Judge sentences pickup artist to 8 years for gang rape

Judge sentences pickup artist to 8 years for gang rape
Source: Shuttershock
Source: Shuttershock

A San Diego, California, judge has handed down the maximum possible sentence to pickup artist Alex Smith, who was found guilty of gang raping an unconscious woman in 2013. 

According to the Daily Beast, Smith had picked up the woman, whom the site refers to as Claire, at a bar with his colleague Jonas Dick. The two men took Claire and her friend to an apartment where a "student" of Smith's pickup school — called "Efficient Pickup" — Jason Berlin, was waiting. 

Claire vomited and eventually passed out, at which point Smith began sexually assaulting her, calling to Berlin to join him. Claire's friend later walked into the room to find Claire "unconscious, lying naked, face-down in her own vomit" with Berlin and Smith nearby, who told her, "We just tag-teamed your friend."

Following her assault, Claire immediately called authorities and filed a police report, but ultimately began investigating the circumstances of the rape herself. She succeeded in finding the aliases of her assailants on online pickup artist forums, even discovering an account of her own attack. Claire's lawyers used the evidence to successfully build their case against Smith. 

"This is not a hard decision at all," Judge Jeffrey Fraser said. "In fact, if I could give you more time I would."

Fraser's ruling wasn't just an indictment of Smith, but of pickup artistry altogether.

A previous story from the Daily Beast reported that the "Efficient Pickup" school is founded on a "no means yes" ethos that encourages men to effectively assault women. These "tactics" have, in some instances, included men choking women, masturbating in front of them, groping them and kissing them without their consent.

"That is the only thing that you could say about your school," Fraser said during Smith's sentencing. "It was about being a rapist."

He told Smith that one word neatly sums up the nature of Smith's crime: "misogyny." 

"The fact is, the defendant did treat the victim in this case not as a human being but as simply an object," Fraser said. "And I've got to tell you, having sat up here for 18 years, there's a lot of people that have sat in that chair and I can't recall — murderers, rapists, kidnappers — go down the list, I don't know if I've seen one that has been as mean and cruel as you have been."

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Marie Solis

Marie is a staff writer with a focus in feminist issues. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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