Should Brian Banks’ False Accuser Be Charged?

Cornelius Walker asserts that the woman who falsely accused Long Beach football star Brian Banks of rape should pay for her crime.

False allegations of rape, such as this story, don’t readily appear so cut and dry. Is it the case of two people disagreeing about what was consensual? Is it a disturbed child using the system to hurt a relative? Perhaps a scorned lover retaliating against an ex? From the outside, the decision to prosecute a rape case seems to be a simple question of whether there appears to be enough evidence to put before a jury. What is less clear is when to prosecute an accusation of rape as having been falsely made. What of someone who truly believes she was raped, even though the evidence indicates she probably consented? Do we lock up a woman for the poor decisions of her 11 year old self? What if she was simply betrayed by her memory and police procedure, as in the case of Ronald Cotton?

This story out of Long Beach does not suffer from a lack of clarity. Brian Banks’s promising life was taken away from him when Wanetta Gibson accused him of raping her, an accusation she knew to be false at the time. Upon release from jail, having been “friended” on Facebook by his accuser, he recorded an admission that her allegation was false. While Banks has been exonerated, the question now is what prosecutors should do, with Gibson refusing to confess to the false allegation. I think the answer is clear. Banks’s mother sold her home and car to pay for her son’s defense; the $750,000 settlement Gibson received from the Long Beach school district should be more than enough to pay for hers.

What do you think? Should Wanetta Gibson go to jail for this crime?

Would charging Wanetta Gibson discourage other false accusers from recanting their accusations and therefore keep more innocent men in jail?

Or would charging Gibson discourage other young women (Gibson was a minor at the time of the accusation) from making false accusations?


Photo: AP/California Western School of Law

About Cornelius Walker

In 2000 Cornelius Walker was named Ambassador of Useless Knowledge. Not one to rest on his laurels, he has since redoubled his efforts towards learning a little about everything and a lot about nothing.


  1. van Rooinek says:

    The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. — Deuteronomy 19:18-21

  2. She was 11.. she did a dumb thing as dumb, poorly parented children will..

    She needs to be punished. Fine.. However, I think her family attorney and parents should be held responsible for their minor’s decisions. You know that an 11 year old girl didn’t drive this through the justice system… Family houses, cars, jewels from Walmart.. sold… crime and punishment.. and then, Wanetta should wear the new anklet issued to those who lie and ruin the lives of their “friends”..

    • Nick, mostly says:

      Sorry if I confused you by linking to two different stories. The first story of the 11 year old, Cassandra Kennedy, was one I wrote about earlier that I thought was truly problematic. She was young, obviously troubled, came forward voluntarily, and admitted to the false accusation to the prosecutor.
      Wanetta Gibson, who was 15 or 16 at the time (I’ve read both ages being mentioned – perhaps she was 15 at the time of accusation, and 16 at the time of the trial?), did not come forward voluntarily, and has now changed her story to say she recanted only for the promise of $10,000 from Mr. Banks. A number of neighbors (former and present) interviewed by the media have suggested that the mother is the mastermind behind all of this. All the same, I don’t find this story nearly as problematic. I think she should be charged.

  3. Whether or not Wanetta Gibson should be charged is a real issue, but I think there’s a much larger issue that needs to be dealt with: the underlying social issues that allowed this to happen in the first place. There is a social stereotype towards men of them being uncontrollable sexual machines. That prejudice is made even worse when you include racial prejudices and even prejudices towards large people, especially athletes. Had this happened to a smaller, white boy, the lawyer could easily have fought and won the case. What’s worse, it’s almost impossible for a prosecutor to make sex charges stick against a woman, even when there is solid evidence.

    Another social stereotype we’re stuck in which contributed to this is the idea of men being almost automatic aggressors and women being almost automatic victims. Society has a very difficult time taking it seriously when a man is the victim or the woman is the aggressor and that’s problematic. I’m a woman and I resent the social stereotype that tells me I’m always a victim.

    And, yes, feminism does need to own up to this. I’ve had many discussions with feminists over the need for a real discussion about men’s issues and I either get told “feminists talk about men’s issues” or “men’s issues are just another word for misogyny!” Guess what? I searched and searched and I could only find one single feminist blog that mentioned the Brian Banks case, and even that one chose to ignore the gender issues and just blamed the legal system. As much as I agree that the prison-industrial complex played a part in this, it’s a grievous oversight when feminist blogs all over the internet talk about issues when women are victimized, but rarely mention a clear cut case of a woman victimizing a man. This is especially problematic because feminism generally seems to place such great importance on dealing with the underlying social issues that facilitate crimes like this. I’m not saying feminism is bad, but it is incomplete and a men’s movement needs to compliment it, not compete with it.

    • Thank-you for this post! Although I doubt a white boy’s lawyer would get him off on this charge, there are plenty of young white men on the sex offender registry and I’d hazard a guess many had lawyers.

  4. I have an idea to take care of all of this and all other crimes once and for all. We already have lie detectors that work fairly well. Well i say lets put the worlds best scientists to work to improve it and in less than five years we have the ultimate lie detector that cant be beat. And just for all the nay sayers we run everyone through five times and murder cases 10 times. All the courts and laywers just vanish and by the way would you want any jury picking out what you wear for a day or what you eat for lunch? But have them decide your innosence or guilt? NOW WAY!!! Cmon people get on board with me on this. You know it makes sence!

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