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Horrific Read of the Day: The Daily Beast’s account of a pickup artist rape ring

Jonas Dick: Pickup artist, confessed rapist
Jonas Dick: Pickup artist, rapist

As longtime observers of the manosphere know all too well, it’s not always easy to draw a clear line between “pickup artistry” and “raping drunk women.”

That line seems to have been completely nonexistent when it came to the trio of pickup artists profiled in a long and horrifying Daily Beast piece by Brandy Zadrozny, with the self-explanatory title “Pickup Artists Preyed on Drunk Women, Brought Them Home, and Raped Them.”

The pickup artists in question apparently specialized in the highly Rooshian strategy of “hanging around outside of bars at closing time in hopes of meeting really, really drunk women.”

Here’s how Zadrozny describes the “pickup” that got the trio arrested:

When the bars closed for the night, Claire and Laura [not their real names] shuffled out with the rest of the crowd onto Fifth Avenue. They called an Uber, and as they waited, they were approached by two men, Jonas Dick and Alex Smith.

Jonas and Alex were no strangers to meeting girls on that street at that time: they referred to two in the morning as “pull o’clock” because of how easy it was to bring home the last women leaving the bars. They invited Claire and Laura to their place for drinks. It was only a few blocks away.

Renting an apartment only a couple of blocks from the bars, also a very Rooshian technique.

Claire says she doesn’t remember meeting Alex and Jonas. She remembers stumbling and someone with a receding hairline “pushing her along,” leading her to an apartment building. She remembers being in a semi-furnished bedroom on a mattress without a headboard. Someone giving her a clear drink. The sip she took didn’t taste like water, maybe it was alcohol? Before she could think about it, she was falling backwards, and that’s when she says it all goes black.

What occurred in that bedroom over the next hour runs in and out of Claire’s mind like waves. As she testified in court, she can feel the bed beneath her, coming to for a moment, and vomiting on the floor. She hears one—or is it two?—male voices, mumbling like the adults in “Charlie Brown” before it all fades away again.

It gets worse.

If you’re not up for reading a really long story full of graphic details of rape at the moment, Robyn Pennacchia at Wonkette provides a condensed, if also pretty graphic, version of the story here.

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Rhuu
Rhuu
4 years ago

@Robert Walker-Smith: i know wht you’re trying to say, and that you mean it in a nice way but… Daughters are no more difficult than sons. I’m sure there are things you would have struggled with, but that is true for sons as well.

What if you were a die hard star trek fan, and they only liked star wars? I’m sure there are strategies you could employ to deal with this disconnect.

I bring it up because this sort of thinking contributes to ‘othering’ girls and women. We are not aliens, though we do have loads of social pressures that you would have needed to learn to navigate.

But you did it for your sons, so i have every confidence that you could have raised daughters. Especially since the context of your post was ‘i raised my sons to respect consent’.

Bina
4 years ago

@History Nerd:

It’s disturbing that they’re only in prison because “Laura” intervened and caught them in the act and “Claire” did the independent research. The police didn’t even get a warrant to search the apartment.

BINGO.

What also bugs me is the obvious: If these guys had been black, and their rented rape room had been a crack den, you just KNOW those cops would have been busting the door down with a battering ram, warrant or no warrant.

Hell, even simple pot possession is more likely to get you jailed (at least if black) than rape is (at least if white).

Pearl Clutcher
Pearl Clutcher
4 years ago

The police’s tendency to not give a fuck about rape seems to be universal.

CW POLICE ASSHOLERY, RAPE

The middle-aged police who questioned me about the rape (“my rape” sounds wrong) was incredibly unprofessional.

“Did he fuck you til the end?”
“Excuse me?”
“Did he cum?”
“… well yes…”

I didn’t know the name for what happened then, but during and after the questioning I experienced extreme depersonalisation. The situation seemed almost funny, like I was in a Kafka short story. And this wasn’t even Murica.

Aunt Podger
Aunt Podger
4 years ago

The FBI were extraordinarily nice to me, but they came to me, and not so much about my rape, but the videos and photographs he’d been storing (and selling) on my computer, unbeknownst to me, using my apartment and Internet connection when I was at work. It was… an unpleasant realization (but merely-suspecting and convincing myself I was crazy and paranoid was much worse).

