‘Our Guys’ Lose Appeal

Monday, Aug 23, 2004 7:52pm  |  COMMENTS (18)

The AP reports tonight that a federal appeals court in Philadelphia has affirmed the convictions of three Glen Ridge athletes involved in sexually assaulting a mentally-handicapped neighbor with a baseball bat in 1989.

Christopher Archer and twin brothers Kevin and Kyle Scherzer, convicted in 1993, have already served their sentences, but appealed their convictions to try to clear their names and stay off New Jersey’s sexual offender registry.

The decision to uphold the conviction was made by a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Whether the case will be appealed further has not been decided.

The Glen Ridge rape case was the subject of a 1997 book by Bernard Lefkowitz, “Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb,” which became a made-for-tv movie.

18 Comments

  1. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  August 24, 2004 @ 9:06 am

    ‘Our Guys’ ?
    *Very* poor choice of words.

  2. POSTED BY A Nick Fan Sorta  |  August 24, 2004 @ 9:44 am

    somebody help me get this straight, this happened back in 1989 and these guys, who are now inching closer to middle age, are hoping to clear their name – do I have this right so far? Is the thinking that if they lose, no one will read any of these AP stories that may appear in papers across the country and where, anyone who long ago forgot who these guys were, will now get a free refresher course? Is that the game plan? Just checking…

  3. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  August 24, 2004 @ 10:11 am

    Barista,
    Ahh. I see. Much better with the addition of the 4th paragraph in your story. Forgot about the movie.

  4. POSTED BY Miss Martta  |  August 24, 2004 @ 12:42 pm

    Yes, Our Guys is also a name of the book on which the movie was based.
    I dunno. Something tells me these guys aren’t really remorseful for what they did. I mean, if no one came forward, we would have never learned the truth.
    I don’t think their attitudes towards women have changed one iota. If they lived in my neighborhood, I’d be wary.

  5. POSTED BY Bill  |  February 09, 2006 @ 11:32 pm

    I know the Scherzer boys and they are great guys. There is more to this story that was held out because some young jackass prosecutor wanted to make a name for himself. This girl wasn’t exactley a church going purist. These guys were railroaded by a system looking to send good looking athletes to prison because the men trying the case were always picked last in gym class and loathed successful, popular young men like the Scherzer brothers.

  6. POSTED BY Laura  |  February 15, 2006 @ 4:07 am

    Hi, my name is Laura. I am about to read the book “Our Guys” for a class that I am taking at my college. In order to get to some background of the book, I googled it and hit a discussion forum in which you had recently written:
    “I know the Scherzer boys and they are great guys. There is more to this story that was held out because some young jackass prosecutor wanted to make a name for himself. This girl wasn’t exactley a church going purist. These guys were railroaded by a system looking to send good looking athletes to prison because the men trying the case were always picked last in gym class and loathed successful, popular young men like the Scherzer brothers.”
    I come from an affluent town, I go to an affluent school and I am about to graduate from college. Although I have not yet read the book, I do understand the background of it. However, since you recently wrote on the forum I was hoping you might give me some insight into this case regarding what the book says versus what you believe. I want to know the full story so that I can better understand what I am about to read.
    Thank you.
    Laura

  7. POSTED BY DC  |  March 01, 2006 @ 10:12 am

    Bill, you’ve got to be kidding me. I seriously question whether you know the Scherzer boys. And if there’s so much more information to know that redeem them, then why doesn’t someone put it out there? OR why didn’t someone put it out there? It doesn’t matter thet the girl wasn’t a church going purist. That couldn’t be more irrelevant. She was obviously – to everyone that laid eyes on her or spoke to her – mentally retarded and the Scherzer’s knew it. What “nice guy” thinks that a mentally retarded girl wants to be “pleasured” with a baseball bat and broomstick? Can you honestly say that she consented to this? Can you honestly tell me that any teenage girl, let alone a mentally retarded girl, had every intention of being a basement whore? Get real, Bill. Would you want your sister or daughter hanging out with them? The fact is, they might be “nice guys” in your mind, but they were or are sick freaks.

  8. POSTED BY Just a guy  |  April 02, 2006 @ 11:52 am

    None of them are presently in the NJ sex offender registry. Perhaps they quietly won a subsequent appeal?

