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Mass.gov sorry for tweeting ‘sexual assault is always avoidable’

- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 1, 2014

The director of the Massachusetts government website on Thursday issued a formal apology to sexual assault victims after a tweet from the website charged that "sexual assault is always avoidable."

The state's Twitter account, which has more than 36,000 followers, made the claim around 10:40 p.m. Wednesday as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

"Sexual assault is always avoidable. Learn more from @Mass_HHS," the tweet read, linking to a blog post by the state's Health and Human Services.

The tweet infuriated followers and was removed around 9 a.m. Thursday, followed by a four-part tweeted apology from Director Geoff Kula, the Boston Globe reported.

"I deeply regret the message sent last night regarding sexual assault and apologize to all sexual assault victims,'' Mr. Kula said.

In an extended statement posted on Mass.gov, Mr. Kula explained that the author of the controversial tweet failed to follow the established procedures the website has in place for its social media communications.

"There is an editorial gatekeeper who reviews all social media content to ensure consistency in messaging, including appropriateness, tone and voice," the director wrote. "In this instance, the author of the sexual assault awareness tweet did not send this tweet to the editorial gatekeeper for review, and instead scheduled the tweet independently."

"Having spoken with the author this morning, it is clear there was no malicious intent behind the tweet," he said. "The tweet author agrees that perpetrators of sexual assault are always at fault, and it was never the author's intent to blame victims for crimes perpetrated."

Mr. Kula said the author has agreed to participate in sexual assault awareness training and all content authors have been briefed on proper editorial procedures.

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