Dangerously Bad Journalism

Juan Scott appears at his arraignment Tuesday [21 October 2014] in Manhattan Criminal Court. He was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman in the East Village over the weekend and has been charged in two more cases. (Photo: Jefferson Siegel/NYDN)

Okay, this is pretty straightforward. See if you can spot the functional problem with Shayna Jacobs’ report about an accused repeat sex assailant:

In a second case, Scott allegedly forced himself onto a former girlfriend, then sexually abused her in her home Sept. 21, according to the criminal complaint.

He then allegedly overwhelmed her with dozens of menacing text messages, demanding she withdraw a complaint about the ordeal. In one he said “he was going to kill himself if she did not drop the charges,” according to court papers.

Prosecutors said Scott also followed a woman into her E. 11th St. building, pulled up her dress and grabbed her about 11:45 p.m. on June 2.

“There is also surveillance video from that incident as well as positive identification from a lineup … There is a great deal of evidence against this defendant,” Tracy said.

It was not immediately clear how authorities connected Scott to the earlier incidents.

Did you catch that? No, it’s not really all that complicated. Well, unless you happen to be Shayna Jacobs.

In June, the suspect allegedly assaulted a woman in an elevator, and the incident is captured on video. In September, the suspect allegedly assaulted an ex-girlfriend, and according to the complaint it would seem the police have access to a subsequent text message record. The fact of a complaint and the text message record suggests the victim in that alleged attack has at least acknowledged it to police.

Thus, you have the suspect on video assaulting someone. And you have an ex-girlfriend accusing or acknowledging that the suspect allegedly assaulted her.

And yet, if you are Shayna Jacobs?

It was not immediately clear how authorities connected Scott to the earlier incidents.

Or, you know, maybe there’s a simple explanation. After all, many people have a dim view of the police. Perhaps Jacobs is suggesting that even with such evidence, it is unclear how the police were smart enough to put two and two together?

Congratulations, Shayna Jacobs. And also New York Daily Newsα. Your effort to pretend such a straightforward circumstance is complicated sets a striking journalistic standard. And we all are so amazed by your singular perspicacity. Sex assault victims and survivors everywhere owe you … well, something.


α While we recognize that NYDN is a sensationalist rag that exists solely to screw up society, this is a particularly repugnant example.

Jacobs, Shayna. “Stuy Town sex assault suspect allegedly caught on video gets charged with 2 more crimes”. New York Daily News. 21 October 2014.

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