The power of the stigma strikes me as Driscoll and I drive around Redmond, checking out everything from his old house, which is now in foreclosure, to the Tumble Inn. I know the events of the night in question better than the jury members, and still I can't help but feel uncomfortable around him, despite believing he's the exception to the rule: the accused rapist who's innocent (not just "not guilty"), a victim even. All told, he lost $120,000 defending himself, forcing his mom into bankruptcy and himself $50,000 into debt. He pulls over beside the bar, exhales, and says, "I haven't been inside since that night." Driscoll stops outside the door and peeks in the window to make sure he doesn't know anyone inside. I ask if he wants to go in for a beer, but he blanches and tells me he doesn't drink anymore. He's terrified of hearing a police officer say to him again, "Were you so intoxicated that possibly you don't remember?" He's lost around 35 pounds and rarely sleeps more than four hours a night. He thinks often about the woman who accused him of rape—there is anger when he hears about how carefree she seems driving a Mercedes around town. But mostly there is just regret that he ever met her. He's grateful to his mom for everything she did during the trial, but lately he's been irritated by her—she's often trying to track him down. "If I call him and he's not there, I panic," she says. "I'm like the mother of a teenager. I told him I think we both have this shell-shock thing. I just can't get over it."
After a few moments, Driscoll enters the Tumble Inn, and as I follow, the whole bar comes into view. There are sausage dogs and chili for sale. Pabst beer mirrors line the wall, and there are a couple of video-poker machines in the back. Driscoll stops awkwardly in the space between the bar and the pool tables and explains that this is where he and his friends were playing a game, then he gestures to the stools where his accuser and her group sat finishing their last round as the bar started to close up—the lights went on, the music shut off—recalling their introduction.
"It's this darkness inside of me that I can't get rid of," he says of the past two and a half years. "This sounds crazy, but sometimes I think that maybe back in January, I was in an accident and I died—and this is hell."