Jury finds that lesbian couple burned down own house in fake hate crime

The self-inflicted phony hate crime must be the defining crime of our era.  Just as bootlegging defined the 1920s, fake hate crimes seem to define the early years of the 21st century.

For the third time this week, we have a report of a fabulist being busted for fabricating an incident.  How many other phony reports have been made is an open question, because usually there is not a dash cam or a jury trial to provide a definitive conclusion of hate fraud.

The latest instance is particularly sick and vile.  Jamie Satterfield of the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports:

A federal jury in a lawsuit has concluded a Monroe County lesbian couple's claim their house was torched in an act of hate was a hoax.

A jury in U.S. District Court on Monday returned a verdict in favor of American National Property and Casualty Company in a lawsuit over the fire claim of Carol Ann Stutte and Laura Jean Stutte.

In the verdict, the jury specifically concluded the insurer had proved by what's known as a preponderance of the evidence standard that the Stuttes torched their house in Vonore, Tenn., and covered it up by spray-painting the word "queers" on a detached garage and labeling the fire a hate crime by their neighbor.

Photo credit: Bob Fowler

The insurance company had a powerful incentive to contest the alleged hate crime.  As the New York Daily News reports:

The homeowners intended to bank on an insurance claim of more than $276,000, American National and Casulty Company alleged in court documents obtained by the News Sentinel.

There is another victim aside from the insurance company:

The Stuttes' house was destroyed by a blaze in September 2010. The couple at the time blamed neighbor Janice Millsaps in media interviews and a lawsuit filed against Millsaps in Monroe County Chancery Court.

In that lawsuit, the Stuttes alleged Millsaps "repeatedly threatened the lives of the Stuttes" and "specifically and repeatedly threatened to burn the Stuttes' house."

The Stuttes claimed in the lawsuit that Millsaps, a month before the fire, said to them: "Do you know what is better than one dead queer? Two dead queers."

Millsaps denied any role in the fire and has not been charged despite extensive probes by the FBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and local arson investigators, according to Millsaps' attorney, Lewis Kinnard.

If the Suttes’s lawsuit proceeds, another jury will have a chance to weigh the evidence.

What drives people to fabricate hate crimes against themselves?  Absent deep research, I have to speculate that the enshrining of victimhood as the most honored and powerful role in society has a lot to do with it.  When society rewards the stance of being a victim so richly, some people will be driven to assume that posture even when it requires fraud.

There is a deep sickness at work at the personal and societal levels.

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