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PictureGroup/Sipa USA/NewscomNeil deGrasse Tyson, the well-known astrophysicist, TV host, and general science enthusiast (whose shtick is sometimes obnoxious and easily criticized), has been accused of sexual misbehavior by three different women. He addressed the allegations in a Facebook post on Saturday.
He's right. We should not naively presume that all claims are true, absent corroboration or supporting evidence. The public should withhold further judgement until Fox and National Geographic—Tyson's employers—complete their investigations.
In the meantime, it's helpful to consider each accusation separately, because they are quite different. The most serious of the incidents allegedly occurred in the early 1980s, while Tyson was a graduate student: A classmate whom Tyson briefly dated claims he drugged and raped her. Here was what Tyson had to say about it:
According to her blog posts, the drug and rape allegation comes from an assumption of what happened to her during a night that she cannot remember. It is as though a false memory had been implanted, which, because it never actually happened, had to be remembered as an evening she doesn't remember. Nor does she remember waking up the next morning and going to the office. I kept a record of everything she posted, in case her stories morphed over time. So this is sad, which, for me, defies explanation.
It's very hard to know who is telling the truth here. As with the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, a great deal of time has passed, and distant memories are tricky things. (At least one of the allegations against Kavanaugh seems unlikely to be accurate, for instance.) We may never know more than we know now. If this accuser has some way to corroborate her account, she should do that. Otherwise, it seems unfair to obligate Tyson to disprove a claim from so long ago.
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