Do you believe in ghosts? Apparently three of them gang-raped a teenage girl in Michigan:

GRAND RAPIDS PRESS: Teens from former Yugoslavia face rape charges (March 24)

Let me just preface the report below by saying that the “rape” status of this is questionable, given that there’s only one reason that a girl would be watching pornographic films with male friends — something that isn’t advisable if the friends aren’t romantic interests. Also, the fact that she seems to have spoken up only after her boyfriend complained further makes the case a bit murky. The reason I’m even mentioning it is that the media are, as usual, presenting it as a case of “ex-Yugoslavia” as culprit, despite the media’s having fought very hard — literally, as co-belligerents — to ensure separate ethnic and national identities for Bosnians, Croatians, Albanians and others. Yet whenever one of their proteges does something unflattering, all of a sudden the carcass and ghost of “Yugoslavia” is dug up and employed. Here are the details:

Imer Gashi, 17, faces first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly raping a 17-year-old at her Kentwood home on two occasions in August. His 19-year-old brother, Nesret Gashi, faces one count for aiding in the second alleged attack.

A third youth, Armin Puskar, 17, is charged with first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct in both cases.

The Gashis came to the U.S. in the late 1990s from Kosovo.

Puskar’s family also settled in Kentwood around the same time as the Gashis, building their home after leaving Bosnia.

Last week, the now-18-year- old alleged victim testified at a hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence for the youths to stand trial. The teen said Puskar and Imer Gashi were at her home watching TV while the rest of her family was on a camping trip when the first attack occurred.

A few days later, she said, her alleged attackers returned to her home and apologized.

She said she had been friends with the teens since middle school and decided not to report the incident.

Within days, the teens were back at her house, watching movies again, joined by Nesret Gashi and a female friend of the alleged victim, the girl testified. After the friend left, another attack occurred, the accuser testified.

Months would pass until word finally got around to the girl’s boyfriend, who attended East Kentwood High School with the girl and the Gashis. She said her boyfriend persuaded her to alert police and her parents.

Lawyers for the defendants pointed out inconsistencies between the police report in November and the girl’s testimony four months later.

She admitted she watched pornographic movies with some of the defendants but steadfastly denied consenting to have sex with any of the accused.

“There was definitely no rape here,” said Kelly Lambert, attorney for Puskar. “There’s far more here than meets the eye.”

The lawyers contend the alleged victim’s allegations only occurred after her 17-year-old boyfriend questioned her about the incident.

In 1999, The Press ran a series of articles tracing the lives of the Gashi family as they made their way in West Michigan — among 150 families who did so that year.

The boys’ mother, Vahide Gashi, talked of her children’s fearful nights remembering the horrors of war and ethnic cleansing they witnessed or heard about in their homeland.

“OR HEARD ABOUT.” Like the rumors that led the Western world to war against itself in Kosovo; and like the horror stories that Sulejman Talovic had ‘heard about’ as a toddler and therefore had to shoot nine Americans in Salt Lake City last year.

An as yet unpublished letter to the editor:

The young men arrested for rape are Albanians from Kosovo, a province of Serbia with a 90% Albanian Muslim majority [now 95%]. Recently the US recognized “independent Kosovo”.

Attorney [for] Mr Puskar should be told that Bosnia is a different place, but it was also recognized as “independent” by the US. Ask Hillary Clinton for the facts. She survived sniper fire in Bosnia, like the family of the accused did in Kosovo.

John Peter Maher Ph. D.
Professor Emeritus
Veteran US Army Counter-Intelligence Corps
Chicago