Webster Cook Acquitted

Webster Cook, the kid to made off with a Holy Eucharist from a Catholic Church (see this and links there-outwards) was acquitted after a seven hour trial, according to an email sent by Webster’s friend, Ben. Details are expected to emerge later.


  1. #1 Monado
    August 13, 2008

    Thank heavens for small mercies, as it were. Acquitted of what? Conduct unbecoming a student? Is he going to have anyone charged with assault?

  2. #2 Virgil Samms
    August 13, 2008

    Yes, details will be nice. As I recall, this was a University hearing, not a government court? And the charges of which he was acquitted are? Are the cannibals up in arms over the verdict? Fill us in when you can.

  3. #3 Duae Quartunciae
    August 13, 2008

    There’s no reason to charge anyone with assault. Apparently someone tried to pry the host out of his hand at some point. Bad form, no doubt! It might even be legally assault. But to actually charge someone over that is would be over the top, in my opinion. The legal system does not have to be dragged into every situation where people get physical, even if in principle it could. I don’t trust the legal system that much, and I certainly don’t want to have a precedent where the legal system is used as a crude bludgeon to escalate a minor fracas.

    Good thing sanity apparent prevailed with Cook as well; although those proceedings should never have been started either.

  4. #4 Ghost of Minnesota
    August 13, 2008

    Justice prevails!

  5. #5 Tony P
    August 13, 2008

    Duae Quartunciae: Assault is defined and codified as something that creates a reasonable fear of physical harm.

    Battery is the actual laying on of hands. So this really was an assault and battery.

  6. #6 Pierce R. Butler
    August 13, 2008

    Duae Quartunciae: Apparently someone tried to pry the host out of his hand at some point… It might even be legally assault.

    Under Florida law, it’s assault and battery.

    According to Webster Cook’s incident report,

    … as I walked towards the woman with the wine, a member of the group grabbed my arm from behind. While I was being held from behind, another member of the group stepped in front of me, blocking my path. This group member said, “You need to eat it!” I was intimidated and embarrassed because I was in the front of room [sic] of almost 200 people. Although I did not want to eat the cracker, I put it in my mouth because I was physically and mentally forced to do so.

    Upon returning to my seat, I removed the cracker from my mouth and held it in my hand. At this point, another member of the group, Michelle Ducker, put her hand on my shoulder and told me “Eat the cracker or I’m going to make a huge scene”. Almost instantly, she grabbed my wrist and began and [sic] scratching my fingers. While not exercising any physical force in return, I asked her to “Stop touching me”. Despite my clear protest, she continued to hold my hands, wrists, and arms. She also touched my shorts in order to feel inside my pockets. I had to loudly ask her this three times before she stopped.

    … a large man was sent to remove us from the room.

    In the US, large monetary judgments have been awarded for much less. Other than being (having been?) a lifelong Catholic himself, perhaps the best reason for Cook not to file suit is that it might trivialize the thousands of other known cases of much, much worse physical abuse behind those stained-glass windows.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    August 13, 2008

    We’ll likely be hearing details from Webster or Ben in the form of a guest post on this blog. Stay tuned.

  8. #8 Stephanie Z
    August 13, 2008

    A guest post would be a very cool thing indeed. I’ve been hoping they’d speak out once the question of “disciplinary” action was settled.

  9. #9 Duae Quartuncie
    August 13, 2008

    Thanks Tony… but I was not disputing definitions.

    I was suggesting that the law is an ass, and that actually laying charges would be over the top. Whether you could prevail in a court of law has nothing to do with it, and indeed I said explicitly that it might legally assault. It might even get lots of money in “damages”.

    It doesn’t matter; I still think that the tendency to try and drag the law into things goes way over the top.

  10. #10 themadlolscientist, FCD
    August 14, 2008

    A victory for the Separation of Church and Cracker! I second (third?) the guest post suggestion.

    BTW, does anyone know if Webster Cook has a blog?

  11. #11 clinteas
    August 14, 2008

    //BTW, does anyone know if Webster Cook has a blog?//

    He should co-author a book with PZ about the whole sham !

    I love the term “aquitted”,sounds more like a murder trial….

  12. #12 MH
    August 14, 2008

    The results of the fair trial are indeed good news.

    I think it’s fitting to remind ourselves of how people were tried in less enlightened times:

    Trial by ordeal

  13. #13 eddie
    August 14, 2008

    As well as the assault, what about their providing alcohol to minors (for what nefarious purpose?) and what of the uni’s misuse of funds?

  14. #14 Todd
    August 15, 2008

    Any word from the pedophile defense league?