BY DAVID WILSON
Can there be justice for those who have done nothing, but have been brought up on charges anyway?
Most would want to think, yes. Well…I’m here to tell you one story of retribution that could, potentially, change how false accusations are dealt with and settled.
In a time of censorship, insensitivity, selfishness, and extreme intolerance, “deceit” can become the new “truth.” The entertainment industry, media/journalism and political arenas have been blown wide open with career-crushing accusations. Self-awareness and honest reflection are quickly becoming the new platform for restitution, but not resolution.
Here I will focus on what I know: the political arena. With all the valid accusations that have come forth, we, the general public, have completely glossed over the false accusations that have come to the forefront. Why is that? For now, allow me to focus on a specific and particular case that hasn’t had wide-spread media attention as yet.
I am David Wilson, a state senator in Alaska who was recently accused of sexual harassment of a legislative aide by House leadership, a blogger, and a news reporter.
No one registered a formal complaint against me, but that did not stop others from filing baseless accusations, pushing forward without knowing the facts, or doing a proper investigation before labeling me guilty.
In October 2017, a blogger named Jeff Landfield “covered” this story in his new blog and it quickly spread throughout social media and local news programming without any due diligence.
The blog caught the attention of KTVA’s Reporter Liz Raines, who took this matter into her own hands, joining Mr. Landfield. Ms. Raines gave an inaccurate account of what happened as she went on her media campaign to tell her story. As time moved on, however, holes in Ms. Raines’ account began to appear.
A video that surfaced exonerated me. That video has yet to be viewed by the public. However, those who did have the opportunity to view the video saw to it that the charges against me were dropped.
The Bible states that for all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.
Imagine, if you will, my frustrations that dragged on for weeks, knowing that I was innocent the entire time. The lost hours of sleep, the pressures of work and deadlines, along with the loss of focus, should be completely understandable. I am but one case. Yet, there are thousands like mine, where innocent professionals are losing their livelihoods based on verbal accusations without any proof.
This is a fearful time in this society. When the burden of proof is on the defendant, the plaintiff can sit back and watch the disintegration of a human life, based on absolutely nothing.
It doesn’t take much for someone’s life to be turned totally upside down, their reputation ruined, future goals dashed, and families devastated and destroyed. I hope the lesson my case has taught is that you should never take your presumed innocence as a given in the eyes of others.
Someone desperately wanted to end my political career, livelihood, and, ultimately, my life as I knew it.
Maybe what I proved to my accusers in my counter action is that the innocents who stand and fight for their right to be heard will ultimately be the winners.
Harriet Beecher Stowe once said “When you get into a tight place, and everything goes against you till it seems as if you couldn’t hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that’s just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated centuries ago. My plight just may be the perfect example to another under the same pressures today.
Throughout this fight I never forgot those that were important to me. I remained focused on my wife and my family, a difficult thing to do under such duress and pressure.
Criss Jami said “The pressure of adversity is the most powerful sustainer of accountability. It’s as though everything you do is multiplied by 50 in order to surpass those with a head-start. I was never capable of slacking when at the threshold of failure.”
These words ring true in my situation.
When will our society focus again upon the truth? We have laws in place like perjury, making a false statement to police, and obstruction of justice. Do we also need to create laws about bearing false witness and false claims of sexual harassment?
David Wilson is state senator who represents Wasilla, Meadow Lakes, Knik, Big Lake, Point MacKenzie, Goose Bay and North Fairview.