radford’s part – just lack of knowledge about one website and its own terminology. I really don’t think mis-using or -understanding Facebook terminology calls into question Radford’s thinking abilities.

    I am however reading the Skepchick article referred to above, and Radford’s comments left on his Facebook post about it. He really does come across as obtuse when it comes to the way the media can affect body image issues. That to me is far more damning than any use or misuse of email vs PM. He evades Watson’s points, builds a strawman, adds in lots of ellipses to a quote from a study (which is a red flag for me as well). – Apologies if this is somewhat off-topic, feel free to ignore it if it is. I just wanted to point out that a slip of the tongue is far more plausible and if you wanted to condemn Radford for bad thinking then it’s better to look at his overall writings and claims.

  296. Hj Hornbeck says

    Flip the second @334:

    I just wanted to point out that a slip of the tongue is far more plausible and if you wanted to condemn Radford for bad thinking then it’s better to look at his overall writings and claims.

    Agreed, in fact I was just about to do that. Radford’s website lists five major accusations that Stollznow has made against him. While Radford has no legal obligation to provide all his evidence against Stollznow’s claims, he does have an obligation to be specific on what was said and where the potentially defamatory comments were made. This leads to pretty basic check: compare Radford’s five major accusations to the complaint, and see if the latter points to a specific document which has those accusations.

    1) Karen claimed that she broke off a dating relationship with me in 2009 and stated categorically that we were not in an on-again, off-again relationship afterwards.

    Radford has an entire page devoted to this, none of which points to a source for the claim. The complaint is silent on this point, too; when discussing either Stollznow’s blog post or the CFI report, it does not mention this accusation from Stollznow.

    2) Karen claimed that I sent her “incessant communication of a sexual nature” despite her repeated requests for me to stop contacting her starting in late 2009.

    It’s fair and square in her blog post, and the complaint also points there (40).

    3) Neither I nor my lawyer have seen the dozens or hundreds of “communications of a sexual nature” that she claims I sent her, but we do have clear evidence that Karen eventually resorted to falsifying the dates on “harassing” e-mail correspondence from me, attributing newer dates to older correspondence to show others in support of her false claims.

    Uh, that’s not an accusation. That’s just filling out bullet points by repeating the last accusation and countering with your evidence. And where did Radford get “dozens or hundreds” from? It’s not part of Stollznow’s blog post, and never mentioned in the complaint.

    4) Perhaps most seriously, Karen claimed that I sexually harassed and even assaulted her in a hotel room in July 2010.

    That’s not in the blog post, but the complaint suggests it was part of the CFI investigation:

    Stollznow also apparently falsely stated to the investigator that she and Radford had not been in a sexual relationship when he came to her hotel room in Las Vegas in July of 2010, where he suggested sex, and that, accordingly, his request was harassing rather than an inconsequential exchange between two people who had had recent sexual liaisons and were together in a hotel room again. (40)

    And I have one minor tweak on the fifth one, beyond what I mentioned earlier:

    5) Karen has claimed that I sexually harassed her while we were on stage on a panel together (with her now-husband Baxter seated a few feet away to her right) at a conference in Las Vegas.

    I didn’t spot it in the complaint earlier, but I did find it now:

    Despite the fact that all of them were on a stage in front of hundreds of people, Stollznow would later claim, falsely, that Radford sexually harassed her during the panel discussion, which was videotaped and is available on YouTube and shows nothing of the sort. (36)

    Notice what’s missing here: where did Stollznow make this claim? This is the only time it’s mentioned in the complaint, and it doesn’t appear in the parts that discuss CFI’s investigation (18-20, 40-41). It’s plausible the accusation was made during that investigation, but we shouldn’t be forced to guess where any defamation occurred. In contrast, the allegedly falsified emails are mentioned three times (19, 40-41, 59), as is the July 2010 hotel room in Vegas (15 & 19, 30, 40-41), and both are clearly linked to the CFI investigation.

    So of the five accusations Radford lists, two have a source solidly identified in the complaint, one doesn’t (though we can guess a plausible source), one has no source identified anywhere and isn’t part of the complaint, and one isn’t a accusation. It’s also notable that of those three with either a solid or plausible source, in two cases the source is a document the public has no access to, and thus we have no way to evaluate Radford’s claims of defamation without trusting Radford to be an accurate source.

    It’s a very poor showing for what should have been a trivially easy task.

    Note too that there are key differences between Radford’s complaint and website. It’s easy to assume the two are synonymous, but the only place where the website comes close to stating that is the domain name. Yet again, Radford might be exploiting our assumptions for his benefit.

  297. Ann says

    I wouldn’t be so sure of that, if Richard Carrier is to be believed.

    Richard Carrier is to be believed. But he’s not saying they have a reason to withhold the report from Radford.

    Because:

    Depending on labor law in New York, they may or may not be able to share the results of an employee disciplinary process with anyone other than the employee being disciplined and the supervisor(s) involved.

    (You needn’t come to your senses if you prefer not. I’m sure you’ll be perfectly delightful regardless.)

  298. Ann says

    Notice what’s missing here: where did Stollznow make this claim?

    It either has to be from the report or from work product related thereto. (If they were relying on a witness to whom she’d (allegedly) defamed him, the complaint would say when and where it happened.)

    That’s why I said that if he can’t prove those emails were both intentionally faked and essential to CFI’s findings, he’s effectively saying that it was defamatory of her to tell the investigators about everything that happened, rather than just the stuff they would go on to conclude had been harassment.

    Or that’s what I was trying to say, anyway. What I actually said was that he appeared to be suing her for having told the investigators about events as she perceived them.

    In any event. Unless what she said was fabricated and/or wittingly false, it’s an untenable and absurd position.

    Also…

    1) Karen claimed that she broke off a dating relationship with me in 2009 and stated categorically that we were not in an on-again, off-again relationship afterwards.

    Stollznow also apparently falsely stated to the investigator that she and Radford had not been in a sexual relationship when he came to her hotel room in Las Vegas in July of 2010, where he suggested sex, and that, accordingly, his request was harassing rather than an inconsequential exchange between two people who had had recent sexual liaisons and were together in a hotel room again.

    …he goes on and on about those two points as if it had been the biggest damn calumny in the world for her to claim otherwise.

    But based on the emails that he himself has posted, I’d say that they broke up in 2009 and were not in a sexual relationship thereafter.

    (As far as I can tell: They broke up. She met another guy. She got engaged. They had one last tryst in SF. But they were still apparently completely over. Several months later, during a turbulent period in her engagement, she briefly considered coming to see him for a week. And at some point — I forget exactly when — she made a purely rhetorical offer to have an affair with him that she felt safe making for old time’s sake because he’d just claimed to be seeing someone.

    All of those things happened within a year of the end. And that’s what I’d call “a break-up,” not “an ongoing sexual relationship.”

    Maybe that’s just me, though.)

  299. says

    Led: thank you for the link. I don’t generally allow links to Reap Paden’s blog or podcast around these parts, since he’s so vehemently fought against harassment policies or the very idea that harassment exists (while expressly harassing people in doing so, even), so it’s surprising to me that he would come forward with a tale of Karen Stollznow harassing him. I would love to see that story corroborated, given that he’s in the past fought against harassment policies, people talking about rape, or feminism in general, so it’s sad that he’s an untrustworthy narrator in this and I can’t just assume no ill will (since he’s shown ill will in the past). But taking it at face value, if it’s true, Stollznow is no saint either.

    That doesn’t mean Radford didn’t harass her, per her claims. It just means that Reap Paden could have and should have been on our side in fighting for harassment policies, since they would have helped him.

  300. Ann says

    ^^

    I wouldn’t call that harassment. I’d call it emotional drama in a bar after a conference. And I wonder at the sheltered lives that people must live if someone getting drunk and acting out on one occasion strikes them as evidence of any one thing in particular.

    ….

    I guess that there appears to be some evidence that the first year of the Stollznow/Baxter menage involved some turbulence about how two skeptics in love ought best to handle issues of monogamy/fidelity. But they seem to have worked it out. And I don’t see what it has to do with harassment.

  301. Flip the second says

    @335

    Agreed, in fact I was just about to do that.

    :) Then we are in agreement. I don’t have the time or patience right now to read over the documents Radford provided, but did look at his filed lawsuit and his Flashback report and found them both wanting. I think Stollznow might be able to state that Radford should be treated as a public figure – he basically admits as much in his lawsuit – which sets the bar higher for him because he would need to prove actual malice. That’s sort of taken care of by accusing her of fraud I suppose, but still by painting himself as a public figure he’s making it harder on himself to win the case. I found most of his lawsuit to be written in a vague way (you hint at this yourself), as he never quite makes it clear which parts of her writing were defamatory – I don’t remember seeing actual quotes outside of private emails but my memory could be wrong – which is another strike against him. If he can’t point to specifics then it’s far harder for him to show that it’s not a SLAPP case designed to silence Stollznow. Popehat has a motto: “Remember what we say around these here parts: vagueness in a legal threat is the hallmark of meritless thuggery.” The fact that he never cites specific quotes of Stollznow’s is a huge red flag for me. He simply claims that she said this or did that, without pointing to a URL, citing an article, or quoting the text. (Again, assuming my memory is correct)

    The lawsuit really read to me like a case of giant butthurt; if you take out the issue of forged emails that is. I’m surprised that his lawyer is ok letting him post information all over the net; that too seems to suggest that Radford is not attempting to minimise damage from false allegations, as he’s spreading them himself by trying to ‘correct’ the record in the public sphere.

    As for the emails themselves, I think they prove little – as I stated above – and could just as easily be construed as someone delicately and politely trying to remove themselves from the conversation, and be in a predicament as to how to do that without breaking ties completely due to work responsibilities. Entirely speculative but I could easily read Stollznow’s replies as someone who is attempting to respond without giving much content in a way one does if one is hoping the other person takes the hint and ends the conversation due to lack of responsiveness on Stollznow’s part. It’s strange that most of his suit is about email conversations and very few face-to-face interactions. He seems to be doing the opposite of good logic… trying to prove a negative, instead of asking for her or CFI to prove the positive. Maybe that’s the nature of defamation lawsuits and not a problem his logic, I don’t know as IANAL.

    I also find it odd that he isn’t suing CFI, as their report is quite clearly what he’s relying on. Surely if they screwed up their investigation he should be attempting to get them to correct that, especially if it’s damaging to his career. It would be very strange to point to an investigation as a truthful source that shows Stollznow’s deceit, and then at the same time claim that CFI screwed up the investigation. But that’s what it seems like he’s doing. If the report is truthful and shows Stollznow lied, then CFI screwed up by agreeing with the report; if the report is truthful and shows Stollznow told the truth, Radford is lying; if the report is wrong and Stollznow lied, then CFI screwed up; if the report is wrong and Stollznow told the truth, then CFI screwed up. (Hope my logic is right on that… I’m a bit tired and it’s muddled in my head) If Radford is being wronged then he has just as much, if not more, claim to being wronged by CFI.

    So yeah, like everyone else here I think the whole thing hinges on the emails; everything seems to be blustery accusations that one or another person is malicious. Assuming the null hypothesis that Stollznow didn’t do anything but it was a mistake or misunderstanding… Radford doesn’t provide me with a lot of convincing evidence that she lied. This is all of course, speculative and willing to change once/if there’s more info available.

    @338

    It’s interesting to me that when these accusations come out, they also tend to include stigmatism towards mental illness. Via your link:

    During my phone call to Baxter I informed him it was my opinion that his girlfriend was a psycho and possibly an insane maniac

    Yes, because having one strange episode where someone loses their shit and is quite possibly drunk is *exactly* representative of being mentally ill and requiring ableist language in order to discuss the event. Don’t get me wrong, if Stollznow did that, it’s incredibly wrong and I’m sorry that anyone was harassed. But this “girl be crazy” stuff gets really old for a number of reasons. It always seems to me to be nothing more than a post-hoc ad hominem, and a sudden trip to Dunning-Kruger land. Why? Because mentally ill people totally go around harassing people for no reason whatsoever. Not like anyone with a mental illness has the capacity to be kind, generous, forgiving, having physical and emotional control, or be capable of avoiding harassing other people. No, being mentally ill totally equals having no respect for other people’s boundaries. And being ‘normal’ – for lack of a better term – totally equals being in full control of oneself at all times and respecting boundaries at all times. Steerman also posts on that page: “While it is probably stereotypical, although there is frequently some truth in such, I’m reminded of the aphorism “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Which I find annoying too because it’s not like men have ever been full of revenge or anything. … They talk about lack of skepticism towards Stollznow but rely on logical fallacies and stereotypes.

    (I will admit that this is my bias and I will attempt to not let it colour my views about anyone’s statements about harassment. To be fair I come at this from listening to Monster Talk, and liking both Stollznow and Radford; and have never read or listened to either one outside of the podcast. I care nothing for either personality, outside of the fact that I dislike people being harassed. Still I recognise I have a bias… )

    @Jason and everyone else

    Badrescher promotes Radford’s legal fund there too. Kind of puts the dint in the whole “no publicity for his fund” hypothesis.

  302. Ann says

    FWIW, I wouldn’t consider that anecdote harassment if it had been man-on-woman, either. When there’s no power differential or implied threat, hitting on someone in a social situation is just hitting on someone in a social situation, no matter how graciously or boorishly it’s done.

  303. Flip the second says

    @Ann

    I think the point at which it might be harassment is when he made it clear he wanted nothing to do with Stollznow (by say, moving to another table) and she continued to pursue him.

  304. says

    If that one is indeed true? Definitely harassment, at least in my mind.

    To be honest, this whole narrative of Stollznow’s and Baxter’s relationship has been interesting, not least because there is zero clear reflection of what Paden and Radford are talking about within Baxter’s continued ardent support for his wife. While I totally respect their privacy and would accept a simple “no” here, it would be interesting to here Baxter’s and Stollznow’s take on this… such as that so-called arrest record Baxter showed the world.

    It’s weird in Paden’s case, too, because until that link, the last I saw from Paden was pre-Atheism+, when he actually seemed to be supporting feminism.

    What happened?

  305. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @336:

    Dang, I missed that. And as you point out, it’s an excellent explanation of how Radford could have grabbed a copy of the document, but not Stollznow. It would take time and a lot of arm twisting to get CFI to drop an indemnity clause, which could explain that four-month gap, and could also explain why Radford picked that particular lawyer.

    Your hypothesis is definitely superior to mine.

  306. Ann says

    @Ann

    I think the point at which it might be harassment is when he made it clear he wanted nothing to do with Stollznow (by say, moving to another table) and she continued to pursue him.

    Colloquially speaking, you might describe it that way, I suppose. But if you mean “harassment,” as in “sexual harassment,” assuming a peer relationship in which neither party has the power or influence to have an impact on the other’s social or professional standing in the community they share:

    I wouldn’t say it was, whether he did it to her or she to him.

    I’m also assuming that there’s no express or implied threat of force or coercion, I guess I should add.

    But, you know. Propositions happen. Occasionally they’re unwelcome. And some people might, quite possibly, sometimes have a hard time either hearing “no” or saying it, for purely personal and non-gender-political-related reasons.

