In what may be one of the most difficult calls ever in the game of football, should Quincy, Michigan high school senior Mitchell Landis play?
…Mitchell Landis, is charged with rape and many parents are outraged that he’s still in school and that he’s still being allowed to play football.
Landis has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree, each count is a 15 year felony, but Landis has made bail, he’s back at school, he’s even playing football and that has some parents extremely upset.
On the one hand, Landis has been charged but not convicted of anything. Legally, he’s presumed innocent.
On the other hand, the allegations are significant enough for the judge to have imposed $100,000 bond for his release, a not-inconsequential amount for a high school kid who’s not running away to his chateau in France.
On the other hand, he’s a senior in high school, a football player, a kid, and if he’s denied the opportunity to play ball, it’s not like he can make it up some other time. Landis has one chance to play football (or do anything else) in his senior year, and to deprive him of that while he’s presumed innocent is to cause irrevocable harm should he not be subsequently convicted.
On the other hand, if he is guilty of rape, having him in high school at all puts other people at risk. It would be unconscionable to risk the safety of another high school girl.
On the other hand, the allegations against Landis area kinda screwy, such as:
On Tuesday Newschannel 3 spoke to the mother of the alleged victim, who asked not to be identified for fear of causing further stress for her daughter. She says this all started on August 28th when her daughter was at a friends house for a small party. She says Landis was there.
“She had went to bed and the alleged person had went into the room while she was sleeping and woke her up by taking her shorts off,” said the mother.
She says her daughter screamed, but no one came to help.
High school kids in Quincy have co-ed sleepover parties? She screamed and no one came to help? It’s not to say that Landis didn’t commit the crime, but this, and more, gives some pause.
There is nothing at all unusual about release bonds including requirements that a limit the conduct of an accused, or come with an order of protection. Pre-trial defendants are regularly subject to limitations from loss of a drivers license to drug testing to staying 100 yards away from the object of their affection. Given the grave seriousness of a charge of rape of a high school girl, would it be inappropriate to protect others from Landis, and remove him from the high school environment altogether?
But once that’s done, and done to a high school boy, there’s no going back and giving him another senior year, another year of high school football and whatever comes long with it.
This is one of those litmus test scenarios, where you simply favor the presumption of innocence or the safety of others.
In Quincy, the presumption of innocence seems to have prevailed. And parents are not at all happy about it.