  9. POSTED BY LM  |  April 05, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

    The appeal for them to not be registered was lost because they are sick offenders…after reading this book it appears that these boys have a history of committing sick violent acts to make themselves feel better because in reality they aren’t worth dirt. THANK GOD they finally had to go to jail..where they belong.

  10. POSTED BY hrhppg  |  April 05, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

    I am so sick of this story, so sick of remembering that time, and beyond sick of the people who continue to defend these sick pervs.
    Any guy who needs to use a broom or a bat on a girl should have the same thing done to them!
    And the “great guy” thing…almost every serial killer has been described as a great guy by people close to them. Jeffery Dahmer was so charming he convinced police to bring one of his escaped victims back to his apartment. Gacy let an early victim of his sexual abuse live – and the kid spent years trying to get someone to believe a nice guy like Gacy could have raped a boy.
    Nice guys my *^%

  11. POSTED BY mauigirl52  |  April 05, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

    They’re called sociopaths…they are born with no conscience but are able to act oh so charming so no one suspects.

  12. POSTED BY Girl  |  April 15, 2006 @ 12:51 am

    I just read the book for a women’s studies course at my college. They deserved a much harsher sentence than they received. How anyone could defend them and their actions is beyond me. It made me physically sick to read this book…and physically sick to hear people defending them. Ugh. It has, however, reaffirmed my future plans. Prosecutor for sex crimes.

  13. POSTED BY cathar  |  April 15, 2006 @ 8:15 am

    The problem with the book, Laura, was that it set Glen Ridge up as a “perfect” suburb, which then, in the book’s somewehat raggedy telling, hastened to cover up its own failings as reflected in the rapists’ vile actions. It also, according to the book, exalted the jock culture of Glen Ridge HS, which in turn led to the rape, out of the perpjocks’ inbred sense of social entitlement.
    But many, many towns in NJ (to cite just one state, perhaps where you live, Laura, it’s the same) take high school sports seriously. That makes none of them a sister city to Gomorrah. Nor does the path from h.s. sports stardom lead automatically to rape, that assumption comes directly out of the worst feminist rants.
    It happened and it was terrible and the rats were successfully prosecuted. That, Bill’s attempt above to cast aspersions on both the victim and the prosecutor to the contrary, should suffice. The book was glib and carefully crafted towards being sold as a movie, and it contained as many cliches about suburbia as your average episode of “Desperate Housewives.” And it succeeded for the longest time in unfairly hanging on Glen Ridge a vision of it as a sort of citadel of arrogance.
    I’m also a bit amused by your assertion, Laura, that you go to an “affluent school.” What does that mean? I can’t imagine any college or university announcing to the world that it’s “affluent.” Watch that one when you write.

  14. POSTED BY Patricia  |  April 19, 2006 @ 9:22 pm

    Ummm-I still don’t understand how these disgusting human beings could ever be described as “great guys.” Regardless of time they still did a heinous thing in 1989. What if it was your daughter this happened too? Would time make you want to shake their hands and tell them you forgive and forget?? I think not. When I watched that movie the only regret I have is how long it took to make. It enrages me how athletes are exempt from responsibility for their actions. Maybe if we didn’t make demi gods out of them they wouldn’t be so disrespectful to others.

  15. POSTED BY Denise  |  September 24, 2006 @ 1:01 am

    A nice guy does not rape anyone, nor does a person in their right mind use a stick on a female(especially someone they grew up with) who they knew was helpless in the company of 10 to 15 men. Society is to caught up in appearances and possessions that does not make a person, a good person. It is the way we conduct ourselves and the way we treat others. It is in fact our actions that define who we really are. Instead of trying to exnorate themselves for a crime that was witnessed and well documented by others(the nerve and gall of anyone to some how believe this mentally retarded woman wanted it or deserved it because she isn’t a saint). Why not apologize, to the young lady and her family and take responsiblity for their actions (that would be the right thing to do). Do something positve in the community to give back. Stop protecting theses men, ask yourself do you really think luring a mentally retarded woman to a basement where ten men are waiting for her as their after school entertainment is right? Where she is held down, having a stick and baseball bat shoved up her vagina repeatly and then used for other sexual acts is right?(and if they had not been caught where planing to do it again this time on video) Even if you do think they are great guys. Would you have liked these great guys to do this to you?