    That’s life. And it might be very unpleasant. But as long as the above conditions obtain, it’s just bad behavior, as far as I’m concerned.

    If that one is indeed true? Definitely harassment, at least in my mind.

    Really? How do you figure?

    By my standards, neither approaching someone you know socially for sex in a bar nor pitching a fit at a social gathering is harassment.

    I thought that anecdote was just an attempted nutty-sluttiness smear, when first I read it. TBH.

  307. Hj Hornbeck says

    Led’s comment at 338 came at a perfect time, too, as I was just about to move on to the history of false accusations part of Radford’s website.

    On the surface, it’s completely useless. For emphasis, I’ll re-post the New Mexico jury instructions for civil defamation (see upthread):

    [(1) The defendant published the communication; and]
    [(2) The communication contains a statement of fact; and]
    [(3) The communication was concerning the plaintiff; and]
    [(4) The statement of fact was false; and]
    [(5) The communication was defamatory; and]
    [(6) The person[s] receiving the communication understood it to be defamatory; and]
    [(7) The defendant [knew that the communication was false or negligently failed to recognize that it was false] [or] [acted with malice]; and]
    [(8) The communication caused actual injury to the plaintiff’s reputation; and]
    [(9) The defendant abused [its] privilege to publish the communication.]

    Defamation is narrow: past history of false accusations are not relevant to a current defamation case, nor is motive. Most laypeople think otherwise thanks to the word “malice,” but that’s a legal term of art that means “had reasonable doubts of truth-hood, but claimed it was true.”

    It’s possible Radford didn’t know this, except that would mean his lawyer was incompetent or he didn’t listen to his lawyer. And that doesn’t explain why Stollznow’s past history figures prominently in the complaint; it brings up friction behind the scenes on MonsterTalk (5,16,38-39), that sealed report alleging domestic violence (16), emails from their early relationship (26 a-d), suggestions of jealousy on Stollznow’s part (26d), and motives of vengeance (42,45).

    Of course, just because past history and motive play no theoretical part in defamation, that doesn’t necessarily translate into practice. Juries and judges can have their view of the evidence coloured by past history, and if the evidence is equivocal or the case is under the “preponderance of evidence” civil burden, both of which are true here, poisoning the well a little could pay off big-time.

    But there’s something more here, and to my shame I missed it back in comment 276. Consider this line from the complaint:

    Accordingly, she is guilty of constitutional malice in the context of the law of defamation and it is immaterial whether Radford is determined to be a public or non-public figure for purposes of this law suit. (54)

    “Constitutional malice” means the same as our lay term “malice:” a deliberate act intended to harm. Here’s how you’d establish it:

    plaintiffs must be wary, both at trial and on appeal, of defendants’ divide and conqueror strategy to constitutional malice, i.e., trying to focus both the court’s and jury’s attention on purportedly discrete, severable and unrelated items of evidence. […]

    Other decisions parallel this approach, emphasizing that constitutional malice is determined from assessing the “totality” of the defendant’s “choices” and that the plaintiff is “entitled to an aggregate consideration of all these claims.” The Supreme Court itself has recently reflected this attitude in making its required independent review, concluding “the evidence in this record in this case, when reviewed in its entirety, is ‘unmistakably’ sufficient to support a finding of actual malice.”

    Establishing constitutional malice isn’t necessary for defamation, but it is necessary if you want putative damages. That means the line about “ten fold the amount of actual damages” (52) wasn’t just something tacked on, as I assumed earlier, it’s a core part of the case. It explains why all this seemingly unnecessary fluff is present, as Radford needs it to show constitutional malice, and why the complaint goes out of its way to impinge motives on Stollznow:

    While Stollznow’s motives in suddenly defaming Radford, who was her then colleague and had been her lover, may be somewhat obscure, Stollznow had apparently become suddenly and irrationally angry at Radford when he complained to her and a third colleague that he did not believe Stollznow was pulling her weight in the production of the podcast, “MonsterTalk” that the three of them had been producing together since 2009. Stollznow may well have had other motives for her outbursts, likely including perceived competition with Radford in the “skeptics” movement in which Stollznow and Radford have been making their livings, and/or because her sexual relationship with Radford had overlapped a relationship with the man who is now her husband, to whom she may have claimed fidelity at the same time she was engaging in sexual liaisons with Radford. Radford has learned that Stollznow is prone to viciously attack people who are close to her who have done something to anger her. (5)

    In early 2013, Stollznow became angered at Radford after he confronted her about her failure to do her share of the work involved in producing their “Monster Talk” podcast. She may also have perceived Radford as a competitor in the Skeptics sub-culture and/or may have been concerned about having conducted an affair with him during her relationship with her current husband. Whatever may have been her motive or combination of motives, she set out to grievously harm Radford. She has apparently inflicted harm on others who have angered her, even including her current husband. (16)

    The fact that Stollznow would make such accusations is, again, a measure of her malice. (27)

    Apparently unhappy that she had not caused greater harm to Radford, Stollznow
    attempted to interfere with Radford’s professional activities and to harm his reputation. (42)

    In other words, Stollznow was maliciously recasting her and Radford’s sexual history, which she had initiated and continued over the course of three years, as a series of harassing and sexually predatory acts by Radford. (43)

    Thus Stollznow was using her malicious fabrications in an attempt to end Radford’s relationship with the people and institutions prominently associated with the skeptics movement, thereby poisoning his reputation and ruining his career. (45)

    Stollznow’s malicious fabrications about Radford have had a devastating effect on Radford’s reputation, as Stollznow unquestionably intended. (48)

    While at the same time casting Radford as a doe-eyed innocent:

    During the conference call, to Radford’s mystification, Stollznow told him to stop sexually harassing her or she would contact his employer about the matter. (30)

    in a January 10, 2013 email to Smith and Stollznow, Radford asked for more professional cooperation and communication from Stollznow: “[…]
    [A]bout three weeks ago I returned from the JREF cruise to find that Karen had de-Friended me on Facebook and changed her e-mail. I honestly have no idea what, if anything, triggered that behavior.” (38)

    CFI had concluded that Radford had written “inappropriate” emails, had inappropriately blocked Stollznow from leaving a conference room and had inappropriately requested sex in the Las Vegas hotel room. While CFI’s conclusions were surprising, given its rejection of most of Stollznow’s allegations […] (41)

    It’s ironic that while we’ve been trying hard to avoid picturing Radford as a cartoon villain, he’s been painting a mustache and top hat on Stollznow. He’s putting her in the same category as that McDonald’s executive who knew their coffee caused vicious burns but didn’t care, or that State Farm employee who ignored their own experts and evidence to shaft a policy holder; she knew exactly what she was doing, knew it would cause harm, and did it anyway.

    It also means that it isn’t speculation to say Radford’s main purpose of that lawsuit is to punish Stollznow, it’s explicitly stated within the lawsuit. If Radford got his way, only 9% of the damages would be for his loss of reputation and emotional suffering; the remainder would be punishment, “to deter her from ever engaging in such conduct again” (52). Even if all these extras related to putative damage are just padding, never intended to be successful at trial, the only good hypothesis for them being there is to punish Stollznow.

    Proving defamation is just one brick on the path to Radford’s true goal of punishment, albeit a crucial one, as are those seemingly “irrelevant” parts. It makes it much tougher to defend that website as a mere attempt “to set the record straight and correct misperceptions about this matter,” as Radford puts it, completely beside the fact that the website appears to create misperceptions and muddy the record.

  308. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @337:

    That’s why I said that if he can’t prove those emails were both intentionally faked and essential to CFI’s findings, he’s effectively saying that it was defamatory of her to tell the investigators about everything that happened, rather than just the stuff they would go on to conclude had been harassment.

    He’s certainly implying they were essential: “While CFI’s conclusions were surprising, given its rejection of most of Stollznow’s allegations, it was clear that Stollznow, by falsifying the dates on the supposedly “inappropriate” emails, and by fabricating the circumstances associated with the events at the conference, had deceived CFI’s investigator, resulting in CFI’s findings, which in turn resulted in the suspension of Radford, without pay, for two weeks.” (41)

    As per my earlier analysis, Radford’s done suspiciously little to demonstrate they were actually faked. That doesn’t rule out the drafting of another report before the court hearings start, mind you, but it does mean he was overreaching his evidence as of the filing of the complaint. That shouldn’t be taken kindly.

    But based on the emails that he himself has posted, I’d say that they broke up in 2009 and were not in a sexual relationship thereafter.

    I’m thinking they had a rocky on-again-off-again relationship between 2009 and April 2010, but it’s a difference without distinction. I quote again from the complaint:

    Stollznow also apparently falsely stated to the investigator that she and Radford had not been in a sexual relationship when he came to her hotel room in Las Vegas in July of 2010, where he suggested sex, and that, accordingly, his request was harassing rather than an inconsequential exchange between two people who had had recent sexual liaisons and were together in a hotel room again. (40)

    Radford’s defense seems to be “we had sex earlier, ergo I can ask for sex again,” which is slipping dangerously close to “we’re dating, she’s obligated to have sex with me” territory. Unfortunately, the complaint never quotes directly from CFI’s investigation, preferring to paraphrase without page/paragraph references, so we’ve got no detail on what Stollznow claimed other than what Radford says she’s claimed.

  309. Hj Hornbeck says

    Flip the second @341:

    I found most of his lawsuit to be written in a vague way (you hint at this yourself), as he never quite makes it clear which parts of her writing were defamatory – I don’t remember seeing actual quotes outside of private emails but my memory could be wrong – which is another strike against him.

    Radford will quote specific emails, and parts of Stollznow’s blog post, but as I mentioned above I can’t find a single direct quote from CFI’s report. Nor does he always make it clear where he’s pulling his claims from:

    The documentary evidence clearly demonstrates that Stollznow’s claim of having ceased communications with Radford in late 2009 (as a result of his alleged abusive behavior) is false. (26e)

    That’s not in the blog post, so it must have come from the CFI report. But that’s all the detail the complaint gives; no source is explicitly stated, and even if it was from the report it should have provided a page number at minimum. Forcing a court employee to manually scan through your evidence is a great way to have your complaint summarily dismissed.

    So yeah, like everyone else here I think the whole thing hinges on the emails; everything seems to be blustery accusations that one or another person is malicious.

    I don’t even think the emails are important. Another skim over Stollznow’s blog post reveals only one explicit mention of emails: “I provided access to my email account.” Most of her complaints of harassment were in personal interactions and those with colleagues. Showing there was no email-based harassment only wipes out a small portion of what Stollznow claimed.

    Emails just happen to be easy to produce on demand, hence why Radford relies on them so heavily. They’re also easy to selectively show; Stollznow claims she made several repeated requests for Radford to stop, yet Radford doesn’t even attempt to deny that claim nor present any of those requests.

    Even what he does reveal comes across as harassing. Open up that Flashback report, and look at the screenshots for Item C. Radford is writing long essays, pining for love; Stollznow is almost writing back in point-form sentences. She even has lines like “I see us as friends, and not even as exes – we never had a proper relationship” and “I made a mistake. I really want to keep things pleasant between us as friends and colleagues.” Radford’s response is to reply back with more long essays, ignoring what she’s said. In fact, look carefully at the scroll bar: Item C (3-5) shows one of Radford’s essays from May 4th, 2010, Item C (4-5) shows a mysterious forward to “Elizabeth” on May 2nd, 2013, and Item C (5-5) shows another long essay from Radford… that isn’t quoted and doesn’t match up with his last email before that forward. So either he fired off a long essay sometime after May 2013, which I find unlikely, or he only forwarded part of that email thread along to “Elizabeth,” leaving out what may have been crucial context. I say “may,” because those screenshots leave out some parts of Radford’s emails.

    So far, we have more evidence to suggest Radford is misleading people via email, than we have to suggest the same from Stollznow.

  310. Ann says

    I’m thinking they had a rocky on-again-off-again relationship between 2009 and April 2010, but it’s a difference without distinction. I quote again from the complaint:

    Stollznow also apparently falsely stated to the investigator that she and Radford had not been in a sexual relationship when he came to her hotel room in Las Vegas in July of 2010, where he suggested sex, and that, accordingly, his request was harassing rather than an inconsequential exchange between two people who had had recent sexual liaisons and were together in a hotel room again. (40)

    Just speculation on my part. But fwiw:

    I think he knows (or should know) perfectly well that they were not in a sexual relationship. Because their tryst (which from her perspective, involved him in her “bizarre situation,” which the context suggests is in some way related to her engagement) occurred in April 2010.

    And so did the incident with that guy in the bar after SkeptiCal. April 2010.

    It’s totally clear from the emails in advance of that encounter that the reason she’s being so obliging is she’d not being so obliging about the flyers and the dinner is that she sees it as an opportunity to have sex with him in a hotel room, which she wishes to do for reasons other than personal interest in him. (She’s very businesslike about it. That’s not how people write to each other when their intimate feelings are in play. It’s actually the only part of their correspondence that I’ve read that’s 100 percent emotional-tension-and-conflict-free.)

    So. It might or might not have been the exact same proposition. But I hypothesize that she was completely, explicitly candid about telling him that she was there to explore having sex with him as a part of her sexual relationship with someone else and not with him. In one way or another.

    And thus do we see, once again, that open relationships might seem like a good idea in theory. But practice is another story.

    Anyway. I think that there were terms that excluded their being in a sexual relationship. And that he knew it, or should have.

    Even what he does reveal comes across as harassing. Open up that Flashback report, and look at the screenshots for Item C. Radford is writing long essays, pining for love; Stollznow is almost writing back in point-form sentences.

    No kidding. He sounds like a lover scorned in every syllable he writes, right up to the very end. (In one of the three emails that are correctly dated 2012, he says something like “I guess that’s where we’re at these days.” Three years is an awfully long time past the break-up to still be thinking in terms of “we.”)

  311. Ann says

    ^^That impossible-to-read sentence was supposed to be:

    “It’s totally clear from the emails in advance of that encounter that the reason she’s being so obliging about the flyers and the dinner is that she sees it as an opportunity to have sex with him in a hotel room, which she wishes to do for reasons other than personal interest in him.”

    Elves must’ve put some extra words in there when I wasn’t looking.

  312. Hj Hornbeck says

    I see Radford’s edited his website. Here’s one addition, from the false accusation page:

    Baxter also states that Karen falsely accused one of his male friends, “Reap” Paden, of making unwanted sexual propositions toward her. In a detailed April 22, 2014 blog, ”Reap” Paden confirmed this account and gave a fuller description of Karen Stollznow falsely accusing him of making sexual advances towards her, and even falsely accusing him of physical abuse;

    Here’s an updated set of page modification timestamps. If you have an archive which doesn’t have the same timestamp, forward it on to Stollznow or her lawyers:

    Wed Apr 2 22:23:55 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/introduction-overview/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 00:43:17 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/stollznows-falsified-documents-and-fraud/index.html
    Thu Apr 24 21:41:17 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/timeline/index.html
    Thu Apr 24 21:56:32 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/karen-stollznows-history-of-false-accusations/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 00:42:26 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/gifts-correspondence/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 00:04:55 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/faq/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 01:02:52 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/tam-allegations/index.html
    Thu Apr 3 16:00:26 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/relationship-with-stollznow/index.html

    Not bad, it took Radford only two days to incorporate Paden’s article into his website. He’s keeping a keen eye, or he’s getting help from a number of friends.