Aunt Podger
Aunt Podger
4 years ago

And, Pearl Clutcher, I am so sorry you went through that. I would RAINN had the resources to educate everyone on what not to do. (And while I am making wishes, I would that people would just freaking stop raping and that everyone had enough wealth to Fix What’s Wrong.)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ aunt podger

The FBI were extraordinarily nice to me, but they came to me, and not so much about my rape

Hopefully I’m not getting into apologetics about the way law enforcement treats rape generally, but in that particular case it might be because rape per se isn’t a federal crime, whereas certain computer related offences are. So it’s perhaps understandable why they concentrated on that aspect as that’s what what they have juridsidation over.

And hugs about what you had to go through obviously.

occasional reader
occasional reader
4 years ago

Hello.

Yes, it is not a mental problem, it is an education fucking problem. And the other problem is the non awareness of some of the rapists’ parents about that. Combined with shaming the victims, it is infuriating.
Self-centered (which is uterly different from self-esteem, whatever can say PUA rulebooks), lack of empathy (for people who prentend to know how women feel), comforted by circles of people who think like them or who do not care, almost absence of fear of social retribution (although i am not sure that fear is a viable and sustainable solution – and by fear i mean legal justice, if it was not clear)… All in all, it is sad to say but it so easy falling in rapist behavior.
And now, when you want to put social and sexual instruction at school, it is a big bwabwabwa against it.
* Flip table *

Have a nice day.

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
4 years ago

* Flip table *

Throws big snuggly rug over table legs. Fills up cubby with soft toys. Turns on favourite music.

I’m outta here, I’m in there. For a good long while.

Kettle
Kettle
4 years ago

Yeah I’m not a troll. God forbid a woman express murderous rage as yet more pieces of shit get token sentences for a crime that can be committed with impunity. One of these days a woman or women will snap and a rapist will die and everyone will wring their hands about how wrong she was, as if the cops aren’t fucking useless when it comes to rape. These fuckpigs do this because they can get away with it and unless they go after a child or senior citizen people take their side when they get caught. Forgive me for hoping that one day one of them messes with the wrong woman and ends up down a hole somewhere.

Troubelle
Troubelle
4 years ago

@mildlymagnificent

Throws big snuggly rug over table legs. Fills up cubby with soft toys. Turns on favourite music.

I’m outta here, I’m in there. For a good long while.

I wish to join you in your fortress. I request to play the song I posted here first. I will bring a stuffed Luigi.

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

The main reason for women not going to the police is that an overwhelming number of American girls are brought up to believe that if they get raped it is nobody’s fault but their own, because they were drunk, under dressed etc. This is because of the number of dangerous Christian fundamentalists in the school system / home schooling and disastrous ‘purity’ pledges which do not teach responsible attitudes to sex and bodily autonomy. They are taught to be submissive and let men have their way even if it is against their will. Many grow up seeing their mothers raped by their fathers, and accept it as the ‘Lord’s Will’. They are not taught that it is their right to say ‘no’ and that they are sovereign human beings not simply toys and slaves for the use of men.

The men of course are taught that they are the dominant sex, represent the ‘headship of Christ’ and can get away with being misogynistic bullies because their religion teaches that they can.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

Rape culture is not solely American or solely fundie Christian. Not even remotely.

Saphira
4 years ago

And they say rape culture isn’t alive and well . . . *eyeroll* I’m going to go try not to vomit now.

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@Virgin Mary
I did not report my rape to the police. I was raised in s secular household. We were taught about rape and how it’s not the woman’s fault. My mom had horror stories of what reporting to the police was like for her friends as teenagers in the 60s, and assured us things had changed. My school taught me that rape can be confusing, that it’s not always strangers and not always combined with other forms of violence. I knew everything about rape. Why didn’t I go to the police? I was afraid of my rapist. He was someone I knew. He had violent tendencies, and I knew the police couldn’t protect e from him for however long any trial might take. And if I knew then what I know now about how the police handle rape cases I never would have considered it.

Look, you’re not wrong that those problems exist, but you can’t just make a blanket statement like that without evidence. That’s probably the reason why most people you know don’t report, but large areas of the country that don’t have a lot of fun die upbringing still don’t have high reporting rates and the issue isn’t as simple as that.