  16. POSTED BY Anonymous  |  September 24, 2006 @ 1:13 am

    Post Date: 2005-02-07 16:34:48 by hfrancis
    4 Comments
    FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A Fort Bragg soldier charged as a teenager in a notorious New Jersey rape case shot and wounded his estranged wife and her boyfriend, then killed himself, authorities said.
    Spc. Richard Timothy Corcoran, 34, entered wife Michele A. Corcoran’s house Thursday night and shot William Paul Seifert several times. Michele Corcoran ran outside, where she was shot in the arm, said Cumberland County sheriff’s Maj. Sam Pennica.
    Corcoran then went back inside the house and shot himself, Pennica said.
    Seifert, who is also a Fort Bragg soldier, was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Michele Corcoran, 30, was treated and released. The Corcorans’ 7-month-old baby was in the house but was not hurt.
    Richard Corcoran was involved in a 1989 case in affluent Glen Ridge, N.J., in which a group of popular high school athletes allegedly raped a mentally retarded teenage girl with a broom and a baseball bat.
    Corcoran, the son of a Glen Ridge police lieutenant, was among seven boys who were arrested and charged, but charges against him were dropped the day before his trial was to begin.
    Three other boys were sentenced to jail terms, one was given probation and two others were ordered to perform community service under plea agreements.
    In 1997, Corcoran won a $200,000 settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit that charged Essex County prosecutors with malicious prosecution.
    Corcoran enlisted in the Army in June 2000. He was assigned to Fort Bragg in 2001 and in late 2002 was deployed to Afghanistan with the 7th Special Forces Group, said Sgt. Kyle Cosner, a spokesman for the Army Special Operations Command.
    Corcoran returned home in 2003 and was transferred to the 1st Special Warfare Training Group in August of that year.
    A 1997 book, “Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb,” explored the town’s willingness to rally around the perpetrators and disparage the victim.

  17. POSTED BY Anonymous  |  September 24, 2006 @ 1:14 am

    FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A Fort Bragg soldier charged as a teenager in a notorious New Jersey rape case shot and wounded his estranged wife and her boyfriend, then killed himself, authorities said.
    Spc. Richard Timothy Corcoran, 34, entered wife Michele A. Corcoran’s house Thursday night and shot William Paul Seifert several times. Michele Corcoran ran outside, where she was shot in the arm, said Cumberland County sheriff’s Maj. Sam Pennica.
    Corcoran then went back inside the house and shot himself, Pennica said.
    Seifert, who is also a Fort Bragg soldier, was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Michele Corcoran, 30, was treated and released. The Corcorans’ 7-month-old baby was in the house but was not hurt.
    Richard Corcoran was involved in a 1989 case in affluent Glen Ridge, N.J., in which a group of popular high school athletes allegedly raped a mentally retarded teenage girl with a broom and a baseball bat.
    Corcoran, the son of a Glen Ridge police lieutenant, was among seven boys who were arrested and charged, but charges against him were dropped the day before his trial was to begin.
    Three other boys were sentenced to jail terms, one was given probation and two others were ordered to perform community service under plea agreements.
    In 1997, Corcoran won a $200,000 settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit that charged Essex County prosecutors with malicious prosecution.
    Corcoran enlisted in the Army in June 2000. He was assigned to Fort Bragg in 2001 and in late 2002 was deployed to Afghanistan with the 7th Special Forces Group, said Sgt. Kyle Cosner, a spokesman for the Army Special Operations Command.
    Corcoran returned home in 2003 and was transferred to the 1st Special Warfare Training Group in August of that year.
    A 1997 book, “Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb,” explored the town’s willingness to rally around the perpetrators and disparage the victim.