  313. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @350:

    I hypothesize that she was completely, explicitly candid about telling him that she was there to explore having sex with him as a part of her sexual relationship with someone else and not with him. In one way or another.

    The problem is we’re only seeing the emails released by one side. Stollznow may have explicitly stated that, but Radford decided not to reveal that either accidentally or on purpose. What I do know is that as of March 1st/2nd, Radford made it clear he wasn’t looking for a deep relationship with Stollznow, yet was jealous Stollznow met Baxter:

    Radford: I had hoped to be of some comfort, and was concerned about you. I’ve called you at least twice in the past few weeks, but haven’t gotten ahold of you nor gotten a call back, so I suppose we’re back to where we were. Things have gotten a bit clearer for me on my end, I just wish I knew where your head was, what’s going on with you. I guess that’s always been an ongoing mystery to me, what you’re thinking.

    Stollznow: I know you called about a week ago, I don’t recall two calls though. I’d genuinely intended to mention that and thank you, but I have honestly been very busy with work and these family matters. I do appreciate your email, but I’m still reading an underlying resentment from you. I think that’s a bit shitty considering my circumstances. […]

    As for what’s going on in my head, I think I was pretty upfront about that until the point where I realised my feelings weren’t reciprocated. I’m not sure why we’re going over this old territory yet again…

    Radford: I was just trying to offer support, not be shitty or resentful, nor was I going over “old territory.” I’m sorry if it came across that way; it’s clear that you will read what you like into my words and actions, regardless of their intent.

    To me, Stollznow comes across as looking for a deep, long-term commitment but is willing to play and explore, which fits in with your hypothesis. I really don’t know what Radford was thinking, releasing those emails; the more I read, the more I’m forced to agree with Stollznow that he was petty, jealous, and manipulative.

    And thus do we see, once again, that open relationships might seem like a good idea in theory. But practice is another story.

    Eh, I think you can pull off open relationships if you keep the dialog spigot open and flowing freely. That clearly didn’t happen with Radford.

    (In one of the three emails that are correctly dated 2012, he says something like “I guess that’s where we’re at these days.” Three years is an awfully long time past the break-up to still be thinking in terms of “we.”)

    I don’t remember seeing something like that from 2012. Have a link or reference?

  314. Hj Hornbeck says

    Anyway, back to my original plans: a look at Radford’s claims of false accusations. He lists six, which I’ll consider in order:

    1) According to Eran Segev of the Australian Skeptics group, Karen falsely accused members of that organization of engaging in sexist behavior and making inappropriate sexual comments in 2009;

    And what evidence does he have these accusations are false? Segev says they’re false. No really, that’s it. No sign of an investigation, just a few paragraphs on a gossip blog that regurgitates both sides, and that’s enough to convince Radford that Stollznow is making false statements. I’m trying very hard not to make a crack that invokes the Qu’ran, and failing miserably.

    More importantly, this isn’t in the complaint. Thus it only manages to tweak the bullshit detector of skeptics (who puts their weakest evidence first?), and hand Stollznow some ammunition for a counter-suit.

    2) According to Matthew Baxter, Karen falsely accused one of his female friends of “challenging” Karen’s sexual or romantic claim to him;

    That’s from the “Facebook email” I mentioned before. By this time, Stollznow and Baxter have been together for about six months, and Stollznow is explicitly pushing Radford away (July 26th: “Is it a matter of having things in common with someone? I love him. Seriously, why don’t you give an honest go to your relationship with Jenna?”). And Baxter’s first lines are:

    She is the most enchanting, wonderful, spiteful, insecure, grudge-harboring woman I have ever met. The thing that worries me is the signs that she is either a huge liar or delusional.

    That doesn’t sound like a man thinking of committing, and it too paints Stollznow as a cartoon villain, perfectly in line with Radford’s goal. I have a difficult time believing Baxter wrote that, but I also have difficulty believing Radford invented it whole-cloth.

    What I can say, however, is that it also isn’t part of Radford’s complaint. That’s just bizarre, to me; why would Radford leave out a solid bit of evidence for constitutional malice, in a document where he’s obligated to give a plausible case for it, yet use it on his website? There’s also this line on Radford’s website:

    Baxter also states explicitly that Karen falsely accused one of his friends of making inappropriate sexual advances toward her in April 2010: “One time, in the heat of “things,” I mentioned that it would have been hot to see her with another man. She flipped out. Throughout the relationship she claims that I keep bringing it up but in reality she has been the one to keep talking about it. […]

    That a direct quote from Baxter, yet Radford doesn’t link to a source and it’s also not in the complaint.

    It’s only with great reluctance that I admit I’m leaning towards that Facebook message being falsified. That seems very out of character for Radford, yet I can’t think of any plausible alternatives.

    Also, I note the complaint also refers to Facebook emails arriving before November 2010 (26d). Perhaps Radford got that terminology from his lawyer, or vice-versa?

    3) Baxter also states that Karen falsely accused one of his male friends, “Reap” Paden, of making unwanted sexual propositions toward her. In a detailed April 22, 2014 blog, ”Reap” Paden confirmed this account and gave a fuller description of Karen Stollznow falsely accusing him of making sexual advances towards her, and even falsely accusing him of physical abuse;

    Paden’s account paints her as a cartoon villain, complete with accusations of crazy jealous vindictiveness and the “medication” card, while he’s as pure as snow:

    During my phone call to Baxter I informed him it was my opinion that his girlfriend was a psycho and possibly an insane maniac. Baxter informed me that Karen had accused me of propositioning her and had pretty much gave me all the credit for the events the night before. I told Baxter that what Karen had told him was a complete lie and he told me he didn’t believe Karen’s version of events. He then went on to explain to me that Karen had some issues that needed to be dealt with. Some of these could best be treated with medication which Karen was not taking at the time. I assume this to be true since I have no reason to think Baxter would lie, he has no history of doing so.

    And while both Paden and Radford claim the two accounts are consistent, they aren’t; in Radford’s quote of Baxter’s words, Stollznow is against the idea of a threesome, while in Paden’s account Stollznow is trying hard to initiate a threesome:

    At one point Karen said to me out of the blue that her boyfriend (now husband) would like to watch her and I having sex. Of course I knew her boyfriend and considered him a good friend. I also knew there was little chance of such a thing ending well and so instead of saying “no way” I just made light of the proposition and attempted to carry on with the conversation. Karen was having none of it . She made a couple more remarks trying to persuade me but I just let them slide and tried to change the subject. The instant she realized I was not going to take her up on the offer she had made she became confrontational to say the least.

    On top of that, the blog post has a post-script where Paden hops on the soapbox to decry everyone who’d twist his article around to mean whatever they want. I find the entire thing hard to take seriously, but I didn’t place a lot of trust in Paden in the first place. And in his defense, he’s at least the second person to paint Stollznow as a cartoon villain, and maybe the third if you view that Facebook message from Baxter as legit.

    4) Karen falsely accused another of Baxter’s female friends of having an affair with him, according to statements he made to Arvada police officers during her domestic violence arrest in 2010;

    While the arrest is mentioned in the complaint (26r), we find this detail isn’t. Reading over the arrest record, we find why: Baxter outright admits to dating other women.

    “I asked Matthew why SEALED would do this, and Matthew stated the protein powder was given to him by one of the females he had been dating and this angered SEALED.” (pg. 3)

    “M. Baxter corroborated that SEALED was upset because he had been seeing other women; however, he maintained that over the past year, SEALED had broken up with him repeatedly and he understood he had been free to see other women.” (pg. 6)

    Baxter also admits that in the heat of the argument he said he’d slept with a woman who’d posted nude photos to his Facebook and MySpace pages. He said that “because he thought that’s what she wanted to hear, ” (pg. 3) and otherwise denied sleeping with that woman. Later on Stollznow contacts this woman and is convinced there was no affair. (pg. 4)

    It looks like we have a miscommunication over the bounds of a relationship on our hands, and not a false accusation.

    5) According to information contained in Karen’s arrest report and in statements made to me and others, Karen falsely accused Baxter of breaking her wrist during an argument;

    That claim came during a phone call, and isn’t reflected in the emails. Looking over the police report, “Matthew stated she then started complaining that he had hurt her head and possibly broken her left wrist.” (pg. 4) In Stollznow’s account, in an area Radford didn’t outline, we learn “she had previously broken that wrist and thought she’d reinjured it.” (pg. 6)

    So either she claimed her wrist may have been broken, or had plausible reason to think it was at the time, but likely learned it hadn’t been shortly after those statements had been recorded (pg. 5). So why would she later claim it had been broken, full stop, to Radford? It’s far more plausible Radford misheard Stollznow during that phone call, and later read too much into the incident report. Radford never explicitly names anyone else Stollznow would have made false claims to, so we’ve got no other leads to follow here.

    Surprisingly, given the current track record, this claim makes the complaint (26r).

    6) Karen falsely accused Baxter of taking nude photos and having sex with a female friend of his, according to statements Baxter made to Arvada police officers.

    Technically true, but read my above account. Baxter both claimed to have done that, and claimed not to have done that, during that heated and violent argument on September 8th, 2010. Stollznow had potential email evidence of dating multiple partners, and potential photo evidence posted by one in particular. That sounds like a reasonable accusation to make at the time, to me, even if it did turn out to be false.

    So it’s no surprise it didn’t make the complaint. That means that out of the six bullet points Radford presents as evidence for false accusations, only one was worthy of inclusion in the complaint. Many people reading the site might think otherwise, believing Radford to be just summarizing his complaint. Some of those claims would have been pretty good evidence for constitutional malice had they been included, yet for some reason were not.

    The more I read of this case, the more Radford appears petty and dishonest, hell-bent on revenge against Stollznow.

  315. Hj Hornbeck says

    Further my above comment (which might be in moderation), here’s the description of how the DV charge against Stollznow came about, with specific details edited out:

    On [the evening of] September 7, 2010, I was on routine patrol […] when I observed a dark-colored SUV […] The SUV’s right headlight was out. Additionally, I knew that the two businesses in the complex [the vehicle was first spotted at] were closed. I caught up to the vehicle, […] and saw that it was occupied by at least two people. […]

    The driver identified himself as Matthew […] Baxter […]. With regard to the
    defective headlight he told me he did not know it was out. When I asked why they had been behind the business complex, he told me he and his companion, whom I later identified as SEALED had been looking for a hotel and had gotten lost. […]

    During the course of my conversation with M. Baxter, which had lasted for several minutes, I noticed that SEALED neither moved nor spoke but instead sat quite still facing forward in her seat. I also noticed that M. Baxter was quite talkative and that his speech was quite fast. I subsequently ordered SEALED to get out of the car so I could speak with her in private.

    This incident wasn’t reported to the police by Baxter or Stollznow, it was just by luck that it wound up in police hands. They had half a day to call the police, but didn’t. At the time, Baxter was helping the woman who’d been aggressive toward him find another place to stay. Stollznow had to be coaxed into saying anything:

    I asked SEALED if she was okay, commenting that there seemed to be some strain between her and M. Baxter. She told me I was quite perceptive and admitted they had been fighting, M. Baxter had been her boy friend for about the past year. […] They had been having problems for a while, and some time [in the evening] on September 6th, they became embroiled in a heated argument, During the course of that argument, which lasted until […] this morning, SEALED became increasingly angry with M. Baxter because she believed he was seeing other women.

    It looks like those two were working things out privately, and had no intention of taking matters to the police. If we believe Stollznow’s account of Radford as someone who was manipulative and had no intentions of long-term fidelity, Stollznow’s anger at having learned Baxter had been sleeping around without telling her seems quite justified. Her violence is another matter, of course, but given her name is listed as “SEALED” in the report it’s obvious Baxter was willing to forgive that.

    I’m just not seeing any signs of constitutional malice here.

  316. Ann says

    @353 —

    The 2012 email is, I believe the last one on the second page of “fradulent” emails. (I figured out that it’s the last three that are from 2012, but I don’t remember how.)

    Further to my hypothesis:

    She (apparently) refers to it in one of the emails included in the Flashback report, saying (of her husband-to-be) something like, “If he did what I did, it would be over.” That’s why I think it wasn’t the exact same proposition. Maybe part of an open-relationship, taste-of-your-own-medicine-type exercise or something of that nature.

    (She adds, addressing Radford, “And if he did what you did, it would be over.”

    She must say some variation on “it’s over, O-V-E-R, over/Let’s be friends and/or colleagues” in approximately every third thing she writes. I don’t know how he came to overlook it so entirely that he was under the impression they were in an ongoing sexual/romantic relationship.)

    She adds .

  317. Flip the second says

    @Ann

    That’s life. And it might be very unpleasant. But as long as the above conditions obtain, it’s just bad behavior, as far as I’m concerned.

    Yes, in general I agree with you. Obviously if more stories like that one come out though, it’s a pattern of behaviour, the same as if it were stories about others within the skeptical community.

    To be honest, the one thing I find the most frustrating about all of this is that it’s within a group of people who pride themselves on being skeptical. The more these he said/she said stories come out, the more I feel like everyone ends up trying to bring out a measuring stick to see who is the most skeptical – instead of worrying about the actual ramifications of harassment. – Not referring to anyone in particular, it’s just a general observation about discussions on this issue.

    (In one of the three emails that are correctly dated 2012, he says something like “I guess that’s where we’re at these days.” Three years is an awfully long time past the break-up to still be thinking in terms of “we.”)

    I guess it depends – I can imagine saying “we” if I were still in a working relationship with that person. If you’re still working and seeing the person in mixed company then you could internally muddle one form of relationship with the other.

    @Hj Hornbeck

    It’s possible Radford didn’t know this, except that would mean his lawyer was incompetent or he didn’t listen to his lawyer. And that doesn’t explain why Stollznow’s past history figures prominently in the complaint; it brings up friction behind the scenes on MonsterTalk (5,16,38-39), that sealed report alleging domestic violence (16), emails from their early relationship (26 a-d), suggestions of jealousy on Stollznow’s part (26d), and motives of vengeance (42,45).

    This is why I was saying that the lawsuit seemed dubious to me. Instead of pointing to all the damage to his reputation and the falsity of the allegations, he seems to be relying on Stollznow’s behaviour in all other areas not related to him. It’s like he’s trying to prove a pattern, without actually pointing to any behaviour towards himself that is *part* of that pattern. Something akin to creationism: there’s gaps in the fossil record therefore the age of the earth isn’t what scientists say it is. It’s almost a non sequitur. Once again, it comes back to a ‘nut and slut’ strategy.

