Ken Buck Will Give Colorado Women "Buyer's Remorse"

October 12, 2010 11:56 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

Ken Buck

Yesterday, the Colorado Independent reported on former district attorney and current U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck's (R-CO) refusal to prosecute a rape case in 2005. In a conversation with the alleged victim, who secretly recorded the exchange, Buck argued that the case would be "impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt" because the woman had been drinking and had a prior relationship with her accused attacker. Buck further suggested that the jury would dismiss the rape charges as "buyer's remorse." According to The Huffington Post:

"It appears to me and it appears to others that you invited him over to have sex with him," Buck said on the hazy recording, before acknowledging she may have been unconscious at the time. When the victim went on to say she had not consented to sex, woke up only to find herself being violated, and told the man to stop, Buck seemed unmoved.

"[W]hen you describe yourself as "bedfellows," as you did indicate that you were "bedfellows," it's hard to convince a Weld County jury that this wasn't consensual, when that is your label," he said. "So there are those kinds of factors. This office doesn't believe in blaming the victim for the conduct of the case, but we do have to take into account what a Weld County jury sees in the relationship. You had consumed a lot of alcohol. You had a prior relationship ... According to him, you were naked from the top up when he came into the bedroom. So, there are enough indicators or indications that, in my opinion, make this impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt."

At another moment in the conversation, Buck urged the woman not to seek alternate legal remedies, floating the possibility of painful press coverage as a discouragement.

"Be aware of something, if this, if you file this motion, it will be very public, publicly covered event. There are a lot of things that I have a knowledge of, that I would assume [redacted] knows about and that they have to do with, perhaps, your motives for [unintelligible] and that is part of what our calculation has been in this."

Buck's camp responded to the report by attacking Progress Now, a progressive group that helped bring light to the episode, as partisan and untrustworthy. His campaign did not challenge the authenticity of the tapes.

"I just think she was treated badly by Ken Buck," said Kjersten Forseth of Progress Now Colorado. "As a prosecutor, you are there to be a victim's advocate and not the rapist's advocate, and I just felt he was being more like the rapist's advocate."

This incident is the latest evidence of Buck's anti-woman worldview. In addition to opposing abortion even in cases of rape or incest, Buck was an early supporter of Colorado's notorious "personhood" amendment, which would give constitutional rights to fertilized eggs. However, Buck backed away from his public support for the ballot initiative, he says, after learning that it would ban common forms of birth control. He now refuses to take a formal position on the measure. 

Asked in July why voters should support him over Jane Norton in the Republican primary, Buck joked: "Because I do not wear high-heels." Perhaps it wasn't just a joke after all.