Assange has been arrested in London in connection with sexual assault charges lodged against him in Sweden several months ago, and I’ve updated a post on the subject that I wrote last week with new information available this morning. I take no position on Assange’s guilt or innocence, by the way — I just think it’s important to set the record straight as to what happened, and what’s being alleged. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around, much of it problematic from the perspective of our understanding of sexual assault.
Among the issues I address in that post are these:
Myth 1: Assange has been charged with “sex by surprise.” (No. “Sex by surprise” isn’t a specific criminal violation in Sweden, but a slang term for rape. Assange has been charged with rape, sexual coercion, and sexual molestation.)
Myth 2: The charges against Assange carry only a 5000 Kroner fine as their maximum penalty. (No. He could be facing up to twelve years in prison.)
Myth 3: Prosecutors agree that the sex that took place was consensual. (No. Assange’s accusers and the prosecution claim that a sex act that began as consensual became non-consensual after Assange was told to stop and failed to.)
Anyway, you can go read the original post, if you’re interested. I’ll be updating there, rather than here, and closing this post to comments to avoid duplication of discussion.
December 8 Update | I’ve written a new post on the questions of guilt, innocence, and justice raised by this case.