    Establishing constitutional malice isn’t necessary for defamation, but it is necessary if you want putative damages. That means the line about “ten fold the amount of actual damages” (52) wasn’t just something tacked on, as I assumed earlier, it’s a core part of the case. It explains why all this seemingly unnecessary fluff is present, as Radford needs it to show constitutional malice, and why the complaint goes out of its way to impinge motives on Stollznow:

    It also means that it isn’t speculation to say Radford’s main purpose of that lawsuit is to punish Stollznow, it’s explicitly stated within the lawsuit. If Radford got his way, only 9% of the damages would be for his loss of reputation and emotional suffering; the remainder would be punishment, “to deter her from ever engaging in such conduct again” (52). Even if all these extras related to putative damage are just padding, never intended to be successful at trial, the only good hypothesis for them being there is to punish Stollznow.

    I expect this also comes back to painting Radford as a public figure, which again can backfire on him. It means it’s harder to prove defamation. It’s also why I was surprised at the large amount of money he was asking for damages, posted further above. It doesn’t at all seem realistic to me, which comes back to… sounds like harassment via lawsuit to me. I really can’t see a judge saying “yep, she’s vindictive now let’s make her pay $10 million as deterrence”. If there was a pattern of her making false claims and defaming people, maybe. But for just one incident? I doubt it. Which is probably why he’s so reliant on painting her as the abusive girlfriend.

    It makes it much tougher to defend that website as a mere attempt “to set the record straight and correct misperceptions about this matter,” as Radford puts it, completely beside the fact that the website appears to create misperceptions and muddy the record.

    That’s why I was wondering why you would post it at all. If I post my criminal record online, I don’t get to yell about defamation when some newspaper then uses a copy to report on my criminal background. Granted Radford didn’t start the ball rolling, but he’s basically making it worse for himself by continually posting more information – would anyone be paying half as much attention if it weren’t for the fact that he posted records and now we get to look at them? I mean how many forums and blogs are now devoted to picking apart these allegations and emails? He’s just put *more* eyes on him, not less.

    Unfortunately, the complaint never quotes directly from CFI’s investigation, preferring to paraphrase without page/paragraph references, so we’ve got no detail on what Stollznow claimed other than what Radford says she’s claimed.

    Radford will quote specific emails, and parts of Stollznow’s blog post, but as I mentioned above I can’t find a single direct quote from CFI’s report. Nor does he always make it clear where he’s pulling his claims from:

    Can you point me to the quotes of Stollznow’s blog post? I must have missed them or don’t remember reading them. If they are there then you can tweak the below accordingly:

    Exactly what I’m saying: if he was citing the CFI report, then that was confidential information between him, Stollznow, the investigators and CFI. Therefore, not in public consumption, therefore not defamation. If CFI made an announcement about his suspension, then that’s not defamation as it was the truth; whether based on false information or not.

    If he was citing emails between Stollznow and himself (or Stollznow’s husband) then that is the same as above. Not in public, so can’t be defamation.

    If he was citing the blog post or any other public document written by Stollznow, then that would be defamatory; but I don’t recall any specific citations of such (ie. actual quotes and not just pointing to the post and saying it is defamatory; he has to say what facts are specifically wrong). If he was citing something written by someone else, then he’s suing the wrong person.

    In other words, no matter what he’s citing, it can’t possibly be in his favour. If he’s not specifically citing anything or it’s unclear what he’s referencing when making claims, then it’s vague no matter *what* he’s citing … which smacks of harassment via lawsuit.

    I don’t even think the emails are important. Another skim over Stollznow’s blog post reveals only one explicit mention of emails: “I provided access to my email account.” Most of her complaints of harassment were in personal interactions and those with colleagues. Showing there was no email-based harassment only wipes out a small portion of what Stollznow claimed.

    I should have been clearer. I was saying that in my opinion, everything Radford has provided has been irrelevant or vague at best; the emails are the only things that even come close to having ‘evidence’ of anything except they once had a relationship. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the only ‘proof’ that Radford has provided that Stollznow is defaming him.

    Even what he does reveal comes across as harassing. Open up that Flashback report, and look at the screenshots for Item C. Radford is writing long essays, pining for love; Stollznow is almost writing back in point-form sentences.

    That sounds familiar. Almost like something I said.

    :)

    So far, we have more evidence to suggest Radford is misleading people via email, than we have to suggest the same from Stollznow.

    I agree.

    To me, Stollznow comes across as looking for a deep, long-term commitment but is willing to play and explore, which fits in with your hypothesis.

    See, I think it’s more ambiguous than that. Stollznow says:

    As for what’s going on in my head, I think I was pretty upfront about that until the point where I realised my feelings weren’t reciprocated.

    I can easily translate that to: I was pretty upfront about the fact that I wanted you to back off, until I realised my feelings weren’t being reciprocated.

    In other words, I told you to back off, you’re not listening, so why bother continually telling you what’s in my head?

    Maybe that’s a stretch, but there were a number of things in those emails that could be read different ways. And this is why I’d prefer complete context to those emails. What Radford provides seems to be intentionally trying to get us to infer meaning, when the meaning actually isn’t all that clear. It’s never explicit. It does not prove anything except what Radford is trying to imply. Which is why full emails and the complete discussion thread would provide more context.

  318. Ann says

    Can you point me to the quotes of Stollznow’s blog post?

    There’s a lengthy excerpt (described as containing “the most germane accusations”) at the beginning of the “Overview” section of his website.

    This is why I was saying that the lawsuit seemed dubious to me. Instead of pointing to all the damage to his reputation and the falsity of the allegations, he seems to be relying on Stollznow’s behaviour in all other areas not related to him. It’s like he’s trying to prove a pattern, without actually pointing to any behaviour towards himself that is *part* of that pattern.

    I think the above-board point is mostly to paint a thorough-going picture of falsity and unreliability on her part, the former being a requisite qualification for the allegedly defamatory statements.

    And possibly there’s nothing more to it than the above board.

    However. Hypothetically speaking, a person who just wanted to make sure to get even with someone whom he or she felt had made potentially career-and-repuation-damaging personal information about him/her available on the internet in an eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth type of a way would likely focus on the same sorts of incidents as the arrests, relationship strife, and sexual conduct.

    And so would someone who wanted to exert maximum pressure to gain a retraction or some such concession in settlement negotiations.

    Seriously. If there’s one thing the emails on that website demonstrate, it’s that subtle tactical ploys are not Radford’s strong suit.

    I mean, look at that thing he wrote to Blake Smith/Stollznow, which his website characterizes as asking “for more professional cooperation and communication from Stollznow.”

    It does nothing of the kind. There’s no indication whatsoever that a lack of cooperation or communication is impeding the ability of anyone involved to put together a professional podcast in any way, shape or form. Radford doesn’t claim to be too overworked to handle his responsibilities without more input and assistance. And even if he were, the professional thing to do about it would have been to ask to have his workload reduced. There’s no reason for him to drag what Stollznow was or wasn’t doing to into the matter at all.

    It’s therefore blatantly evident that he’s launching a personal attack on her professionalism because he’s pissed off that she de-friended him on Facebook and changed her email.

    He just doesn’t have the emotional self-discipline for Macchievellian subtlety. It’s more like he aims to strike a blow, reaches for whatever’s handy, and tells himself it’s clever enough to do. So I think looking for the fine, strategic sense behind this or that element of the complaint and/or website is probably a lost cause.

    Plus, he apparently didn’t expect the litigation to go forward, originally. Under those circumstances, the complaint wouldn’t have to do more than look plausible enough to make it possible that a judge wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand without a hearing.

    And given that he’s presently raising money for expenses already incurred, it’s possible (maybe even likely) that he still doesn’t expect (and can’t, in fact, afford) to go to court. If that’s the case, the reasoning might be that the website is either worth the risk as a fundraising aid, or there’s nothing to risk.

    Exactly what I’m saying: if he was citing the CFI report, then that was confidential information between him, Stollznow, the investigators and CFI. Therefore, not in public consumption, therefore not defamation.

    Right. Precisely. That’s what I was trying to say earlier. If the details about her alleged accusation that he cites come from the investigation, then he’s in an absurd and untenable position.*** But I don’t really see where else they could come from. If she slandered or libeled him in public, the people who comprised that public would have talked. I mean….Most of the details his argument is based on have never been published before. And a defamation complaint is not supposed to be full of never-hitherto-revealed news about what was said. For obvious reasons.

    ***Unless he can prove that the dates on those emails were intentionally falsified and that they were the foundational cornerstone of the investigation, in which case it would really be a graver offense than defamation, actually. But whatever. An argument could be made. I believe. IANAL.

  319. Flip the second says

    @Ann

    There’s a lengthy excerpt (described as containing “the most germane accusations”) at the beginning of the “Overview” section of his website.

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I meant quotes from the blog post in the lawsuit – since that’s the only thing that will matter in a court, outside of including his website as an exhibit. My comments are only ever referring to the lawsuit; it doesn’t matter if he’s quoting parts on his website if he’s not also doing it in the lawsuit.

    I think the above-board point is mostly to paint a thorough-going picture of falsity and unreliability on her part, the former being a requisite qualification for the allegedly defamatory statements.

    Yes. But it’s still painting a pattern without being able to prove that she is unreliable in this case. It’s a “boy who cried wolf” situation, where just because you were lying once doesn’t mean you’re lying now.

    He just doesn’t have the emotional self-discipline for Macchievellian subtlety. It’s more like he aims to strike a blow, reaches for whatever’s handy, and tells himself it’s clever enough to do. So I think looking for the fine, strategic sense behind this or that element of the complaint and/or website is probably a lost cause.

    I agree. And I don’t actually think there is any good strategy here, which is why the lawsuit fascinates me so much; it just seems like it’s perfect for an anti-SLAPP suit in return.

    Most of the details his argument is based on have never been published before. And a defamation complaint is not supposed to be full of never-hitherto-revealed news about what was said. For obvious reasons.

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

  320. Hj Hornbeck says

    Hmm, that comment of mine is still stuck in moderation? Admittedly, part of it looked quite closely at Stollznow’s arrest report and talked about what it painted of their relationship at the time. It squicked me out a bit to write it, but it also provided strong evidence against Radford’s claims.

    If the delay is due to your own misgivings about posting that comment, Thibeault, just delete it. The analysis it contains isn’t worth any level of moral agony on your part. You can also delete my last comment, even though it did go through the queue, as it too shaves close towards that moral gray area. I can easily thumbnail the contents of that queued comment:

    Radford claims six incidents demonstrate Stollznow has a history of false allegations. Only one exists in the complaint (see 26r), and as its evidence comes from a private phone conversation about the only thing I can say is that it’s probably a miscommunication. One is technically true but very misleading; one could easily be explained by miscommunication; one defies analysis and with only great reluctance do I suggest that Radford may have falsified it; and one is only true if you consider a man’s testimony to be inerrant.

    And then comes Paden’s blog post. While Radford endorses it, a careful read demonstrates that at least one of Baxter, Radford, or Paden is almost certainly lying about that situation.

  321. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ann @355:

    The 2012 email is, I believe the last one on the second page of “fradulent” emails. (I figured out that it’s the last three that are from 2012, but I don’t remember how.)

    Dang, I can’t figure that one out myself. If you remember, please post it here.

    She (apparently) refers to it in one of the emails included in the Flashback report, saying (of her husband-to-be) something like, “If he did what I did, it would be over.”

    It’s item C 3-5:

    [Baxter] and I have a lot to work through, but I’m willing. It’s worth it. If he did what I did it’d be over instantly for me, but I did what I did with encouragement. I will say this though, is [if] he did what you did, it’d be over instantly too…

    What Radford did is never clarified. Radford calls himself “the colleague and one who hurt you,” and mentions their “relations went FUBAR through a series of real and imagined slights and miscommunications.” If I had to guess, I’d hypothesize Stollznow learned Radford was sleeping around, which would suggest Stollznow’s action done “with encouragement” was sleeping with Radford while she was with Baxter.

    That’s why I think it wasn’t the exact same proposition. Maybe part of an open-relationship, taste-of-your-own-medicine-type exercise or something of that nature.

    Maybe, but that seems out of character for Stollznow. She mentions an engagement to Baxter as early as May 2010, roughly eight months after they met (C 3-5), but their relationship sounds like it was stormy for at least a year after. Add in their early emails (26b in the complaint especially), and I think that signals she attaches very strongly to people, and is looking for commitment and exclusivity.

    That does make April 2010 tough to explain, for me at least. I still agree with you and Flip @341, there isn’t any sign of excitement in the emails that set up that encounter. She was feeling quite strongly for Baxter at the time. Something was driving her to Radford (perhaps referenced in “I did what I did with encouragement”), and it wasn’t an attraction to Radford.

    Whatever it was, I doubt we’ll find out in Radford’s emails.

  322. Ann says

    That does make April 2010 tough to explain, for me at least.

    I think the explanation is simply that she loved her fiance enough to try to change for him.

    Same for him in relationship to her, probably. It seems like that was why there was a stormy adjustment period.

  323. Hj Hornbeck says

    Whoops, I see I missed a few updates at Ben Radford’s legal fundraiser. No time for analysis, alas:

    04/11/14: What started as a private disagreement between two prominent skeptics involved in a relationship is tearing the skeptical community apart. There are growing pains in any sustained movement and friendships are forged and broken. Many of us know the people involved personally and find it difficult to support one because that would be at the expense of the other. Many people took sides before any evidence became available, and are fighting the all-too-human tendency to dig heels deeper because they have already taken a stance.

    Ben tried repeatedly to resolve this issue privately, but was ultimately forced to file a lawsuit to clear his name. After reading http://www.benrlegal.info and considering the evidence, I hope you will return here and donate to his legal fund. Having truth and evidence on your side is not enough; legal representation is enormously expensive, and Ben and his family have spent almost $30,000 (as of this writing) in an effort to clear a name and reputation that he has spent 20 years building, and that cost increases by the week. Skeptics pride themselves on being able to consider evidence, and being aware of (and trying to eliminate) bias as much as possible. Whatever our personal agenda, one of our members has convincing evidence that allegations against him are false, and he has endured ruinous legal and professional costs in an effort to clear his name. Please help Ben fight for justice and fight these false accusations. Please give generously!

    04/26/14: Update! Earlier this week a radio show host and former friend of Karen Stollznow’s husband, Daniel “Reap” Paden, came forward to talk about his own personal experience of being falsely accused by Karen of sexual harassment. He wrote, in part, “I don’t know Ben Radford very well. I actually met him because of his dispute with Karen Stollznow…. I have seen Karen claiming to have been an innocent victim but from my experience Karen is not the type to be a victim. She will do/say anything needed to keep from taking responsibility and she is vindictive…. Personally I would question anything that Karen Stollznow says. She obviously has the ability to fabricate whatever story she needs to in order to avoid taking responsibility for her actions….I think it is safe to assume it was not the first time she has acted out in such a way. In my opinion I find it hard to believe that Karen is an innocent victim of Ben Radford’s. I would find it more likely the other way around. I certainly did nothing to deserve the treatment I received from Karen.” You can read his blog post here: http://atheiststoday.com/blogs/reapercussions/?p=11679. If you haven’t seen Ben’s web site giving detailed responses to Stollznow’s accusations, you can see it here: http://benrlegal.info/. Sexual harassment is a serious issue, and deserves attention. By the same token, innocent people being falsely accused of sexual harassment is also a serious issue and deserves attention. Ben has tried to avoid appealing to social justice crowds for support; he has no interest in being the poster boy for false accusations of sexual harassment. He is not trying to ruin anyone’s career.He is not trying to silence victims of harassment.All he wants, all he has ever asked for, is to have his name cleared. It’s April 26, and we have raised just over $8,000. Ben and I are enormously grateful for the support so far, but we’re still shy of our goal. To put this in perspective, $10,000 will help pay for about one-quarter of Ben’s legal expenses to date—and the expenses will only climb in the months ahead. Lawyers in cases like this don’t work on contingency: it’s pay-as-you-go, and even when he wins his case, it will only begin to reimburse the costs his family will have had to endure to pursue this defamation case. We have four days left to raise $1,800, and ask you to help us reach that goal. If we don’t, the money raised so far will still go to Ben’s lawyers, but the site takes a much larger percentage. Please consider a donation and give what you can. Every little bit helps! If helping an innocent man clear himself of false accusations isn’t a good enough cause, what is?

