A 52 Pickup of Victim Cards

Norma Patricia Esparza, a Hispanic psychology professor who has been a cause célèbre in feminist circles, was finally sentenced to six years in prison earlier this month for her involvement in the April 1995 murder of Gonzalo Ramirez. The 24-year-old construction worker was abducted by several people in a white van after they rear ended him.  The next day his body was found in Irvine, California. He had been hacked to death with a meat cleaver.  Esparza was one of five people implicated in the brutal murder. She pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. 

The murder was revenge for the alleged rape of Esparza, then a 20-year-old student at Pomona College.  The comments to news stories on this sentencing seem to find some common ground between left and right, with each side upset for different reasons that Esparza is now a convicted felon.  The feminists are angry because they see this as punishing a rape victim who was too ashamed to report the crime.  Some on the right seem to approve of vigilantism against rapists rather than waiting until a police report has been filed.  And there is evidence a rape did take place. 

Those who have watched the two hour documentary the case that runs occasionally on the Investigation Discovery Channel know both sides do not seem to be paying attention to certain key details. Indeed, as a conservative I was appalled that Esparza's version of events is a game of 52 pick up, with a deck that contains every card in the feminist victimization playbook. I know that by the end of the program, I didn't believe a word Esparza said.  

In April 1995, police initially contacted Esparza because the victim's phone records showed several calls to her number.  They were immediately on alert because while Esparza admitted knowing Ramirez, she did not ask why the police had called her.  Then she related how she had met Ramirez in a club.  He had escorted her home and after asking to come in for a glass of water, Esparza said he had raped her.  No she had not reported the rape to the police.  Yes, she had told her "ex-boyfriend" of the incident because she badly needed some consolation. She was initially insistent she had not told him any details that would allow him to locate her alleged attacker and she had urged him not to act. When the police learned the ex-boyfriend drove a van that matched the description of the one used in the abduction they figured the case was solved except for nailing down the details.

In fact, it was Esparza's story that never seemed to get nailed down.  Indeed, the prosecution had to be dropped entirely when it was learned Esparza had secretly married her ex-boyfriend and thus could not be a witness against him. The prosecutors bided their time, occasionally searching divorce records.  In 2004, they thought they had gotten lucky after they learned Esparza had divorced.  Then they learned she had moved to France with a new husband. (The couple had met working together on a Democrat political campaign.) The next step was to put her name on a Homeland Security watch list and wait some more 

In the meantime, the authorities learned that far from being a passive witness in the abduction and murder, Esparza had not only fingered Ramirez for her boyfriend and his accomplices, she had been present during part of the attack.

In 2012, Esparza was taken into custody upon her return to the United States and the murder prosecutions proceeded.

Why am I skeptical of Esparza's story?  I wish I had tallied up the number of times in the two hour documentary that Esparza used the phrase "I was traumatized by…."  Born a poor Hispanic girl, she claims she was traumatized as a child by repeated sexual abuse. She was then traumatized by a rape she reported to neither the police nor the campus medical staff, who she went to see the next day for the morning after pill.  She was then forced into a loveless, sham marriage with her ex-boyfriend because the idea he and his friends were capable of such violence traumatized her all over again.  

The details of her exact level of involvement in Ramirez's murder changed with each retelling with only one constant: her refrain that she had been traumatized by it all.  She even claimed that she was made to view the bloodied but still alive Ramirez because her ex-boyfriend and his accomplices wanted to punish her for having been raped as much as they wanted to kill Ramirez in revenge. She sees a man being hacked to death and she can only think of her own trauma levels?   

Then when her past catches up to her, Esparza is traumatized once again by being charged with a crime.  She is to be seen as a blameless victim who was frozen with shame and fear. Or so say her on-line champions.  Finally she played the ace of feminist victim cards: a prison sentence means her four year old daughter will be without a mother during the formative years and that's just not right.  

Gonzalo Ramirez also has children.  They have no memories of him.  I heard no words of remorse for his family from Esparza.

Nor are the Ramirez family the only lives wrecked by Esparza's failure to report her alleged rape.  Her ex-husband, Gianni Van, was convicted of murder in 2015 and is now serving a life sentence. One of his two male accomplices killed himself in a standoff with police when they attempted to arrest him in 2012. That accomplice's wife was sentenced last week to four years after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.  The other male accomplice pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life. 

