Thursday, May 26, 2022
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Letter to the Editor | From John Martellaro, UMKC Director of Media Relations

In a recent UNews story about the rape of a UMKC student, I made an unfortunate and inappropriate comment, and I apologize for it.

In the midst of my conversation with the reporter I used the phrase “taken advantage of” to describe what happened to her. I realized immediately that was an inadequate phrase, and I wanted to be sure to use the proper term, “rape.” But in attempting to correct myself in mid-sentence, I only made things worse with the inappropriate wording that followed. Let me be clear: rape is rape, and it is a terrible crime. Again, I apologize.

John Martellaro
Director, Media Relations
Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications
University of Missouri-Kansas City

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  1. A director of media relations shouldn’t make errors such as this. How does the victim going out “willingly with the suspect” make it less of a security issue? How is that even relevant?

  2. This tells me he posted a formal apology just to save his job… The university would be wise to find someone with more tact and a stronger moral compass.

  3. She was, according to the campus news article, carried unconscious through the dorm. If that doesn’t make it a “security issue,” I don’t know what does. This was incredible insensitive but more so, ignorant.

  4. First you cover up the fact that the accused rapist is an illegal alien. Secondly, you would hate for everyone to realize that an illegal alien raped a student so you tried to downplay this and place the blame on the UMKC student. This proves that UMKC does not care about their students wellbeing and safety. Hide Illegal aliens first, then place the blame on the victim.


        In its report, Fox 4 stated the accused is in the country illegally. However, the undocumented status of the perpetrator is obviously not the basis for UMKC’s lack of transparency regarding this heinous incident. The article sites a spokesman for UMKC on the dorm protocol(s) in place to protect students from these very nightmare scenarios, which were clearly ignored/neglected – most notably the security desk with its 24/7 staff that allowed this extremely conspicuous situation to walk right by despite the very serious at-risk potential. This was not addressed in Fox 4’s report and UMKC was not quick to inform students (if they planned to, at all) possibly because the staff assigned to the security desk that night are unaccounted for – or simply cannot be accounted for, either because no one was assigned or the post had been vacated (staff gone AWOL). You’d think if it was just “they were in the bathroom”, UMKC would want to be clear in order to avoid the image they were negligent rather than unfortunate timing. At any rate, the comments and assertions by the Media Relations Director are beyond “inappropriate” or “inadequate” – the entire premise is the reprehensible assessment of a woman’s responsibility in her own victimization/assault where “socializing” is used to describe what is otherwise known as “drugged” or “roofied”. And that’s not even mentioning his supposition that the crime wasn’t relevant to the campus, despite the fact it was actually perpetrated in a dorm on the campus. That’s like saying because Patient Zero contracted the virus off-campus, it wasn’t relevant once they got back to their dorm – as if reminding students to be alert and exert caution on-and-off campus is ever a waste of time.


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