    I’m shocked Radford and his allies have endorsed Paden’s account. Doesn’t anyone else see the glaring contradiction between that account and Baxter/Radford’s?

  324. says

    HJ: FYI, the mod queue was only triggered by the existence of 3+ links in that comment. I’d been neglecting the mod queue over the weekend, not intentionally withholding that comment.

  325. says

    I will note that there’s a theme of painting polyamory as being a “naughty” behaviour in this strategy attempting to paint Stollznow as a “psycho”. Frankly, if Stollznow and Baxter have arranged a polyamorous relationship and their boundaries are defined and consented-to amongst themselves, despite that initial rocky period, good on them. It’s none of our concern. It doesn’t prejudice me against the idea that Radford harassed her beyond the boundaries of Radford’s and Stollznow’s relationship, though — not one whit. On the contrary, it suggests to me that Radford is not comfortable with the boundaries that were set by Stollznow and that he thought Baxter/Stollznow’s polyamorous relationship was enough to prejudice courts against her.

    And that may be the case. And if that’s the case, I will rail at the injustice of the case being decided primarily by prejudices against polyamory.

    (And the people on the other side of the great rift call us feminists sex-negative prudes… I get no end of both bemusement and amusement from that claim.)

  326. says

    I’m reminded that Stollznow described Radford’s strategy in the CFI investigation as “nut and slut”. Sounds exactly like what he’s doing now.

  327. Hj Hornbeck says

    Thibeault @365:

    I figured that at first, but as other posts and comments piled up over the weekend I wandered into alternate explanations. My bad!

  328. Hj Hornbeck says

    I’ve gotta thank Mattke and Radford, I’m learning quite a bit from their updates. For instance, they make a pretty big deal out of Paden’s account, in fact it takes up about half the update. As almost every skeptic knows, though, eyewitness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence, and as a skeptic investigator Radford should be more likely than most to know this. If Paden’s evidence is worth so much to Radford, that suggests he has little faith in the evidence he does have, evidence which includes CFI’s report, forensic investigations, and raw emails. That’s above and beyond the contradiction I pointed out earlier (#354).

    On the other hand, we have this:

    Ben has tried to avoid appealing to social justice crowds for support; he has no interest in being the poster boy for false accusations of sexual harassment.

    So Radford’s evidence is so strong, he doesn’t want to become famous because of it, or earn money for his legal offense fund? And who asked him why he wasn’t appealing to “social justice crowds?” This is a message to someone, presumably a critic, who lobbed that very question at Radford.

    To put this in perspective, $10,000 will help pay for about one-quarter of Ben’s legal expenses to date—and the expenses will only climb in the months ahead.

    Last time we checked in, on April 11th, his legal expenses were “almost $30,000;” fifteen days later, he’s around $40,000. Even if we’re generous and assume he divided $10,000 by $34,000 then rounded 29.4% to 25%, that’s still over $800 every three days. Either his lawyer is stupidly expensive, or he’s still paying other investigators (although given he went through his lawyer for both that email authentication and the forensics on the photograph, that may be a distinction without difference), or he’s doing some flaky math.

    We have four days left to raise $1,800, and ask you to help us reach that goal. If we don’t, the money raised so far will still go to Ben’s lawyers, but the site takes a much larger percentage.

    True that, if Radford/Mattke don’t reach their goal Rockethub will take an 8% cut instead of 4%. If we assume it comes just shy of the $10,000 target, however, that translates into a $400 loss. That’s very small compared to what he’s already spent (no more than 1.1% if we go with the charitable number above), let alone what’s to come, so why mention it? I’m guessing he just thought it would spur on more donations, and did no more analysis than “8% is twice the size of 4%.”

    Please consider a donation and give what you can. Every little bit helps! If helping an innocent man clear himself of false accusations isn’t a good enough cause, what is?

    Between the last item, this one, and the mention of Radford’s family as a source of funds, I’m still getting a “help me, I don’t have any money!” vibe. Still more evidence he either leaped before he looked, or didn’t think this case would move past pre-trial negotiations.

  329. says

    Hj Hornbeck, it looks to me like RocketHub also takes a 4% cut for credit card processing, regardless of how many donations came in via credit cards (the FAQ suggests that credit and debit cards are the only options). So it’s really a 12% fee vs. an 8% fee. And as of this writing, Radford has 24 hours and 1 minute left to get another $489 in order to get the lower fee. He’s made over two grand in the last week, so it’s likely he’ll squeak over the line.

  330. Hj Hornbeck says

    I shouldn’t be writing this comment, as I have messages to reply to and work to do elsewhere, but when I popped open Radford’s photo authentication report my jaw hit the floor. Here’s how that person checked the dates of those photographs:

    Though the origînal images were no longer contained on the Olympus camera’s memory card (having been taken nearly four years ago), the creation dates of the image files indicate that the photographs could not have been taken any later than that[sic] April 19, 2010, and is consistent with Mr. Radford’s claim that the images were taken on April 16. While it is technically possible to falsify such file creation data, I found no evidence of any manipulation and believe them to be correct and accurate.

    Problem: bits are bits. They do not store when they were altered, and you can’t examine the 1’s and 0’s directly. We already know Radford is capable of editing the creation date, thanks to Thibeault, so Radford could have easily shifted around that date to almost whenever he wanted. As the image information is untouched, this could only be detected with certainty if the camera embedded an encoded checksum into the photograph, but you would only find this feature on high-end DSLRs and certainly not a ten-year-old point-and-shoot.

    There are still other ways to authenticate the time a photo was taken; besides hot pixel analysis, you could also extract the angle of the sun and work backwards with the help of astronomy software (Marcus Ranum and I covered this part before, in greater detail). The person who checked that photo didn’t do any of those things, and at any rate the photos either had an overexposed background or were taken indoors. I also can’t find any hot pixels, either because JPEG compression or some internal processing hid them.

    While I seriously doubt Radford would have digitally manipulated the photos, the methods the investigator used look nothing like what real forensic investigators would employ. There’s a good reason for that:

    I am a professional visual effects artist with 6 years of experience. I’ve worked on several prime time TV series, and have extensive experience with photographic image manipulation including Adobe Photoshop, Eyeon Fusion, The Foundry Nuke, and Newtek Lîghtwave. This includes both photographic and video media.

    The person who did the authentication is an artist, with no background in forensics. Those software packages are, skipping the obvious one, a sophisticated video compositor, another sophisticated video compositor, and a 3D renderer.

    That report is useless, Radford could have easily fudged the dates on those photos to a time that suited him, and Stollznow’s lawyer should have no difficulty tossing it in the waste bin. The only parts I find interesting are two extra characters:

    The other photos from inside the hotel room match the look and style of the Club Quarters San Francisco. I went to their websîte, and did an image search on Google to compare the details. The curtains, walls, comforter, artwork, lamps, and headboard are all similar to the images that I found.

    This supports Blaskiewicz’s assertion that there are more photos taken from inside the hotel room in Radford’s possession. Hopefully he doesn’t get desperate enough to release them.

  331. Hj Hornbeck says

    Dave W @370:

    it looks to me like RocketHub also takes a 4% cut for credit card processing, regardless of how many donations came in via credit cards

    D’oh, you’re right! Lemmie do a quick correction of my last comment:

    True that, if Radford/Mattke don’t reach their goal Rockethub will take a 12% cut instead of 8%. If we assume it comes just shy of the $10,000 target, however, that translates into a $400 loss. That’s very small compared to what he’s already spent (no more than 1.1% if we go with the charitable number above), let alone what’s to come, so why mention it? I’m guessing he just thought it would spur on more donations, and did no more analysis than “12% is one and a half times the size of 8%.”

    Hmm, that just makes it less plausible he misjudged the loss.

    And as of this writing, Radford has 24 hours and 1 minute left to get another $489 in order to get the lower fee. He’s made over two grand in the last week, so it’s likely he’ll squeak over the line.

    Agreed. I spotted an odd change, too; the first wave of funders were close friends, the second wave were SlymePitters, the third wave were MRAs (and maybe a few SlymePitters), and a few days ago a fourth wave of skeptics and SlymePitters began (plus GirlWritesWhat, oddly enough). Radford or Mattke must be passing the collection plate around privately, hoping to scare up further funds, and the SlymePit are probably doing a second round of collection themselves.

    Also, heads up, I’ve got another comment in the mod queue.

  332. Flip the second says

    @363

    Quoting the legal fund:

    Ben tried repeatedly to resolve this issue privately, but was ultimately forced to file a lawsuit to clear his name.

    Huh? If you are defamed in public, you can’t ‘resolve it privately’.

    Paden, came forward to talk about his own personal experience of being falsely accused by Karen of sexual harassment.

    That’s also not what’s happened. Paden came forward to give his own personal experience of *being harassed* by Karen, not of her falsely accusing him of harassment. At least, that’s how I read the post.

    Last time we checked in, on April 11th, his legal expenses were “almost $30,000;” fifteen days later, he’s around $40,000. Even if we’re generous and assume he divided $10,000 by $34,000 then rounded 29.4% to 25%, that’s still over $800 every three days.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Lawyers are darn expensive.

    Between the last item, this one, and the mention of Radford’s family as a source of funds, I’m still getting a “help me, I don’t have any money!” vibe. Still more evidence he either leaped before he looked, or didn’t think this case would move past pre-trial negotiations.

    Given the fact that he’s looking for a huge payout from the lawsuit (punitive damages) I don’t think it’s anymore than “I can’t afford it now, but boy it will payoff huge later”. Sort of the same thinking that says, “I’m poor but I’ll buy this lottery ticket because there’s a chance I’ll win a million dollars”.

    By the way: the legal fund surpassed the $10 000 mark.

  333. Hj Hornbeck says

    All right, back to the past:

    Flip the second @357

    This is why I was saying that the lawsuit seemed dubious to me. Instead of pointing to all the damage to his reputation and the falsity of the allegations, he seems to be relying on Stollznow’s behaviour in all other areas not related to him.

    He does attempt some of that in the complaint, for instance Radford mentions poisoned Google searches and angry emails threatening boycotts(13), but he doesn’t give more detail than that and can only come up with “almost certain” losses. It’s a start, I’ll grant, but he’ll need more if he wants a large damage award.

    I expect this also comes back to painting Radford as a public figure, which again can backfire on him. It means it’s harder to prove defamation.

    Except he’s not even taking that angle. Look at (54) again:

    Accordingly, she is guilty of constitutional malice in the context of the law of defamation and it is immaterial whether Radford is determined to be a public or non-public figure for purposes of this law suit.

    His entire strategy revolves around proving Stollznow is a serial liar, worthy of massive punitive damages (but not worthy of a criminal defamation case, even though that’s an option in New Mexico). He’s not climbing a steep hill so much as a cliff face.

    Granted Radford didn’t start the ball rolling, but he’s basically making it worse for himself by continually posting more information – would anyone be paying half as much attention if it weren’t for the fact that he posted records and now we get to look at them? I mean how many forums and blogs are now devoted to picking apart these allegations and emails? He’s just put *more* eyes on him, not less.

    Even worse, Radford’s also put more eyes on Stollznow. One form of defamation is violating someone’s right to privacy, revealing information about them that isn’t in the public interest. By yanking that revenge porn photo, he’s essentially admitted it had no public interest and handed Stollznow a “free” counter-suit for defamation. By posting sealed arrest records publically when he could have revealed them privately during the pre-trial and trial phases, he’s almost certainly added to that counter-suit. By building that “history of false accusation” page, then populating it with poorly-evidenced claims and refusing to use much of it in his case, he’s added quite a bit to a defamation counter-suit.

    Her claim of defamation against him is far stronger than his case against her, and the only thing stopping her from filing is money and willpower. As of now, she seems to have plenty of both.

    Can you point me to the quotes of Stollznow’s blog post? I must have missed them or don’t remember reading them. If they are there then you can tweak the below accordingly:

    Paragraph 21 has a good selection, but I don’t need to tweak much.

    Exactly what I’m saying: if he was citing the CFI report, then that was confidential information between him, Stollznow, the investigators and CFI. Therefore, not in public consumption, therefore not defamation.

    Ah, but Radford is making three claims against Stollznow: defamation (53), fraud (56), and contract interference (63). What counts as defamation isn’t declared in his summary at the end, but the fraud part explicitly mentions the CFI report and the interference mentions her emails to various skeptic organizations, so presumably defamation only applies to the blog post. Of course, it also counts as another example of vagueness in a legal document, and as you put it:

    If he’s not specifically citing anything or it’s unclear what he’s referencing when making claims, then it’s vague no matter *what* he’s citing … which smacks of harassment via lawsuit.

    Yep. We keep finding support for that hypothesis, from multiple angles.

    That sounds familiar. Almost like something I said.

    Ack! Sorry about that, but it’s getting tough to keep track of all the details of this case, let alone what other people have said of it. :P

    Maybe that’s a stretch, but there were a number of things in those emails that could be read different ways. And this is why I’d prefer complete context to those emails. What Radford provides seems to be intentionally trying to get us to infer meaning, when the meaning actually isn’t all that clear. It’s never explicit. It does not prove anything except what Radford is trying to imply. Which is why full emails and the complete discussion thread would provide more context.

    Radford gets partial credit for posting entire threads, but you’ve got a point; there’s still critical information missing. There were 956 emails sent between Radford and Stollznow between January 2009 and December 2012, according to Flashback’s report. Cool, but when were they sent? All at the start, or spread out? I’ve generated forty messages a day while flirting back and forth with one woman, so it’s not hard to front-load that total. And what was in those messages? Were there 900 consentual love letters, 900 polite single-sentence replies to long essays of Radford, or 900 variations on “leave me alone, stalker?” It’s suspicious too that half are sent to Radford’s CFI address and half to his personal one.

    You have to dig to find any reference to how those emails are distributed, and guess what?

