When Michelle Bachmann was asked about Jerry Sandusky, accused pedophile and former assistant coach for Penn State, she said, “I’d want to find that guy and beat him to a pulp.” On the other side of the equation, we have judges letting child rapists out of prison with minimal sentences. If people are meeting the requirements of the law and you don’t think they meet a moral threshold, change the law. I’m not condoning anyone’s actions in this case, but there is more to the story.
In the shadow of the Penn State case, lurks a much greater problem. The problem is society and the way we have chosen to handle cases of pedophilia.
People find religion in other peoples’ weaknesses. It’s easy to malign coaches, teachers, or anyone who fails to fully follow through on a suspected child abuse case, but can we really understand what they were faced with?
I have been involved in reporting cases of pedophilia and the system has let the victims down time and again. I faced a man threatening to kill me after social service gave my name as the reporter, which they are not supposed to do. I had social workers accuse me of over-reacting, parents who hurt the children for telling the school about the abuse, and there were endless threats of lawsuits by suspected pedophiles when I reported them.
I had one family abusing their children and they solved the problem of our reporting them by pulling their children out of school altogether. They home tutored them so they could abuse them without having to deal with our constant reporting. Should we have continued to pursue them? Morally, what was the threshold? It is not an easy thing to confront, to believe, to report, and to know when to stop pursuing.
Then there was the case I had where the 10 year old was being raped continuously by her brothers. Our school worked hard to get her into a convent school where she was happy and loved. The parents demanded her return and the judge had every intention of returning her to the abusive home until I sent him a copy of the letter I planned to send to every paper in New York, revealing the details of the case.
The system, and particularly the judges, need to be looked at more closely.
It is a fact that more pedophiles move to Vermont than any other state because word is out that Vermont judges are the most lenient of any state in the union.
One case in point is Judge Edward Cashman who explained that he no longer believes that punishment works. “The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn’t solve anything. It just corrodes your soul,” said Judge Edward Cashman speaking to a packed Burlington courtroom. The case he was referring to in January 2006 was related to a young girl who was repeatedly raped by Mark Hulett over four years from the age of seven. The judge gave the rapist a 60 day sentence.
Then there is the case of Bennington District Court Judge David Howard who sentenced Andrew James to 30 months to five years in jail, but suspended all of the jail time. Howard ordered James to comply with three conditions: successfully complete sex offender therapy; refrain from criminal behavior; and pay a standard $22 court surcharge. The maximum penalty for the crime to which James pleaded guilty is life in prison and a $50,000 fine. James sexually assaulted a 4 year old boy on more than 10 occasions.
The cases like this are endless and then there are the groups that want to minimize the crime and make the pervasion legal. Why aren’t we outraged by them?
There is the psychiatric group which is attempting to normalize pedophilia and have it removed from the psychiatric manual as a psychiatric disorder. Many are members on NAMBLA, North American Man/Boy Love Association. No one seems as outraged by them as they are against Joe Paterno and Mark McQueary.
The Citadel military college in South Carolina revealed on Saturday that it had investigated accusations against a camp counselor but took no action. The man has since been jailed on separate charges of molesting five boys in Mount Pleasant, near Charleston, South Carolina.
“We regret that we did not pursue this matter further,” Citadel President Lt. General John Rosa and Board of Visitors Chair Doug Snyder said in a statement. At the time, they investigated throughly and found no evidence. In hindsight, they wish they had done more but their reaction is not unusual just as the reaction at Penn State is not unusual.
It is not easy to investigate these cases, victims are reluctant to give evidence, families hush it up, the monitoring system is weak, and pedophiles are good at covering their tracks. People are often afraid of being sued or subjected to defamation if the accusations cannot be proven.
District Attorney Gricar, who investigated Jerry Sandusky in the 90’s, and who later disappeared, has a brother who said that at the time, his brother, the DA, chose not to pursue the Sandusky case due to lack of evidence. Fact is, people do not come forward in these cases.
Should we solely be looking for ways to criticize and diminish those who followed the law, but not our idea of what is moral, or should we look to revamp the system and the way we look at crimes of pedophilia?
Pedophilia is a life sentence for a child:
- Twists and bend the Soul-Spirit
- Destroys who the child was born to be
- Loss of innocence
- Robbed of virginity; nothing to save for marriage
- Alters ability to form relationships
- Lifetime of memories
- Family betrayal: especially damaging if adults protect perpetrator
- Destruction of trust
- Family secret allows other innocent children to be victims
- Physical injuries, many requiring surgery however the family of an incestuous pedophile will often not seek treatment for the injured child in order to keep the secret.
- Sexually transmitted diseases in infants are now common in the US
- Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in 3, 5 and 7 year olds due to secrecy in not only prosecution but in the short sentences issued.
- Lack of medical treatment to protect perpetrator from discovery and prosecution
- Lack of medical treatment for STD’s which lead to permanent sterilization
When one considers the damage a pedophile causes, we have to ask why are we letting convicted pedophiles off with minimal sentences. Why are repeat offenders let out at all? And why don’t we stop this politically correct pity for perverts who destroy the souls of children? In the end, what message have we sent to those who fail to pursue cases beyond the minimal requirements of the law?
Instead of concentrating on the Joe Paternos and Mike McQuearys of the world, let’s concentrate on the real criminals, the Jerry Sanduskys, and consider how we can do a better job of recognizing and stopping this atrocity. There are a lot of people involved in not properly reporting, let’s change the laws and make the judges follow them. I’m not condoning the way the Penn State horror was handled, I’m saying the laws need to be changed so we set a new moral standard for the crime of pedophilia.