Callers to the phone-in radio show we were listening to echoed our reaction: Hutchinson had done something sneaky, silly, dishonest, and pretty twisted, without a doubt. At the very least, he should have been charged with “possession of Ken Burns’s haircut.”
But “sexual assault”? Certainly not. To a man (and woman), callers opined that “fraud” would have been a more appropriate charge—something civil, not criminal.
Although almost everything about the case reeked of 21st-century dysfunction, I thought that surely there was something almost Austen-ish going on here, too. “Breach of promise” wasn’t quite the archaic tort I was groping for, but it was the only one that sprang to mind.
(Yes, my real title is astonishingly self-indulgent; I’m so pleased they let me keep it.)