Mercy
Mercy
4 years ago

Re: the original incident this post is about– what pathetic excuses for human beings. How in the heck does anyone twist themselves into considering the rape of a drunk woman justifiable?

Virgin Mary, I am sorry to hear that you had bad experiences with fundamentalists. There are awful people everywhere. But I was raised fundamentalist, and it is rather dismaying to hear myself and everyone I know described as abusive monsters. My mother homeschooled me, and it was very long on math and language and very short on bigotry.

Bina
4 years ago

@Pearl:

The police’s tendency to not give a fuck about rape seems to be universal.

I hate to agree, but…I agree. When I was raped, I never went to the police, either. I knew in advance what kind of reception I’d get: “Oh…you had a few beers with him? And you made out with him before he scrambled up over you, undid his pants, and stuck it in your mouth? Well, then, you must have been asking for it!” Ugh. No, thank you, I did not then and still do not (more than 20 years later!) wish to file a report. I’ll just keep writing about it instead. And hope that maybe my having said something will help change something.

(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

I made the terrible decision of reading the article.
Got through 5 paragraphs.
I had to vomit.

No idea how you do this, David. But thank you.

A Rose for Emily
A Rose for Emily
4 years ago

They took the plea deals because the San Diego DA’s office agreed that none of them would be charged with any additional sexual assaults. They probably raped multiple people in that apartment…

Sadly I read the article, and there’s no probably about it. The landlord collected video evidence to that effect, but from the article I could discern no indication that the police took possession of the evidence or attempted any investigation whatsoever.

(((Hambeast))) Now With Extra Parentheses
(((Hambeast))) Now With Extra Parentheses
4 years ago

I just. Even, I cannot with this.

I’m on a big downer anyway because I lost my aunt day before yesterday, plus it’s almost a year since my dad got sick and the memories have already started flooding back. I’ve been bingeing on movie reviews and reading here to take my mind off things.

Troubelle, I was in a type-y mood yesterday with KafkaNoMore and you see what that led to. Watch what you wish for.

I have some leftover Thai food I can bring to the fort, plus some big couch cushions I salvaged from an old sofa and a bunch of extra blankets…

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ hambeast

It’s always so hard to say anything at times like these without it just seeming like platitudes. For what it’s worth you have my sympathies. I hope you find some modicum of solace during what must be a horrible time for you.

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

The fundamentalism I encountered was in Britain, where most people consider it not to be ‘a thing’. Maybe that was what made it worse, I still get very angry and upset even now years and years later when I should have been able to let it go. I feel as if I was brainwashed, and even after I left, they poisoned the minds of my former friends and family members against me. I had an awful experience last year, when I had to testify against a youth worker who assaulted me when I was a teen, as he had been accused again of an assault against a 14 year old, and an attempted rape of a 16 year old, who he said had tried to seduce him. He was aquitted of the attack against the 14 year old as the church altered the register to say she was still attending the youth group weeks after the attack, but he was fined £6000 and has a suspended sentence and ten years on the sex offenders register for what he did to the other girl, it makes me angry because people knew about him, he has been a ticking time bomb and I could have done something before had I not been bullied into silence by church elders saying I would damage his reputation and hurt his family.

Mercy
Mercy
4 years ago

Virgin Mary, that’s unconscionable. I’m so sorry you had to go through all that.

Megalibrarygirl
Megalibrarygirl
4 years ago

Rape culture is terrifying. My daughter is 13. A few weeks ago, she said to me matter-of-factly that she would probably be raped someday.

I was horrified by that. It was difficult to figure out what to say. I told her about consent and how it’s never ok and shouldn’t just be something you expect to happen.

It would be interesting to me to hear what any of you would say. I still feel like I didn’t reach her, especially because talking about sex with mom is totally embarrassing….

Wondering
Wondering
4 years ago

@Sigh

It’s hard to find the saddest part of all this, but I was struck by the seemingly insignificant line about how many women excused themselves from the jury for knowing people who had been similarly raped.
And there’s no rape culture they say?

That’s also one of the things that struck me most about the article. That so many women have been assaulted or personally known other women assaulted in a similar fashion they couldn’t find more than 2 to be impartial.

tricyclist
tricyclist
4 years ago

And I was horrified by the part about the property manager who put up a camera in the hall outside their door and recorded “uncountable” women going in happy and coming out distraught.

