Saturday, May 26, 2012

Adversity Forged the Character of Brian Banks

Brian Banks was a high school football star and had a promising collegiate football career a head of him.   Then at the age of 17, a fellow high school student accused him of rape.  

Banks knew he was innocent and there was not even DNA evidence suggesting a crime occurred.  But due to his age and his race, he was encouraged by his lawyer and the prosecutors at the time to accept a plea deal for a substantially reduced sentence.  

Well, the judge at the time had a different opinion on sentencing.   The sentence was never reduced and Brian Banks served 6 years in prison.   The sentence ended his college and football career and when he left prison he was a registered sex offender.  

It is tough enough to become gainfully employed as a felon, but being also labeled a sex offender made employment options essentially unobtainable.

Probably due to his age, while in prison, Brian Banks case was taken on by the California Innocence Project.

Long and short of it for us the readers and this writer, but not for Brian Banks, the woman, Wanetta Gibson, added him as a friend on Facebook and was later caught on video admitting that no rape ever occurred.  With her assistance this week the case was dismissed.

I have written about innocent people being convicted and serving prison sentences for crimes that they did not commit.  But as angry as the story made me, I was awe struck by the poise of this young man who appeared to have forgiven his accuser and now wishes to get on with his life. 

Young adults with far less adversity than Brian Banks would have given up a long time ago.  

Perhaps in his childhood  or while in prison,  the fine character of Brian Banks was forged into the most solid of steels.    His good human character glistens. 

Mr. Banks wishes to pursue a football career and hopefully some team will give him the opportunity.   

But perhaps, a greater gift would be some assistance for him to attend college which was also robbed of him.

The great story of Brian Banks is that  of a young man overcoming a major tragedy and then forgiving his false accuser and others who did him the injustice.    I do not know if I could be quite so forgiving!

Brian Banks and His Parents

View the CNN Interview with Brian Banks. 

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