From Politics to Personal Bonds
I knew him when he was Erie County Democratic Party Chairman and through years of his high-profile work on seven presidential campaigns, his work with billionaires and statesmen in America and overseas.
I knew his late parents and I’ve connected with his St. Louis relatives.
As I chronicle this case, my friendship with Steve will inevitably color my perspective. Still, I believe he’s innocent.
Unraveling the Accusations
In 2021, a 14-year-old girl told her mother that her uncle Steve raped her in 2016 when she was nine.
The Erie County District Attorney charged Pigeon with two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child and one count of first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse, and child endangerment.
Pigeon faces life in prison.
When we delve into the details of the case, several key aspects emerge that warrant measured understanding:
Delay in Reporting
It took almost half a decade from the alleged incident in December 2016 to its report in 2021.
Delayed reporting, while not unusual in cases involving minors, can complicate investigations due to potential memory distortions and lack of contemporaneous evidence.
It’s intriguing that the girl’s initial revelation of the alleged incident occurred not as an isolated disclosure, but during inquiries into a separate matter.
Such circumstances require scrutiny to determine the context and potential influences on the disclosure.
When someone makes a claim years later, finding corroborative evidence is difficult. In Pigeon’s case, there is no tangible evidence—specifically, the lack of physical or DNA proof to support the girl’s claims. The case boils down to the teen’s word against Pigeon’s.
This places immense responsibility on evaluating the credibility of the accuser’s account.
The Sole Meeting
It’s undisputed that Pigeon and the accuser had dinner at a restaurant in late 2016, after which he drove her home. Pigeon says he dropped her off; the accuser disclosed years later that he raped her on the way home.
This single encounter, without subsequent individual interactions, challenges typical narratives of premeditated malicious intent.
Motives Behind the Meeting
The backdrop of the sole interaction between Pigeon and the accuser offers another layer. Pigeon did not seek to be alone with the girl. The girl’s financially distressed mother orchestrated the meeting, seeking monetary assistance from Pigeon.
District Attorney Flynn’s portrayal of Pigeon’s alleged actions paints a picture of spontaneity, devoid of prior intent. The narrative suggests an abrupt deviation from Pigeon’s known behavior, especially given that there was no premeditated plan to be alone with the girl.
The Grooming Paradox
Numerous studies indicate that individuals who commit heinous acts against children have a pattern of grooming and repeating their assaults. Pigeon didn’t initiate the meeting. He consented to it.
It’s essential to understand the nature of grooming. A pattern typically emerges in the behavior of pedophiles, which involves building trust, manipulating environments, and preparing the child over extended periods.
The claim here challenges this understanding. The teen alleges a sudden, isolated incident when she was nine, with no subsequent attempts by Pigeon.
No other family members made allegations against Pigeon. Indeed, some within the family have raised doubts about the veracity of the accuser’s claims. While not conclusive, this internal skepticism is a facet of the case.
No Previous Sexual Offenses
Steve Pigeon’s past is unblemished regarding allegations of this nature. He has no history of sexual offenses, which cannot be ignored when considering the gravity of the current charge against him.
Absence of Other Accusers
It’s telling that despite the spotlight on this case, no other individual – whether related or not – has stepped forward with a similar accusation against Pigeon.
Knowing Steve as I do, having seen him in various settings, from business trips to dinners, I’ve never observed a hint of inappropriate behavior. And in his vast, interconnected world of business and politics, no one else has ever raised an allegation against him.
Pigeon’s White Collar Convictions
Steve Pigeon’s previous trouble with the law was non-violent white-collar crimes that commanded considerable media attention. He spent eight months in jail.
It’s essential to differentiate between election law violations and the grave allegations he faces now. A person’s past infractions, especially of a non-violent nature, don’t forecast future violent behavior.
Steve was under scrutiny for years for unrelated white-collar criminal matters. The FBI and New York State authorities examined email communications, his phone, and his computers, and interviewed over 100 personal and professional associates.
Though revealing political misdeeds, this examination unearthed no traces of violent tendencies or sexually inappropriate behavior.
Such comprehensive scrutiny, which yielded no evidence in this regard, is a crucial counterpoint in the case’s narrative.
Outside perspectives on the alleged victim’s behavior, preceding and succeeding the claimed incident, could feature in the case.
How these observations align with or refute the accuser’s narrative can provide insights into the veracity of the allegations.
Mental Health Consideration
Both the accuser and her mother’s history of mental health challenges could introduce nuanced perspectives.
An incident in January reported in the Buffalo News, where local police intervened, and the subsequent admittance of the girl to the psychiatric unit in the county hospital, suggests underlying familial tensions.
Allegations that her mother has been a significant source of her trauma could potentially steer the case’s narrative.
It raises questions about the stability of her living environment and whether these mental health struggles can impact the reliability of her claims or if they make her more susceptible to potential external influences.
Once in a lifetime?
The foundation of this case is the testimony of a now 16-year-old girl, who, in 2021, revealed to her mother an event she alleges occurred in 2016 when she was nine and Pigeon was 56.
I cannot shake off the peculiar circumstance: Pigeon, 62, a public figure, leading an entire life without a whiff of impropriety of this nature, facing charges of a one-time, out of the blue, violent rape committed years ago against a child he knew – with no more evidence than the word of that troubled child.
I am not sure there is another case like it.