Colorado Rising Action - EDITORIAL: Media Give Polis A Pass On Woman’s Complaint
September 28, 2018

EDITORIAL: Media Give Polis A Pass On Woman’s Complaint

The Gazette Editorial Board

September 28, 2018

The United States should serve as the safest country for women.

Toward this end, Americans witnessed hours of testimony Thursday from Christine Ford. She testified Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attacked her when each was in high school 36 years ago.

Ford does not remember the time, date or exact location. She has no witness to corroborate claims. She never contacted police, but Thursday she finally had the chance to tell her story.

No dearth of evidence gives Kavanaugh an automatic pass. A civilized society takes seriously any claim of violence against a woman under any circumstance. This becomes more critical when evidence involves a powerful man who makes or interprets laws, as is the case with Kavanaugh and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis alike.

Polis, D-Boulder, stands accused of injuring Patricia Hughes during a workplace dispute over files in 1999. She was middle-aged; he was 24 and his name was Jared Polis Schutz. Several months later, Polis dropped “Schutz.” Hughes died in 2014.

Unlike the Hughes case, the accusation against Polis involves nothing sexual. In that regard, the claims are vastly different. Sexual assault is far more serious than nonsexual assault. But the Kavanaugh controversy reinforces the rightfully serious response the culture owes to suspicions raised about violence toward women.

Hughes’ complaint does not rest on decades-old memories. She told her story to cops at the scene. Later that day she also told a close friend, who Wednesday spoke to The Gazette. The friend corroborates Hughes’ injuries and describes an intolerable work environment that led to the dispute.

The police report says Hughes “tried to leave and Schutz (Polis) did not let her leave. Hughes said that he grabbed her and pushed her back into the office. Hughes said that when (Polis) pushed her she was pushed back into a file cabinet, hurting her leg. Hughes said that she was going to call 911 and went to the phone. Hughes said that she tried calling 911 three times and twice (Polis) hung the phone up.”

Her friend recalls Hughes left the scene “distressed and bruised” with a welt, claiming Polis Schutz assaulted her. The friend, in the Boulder area, asks to remain unidentified citing fear of career retribution if Polis wins the governor’s race. Multiple Gazette editors know the friend’s identity.

“When she obtained a restraining order against him, Polis brought in big-gun lawyers and spared no expense,” the friend said. “He and his prominent, connected Boulder family succeeded in putting the blame on her. The system was completely stacked against her and she had no good options.”

Hughes accepted a deferred sentence for theft of trade secrets.

Men in Colorado’s mainstream media give Polis an unusual pass on the violent elements of the police report.

Exhibit A: Grand Junction Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby blames “conservative websites,” and the “conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch” for promoting the accusation. The story casts aspersions on Hughes because of mental health issues.

Exhibit B: Liberal political activist Kyle Clark, a 9 News Denver anchor, rules against Republicans and Hughes more like a wannabe judge than a journalist.

“Colorado Republicans are making a misleading claim today that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis has a hidden assault case from decades ago,” he said on air. “Documents show police decided it was the other person, and not Polis, who was in the wrong that day.”

Other media also blame “right-wing” and “conservative” media for the allegation and downplayed its relevance.

We know Polis and will not judge his guilt in this conflict. We were not there. We also won’t summarily dismiss the written evidence left by Hughes. No man should prevent a woman from calling for help, as her account claims. No man should injure a woman without serious scrutiny of his actions.

Hughes’ obituary describes a teacher, “a savvy assistant to many executives,” a mother and grandmother. The close friend said Hughes worked for the Bank of Boston in the late 1990s. She wanted to move near her daughter, a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“Jared’s parents brought her to La Jolla (Calif.) for an interview and hired her to work for their son in Boulder shortly after he graduated from Princeton.

“She was hired as an assistant but felt more like the nanny for a spoiled child. He would get upset if he returned from a trip and his home refrigerator wasn’t perfectly stocked. She had to pack his clothes for trips … ”

“Far worse,” said the friend, Polis ordered Hughes to manage details of his personal relationships by email.

“She felt really uncomfortable having to communicate so much information about the intimate life of a man she worked for. She called it inappropriate, unprofessional, and not part of her job.”

Contemporary society has no higher cause than protecting women from violence of any type. Women are rightly given every reasonable benefit of the doubt. Unless that is, a woman blames a powerful Colorado Democrat. That man gets a media pass.

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