The Sexist

Lawyer Calls Alleged Sexual Assault “Being Silly”

Eighteen-year-old Seth Rudnitsky, a freshman student at the University of Maryland, has been charged with first-degree burglary after allegedly entering a G.W. residence hall and attempting to sexually assault several sleeping women. That's according to the charging documents in the case, which allege that Rudnitsky initiated "unwanted physical contact" with the women, and entered one room with the "intent to commit a criminal act." The G.W. Hatchet reports that one of the women has secured a stay-away order against Rudnitsky.

Rudintsky's attorney, Mark Schamel, has got another theory: He was just being silly!

Schamel "declined to comment on the specific allegations from the female students who said Rudnitsky tried to initiate unwanted sexual conduct." But Schamel did comment on the featherbrained frivolity of the whole affair:

'This is not a sexual assault case. You have a really good kid who has never been in trouble his entire life," Schamel said. "It's your typical freshman 'I went out and had too much to drink and was being silly' kind of case."

Come on, you guys: It's college! Surely you must remember college, a time when it was perfectly typical to go out, get hammered, have your friend sign you into his dorm, troll the building for sleeping women, and then, according to a police report, twice attempt to stick your hands down some shorts. These were just typical freshman college shenanigans, not unlike sampling marijuana or poisoning a rival college's fountain with soap bubbles!

For the women who were assaulted, the "typical freshman experience" is a bit different: being awoken by unwanted groping from a strange man. But listen, ladies: That's fine if that's your college experience, as long as you don't make a big fucking deal about it. "This frankly shouldn't even be a criminal case," Schamel told the Hatchet. "I think it's being entirely blown out of proportion."

Photo by arvindgrover

  • Jenny

    I wonder how Mark Schamel would take it if he woke up in the middle of the night with a strange dude's hand down his pants. Would he consider that a criminal matter? Or would he just giggle and say, "Oh strange dude, get your hand out of my pants! You're so SILLY!."

  • Typical DC BS

    Good thing Mark Schamel passed the bar examination, otherwise I'd think he's a complete idiot for his asinine assertion.

    Is that what they teach in law school these days? A hand down the pants of some woman you don't know is "silly"?

    I noticed the kid didn't try that with a guy, cause the guy might not have thought it was "silly" and kicked the crap out of him.

  • Mark Schamel

    I would normally not reply to a clearly biased post like this, but as someone with a proven track record of representing victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as a lifelong committment to gender equality, I wanted to make a couple of points.
    I think you should take in context the comments from a student newspaper. Having been quoted many times, in many contexts, it comes as no surprise to me that the student paper gets it wrong.
    However, having a depth of knowledge of this case beyond that of the student writer or the blogger with this posting, I know far more about the facts of this case. I do not deal with hyperbole and rumor and certainly not with the triple hearsay of the police reports and articles.
    This young man is NOT a sexual deviant. He is not a sexual predator. This incident, while clearly not displaying great behavior, is not as the article makes it appear.
    I encourage everyone who reads allegations, in particular these allegations, to withold judgment and remember that this young man has never been in any trouble in his life and is a wonderful young kid. These four fellow freshmen students are equally wonderful kids and it is harmful to all of them, the system and the university community in general to make exaggerated allegations and demean anyone involved.
    I encourage all journalists to use excellent judgment and the highest ethics when trashing anyone alleged to have been involved in any incident.
    Focus on facts and withold judgment until ALL of the facts are known.

  • Bitter Elitist

    One female student who lives on the eighth floor reported that the man woke her up by trying to kiss her, and “attempted twice to place his hands down the front of her shorts,” according to the police report

    granted this is a police report, but would you think it's silly if it were your daughter Mark?

    I get that you need to justify billing and be a zealous advocate, but seriously. If you have such a track record -- and assuming that you brought it up to prove your Good Guy [tm]--why the hell would you have taken THIS case?

    Anyone who imbibes at 18 and ends up putting his hands down someone's pants is going to be quite the danger at 26.

    Take these comments as a litmus test, plead him: withdraw from school; get him help and supervision. If he hasn't raped already he will by spring break.

  • jules

    He might be a great kid in other circumstances, but what he did was not only WRONG but also ILLEGAL.

  • newslang

    Strange man enters sleeping women's bedrooms uninvited, in a dorm he has no business being in. Places his hands on them without their consent (known as "sexual assault," guess you missed that day).

    No Mark, I think those facts are more than enough. There are really no facts that could make this anything but sexual assault.

    When someone shows up at your house and fondles you in your sleep, I hope you withhold judgement until all the facts are known. I mean, they're just not showing great behavior right?

  • Em

    Why am I not surprised? The "boys will be boys" argument has been used for generations, and in the good ol' US of A we still subscribe to it relgiiously. Too bad it's BS...

  • Pingback: FoBo in the News! » FoBoBlo

  • Good Kid

    Late to this thread but just want to point out, that I was never in trouble in my life either. All through high school and all through college, never got "in trouble." That just meant I never got caught. I did LOADS of entirely illegal things during those years. Underage drinking, vandalism, drug use; I even aided and abedded a 14 year old runaway by driving her to another friend's house and finding her a place to hide out when I was 16.

    I did a TON of illegal shit. And never got caught. This doesn't mean i was a good kid, just lucky.

  • Pingback: Vox Populi » United States v. Alex Thiele: the preliminary hearing

  • Pingback: where is your line? » Blog Archive » Make some fucking noise, DC!

  • anonymour friend

    I know seth, he was looking for his friend but his friend's friend was the kid who let him in and ditched him in the dorm. The friend's friend told seth that his friend was on the 8th floor so he went into rooms becasue he did not which room to look in. When he entered the rooms the students were sleeping and he tried to wake them up peacefully by tapping them on the shoulder or whispering. The girls, who had the right to be creeped by him there, then accused him of "touching and trying to kiss them" if you actually knew the case and the facts and not the bullshit that the biased student newspaper puts out then you would feel bad for him