    From mid-2011 onward, communication between Radford and Stollznow became much less frequent and far more formal, the content almost exclusively professional (mostly podcast-related) topics, with occasional friendly exchanges. By late 2012 there was very little communication between the two at all, and in fact Stollznow would often completely ignore Radford’s rare e-mails, despite their entirely professional, work-related content. (32)

    That detail isn’t mentioned by Radford on his website, but he does give us that impressive email count, and without being told how they’re distributed our tendency is to spread that number evenly. Yet again, we find a difference between the complaint and the website, and yet again it works in Radford’s favor.

    Once again, it comes back to a ‘nut and slut’ strategy.

    I really hate tossing the villain ball at Radford. Part of the reason why I’m going into so much depth is to challenge my initial assumption that Radford was out for revenge, and just using this lawsuit as a means of punishment. As the case falls to tatters in my hands, though, I’m having a tough time steering clear of the phrase “nut and slut.” It fits remarkably well, from the “former lover” rephrasing to the endorsement of Paden’s contradictory narrative.

  334. Ann says

    During my phone call to Baxter I informed him it was my opinion that his girlfriend was a psycho and possibly an insane maniac.

    I love it that he says that as if he were making a nuanced clinical distinction.

    Those MRA-ish-type guys are such fragile, alarmist, little blossoms, aren’t they? The least little thing just spooks them out completely.

  335. Flip the second says

    @373

    He does attempt some of that in the complaint, for instance Radford mentions poisoned Google searches and angry emails threatening boycotts(13), but he doesn’t give more detail than that and can only come up with “almost certain” losses.

    You’re right. I overstated, because he does point to ‘damage’ of his reputation, though I still maintain that he’s not really done much to prove that there has been actual harm caused by her. It comes back to *other* people naming him, not Stollznow.

    Except he’s not even taking that angle. Look at (54) again:

    I didn’t say he was. I said that Stollznow’s lawyers could take advantage of the fact that he makes himself sound like a public figure by maintaining that he’s an important person within a large community, with a high media profile by working with mainstream media.

    One might (IANAL) suggest that if he’s that prominent then the bar could be higher for proving malice.

    He’s not climbing a steep hill so much as a cliff face.

    Agreed.

    Even worse, Radford’s also put more eyes on Stollznow. One form of defamation is violating someone’s right to privacy, revealing information about them that isn’t in the public interest.

    Yes, something I neglected to mention. It’s a stupid tactic and I’m surprised any lawyer would agree to it.

    Paragraph 21 has a good selection, but I don’t need to tweak much.

    Ok, yeah I retract what I was saying about no citations from the blog post itself in the lawsuit. (Damn stupid short-term memory!) I’m not sure what I think about it now, but regardless, I consider the lawsuit as not as water-tight as he thinks.

    Ah, but Radford is making three claims against Stollznow: defamation (53), fraud (56), and contract interference (63). What counts as defamation isn’t declared in his summary at the end, but the fraud part explicitly mentions the CFI report and the interference mentions her emails to various skeptic organizations, so presumably defamation only applies to the blog post.

    You’re right. I don’t see how he proves defamation against her though, if the only thing that it’s applicable to is her blog post, and that didn’t mention names. If he wants to sue someone, shouldn’t he sue the people who jumped to conclusions and started naming names?

    It’s like he only thinks in a false dichotomy: either the blog post was about me and I did it, or it was about me and I didn’t do anything. It’s like he’s purposefully avoiding the idea that it could actually be about someone else. Why isn’t Radford screaming at the people who named him, and insist that Stollznow was really talking about someone else, and how dare everyone assume that he’s the only possible culprit?

    Ack! Sorry about that, but it’s getting tough to keep track of all the details of this case, let alone what other people have said of it.

    No problems. Obviously I’m having the same issues myself. :)

    As the case falls to tatters in my hands, though, I’m having a tough time steering clear of the phrase “nut and slut.” It fits remarkably well, from the “former lover” rephrasing to the endorsement of Paden’s contradictory narrative.

    Yeah, I was trying to avoid it too. It was mostly out of response to the Paden account, but yeah I’m attempting to avoid being biased either way. Hence me owning up to being stupidly wrong about remembering the lawsuit citations. I’m glad you’re keeping my statements in check :)

    @Ann

    I love it that he says that as if he were making a nuanced clinical distinction.

    See my link above about Dunning-Kruger. It is a reference to Miri’s blog, where she gets pissed off about laymen giving psychological advice when it comes to talking about mental health, bullying, etc.

  336. says

    Reap Paden has posted at me on his Google Plus wall despite my having blocked him basically everywhere else. I’ve blocked him there now too.

    Jason Thibeault allow me to remind you – You don’t know me, you don’t want to know me and if I were you I ‘d seriously consider shutting the hole under my nose because I’m not happy about you misrepresenting my intentions or credibility. I don’t lie fuckwit so shut up or at least show the testicular fortitude to talk shit directly to me… somehow I doubt that will happen given your past disinterest in resolving issues. You would rather pretend you have psychic powers and assume to know what people are thinking. Grow up Jason, this isn’t high school it way past time you realized it.

    I replied:

    In high school, bullies like you intimidated me. Not so much any more. If you’re wondering why so many people consider you a terrible human being, look to your own behaviour.

    For the last time, Paden, leave me alone.

    I have no doubt in my mind he’ll seek me out in other ways. In fact, I have no reason to believe that Led, who posted earlier, wasn’t explicitly sent by Paden to drop that link here (knowing he himself is banned here for repeated personal abuse, and is persona non grata as far as I’m concerned).

  337. Hj Hornbeck says

    Paden via Thibeault @377:

    You don’t know me, you don’t want to know me and if I were you I‘d seriously consider shutting the hole under my nose because I’m not happy about you misrepresenting my intentions or credibility. I don’t lie fuckwit so shut up or at least show the testicular fortitude to talk shit directly to me… somehow I doubt that will happen given your past disinterest in resolving issues.

    As I’ll mention below, as far as I can tell the only person being critical of Paden’s blog post is me, and even then I only pointed out a contradiction, not that Paden had lied. It doesn’t speak highly of his credibility if he can’t even figure out the proper person to harass for a statement that was never made. And geez, this is now the second time my words have caused you grief, Thibeault! I’ll buy you a pint when our paths next cross.

    I’m also a bit insulted at the insinuation that I’m just a sock of you; if anyone can lay claim to being a puppetmaster, it’s me.

    My comment pointing out the contradiction between Baxter/Radford’s account and Paden’s was written on the 25th, and while I hinted at the problem in a few later comments, no full description hit this page until the morning of the 28th.

    The evening of the 28th, the following comment appeared under Paden’s blog post (emphasis mine):

    Beth Hendrick: I was Reaps girlfriend at the time, and felt the need to speak up on his behalf. I was sitting with him through the entire conversation. I was the designated driver, so I noticed karen was tipsy, and from what I remember she was drinking hard cider. I remember her talking about her boyfriends fetish, and it seemed personal but I considered it was the alcohol talking. She became more vocal and agitated about her boyfriend, she is the one that told Reap that he was the person her boyfriend wanted her to be with. Reap said he wanted no part in it. She became more belligerent and wanting to end the discussion persuaded her to step outside. She never spoke of Reap having any sexual conversations with her at any time. She then announced he was an asshole, and left with another party. She was extremely intoxicated, and I feel her recollection is muddied due to alcohol.

    Uh, maybe one person was critical of Paden in that thread, though it could easily have been a satiric, and anyway this comment wasn’t a reply to it. A quick Google search reveals an equal lack of critics elsewhere. The only person “attacking” Paden’s account has been me, as far as I can tell. That comment came three days after the conversation died over there, too, but within a day of my comment going public.

    Note too how precisely it undercuts my explanation; Stollznow’s motivation comes from her desire to please her boyfriend, not from herself as my interpretation of Paden’s post claimed, and this comment places that motivation in a way that doesn’t contradict Paden’s narrative.

    And then, this morning, Radford updated his legal website, endorsing that comment less than two days after it was made. No-one here had spotted it, and Radford had no expectation of seeing another comment on Paden’s blog, so how did he discover it? This comment quite conveniently patched the problem his endorsement of Paden’s account had created, problems that only one lowly commenter near the end of a three-hundred comment thread had noticed.

    I’m flattered I have that much influence.

    But I myself wasn’t that truthful earlier on, as the new comment does contradict Radford’s and Paden’s narrative:

    I was the designated driver, so I noticed karen was tipsy, and from what I remember she was drinking hard cider. I remember her talking about her boyfriends fetish, and it seemed personal but I considered it was the alcohol talking. […] She then announced he was an asshole, and left with another party. She was extremely intoxicated, and I feel her recollection is muddied due to alcohol.

    The italicized parts are portions of that comment that Radford didn’t quote, and add details Paden never mentioned. Note that they emphasize how drunk Stollznow was. That’s critical, because we don’t include intoxicants when judging people’s sanity. No-one would call me “psycho” if I acted wildly while drunk, and no-one would call someone with extreme paranoid schizophrenia “neurotypical” if their medication rendered them perfectly sane. By leaving out any mention of Stollznow’s alcohol consumption, both Paden and (to a lesser extent) Radford were removing the strongest excuse for her unruly behavior, stacking the evidence towards less charitable explanations.

    So now we have three contradictory narratives, all of which have been proclaimed to be accurate by Radford, and some possible hints of constitutional malice. As a bonus, Radford again suggests he has little trust in his own evidence, by rushing to endorse other people’s eye-witness testimony instead of letting his own reports and email print-offs speak for themselves.

    Dance, my puppets, for it amuses me greatly. ;)

    I don’t want to hog the stage, though; “Beth Hendrick” claims to be Paden’s girlfriend, yet Paden is infamous for using sock puppet accounts. There’s a small but non-trivial chance that comment is a fake, which provides an easy check of these narratives: track down the real Beth Hendrick, and ask if she made that comment.

    Anyone else want to force an edit on Radford’s website?

  338. Ann says

    I’m flattered I have that much influence.

    I don’t doubt that what you’re writing is being read.

    But I did point out what a histrionic little emo-flower he was shortly before he obligingly pitched a thin-skinned hissy fit about how he’s being represented here. So it might be my fault.

    I apologize, if so.

    I don’t actually see any reason not to suppose that he’s telling as much truth as he knows. It couldn’t matter less, since it has nothing whatever to do with the lawsuit — or even Radford — and it’s hardly a newsflash that people get drunk, talk loose, and remember it differently from one another. But whatever.

    Seriously. It’s just gossip. Talk about high school.

  339. Corvus Whiteneck says

    Sweet Jeebus Almighty… there’s a lot of (long) comments to sort through since the last time I read anything here.

    I’m not sure if anyone should make anything of Reap Paden’s statements. On one hand his aggressive, irrational anger makes everything he writes on this matter easy to dismiss as hopelessly biased to the point of worthlessness. However, one could also could also look at what he (& his girlfriend/sock-puppet?) said, and, as thought experiment, accept it as true and evaluate how it changes anything vis-a-vis the Radford suit.

    Even if everything he/they say is absolutely accurate, it still merely relates an incident of a person behaving terribly while grossly acutely intoxicated. This is poor behavior, to be sure, & good example of behavior not to be tolerated at cons/events, but does it inform our thinking about whether this person also defamed someone/committed fraud over a long period of time (while presumably not always as acutely intoxicated as she was during the anecdote cited)? It may move the needle on prior plausibilities, but it is hardly dispositive about anything.

    Still haven’t seen any defense of the things which make me “skeptical” of Radford – suing KS for defamation when others named *him* as harasser, suing her for defamation for being named as harasser despite fact their employer found that he had harassed her, suing her for fraud LONG after his employer disciplined him on the grounds of said fraud but SHORTLY after said discipline was made public, publishing private emails on the web prior to any legal need to do so, asserting documents say things which upon examination are not supported by said documents, publishing revenge porn style pix on the web, etc.

    The parallels between the Reap Paden post and Radford’s publication of the previously-sealed police report should be made explicit. Neither directly address the question at hand (did Stollznow defame Radford, or commit fraud); both poison the well. Of course, the Reap Paden post has the added characteristic of of slut-shaming, in which it has something in common with Radford’s revenge-pornography-y pix.

  340. Flip the second says

    @378

    As I’ll mention below, as far as I can tell the only person being critical of Paden’s blog post is me, and even then I only pointed out a contradiction, not that Paden had lied.

    Not true. I was, a little. And critical of the comments left there.

    Also, Paden’s account made it clear that Stollznow was intoxicated. I don’t see how you come to the conclusion that all three accounts are contradictory.

  341. Led says

    “I have no doubt in my mind he’ll seek me out in other ways. In fact, I have no reason to believe that Led, who posted earlier, wasn’t explicitly sent by Paden to drop that link here (knowing he himself is banned here for repeated personal abuse, and is persona non grata as far as I’m concerned).”

    A perfect example of an assumption based upon no evidence in a desire to reach a preconceived conclusion. I have never met Reap Paden, I did not know who he was, and never read his blog until that post, and I have not read it since. I just desire to remain anonymous and let this issue resolve itself in court.

  342. says

    Led #383

    A perfect example of an assumption based upon no evidence in a desire to reach a preconceived conclusion.

    Actually, if you pay attention, I think you’ll find that it’s actually a rather tentative suspicion, based on Jason’s previous experience with Paden.

    I have never met Reap Paden, I did not know who he was, and never read his blog until that post, and I have not read it since.

    How did you come across the link?

    I just desire to remain anonymous and let this issue resolve itself in court.

    Meaning what? Are these two things related in some way? What connection is there between them and the subject of this thread? Do you think anyone else is unwilling to let the courts resolve this? I’m honestly not sure what this sentence is supposed to mean.

  343. says

    Indeed; now I have a reason to not believe you to have been sent by Paden to link him here. You have said that that is the case. Whether I trust you or not is another story, but now I actually do have a reason to not believe my initial suspicions are true.

    There’s no overreach or motivated reasoning or assumption based on no evidence necessary to SUSPECT something. Otherwise, all the people SUSPECTING that Karen Stollznow is some sort of shrill harpy trying to hurt Radford for some unknown reason would have no right to do so — and yet there they are, despite the dearth of evidence Radford actually proffered that this is the case.

    (No, the character-assassination website he created doesn’t actually prove she’s out to get Radford, but quite the opposite, that Radford is out to get her.)

  344. Hj Hornbeck says

    Not enough time for a full reply at the moment (Ann: sorry, I’d forgotten about 375!), but another update of page edit times is quick and easy for me:

    Thu May 1 16:11:01 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/karen-stollznows-history-of-false-accusations/index.html
    Thu May 1 16:06:17 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/timeline/index.html
    Wed Apr 30 20:58:09 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/faq/index.html
    Wed Apr 30 15:37:53 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/gifts-correspondence/index.html
    Thu Apr 3 16:00:26 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/relationship-with-stollznow/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 22:23:55 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/introduction-overview/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 01:02:52 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/tam-allegations/index.html
    Wed Apr 2 00:43:17 UTC 2014 benrlegal.info/stollznows-falsified-documents-and-fraud/index.html

    Most of the edits are pretty trivial; “In response to an e-mail from Radford” becoming “In response to an e-mail from me” is fairly typical. Still, if I had to guess, I’d say that at the moment his website is being edited on a daily basis.