Norma Patricia Esparza, a Hispanic psychology professor who has been a cause célèbre in feminist circles, was finally sentenced to six years in prison earlier this month for her involvement in the April 1995 murder of Gonzalo Ramirez. The 24-year-old construction worker was abducted by several people in a white van after they rear ended him.  The next day his body was found in Irvine, California. He had been hacked to death with a meat cleaver.  Esparza was one of five people implicated in the brutal murder. She pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. 

The murder was revenge for the alleged rape of Esparza, then a 20-year-old student at Pomona College.  The comments to news stories on this sentencing seem to find some common ground between left and right, with each side upset for different reasons that Esparza is now a convicted felon.  The feminists are angry because they see this as punishing a rape victim who was too ashamed to report the crime.  Some on the right seem to approve of vigilantism against rapists rather than waiting until a police report has been filed.  And there is evidence a rape did take place. 

Those who have watched the two hour documentary the case that runs occasionally on the Investigation Discovery Channel know both sides do not seem to be paying attention to certain key details. Indeed, as a conservative I was appalled that Esparza's version of events is a game of 52 pick up, with a deck that contains every card in the feminist victimization playbook. I know that by the end of the program, I didn't believe a word Esparza said.  

In April 1995, police initially contacted Esparza because the victim's phone records showed several calls to her number.  They were immediately on alert because while Esparza admitted knowing Ramirez, she did not ask why the police had called her.  Then she related how she had met Ramirez in a club.  He had escorted her home and after asking to come in for a glass of water, Esparza said he had raped her.  No she had not reported the rape to the police.  Yes, she had told her "ex-boyfriend" of the incident because she badly needed some consolation. She was initially insistent she had not told him any details that would allow him to locate her alleged attacker and she had urged him not to act. When the police learned the ex-boyfriend drove a van that matched the description of the one used in the abduction they figured the case was solved except for nailing down the details.

In fact, it was Esparza's story that never seemed to get nailed down.  Indeed, the prosecution had to be dropped entirely when it was learned Esparza had secretly married her ex-boyfriend and thus could not be a witness against him. The prosecutors bided their time, occasionally searching divorce records.  In 2004, they thought they had gotten lucky after they learned Esparza had divorced.  Then they learned she had moved to France with a new husband. (The couple had met working together on a Democrat political campaign.) The next step was to put her name on a Homeland Security watch list and wait some more 

In the meantime, the authorities learned that far from being a passive witness in the abduction and murder, Esparza had not only fingered Ramirez for her boyfriend and his accomplices, she had been present during part of the attack.

In 2012, Esparza was taken into custody upon her return to the United States and the murder prosecutions proceeded.

Why am I skeptical of Esparza's story?  I wish I had tallied up the number of times in the two hour documentary that Esparza used the phrase "I was traumatized by…."  Born a poor Hispanic girl, she claims she was traumatized as a child by repeated sexual abuse. She was then traumatized by a rape she reported to neither the police nor the campus medical staff, who she went to see the next day for the morning after pill.  She was then forced into a loveless, sham marriage with her ex-boyfriend because the idea he and his friends were capable of such violence traumatized her all over again.  

The details of her exact level of involvement in Ramirez's murder changed with each retelling with only one constant: her refrain that she had been traumatized by it all.  She even claimed that she was made to view the bloodied but still alive Ramirez because her ex-boyfriend and his accomplices wanted to punish her for having been raped as much as they wanted to kill Ramirez in revenge. She sees a man being hacked to death and she can only think of her own trauma levels?   

Then when her past catches up to her, Esparza is traumatized once again by being charged with a crime.  She is to be seen as a blameless victim who was frozen with shame and fear. Or so say her on-line champions.  Finally she played the ace of feminist victim cards: a prison sentence means her four year old daughter will be without a mother during the formative years and that's just not right.  

Gonzalo Ramirez also has children.  They have no memories of him.  I heard no words of remorse for his family from Esparza.

Nor are the Ramirez family the only lives wrecked by Esparza's failure to report her alleged rape.  Her ex-husband, Gianni Van, was convicted of murder in 2015 and is now serving a life sentence. One of his two male accomplices killed himself in a standoff with police when they attempted to arrest him in 2012. That accomplice's wife was sentenced last week to four years after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.  The other male accomplice pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life.