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How Jesse Lacey fails to recognise the seriousness of his sexual misconduct allegations

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"In an effort to address recent events and the public conversation" American rock band Brand New released a statement on behalf of frontman Jesse Lacey concerning recent accusations of sexual misconduct.

However, the statement fails to address the seriousness of the allegations, each concerning children.

Allegations of sexual misconduct are not new on the music scene and seem to be particularly rampant within band culture. Only a few days ago, Nothing But Thieves were forced to deny accusations of sexual assault, and, most famously, in 2013, Lostprophet’s Ian Watkins was jailed for 35 years for 13 child sex offences.

Jesse Lacey’s statement, posted on Brand New’s public Facebook page, is a sore attempt to find forgiveness rather than publicly admit the severity of his crimes against minors.

Jesse Lacey apologises for what he calls "actions of [his] past", promising to prove that he has changed his behaviour. Drawing a firm divide between his past actions and his present self, Lacey seems to expect his large fanbase to forgive him with open arms as a changed person. As for revealing his struggle with sex addiction and cheating as unhealthy coping mechanisms, for which he claims he received professional treatment including group therapy and individual counselling, we seem to be expected to merely accept his reasoning for sexual assault and put it to the back of the shelf.

An apology and confession which would otherwise give some relief to victims and fans fails to recognise the severity of the sexual misconduct allegations, instead directing the focus onto his own psychological issues and ignoring the enormity of his actions.

It’s all very well to hear that Lacey’s actions may have emerged from deep psychological issues, as are extensively explained in the statement, but where is an acknowledgement of the extent to which his behaviour has manipulated and hurt his victims?

Conveniently ignored is any mention of the age of the victims, who were allegedly targeted as minors over a period of years, with one claiming that Lacey, then 24, elicited pornographic images from her when she was only 15 years old. Nicole Elizabeth Garey, whose Facebook post has since been deleted, states that after meeting Lacey in 2003, he began to contact her and manipulate her into sending nude photographs.

Though evidently the most significant issue in the allegations is the manipulation - the grooming – of children, Lacey's statement acts as though the most concerning element of his actions is his cheating and inability to attach emotions to sexual activities.  In focusing on the causes of his actions, he effectively deters attention from the victims to himself, a distasteful attempt to re-direct of pity and sympathy away from those who deserve it.

In his failure to identify his actions as a crime, it is evident that Lacey is incapable of giving a full apology for his crimes, let alone realising that what he has done is effectively child grooming.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the allegations against Jesse Lacey is his abuse of power as a member of a band with a large following and fans who would be likely to have idealised his music and praised his every action.

Both victims who have come forward were targeted as minors by a man in a position of power. Both were manipulated by someone older and with a high level of popularity.

Establishing the seriousness of sexual exploitation of minors by those in a position of power is being made impossible by such lacklustre statements as posted by Jesse Lacey.  His apparent blind ignorance to the severity of his actions against underage children is, to say the least, incredibly worrying and actions should be taken to ensure the seriousness of his actions are addressed.

For fans of Brand New’s uniquely elaborate and explorational style of rock, the news of the recent allegations has produced horror and disbelief, with the band’s popularity seeming likely to take a sudden downwards spiral.  While Jesse Lacey is incapable of forming a full apology and refuses to admit to the severity of his behaviour, it seems unlikely he’ll be forgiven easily.

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