    As usual, if you have a saved copy with a timestamp that differs from what’s listed, send it to Stollznow or her lawyers!

  345. Hj Hornbeck says

    Time to catch up a bit:

    Ann @362:

    I think the explanation is simply that she loved her fiance enough to try to change for him.

    Same for him in relationship to her, probably. It seems like that was why there was a stormy adjustment period.

    The narrative painted by those arrest reports has Baxter’s tendency to promiscuity clashing with Stollznow’s tendency to fidelity, combined with miscommunication over the bounds of their relationship. Her preference to commitment makes that April liaison fairly out of character, but then again the fighting between her and Baxter would have blurred her character and made her more interested in unorthodox solutions.

    Hmmm… yeah, I’ve gotta side with you on this one, again.

    Flip the second @373:

    If you are defamed in public, you can’t ‘resolve it privately’.

    Ah, but you forget most civil lawsuits are settled out of court, during a private negotiation phase.

    That’s also not what’s happened. Paden came forward to give his own personal experience of *being harassed* by Karen, not of her falsely accusing him of harassment. At least, that’s how I read the post.

    The false accusations didn’t come that night, but the next day when Paden was talking with Baxter:

    Baxter informed me that Karen had accused me of propositioning her and had pretty much gave me all the credit for the events the night before.

    As there’s no evidence for that but memories of a phone call shared between two people, neither of whom are Stollznow or Radford, it’s not nearly as convincing as Radford wants it to be.

    Given the fact that he’s looking for a huge payout from the lawsuit (punitive damages) I don’t think it’s anymore than “I can’t afford it now, but boy it will payoff huge later”. Sort of the same thinking that says, “I’m poor but I’ll buy this lottery ticket because there’s a chance I’ll win a million dollars”.

    I think that can be explained by the intimidation-by-lawsuit interpretation; it looks scary on paper to a non-lawyer, and on the off chance your bluff is called it won’t hurt you that much in court. Radford himself has admitted he’s paying his legal fees piecemeal, which means he knew he’d have a large bill on his hands in the short term even if he won… that is, unless he never planned for this to reach court. As mentioned earlier, most civil lawsuits are settled before they even reach initial hearings.

    @376:

    I didn’t say he was. I said that Stollznow’s lawyers could take advantage of the fact that he makes himself sound like a public figure by maintaining that he’s an important person within a large community, with a high media profile by working with mainstream media.

    Ahhh, now I see. Yeah, that’s very true, with the caveat that since we’re in civil court we’re operating on the “preponderance of the evidence;” if most of the evidence supports Radford, then Stollznow is held….

    … oh shoot, I see I’ve been using the wrong terminology. “Guilty” and “not guilty” are used in criminal verdicts, where the standard of evidence is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That can’t apply to civil cases, as they have a lower standard; instead, it’s more proper to say someone is “liable” or “not liable”. Guilt just doesn’t have any bearing in the civil law arena, other than making it easier to prove liability.

    Why isn’t Radford screaming at the people who named him, and insist that Stollznow was really talking about someone else, and how dare everyone assume that he’s the only possible culprit?

    Because that wouldn’t punish Stollznow, assuming my earlier interpretation is correct.

    I’m glad you’re keeping my statements in check :)

    Same here! I think you too took a swipe at Paden’s account, in addition to Ann, which I should have acknowledged earlier.

    Ann @379:

    I don’t actually see any reason not to suppose that he’s telling as much truth as he knows. It couldn’t matter less, since it has nothing whatever to do with the lawsuit — or even Radford — and it’s hardly a newsflash that people get drunk, talk loose, and remember it differently from one another.

    I agree; even if Paden’s account is accurate, it doesn’t have much bearing on the lawsuit. To demonstrate constitutional malice, Radford has to show a consistent pattern of legally malicious falsehoods made by Stollznow, in reference to at least one of the three claims of defamation, fraud, and contract interference. An aside made to your boyfriend, who only passes the info on to two other people, is at best a teeny tiny step in that direction.

    There is one small area of disagreement, though, and here I seem to be in the minority:

    Corvus Whiteneck @380:

    Even if everything he/they say is absolutely accurate, it still merely relates an incident of a person behaving terribly while grossly acutely intoxicated.

    Flip the second @381:

    Also, Paden’s account made it clear that Stollznow was intoxicated. I don’t see how you come to the conclusion that all three accounts are contradictory.

    I didn’t read that from Paden’s account. Here’s the only section that mentions alcohol, with the relevant parts bolded:

    After Skepti-Cal a group of us met at a local bar for drinks. Karen, myself, and my girlfriend at the time were seated at one end of the group. At one point Karen said to me out of the blue that her boyfriend (now husband) would like to watch her and I having sex. Of course I knew her boyfriend and considered him a good friend. I also knew there was little chance of such a thing ending well and so instead of saying “no way” I just made light of the proposition and attempted to carry on with the conversation. Karen was having none of it . She made a couple more remarks trying to persuade me but I just let them slide and tried to change the subject. The instant she realized I was not going to take her up on the offer she had made she became confrontational to say the least. She became visibly angry with me. I moved to another table to try and diffuse the situation. She then shouted names at me across the table several times. She was obviously pissed and I would assume a bit drunk.

    That’s all of it, yet just a fraction of Paden’s full article. He doesn’t consider Stollznow’s alcohol consumption to be noteworthy, and doesn’t suggest anything beyond mild intoxication. Compare that with Hedrick, who explicitly mentions memory loss due to intoxication and peppers her account with references to alcohol.

    As Hedrick claims to have been Paden’s girlfriend at the time, he should have known what she knew and vice-versa. If Hedrick was correct about the alcohol consumption, that would suggest Paden omitted that fact to make Stollznow appear more “vindictive” and “an insane maniac.”

    Corvus Whiteneck @380:

    The parallels between the Reap Paden post and Radford’s publication of the previously-sealed police report should be made explicit. Neither directly address the question at hand (did Stollznow defame Radford, or commit fraud); both poison the well. Of course, the Reap Paden post has the added characteristic of of slut-shaming, in which it has something in common with Radford’s revenge-pornography-y pix.

    Agreed, and don’t forget the “nut” part of that, too, with Paden going so far as to explicitly mention medication. No wonder Radford has taken such a liking to Paden’s blog post.

  346. Hj Hornbeck says

    Those arrest reports are a bit frustrating to me. Not in content, for the most part, but in meta-data.

    You can divide the PDFs on Radford’s website into a few categories: there’s three scanned documents, two documents printed to PDF from MS Word for Mac, the two external reports, his official complaint, thirty-seven emails (twenty seven if you subtract duplicates), and those two arrest reports. The data hidden within each is a hint about their history.

    Take three of the emails: 3-Mar-1-20101.pdf, 3-Mar-1-20102.pdf, and KS-3.2.2010-copy.pdf. Just from the filenames you’d guess two of them were copies, and you’d be right; like a few other duplicates, they’re bit-for-bit copies.

    If you open up all three, however, you realize that all three are just print-to-PDFs of the same email thread and visually identical. The date in the upper corner reveals the source document was printed off September 11th, 2013 at 10:55 PM, and a look at the internal creation date narrows that down to 10:55:04 PM.

    The modified dates aren’t the same, though, and they don’t line up with the printed dates; two were tweaked on March 3rd, at 10:33:03 AM of this year, while the third was modified on 10:34:31 of the same day. Huh? The best explanation I have is that Radford was doing some rushed editing of his files, and didn’t realize two of them were duplicates under different names.

    One problem with that comes when you look at the upload times. The last of those three was uploaded that evening at 7:48 PM, but the first wasn’t uploaded until March 5th at 7:13 AM and the second until 1:50 PM that day. All three occur on different pages, however, so maybe Radford thought there was only one copy on his website, only to realize later on there were more.

    The editing left distinctive marks in the files; besides changing the modification times, an XMP datablock was added and the PDF version was upgraded to 1.6.

    Those arrest reports were also edited, but their marks are quite different. The creation and modification dates are identical, no XMP data block exists, the PDF version is still 1.3, and the print date doesn’t match up with the create or modification time (more on that later). Weirdly, it still looks like it passed through Radford’s computer (or at least another Mac running the same OS), but it doesn’t have his name embedded in it. Neither did the scan of the CFI report, but that also has different marks, like announcing which bit of hardware it was scanned on, a different page size, and separating each page into an individual document. There are other files uploaded that have similar fingerprints, but they retain Radford’s name and appear unedited from the metadata despite being obviously edited when visually inspected.

    Now, we’ve established Radford isn’t good with computers. What are the odds of him using two different PDF editors to do the same job, each probably made by different companies? Unlikely, I’d say. That second editor seems to preserve the original file format as much as possible, however, which suggests the reason why the arrest reports lacked Radford’s name is because they didn’t originate from his computer. They appear to have come from the exact same version of operating system, though, which is unlikely to be shared by Radford’s friends (and certainly isn’t shared by his lawyer, who’s running Windows).

    But it would be likely if a co-worker had the file on their computer, and used their PDF editor of choice. The arrest reports would then be generated on a third machine, had some of their metadata overwritten when tweaked by the co-worker, then finally sent to Radford. It’s speculative, and I’ve been wrong about these things before, but I think it has merit.

    But back to when those arrest reports were printed: August 21st, 2013, at around 3:30 PM (I’m guessing it was printed in Colorado, making that Mountain Daylight time like every other time I’ve mentioned). That’s the earliest time-stamp of any document stemming from Radford’s case, by two weeks, and a mere three weeks after Stollznow’s blog post.

    That has a dramatic effect on my hypotheses. When assembling anything vaguely like this, our first inclination is to grab for the items that are easiest to reach or most important to us. Those relationship emails and CFI’s report easily fit into this paradigm; Radford would have them in his email account, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, and they’re very important for establishing that report was based on bogus evidence. Thus Radford’s main concern was that CFI report, according to the hypothesis I was running with a while ago.

    But a sealed police report is not easy to get your hands on, and practically impossible next to an email account you reach for daily. So if Radford reached for the arrest reports first, he must have placed tremendous value on them, much more so than even CFI’s report. Yet at the same time, those police reports are referenced far less frequently in the Complaint and even the website. They aren’t critical evidence needed to make his case, yet Radford valued them highly.

    I’m guessing that’s because they made excellent blackmail material. This interpretation fits with the lawsuit’s goal of punishment and grandiose punitive damage claims, with the existence of the website itself, and the hiring of an expensive and aggressive lawyer.

    But I’m swerving back into Villain Ball territory. Can I get a sanity check?

  347. Ann says

    Can I get a sanity check?

    Yes.

    He had no legitimate reason to post her arrest report, from either a legal or a logical perspective. Zero. None. Suspecting your significant other of infidelity and accusing someone of sexual harassment are not parallel (or even related) acts. The revenge porn was arguably more relevant to his case.

    So his motive was necessarily personal.

    But a sealed police report is not easy to get your hands on,

    It should be impossible. “Sealed” is supposed to mean that it’s not a public record.

    I’m assuming that he got it by keying his request to something other than her name, since there’s reason to think he knew the particulars of the incident. It’s the easiest explanation.

    The thing is, though: If that’s the case, it means he knew it was sealed — ie, that he intended to make a sealed record public.

    That’s not something….Well. I’m not really sure how to put it. But it’s a loose-cannon type of a thing to do. If someone close to me was proposing to do it under the apparent impression that it would be a show of strength and not weakness. I’d be concerned about him or her.

    I kind of wonder whether he’s still got representation. That website suggests not, if you ask me.

  348. Hj Hornbeck says

    He had no legitimate reason to post her arrest report, from either a legal or a logical perspective. Zero. None. Suspecting your significant other of infidelity and accusing someone of sexual harassment are not parallel (or even related) acts. The revenge porn was arguably more relevant to his case.

    True, and even that relevance is questionable; read over her Scientific American Mind blog post again, and you’ll see she doesn’t put an end date on their relationship.

    In the early days I looked up to him and was flattered that he seemed to respect my work. I quickly spotted some red flags but I disregarded them. These became too big to ignore, so I called it all off. The rejection was ego shattering to him at first, and then met with disbelief. This was followed by incessant communication of a sexual nature, including gifts, calls, emails, letters, postcards, and invites to vacation with him in exotic places so we could “get to know each other again”. He wouldn’t leave me alone. […]

    From late 2009 onwards I made repeated requests for his personal communication to cease but these were ignored. He began manipulating the boundaries by contacting me on the pretext of it being work-related. Then came the quid pro quo harassment. […] Then, he saw me at conferences and took every opportunity to place me in a vulnerable position. This is where the psychological abuse turned physical and he sexually assaulted me on several occasions.

    An April 2010 tryst is well within that narrative, and while it may look a bit strange next to the requests to cease communication that began in 2009, that could change depending on the meaning of “encouragement.”

    I’m assuming that he got it by keying his request to something other than her name, since there’s reason to think he knew the particulars of the incident. It’s the easiest explanation.

    If Radford’s account is to be believed, he certainly knew about the incident:

    On the evening of September 26, 2010, when Radford was in Kentucky, Stollznow called him to seek his advice about her rocky relationship with the man she’d been dating, Matthew Baxter—including, she told him, that Baxter had broken her wrist during a recent argument. (26r)

    But here’s the weird part. The incident took place on September 7th, and yet according to Radford’s website:

    September 10, 2010: In the course of a professional, business-related correspondence, Stollznow e-mails Radford and asks, “On a completely different note, I fly out of here next Wed. Did you want to hang out next weekend? I could meet you in Alb [Albuquerque, New Mexico] or we could meet elsewhere.” Radford turns down Stollznow’s offer, saying, “Thanks for your offer to visit, but we probably shouldn’t. As you said, you are in the process of moving forward in a serious relationship with Baxter, and I wouldn’t want your visit to complicate the situation.” The e-mail can be viewed here.

    September 17, 2010: In the course of a discussion about Stollznow’s relationship with Radford and seeing other people, she again offers to have an affair with Radford: “If you’re truly developing a new relationship, I’m happy for you. Let’s get past this! However, if you’re ever willing to have an affair…” The e-mail can be viewed here.

    So despite having at least two opportunities to mention the incident to Radford, Stollznow never even drops a hint about it, then suddenly changes her mind and decides to call Radford up and mention a nearly three week old event, despite all her earlier requests to stop communication, and when she had the option of sending a carefully composed email instead? That’s setting off a few alarm bells, especially since the complaint tries to obscure the timespan:

    On the evening of September 26, 2010, when Radford was in Kentucky, Stollznow called him to seek his advice about her rocky relationship with the man she’d been dating, Matthew Baxter—including, she told him, that Baxter had broken her wrist during a recent argument. (26r)

    If we assume that Radford is lying and didn’t know about the incident, there’s a plausible way he could have discovered it:

    1. After the blog post was published, Radford decided to go digging through old police reports for dirt, as he knew Stollznow and Baxter had a rocky relationship. Most likely, he hired someone to scan through Colorado’s files for Stollznow’s name.
    2. This person stumbled on Baxter’s incident report, which sealed neither his nor Stollznow’s name.
    3. Scanning over it, they spotted the reference to earlier incidents, and decided to search for Baxter’s name as well.
    4. This netted them the September 2010 report against “SEALED,” which they quickly deduced to be Stollznow.
    5. They then printed the earlier report, followed by the later one.

