The Casualties have released an official statement on the allegations of sexual assault made against frontman Jorge Herrera in an anonymous blog post that went viral last November.
You can read the band’s full statement, in which they defend Herrera’s innocence and discuss what they believe to be flaws in the claims in the aforementioned blog post, below.
“How to destroy an innocent life:
Regarding an accusation of sexual assault against The Casualties singer Jorge.
Jorge, the singer of New York punk band The Casualties stands accused of sexual assault allegedly taken 16 years ago. This is an extremely serious allegation. Sexual assault is a hideous, devastating crime that all too often goes unpunished and destroys many innocent lives. In most of these cases the victims have been women, their voices drowned in a patriarchal environment.
Yet in most parts of the western world you would nowadays expect that such a crime would be prosecuted in court. The culprit would be sent to prison. And in the case of a musician, you would also think his band fired him and the label dropped the offending artist. None of that has happened with The Casualties. Of course none of that is proof of innocence either.
So what happened? In an anonymous blog, the claim was raised that a friend of a blogger had been sexually assaulted by The Casualties singer Jorge. This was supposed to have happened 16 years prior to the time of writing and was phrased in a way to avoid taking responsibility from the claim by the accuser. Yet, as no specific date or time were ever given for this supposed crime, it was possible to quickly disprove this allegation by witnesses (it should not even matter, but just to make the point: those were female witnesses), who were hosting the singer that very same night.
The story was fully disproved and the person spreading this accusation never provided any corroborating evidence to it happening. In fact the opposite happened. Multiple people with direct ties to the accuser have stepped forward to tell the band why they know this accusation to be complete lie. One even went so far as to offer to step forward and to speak to attorneys or law enforcement if need be to clear Jorge’s name. However legal action was considered but due to US laws never taken.
While in many parts of Europe slander can be countered in court, the US have yet to create laws to make people be accountable for defamation/bullying on the internet. Since the accuser had not posted the fictional story about Jorge herself on the net and instead had a friend post it (on her behalf) that made the accuser 100% exempt from the band and management from taking her to court.
As soon as a sexual assault accusation is made public, another mechanism kicks in that now threatens to turn another innocent person into a victim: Jorge. The accusation developed a life of its own, which was probably enhanced by the anonymity of the internet. There were threats against Jorge and the band, there were calls for boycott, more and obviously false stories posted and reposted. When a show was cancelled for whatever reason, the murmur was raised that this was “proof” of Jorge’s guilt. As a fact during the last tour 2 out of 46 concerts had to be cancelled for different reasons.
It is becoming infuriating. The accused has to prove his innocence and when witnesses step forth to do just that, they are being ignored. Rumours are spread, copied, repeated and not a single thought of the human person they target wasted. In all those months, since these lies and slander started nothing has been published that would prove Jorge’s guilt. No evidence. No witnesses. No court case. Nothing. This does not seem to deter those who think they act in the name of what is right and what is good, while ignoring even the most basic rules of treating any accusation. There is a manhunt going on, calls for boycott are going out, even a petition has been started. The mob has lit the torches and wants to see blood. Not a thought is wasted that it could hurt an innocent. This would turn the victim of brutal slander, who has brought forth witnesses and evidence as opposed to the accuser into a victim again. Neither the band, nor the management and booking agent or the label will allow that to happen. We will not stand by, while an innocent man’s life is being ruined. The only thing Jorge can be found guilty of is playing in a punk band. It is appalling that people are so quick to agree with one side of an anonymous internet rumour, without personally knowing either of the parties involved.
We therefore urge everybody to check the evidence presented and think before they speak out on behalf on an anonymous accuser and spread rumours and falsehood. Yes sexual assault is a crime that needs to be punished severely. It is a sickening crime. Every member of The Casualties agrees to that with their whole heart. And so is the social murder of an innocent person such as Jorge. In the words of the band: “The Casualties always stood and WILL always stand for equality, anti-racism, anti-fascism, unity and anti-bullying for the underdog. And we won’t be bullied either!”
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.