  18. POSTED BY Anonymous  |  September 24, 2006 @ 1:55 am

    The court and the media called her M.G., to protect her identity.
    Her intelligence tested on the borderline between normal and mentally retarded. She grew up in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Though she was transferred from the local high school to one better-equipped to handle her academic limitations, she remained rooted in her home town. She had an exaggerated view of the teen caste system, and a child-like desire to please. Throughout her life, she demonstrated compliance to others; as a child, she was dared into eating dog excrement by two of the boys who will later figure into this story. At a baseball game, she threw an easy pitch to a girl who promised to be her “best friend forever”(Lefkowitz 85). Mrs. G. would later put her daughter on the pill, because her teachers believed she was an easy target for sexual manipulation and rape. Two years before the assault, some boys had convinced her to insert a hot dog into her vagina. When questioned about sexual touching, she did not seem to understand she could refuse, if the person touching was “a friend.”
    On March 1, 1989, the promise of a date with local jock Paul Archer led her into the basement of the Scherzer family, whose twin sons were football co-captains. A large group of male students were present; many were setting up folding chairs, like they were ready to “watch a movie” (M.G., quoted in Lefkowitz). There, members of the local teenaged athletic elite brutally gang-raped her with a baseball bat and a broomstick while others watched and encouraged them. She also performed sexual acts, including oral sex. The boys told her no one would like her if she didn’t do these things, and that they could “get her in trouble.”
    Three boys left when the sexual activity began. They corroborated M.G.’s initial account of events, though they said they did not see any use of force. M.G. eventually told her swim instructor, as well as a female student at Glen Ridge High. She said the boys “did things I didn’t want them to” (quoted in Lefkowitz 193). She later recanted, however, when she discovered others were going to get in trouble. Charles Figueroa, a friend of the boys, also reported to a teacher what he had been told privately– a version of events much in keeping with M.G.’s original account. Another teacher was informed, second-hand, both of the events and the boys’ alleged plan to repeat and videotape the assault. The teacher did not, however, know the identity of the victim. Three weeks passed before he finally brought the events to the attention of others, and the police became involved. By then, a great many people had already heard and repeated the story.
    The investigation did not go smoothly. The town has often been portrayed as rallying behind rapists, and some people certainly did. Announcements from a female administrator to “stand behind our boys”(Lefkowitz 232) met with both cheers and catcalls from students. Figueroa was booed by some people in attendance when he crossed the stage at graduation. A female student befriended the victim– but only so she could record out-of-context conversations where M.G. seemed to incriminate herself. The strategy did not work, and she narrowly escaped serious charges for interfering with a witness. One of the boys present, Richard Corcoran, Jr., was the son of a local police officer. Allegations that this fact hampered the investigation have not been substantiated.
    Many people refused to believe the events had happened. One female classmate summed up this opinion by saying, “‘You can’t picture them doing it…. ‘It’s not like they have problems getting girls” (Greenburg).
    A number of versions emerged and M.G., easily manipulated, introduced inconsistencies into her testimony which did not help the case. The boys claimed she had been a willing participant, though their details do not always make sense. Paul Archer (present at the events, though not charged with any crime) claimed that M.G. said a blow job she had given one of the boys made her horny, and that she put the baseball bat into herself and manipulated it while holding the object from the other end. This ranks as perhaps the least believable testimony to emerge.
    In the end, three boys were charged: Christoper Archer and Kevin and Kyle Scherzer.
    The trial followed the uncertain path started by the investigation. M.G.’s mental limitations made her a problematic witness. The time between the event and the investigation meant physical evidence was limited, and the boys had a good deal of time to corroborate alternate versions of events (evidence that they did so was introduced in the testimony of boys not charged). In the end, all three were convicted. Christopher Archer and Kevin received sentences of 15 years; Kyle received 7 years. In all cases, the minimum sentence each would have to serve was left “indeterminate.”
    In an odd ruling, some of the convictions were later reversed, but a different charge of aggravated sexual assault was upheld, and the decision affected the sentence of only one of the convicted. The sex offenders remained free on bail while the appeal was being heard; they only began serving their prison sentences in 1997, nearly a decade after the crime had been committed. Those sceptical of the role race and class play in American crime and our reaction to it should compare the white, upper class Glen Ridge boys’ story to that of the poorer, black accused in the Central Park Jogger case, which occured the same year (I grant, race and class are not the only differences between the two crimes).
    The story has been retold by Bernard Lefkowitz in Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb., a meticulously detailed book, well worth reading despite some problematic comments on the town and school itself. The author portrays Glen Ridge as extreme in its worship of athletic privilege, and also typical of small town America. People who grew up in the Ridge claim Lefkowitz exaggerates the school’s lifestyle and the degree of jock-worship. Still, much about the rapists will be chillingly familiar; we all know or knew boys somewhat like the people portrayed. We also see how the rapists escaped consequences for earlier acts to an alarming degree. I recommend Our Guys to anyone interested in the case, which also has inspired a TV movie, an episode of Law & Order, and a teen novel. Erika Tamar’s Fair Game, a fictitious account, while explicit and somewhat sympathetic, ultimately whitewashes the original crime.
    M.G. continues to live and work in Glen Ridge.

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