As much as it makes me sick to my stomach to talk about this, it has occurred to me that I should have a statement online where I address this definitively and I beg you all to please allow me to explain here as best that I can.
While I am not naive and I know the statistics, and I also am aware that someone reading this would not "know" me or have any reasons to believe me, but I promise you all from the very bottom of my heart, I am not, and have never been a rapist.
When I was arrested in 2007, I was told I raped a woman in Philadelphia, PA. I was shocked and horrified. I had no idea who could be accusing me because at the time I never had sex east of Salt Lake City, UT. Seriously! I spent days in jail not knowing who would even want to accuse me of this. It made no sense.
However, I had kissed a woman in Philadelphia, and this was the person who had accused me. I had met her on a previous tour, and we had flirted a bit. She had come to meet us at the venue when we loaded in to hang out with me for the evening. After we were settled, she came with me for a walk through a park nearby. That’s when the kiss occurred. It was at about 3pm in the afternoon in a public park near the venue, in full view of a kid’s soccer game and people walking on the path That was one of the things that came to light later, but there was never an article that came out explaining that. It wasn’t at night. We weren’t alone. We weren’t even hidden.
After we walked back to the venue, I became uncomfortable with the situation and I’m sorry to say I actively tried to avoid her for the rest of the day. She ended up hitting it off with another member of the band I was in at the time, he pulled me aside later that night and asked if it would bother me if they spent the night together. I expressed relief at this, knowing that I wasn’t interested in pursuing anything with her, and I told him I was happy they hit it off so well. They left to stay in a hotel together that night, and would go on to have a relationship for the next 6 months or so. About a year after our kiss and some months after they had broken up, she wrote me an email saying that she resented how I made her feel that day and that she felt I owed her an apology. That’s really all the email said. I thought it felt oddly worded considering it was just a kiss, but I responded that I respected her as a person, and I regretted making her feel badly. I had thought we were on good terms; she had even posted on my personal myspace page the next day how much fun we all had together. I honestly thought we were fine. She had contacted me a few months after that day saying how much she looked forward to hanging out when we toured through again. I was a bit confused, but I apologized for my actions that day and said that if she was uncomfortable afterwards, then that’s all I needed to know to understand that I was clearly out of line.
She never replied.
Unfortunately, I worded it just like that, not addressing it was just a kiss. She then took that to the police, claiming I had assaulted her, and it provided an admission that we were in the same place at the same time and some wrong doing had occurred. I was apologizing for SOMETHING after all. Charges were made, a warrant was put out, and I was arrested at one of my shows. Hence an article on my arrest that was picked up by music news sites at the time. It was actually the article that helped me figure out who and what incident this was referring to. Though it made me sound like I admitted to assaulting her which I never would have done because that never happened. I HAD clearly had upset her after the fact which I assumed was from my avoiding her afterwards, so I was addressing that in my email.
As the case proceeded, as the story was told over and over a lot of the truth did come out. The reason that I pleaded guilty to misdemeanor indecent assault because I had actually kissed her. I did do that, and while at the time I had thought it was consensual, it was clear that as time progressed, she regretted and resented it. People see this and think the worst. I can’t blame them. It looks awful. She has never come forward with the truth. I was told by some close to her later, that when inconsistencies came out in the story the prosecutor threatened to prosecute her, so she never said a word more and just let it unfold. I can’t verify that, but I was told that by multiple people later on. I have never seen a public statement by her and since then, she has seemed to have moved on and not talked about it again. I imagine it’s not a subject she wishes to revisit.
I’ve tried to be as up front about it as possible. This was in the spotlight before, many years ago. I’ve had public AMA’s about it and have been interviewed about this situation more than once. I’ve done everything I can to put it all out there and it’s not a pleasant experience to relive. However, being open and honest with you all is the only way I can possibly move forward. This openness about this, is the reason I believe I am not ostracized from my band, this scene, and festivals. My band is not filled with apologists who are ok with me because I’m a “nice guy”. They would never allow me anywhere near them if I was capable of anything like this. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment of any kind. I’m personally doing my best to be the best example of the right kind of person in this scene and in my life.
While I am not a rapist, and honestly not an assaulter, what I am guilty of is treating another person like dirt. I didn’t even realize I had hurt someone. I must have hurt this person, though my actions, and inactions, enough so that they came to hate me so much that this became the only way they felt they could hurt me back. I caused that reaction. I did that. I have to own that. Avoiding her and making her feel horrible was wrong and I have no excuse. I regret my actions deeply. Since this, I have had to think a lot about consent, a lot about how my behaviors had affected others, and what kind of a man I was. I have tried every day since to be a better man, and to talk about consent, and the care of others, and do anything I could to make up for what I did do.
I know, there is very little I can say to make you all believe me. I know that. I do not excuse my actual actions and my past treatment of others. I'm trying to make up for it the best way I can, and to make myself open as I can. I don't want to make you all feel like you can't believe women, or to make anyone feel unsafe around me.
I know my case is an anomaly, I know the numbers. I also know that every single woman in my life, has been sexually assaulted in some way.
The reality of that horrifies me. The stories of the women in my life are shocking. The fact is, as much as this kills me to talk about, this experience simply pales in comparison to the stories they have, and what many of you reading this may have gone through. If they, and you, can survive what happened and hold your heads up high, then I can hold my head up and openly and honestly discuss this.
So, I will continue to make myself as available right here and now to any questions you might have for me. I can answer them here in the comments, or if you want to DM me because you feel more comfortable in a private discussion, I welcome that. I will not pretend I am without blame. I hurt someone and they did what they felt they needed to do. I sincerely wish they had not, but that is what happened. I only respond to explain what I am actually guilty of. That is not an indication or impact on anyone else's story or the reality of the world we live in. I thank you for taking the time to read this post and hear me out. I apologize for my actions that led to this situation and I will do anything I can to make all of you feel safe in my presence and listen to whatever you want to tell me. I have no issue discussing this situation with people who might have questions and to help you feel more comfortable with me.
Thanks for reading and I'm sorry for the length.
For more details on this, please listen to this episode of the Onstage with Jim and Tom Podcast from 5/20/2014. It provides a detailed history about my career. Notable for complete details on the origins of TB as well as the 2007 arrest and accusation discussed in great detail (this segment starts at 1:15:59).