Dear Reader: You do not know whether Woody Allen molested Dylan Farrow. You do not know this, because the only evidence you have are her accusations, his denials, and heaps of evidence that call Dylan Farrow’s account into question. Further, you are aware of – or ought to be made aware of – the many cases of false accusations of molestation elicited from children by adults with their own sinister motives: an elicitation that is also, by the way, a great crime against children, one that ought to be punished accordingly. Some studies put the rate of false accusation as high as 10 percent.
To point this out is not to insult Dylan Farrow specifically or the victims of child molestation in general. It is not to presume, as Aaron Bady absurdly argues in The New Inquiry, that Dylan Farrow is a liar. Respecting alleged victims and their claims does not, as Bady argues, require giving up – if only in the non-juridical sphere – our presumption of innocence for the accused.