    It’s tough to know how much he knew, though, and when.

    That’s not something….Well. I’m not really sure how to put it. But it’s a loose-cannon type of a thing to do.

    Exactly. Who would want to hang out with a guy who has no problems publishing revenge porn and sealed case reports to the internet? It explains why it took last-minute pleading to get some skeptics to donate to Radford’s fund, beyond a few friends who’d done so earlier.

    I kind of wonder whether he’s still got representation. That website suggests not, if you ask me.

    I have no idea on this one, but I haven’t seen any announcement about it. Three hypotheses can be supported from this, none of which stands out for me:

    A. Radford’s lawyer is incompetent and sees nothing wrong with this. While I’ve argued against this in the past, that was before I realized they ordered two useless reports.

    B. Radford’s lawyer fully supports this, and helped Radford build a case that looked very intimidating while knowing there was little-to-know substance behind it.

    C. Radford’s lawyer is doing this for the money and/or as a friend, and is increasingly squicked out by the entire thing. Hence why they didn’t order the correct reports, and have already extracted $34,000-40,000 from Radford before even hitting the preliminary hearings.

  349. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, anyone have an explanation for this? Emphasis mine:

    On August 7, Stollznow provided Carry Poppy, a prominent skeptical blogger and podcast co-host, with copies of her correspondence between the president of the skeptical organization The James Randi Educational Foundation and its board, which Poppy then used in a lengthy blog titled “Carrie Poppy Tells All.” The blog states in part: “Dr. Stollznow says that she was assaulted at the James Randi Educational Foundation’s (JREF) annual conference, The Amazing Meeting (TAM) on three separate occasions. […] Poppy’s blog also published a July 20, 2013 letter to the JREF board in which Stollznow wrote, “At TAM 2010 I was sexually assaulted and harassed by another speaker by the name of Benjamin Radford. I was also sexually harassed by him at TAM 2012.” (45)

    I was about to dismiss that part as confused terminology, which is best interpreted as referencing Myers’ post on the matter, but then I read the next paragraph:

    On August 7, 2013, blogger P.Z. Myers published Stollznow’s claims in Poppy’s blog, and in which Stollznow’s falsehoods were repeated and Radford was named. Eventually, the malicious falsehoods about Radford became supposed evidence of “sexism, misogyny and disrespect to women by atheists and ‘skeptics.’”

    I went back to Myers’ post, and realized Poppy never said when she got the correspondence in her email to Myers, nor does he link to a blog post by Poppy. Some snooping on Google reveals Poppy doesn’t have a blog presence. I can’t even find the source for “sexism, misogyny and disrespect to women by atheists and ‘skeptics.’”, it doesn’t appear on Myers’ page nor in that exact form elsewhere.

    Sooo… what’s up with that?

  350. says

    Hornbeck @392: Search for “sexism, misogyny and disrespect” on this page. It’s the title of someone’s reposting of PZ Myers’ Poppy post. The original no longer exists, it seems.

  351. Hj Hornbeck says

    Another week, another part of Radford’s website. This time, I’m looking at the page on his relationship with Stollznow. He starts off quite well, directly quoting Stollznow’s article, and then presents a series of bullet points refuting specific claims:

    1) Karen and I never worked together in the same office or the same building. In fact since we have lived in different states throughout our entire acquaintance, we never worked together at all in any capacity.

    …. except, if you read the portion he quotes, Stollznow says nothing about working together. So what is Radford trying to say here? Is he implying that harassment can only happen in person? That doesn’t help him much, as Stollznow is making accusations of in-person harassment as well. The only way this makes sense is if we impose our own interpretation of the situation, which if anything creates ambiguity and misinterpretation instead of dispelling it.

    It doesn’t help that Radford follows-up with an about-face:

    We never collaborated on any books, articles, investigations, or other projects, though I did invite Karen to submit a section for my 2010 book Scientific Paranormal Investigation, which she (along with a dozen others) did. We only “worked together” in the sense that we both appeared, from different locations via Skype, on the MonsterTalk podcast.

    Ah, so excluding her collaboration on one of Radford’s books, and excluding the podcast they did together for several years, they never once collaborated. Radford is so incompetent, he can’t even argue against his own strawpeople! It’s no wonder this argument doesn’t show up in his legal complaint.

    2) Karen states that she ended our dating relationship in 2009 because of unspecified “red flags” that caused her to “call it all off,” which was an “ego shattering” rejection to me.

    Actually, she “made repeated requests for his personal communication to cease” starting late that year, as Radford himself quotes. That’s not quite the same thing, but it could be depending what Stollznow wrote in those “leave me alone” emails.

    Radford hasn’t posted them, for some reason, and they’re never referred to in Radford’s complaint. That means he’s either misrepresented Stollznow, yet again, or didn’t cite evidence that was important for his case. Radford’s under no obligation to reveal all or even most of his evidence, admittedly, but he must make it plausible he has that evidence. Forcing us to guess the contents of emails that may not even exist doesn’t meet that bar.

    In fact Karen’s e-mails to me about our relationship paint a very different picture:

    At which point, Radford launches into three quotes from as many email exchanges, which cover the timespan of January 11th, 2009 to March 2nd, 2010. Radford is very careful about what he quotes; I’ll bold the bits he does share of the email from January 13th, 2010, and add in some missing context:

    Stollznow, in a previous email: For me, things were over between us in any relationship sense by this time last year, when I emailed you before leaving for Aus. Admittedly, I did tinker with the idea of having casual flings with you last year, but I soon became turned off the more I learnt about you, your unorthodox relationships, and peculiar perceptions of these. You’re either very dishonest about your situation, or you have entirely idiosyncratic and unhealthy notions of relationships, sex, flirting and love. […]
    Perhaps it would be positive to leave all of this acrimony behind and rebuild a friendship. But you need to know that I’m in a serious relationship that’s moving forward steadily, and that I am immovable in that I don’t want to resume any kind of relationship with you, ever again.

    I also realise that you penned this letter around the time that one of your girlfriends was visiting… […]

    Stollznow: You have no right to feel slighted, given your own behaviour. You told me outright that you weren’t interested in anything more than a fling, a holiday. You have difficulty in making decisions in life. I don’t, for t he things that matter.

    Don’t play the victim in this.

    If you want friendship, that’s fine, but I think we’re both still feeling ill about this.

    The full context undermines Radford’s narrative in several different ways. He claims those red flags were unspecified, yet right there we have Stollznow mentioning “unorthodox” and “idiosyncratic and unhealthy notions of relationships,” combined with his “perculiar perceptions.” He paints Stollznow as vengeful, yet even though she’s clearly quite hurt by Radford’s actions, she’s offered the olive branch of friendship twice. Ego-shattering? It’s tough to read emotions from the written word, but I’m fairly confident Radford isn’t taking it well in that email sandwiched between both of Stollznow’s.

    And hang on here. If you read the full thread, she’s responding to his point that he wanted commitment from her by claiming he once didn’t. So in January 2010, Radford was the one looking for commitment, and yet on the website he says otherwise:

    Thus it is clear from Karen’s own words that the difficulties between us stemmed not from any abuse, harassment, or obsessive stalking but instead from the fact that I was unwilling to enter into in a committed, long-distance monogamous relationship with her and she felt that I did not reciprocate her feelings.

    Also, Radford has misrepresented Stollznow yet again; her narrative says the stalking started after she broke up with Radford, not before as he claims. The 2009 date may be a non-linear reference, to help confuse the timeline and protect the identity of Radford. That isn’t the action of someone seeking vengeance or demonstrating constitutional malice.

    3) Karen and I were in fact involved in a years-long sexual relationship from 2008 through late 2010, long after Karen now claims she demanded I cease contact with her.

    April 2010 is “late?” Both Radford and Stollznow agree no nookie happened during their July 2010 meeting, and no other date has been mentioned by either party.

    This is false, and easily refuted by mountains of documentary evidence in the form of e-mails. If Karen felt she had been subjected to harassing “incessant communication of a sexual nature, including gifts, calls, emails, letters [and] postcards,” she could have simply blocked my e-mails, refused postal delivery of anything addressed to her from me, and so on. Yet none of this was done;

    Dear lord, did Radford just flip the burden of action? The harasser is not obligated to stop harassing unless they’ve been given clear and concise instructions not to harass? Does he also think a woman has to fight back for it to be considered a legitimate rape? Both stem from the same assumptions of responsibility, after all.

    in fact not only was there very little communication “of a sexual nature” from me, but Karen reciprocated our correspondence with over 1,000 e-mails to me through 2012, as well as personal gifts and cards to me (including of a sexual nature).

    I’ll consider the gift claims soon enough, but in the meantime it’s worth pointing out that Radford is contradicting his own legal claim, which states there was big decrease in emails over that timespan and that became increasingly less personal (see 32).

    4) Because Karen was unable to provide evidence of my supposed deluge of harassing e-mails and communications (since they did not occur as she claimed), she resorted to faking evidence to falsely incriminate me.

    This has nothing to do with their relationship. Radford has a disturbing tendency to wander off-point towards a small pool of heavily-used talking points. It suggests an obsessive mind, to me.

    In fact, both Karen and I occasionally dated other people in 2009 and 2010, thus there was no reason for any jealousy or obsession (on either of our parts);

    That was precisely the point Stollznow made to Radford in the January 2010 email thread, because he appeared to be jealous about her relationship with someone else. Yet another contradiction from Radford, with another to come:

    because Karen was often incommunicative

    Two paragraphs ago, Radford suggested they were frequently in contact between 2010 and 2012; now, he’s saying she was rarely in contact.

    Karen was often vague about her exact dating situation with Baxter to me

    As far as I’m aware, every single time the topic of Baxter has come up via email, Stollznow has made it clear she loves him and wants to commit with him.

    Further casting doubt on her “monogamous” relationship with Baxter, in October 2010 Karen called me and during the conversation told me that she had sexual relations with at least one other person earlier in 2010, and that she shared this information with a mutual friend, Jeff Wagg. I have confirmed with him that this is true.

    And yet this information wasn’t included in the complaint, no evidence is presented here, and it relies on verbal testimony. Also, where did Stollznow claim she was being exclusive with Radford? This seems completely irrelevant to the lawsuit, other than adding evidence for an obsessive, vindictive element in Radford’s personality.

    I wonder if Jeff Wagg is aware of this passage, too, as it might suck him into this lawsuit.

    On September 10, 2010 (a year after Karen now claims she cut off contact with me because of my harassment, and a few months after Karen now claims I sexually assaulted her),

    She never claimed the former in her blog post, as Radford helpfully quoted for us, and as for the latter her blog post gave no details about when the assault occurred. The complaint brings up this line (26o) and later fingers that CFI report as the source of her allegation (40). Yet again Radford’s webpage neglects to mention the CFI report.

    With this correspondence [of September 18th, 2010], I assumed that our sexual relationship had come to a mutually agreed end, and I made no further romantic or sexual overtures toward Karen from that point on.

    It certainly was mutual, in the sense that Radford now agrees that “sex with each other just isn’t a good idea anymore,” but this is also the email thread where Stollznow tells him to “get over all of this” after Radford makes another offer for sex, and nine months after Stollznow said “things were over between us in any relationship sense by this time last year.”

    Radford, in other words, had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this point after a number of signals spanning about a year that Stollznow wasn’t interested. This is again consistent with Stollznow’s account.

    it was Karen, not me, who made several attempts to continue our sexual affair through late 2010.

    That is a minor oddity, I’ll grant Radford that; in that September 18th, 2010 thread, Stollznow follows up “sex with each other just isn’t a good idea anymore” with “however, if you’re ever willing to have an affair…” half an hour later.

    Present-day Radford takes this as evidence she still wants to sleep with him, but there’s an alternate interpretation. Note that past-Radford repeats back Stollznow’s “get over all of this” bit, immediately after she drops the “affair” line. Why would he do that? Perhaps Stollznow’s line was itself a mocking reference to an earlier statement made by Radford, asking her if she was interested in having an affair. Past-Radford would have turned the tables by tossing the same style of mockery back in her face; present-Radford could have omitted the earlier reference and make it look like Stollznow is interested in an affair, when the opposite was true.

    This would require a deliberate lie of omission on Radford’s part, which Stollznow may be able to exploit in court.

    A brief examination of the relationship between Karen and Baxter sheds additional light on the veracity of her claims regarding me and the “inappropriateness” of any communications from me at that time.

    No, it doesn’t, not when Radford has to rely on this assertion:

    contrary to Karen’s statements, she and Baxter were not in a continuous, monogamous relationship in 2010

    Stollznow’s blog post has exactly this to say about Baxter:

    His desperation only increased when I met another man. He continued his harassment as though my boyfriend (who is now my husband) didn’t even exist.

    The closest the complaint comes is this passage:

    During that encounter [on April 2010 at the hotel] Stollznow explicitly told Radford that she wished to continue their casual sex encounters despite her impending marriage to her now-husband Matthew Baxter. (14)

    Radford appears to have invented this assertion whole-cloth. The only good reason I can find for that is that it offers an excuse for bringing up police reports in an attempt to embarrass Stollznow. I’ll skip over most of this useless section, though two parts are worth mentioning:

    In that early 2011 report, Baxter told police officer Brooks that he and Karen had been involved in “a very rocky relationship for about a year. Matthew explained he and Karen have broken up several times within the last year,” during which time he dated another woman.

    The police report goes on to say that Karen, when reminded of this incident, became enraged and started a violent argument during which Baxter smashed the living room table with a stool and broke Karen’s laptop.

    So Stollznow became so enraged that… Baxter began smashing things? Uh, that’s not fitting your “crazy ex girlfriend” narrative, Radford. If you read the police report, in fact, you find Stollznow explaining that she became angry because she found evidence that Baxter may have been sleeping around:

    Karen stated that today was an anniversary of Matthew seeing another woman. Karen looked jnto Matthew’s computer files and found that he had been conversing with this other woman. Karen stated Matthew was out all day and they both tried calling each other throughout the day but did not really speak. Karen advised she was upset with Matthew because of his conversations with this woman and the fact that it was the anniversary of the day they went out. Karen stated when Matthew finally returned home, they did not talk. Karen advised Matthew got some things and was going to leave and she asked him to stay because she wanted to talk about their relationship. Karen stated they talked and the argument got heated in reference to their relationship.

    Interestingly, Baxter leaves out that detail on his side of the report, the side Radford decided to base his account on. This fits in with an earlier hypothesis of mine: the friction between Stollznow and Baxter was in part due to the latter acting like Radford at times, and here we find Baxter might be hiding little details and shading the truth.

    There’s also this gem:

    According to Baxter’s account contained in the police report, they had merely been casually dating during that time—and in fact both Karen and Baxter had dated other people throughout 2010.

    Emphasis his, and to prove it he quotes from the report:

    “Baxter corroborated that Karen was upset because he had been seeing other women; however,