On climbing into the wrong bed

Roger W. Shuy

in The Language of Sexual Misconduct Cases

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199926961
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980505 | DOI:
On climbing into the wrong bed

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This chapter explores the case of an adult woman who accused her stepfather of intentionally fondling her breasts. It notes that Jim Keckoff, the accused, claimed that he unintentionally climbed into the wrong bed. This case can be considered as an example of a “he said, she said trials,” since the police failed to record their complaint interview with Sharon (the stepdaughter) or their short follow-up interview with Jim (the stepfather). It tries to determine if Jim climbed into Sharon's bed intentionally or accidentally, and uses speech act analysis to reveal any possible clues to his intentions. This chapter also addresses the question why Jim could report facts with some degree of precision in some statements but not in the statement where his hand ended up on his stepdaughter's breast.

Keywords: intentional fondling; he said she said trial; complaint interview; speech act analysis

Chapter.  2032 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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