Women: Do Not Get a Nose Ring, Says Misogynistic Bozeman Attorney

While I understand that a defense attorney has to mount a vigorous defense of a client who has proclaimed his innocence, Bozeman defense attorney Chuck Watson went just a bit too far today and revealed some deeply hostile attitudes towards women. Defending a man accused to sexual assault, he told the jury today:


“This is not a girl. This is a woman. She’s got a nose ring. She’s got a belly ring. She’s been around.”

When people are tempted to tell you that rape culture isn’t a real thing or that we’ve developed more enlightened attitudes about sexual assault and victim responsibility, you might want to show them this quote. I hope the jury in Bozeman is able to reach a fair verdict, and I hope Mr. Watson comes to realize that someone’s status as “woman” or “girl” and whether or not “she’s been around” has nothing to do determining guilt in a sexual assault case.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • This observation is also a fantastic illustration of why we need to worry about the decline of Montana’s newspapers.

    Without institutions like the Chronicle able to pay professionals like Whitney Bermes to be present in our courtrooms, this sort of questionable comment (whatever your perspective is on it) wouldn’t be exposed to public scrutiny.

    (Disclosure — I do a similar job for the Tribune up in Great Falls)

    • It’s a fair point. Living in a Lee town, I’ve certainly see firsthand what happens when a newspaper is starved of resources. I don’t think we have a reporter in many trials where one should be–the powers that be think it’s cheaper to print every salacious affidavit from the police, often without any followup reporting.

      The dilemma, though, is this: will buying the local paper translate into more staff and better reporting? It sure doesn’t seem like it. That’s why I think the Chronicle and Tribune generally seem to do a better job, especially with local coverage.

  • I’d guess that Chuck Watson knows damn good and well what he was doing when he used a “Misogynistic” tactic in the court room. But is it fair to label Watson a misogynist or is he just playing to what he perceives as the misogynistic tenancies of the jury or the population at large in an attempt to free his client? I’d say that it’s his job to make arguments that he deems to be effective versus making polite, but infective arguments. Such are the ways of an adversarial justice system. Lawyers are going to use this type of argument as long as it’s effective.

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