She forwarded stills of this to the police. What the hell were they (the police) doing letting it continue?

Sigh :/
Sigh :/
4 years ago

@megalibrarygirl

My daughters 16, I hear you, that’s heartbreaking. Go easy on yourself. My theory is that as long as you answer honestly and don’t sweep it under the carpet it’s going to be the right answer. Pat on the back to you mom for starting the conversation. Now, don’t let it stop 🙂 She’s given you an opening, as embarrassing as it is, keep it open, that’s far more important than saying the “perfect” thing.

What would I say? I’d say what you did, and I’d use it as another opportunity to remind her how valuable and worthwhile she is despite this horrid world constantly teaching her the opposite. And I’d use it as another opportunity to teach her that it’s perfectly OK to say no to anything someone else wants from her, and how she can do that.

You say you don’t feel like you reached her, but the fact is she felt she could say that to you in the first place, you reached her long ago it seems. Well done, mom, good work 🙂

History Nerd
History Nerd
4 years ago

@tricyclist They plea bargained, so the San Diego DA’s office won’t charge them with any sexual assaults they committed before pleading guilty.

It’s pretty horrible. The 8 year sentence is the statutory maximum for one count. I’d say 16-20 years should be the absolute minimum if someone did this to multiple people and planned it.

Maybe there’s some way to have a federal prosecution. Or get all the women together and file a civil rights case against Real Social Dynamics (maybe the police also). I’d love to see all those guys get deposed.

Megalibrarygirl
Megalibrarygirl
4 years ago

@sigh

Thanks. It’s hard to know what is right sometimes. But thank you for reminding me that staying open is important.

I am really very worried where she got the idea she’d be raped someday. 🙁

Sascha Vykos
Sascha Vykos
4 years ago

They think hurting people is funny.

I hope they feel that pain.

What else is there to say.

Shaenon
4 years ago

“He was overwhelmed with the pretty girls, beautiful beaches, outstanding weather, and all that is associated with California,” his mother wrote in a letter of support to the court.

As a California resident, I can attest to this. Whenever we get nice weather, everyone runs out and starts raping.

Croquembouche of patriarchy
Croquembouche of patriarchy
4 years ago

(At an emotional jury selection, the majority of female candidates said they couldn’t remain impartial at Alex’s trial, citing a personal account or relationship with a woman who had been raped under similar circumstances.)

So are aren’t men just as likely to have a personal relationship with a woman who has been raped under similar circumstances? Do they just not know this thing about the women in their lives, or are they magically able to remain impartial about it? I’d really like to know if male prospective jurors were asked this question, and how they responded.

EJ (The Orphic Lizard)

Wait, what? People who have friends who’ve been raped can’t be jurors on a rape case? What the fuck, justice system?

Dalillama
Dalillama
4 years ago

@Croquembouche

Do they just not know this thing about the women in their lives

This one.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

TW: Awful birds & bees story

@Megalibrarygirl

Rape culture is terrifying. My daughter is 13. A few weeks ago, she said to me matter-of-factly that she would probably be raped someday.

Rape culture is terrifying.

That said, I’m a lot older than your daughter, and I found out about sex when I was 8 and my 10-year-old friend told me about rape.

My informant told me that a guy would take a girl down to the river in his car, where they’d park. Then he (not they) would do the deed. And then he’d throw her in the river.

Sooo the whole rape thing sounded . . . bad. But the drowning thing? Count me out!

I guess I’m saying that the notion of rape as inevitable is nothing new. But thank goodness you, her mom, challenged that idea!

TW: Awful birds & bees story

Podkayne Lives (Hairless Marsupial Gutter Nun)
Podkayne Lives (Hairless Marsupial Gutter Nun)
4 years ago

“He was overwhelmed with the pretty girls, beautiful beaches, outstanding weather, and all that is associated with California,”

I can see this delightful experience making you think “I want to find a girlfriend,” or “I want to learn to surf”, or “I want to find a girlfriend who surfs”. “I want to pick up blind-drunk women at two in the morning and rape them” does not immediately spring to mind for those of us who are, you know, not rapists.

LostInLindsey
LostInLindsey
4 years ago

I just…nope, not reading the linked article. David’s post was enough for me.