Daniel Jones: An Innocent Behind Bars
A Social Reflection
- Victim: Daniel Jones
- Perpetrator: Sarah Jane Parkinson, the legal system
- Relationship: Engaged
- Location: Australia
- Time Frame: 2011-2019
Daniel Jones was accused of domestic abuse and rape. The accusation was made by his former fiancée, Sarah Jane Parkinson. He spent four-five months in maximum security prison, while waiting for his trial. Daniel was a prison guard, while Sarah worked as a clerical assistant at a police station. She filed her complaint in 2014, on the very day she began an affair with a co-worker. Daniel had a solid alibi for the time Sarah accused him of having committed the crime. Sarah was later found guilty in 2019, and sentenced to three years and a month in prison.
Sarah, it has been found, had previously also falsely accused a father of her high school peer. We don’t definitely know as of yet, as to the actual intent behind her crimes. Perhaps it was her affair, perhaps it was financial reasons—maybe a bit of both.
It is not surprising for an officer to end up committing crimes. Power leads to corruption, and all that jazz. Plus, I am a cynic that way.
I have heard of and seen prison guards having assaulted, exploited, helped, or engaged with prisoners, and not get caught for years. But the one guard that ends up being sent to prison, is innocent. The irony, is hysterical (and not in a good way friends). Alas, the perpetrator (Sarah) is someone who I would consider as being in a position to abuse her power.
I honestly don’t think that her gender was the primary reason as to why she was so easily believed. In my opinion it was her close proximation with the legal system, and manipulation skills that made her believable. Because if it were any other woman, she perhaps would not have been believed over a prison guard.
Apart from this case, I do believe that rape allegations are a serious criminal/social/political issue. I sometimes feel that false rape accusations are becoming more common today than actual rape crimes. It is time to look seriously into this issue as well, because I am certain over time many innocent men have been sent to prison over this—simply because the accuser knew how to spin the story.
At times, it truly is a matter of life and death. Rape victims have been murdered. Innocent inmates accused of rape contemplate suicide (like Daniel) or spend a large number of years behind bars. Perhaps they were even executed in nations where capital punishment is legal. And both happen in large part because of the legal system’s negligence.
Women have fought a gruesome personal/social/political war for sexual assault to be recognized as a crime. We unfortunately still live with people, even in western societies, who believe that the victim may have done something to get raped. Some even go far as to say that the victim deserved it.
Furthermore, women have fought a harder battle for marital or domestic, rape and violence to be accepted as a crime, and not be considered just a family or civil law issue.
Women like Sarah Jones, ones who work in the legal system, undermine all of those decades worth of hard work.
And let’s not downplay how this affects men. This case reminded me of an argument, debate, I had in class a long time back. That girl and I came from similar cultural backgrounds. Culture where the narrative is that women need to protect their virtue. If they are victimized, somehow, somewhere the girl may have done something, to bring such perversion on to her. And that sentiment no doubt is a double standard between a female victim and a male rapist. No means no, period.
But when I heard her point, I was stunned to realize that the very same sentiment could also in part be sexist against men. Let me explain, the gist of her argument was that she did not want to share public washrooms with transgender women, because then men would start coming to the women's section dressed as women in order to rape her and other women. Understand this, it was in a third year university course. It made me see that some women who abide by this virtue protection narrative, will tend to view most men as sexual perpetrators.
While I will not bore you with what I had to say to her. Unfortunately, statistics don’t agree well with her worries. Impossible? Not really. Uncommon? Most definitely. But more so, all men are not rapists. Most men do not desire to commit the act. It’s been a while since I brushed up on my stats. But if I remember correctly, only one man, in hundred generally exhibits the desire to rape. Granted, if he starts he won’t stop till he gets caught or dies.
But furthermore, and far more importantly, this narrative, does not recognize or accept that men can be victims too. Both of sexual assault, and of false rape accusations. So if we as a society don’t recognize it, how is an individual male going to see it. Let alone, talk about it?
I live in a country, where 20+ prostitutes go missing, and the police do nothing. And when they were forced to, it was already too late—all of them brutally murdered and severed.
And then, an old man is accused of rape, 20+ years after the incident, and he’s sent to jail. Not to say he was innocent or guilty. But that’s the thing, there is no hard evidence to prove either.
When I was young, I used to think "how could so many women lie about the same accused." But now the more I dig, I hate to admit that the snowball effect can be constructed and dishonest. Women coming out on their own, who don’t even know the accused, will lie for their minute of fame and glory. Some “victims” are paid to testify, if the accused needs (an officer, a celebrity, an employee) to be put behind bars, the boss will find a way.
As a human, there are two crimes that I cannot stomach, taking an innocent life, and rape. It angers me when a rape victim goes to an officer, right after the incident, and is ridiculed out of the one place where everyone (even criminals) are to be protected. But it saddens me when a defendant is innocent and still put behind bars— perhaps even sentenced, and for them to loose so much.
And this can turn into a diabolical circle. Women, and perhaps men more so, are already not taken seriously about sexual assault complaints. Emerging fraud regarding this is bound to allow actual rapists to walk free.
Whatever anyone’s stance on sexual assault, I find a common thread between the two sides. It is that most translate sexual assault into a dual gendered debate. And I used to be like that, women the victim, men the assaulter. A lot of people may think women the seducer, men the seduced.
And now I see that both of these camps are a double standard, and it renders us blind to so many issues. One of them being this very case, that innocent men are falsely accused and imprisoned.
And in all of this we fail to recognize that the legal system is full of humans, who may at times fall back on these dual nature stereotypes. And we as a society will blame each other, pit men and women against each other.
When the sad reality is that, this a human problem. And negligence and irresponsibility on the part of the legal system is what costs us so gravely. Stereotypes do serve their purpose at times. But in the legal system? There is no room for assumptions, only evidence.
You may ask why might this be a big deal? Daniel “only” spent five months in prison, and was acquitted.
- Expense: $600,000 spent for legal fees by the Jones family.
- Compensation: None, as of date. The authorities involved refuse or have not offered any reparation.
- Resentment: There is bound to be resentment within the Jones family. Especially against Daniel Jones, whom they likely may have blamed for getting involved and engaged to the fraud.
- Divorce: This contributed to the divorce of Daniel Jones parents.
- Career and Reputation: All family members had professional careers and a good name, which they lost, because of being associated with someone who was believed to be a rapist.
Daniel Jones was a victim of emotional, mental, physical, and legal abuse at the hands of Sarah Parkinson and the legal system. And he even contemplated suicide while being housed with pedophiles and other high profile criminals.
Folks, when you’re guilty, even the first few weeks is a lot in prison. Let alone, when you’re not only innocent, but used to being on the other side of the fence. That’s its own special kind of trauma.