Consider the following news headline: “Mother loses court battle – accused serial molester will have access to kids”
How about this one: “Visitation granted to man after court advised of sexually deviant images on his computer”
Or even: “Defeat of HB 2588 a signal that accused have more rights than future victims”
I’ll admit it - these headlines are fiction. However, they do represent another possible spin on recent events. These examples are alternate versions that, instead of highlighting individuals arrested for crimes focus on the safety and the rights of their victims.
The mother in the first example is Jill Thomas, Jerry Sandusky’s daughter-in-law. Thomas’ situation is very troubling: She failed to convince a Pennsylvania court that Sandusky, who is awaiting trial on several counts of child sexual assault, should not have access to her children (source: Pennlive.com). This case has garnered a great deal of media attention, both from the vile crimes reported by the large number of victims’ to Sandusky’s own disturbing comments in a televised interview. Sandusky has not only failed to project his innocence, he has managed to portrayed himself as the creepy monster his crimes suggest.
The second headline is an obvious reference to the Josh Powell murder fiasco. Much has been said about the supposedly incestuous images in Powell’s computer and the psychosexual exam to which he had been ordered to submit. Unfortunately, little has been said about the court’s decision to grant Powell supervised visitation with his kids. From an objective standpoint, he was a bad risk. In Utah, he was and remains the only person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell. Upon his return to our area he chose to reside with his father, Steven Powell, who was soon arrested for child pornography. Powell himself was recently found in possession of 400 sexual images on his own computer, some of which were incestuous in nature. These caution markers should have served as a roadblock for the civil court which granted Powell custody of his sons, Charlie and Braden Powell. We know how that turned out.
The last example refers to HB 2588, a that bill would have required people arrested for felonies to provide a DNA sample. As a Trib update reports, HB 2588 simply failed to make it to the floor. Despite the fact that DNA matching has already shown real promise in catching dangerous criminals (not to mention assisting in the release of wrongly incarcerated individuals), the legislature chose instead to focus on the potential technicalities involved in swabbing the mouth of people arrested for serious crimes. The legislature should have compared DNA collection to the level of intrusion the innocent air traveler must endure: barefooted and beltless, with the option of a semi-nude scan or hand search.
If this is the reaction to a simple mouth swab, then it is a wonder fingerprinting was ever allowed.
These examples make a loud statement about the rights of victims in our system of justice. In deference to the political action committees of the ACLU, defense attorneys and other ultra-liberal cognoscenti, our courts and legislatures continue to defend the accused while refusing a victim, either now or in the future, the right to be safe from violence.
That means the Jerry Sandusky’s of the world, arrested and awaiting trial for unspeakable acts against children, have the legal right to mingle with kids. It means that courts can grant deeply troubled individuals access to their children, while ignoring any number of danger signs. It means that the legislature is less concerned with preventing future acts of violence if it means challenging the notion that the rights of the accused are sacred in our society.
It is time for our courts and our lawmakers to get their priorities straight.
A mother’s sense of outrage notwithstanding, in civil court the rights of the accused trump any potential harm to children.
- The victim of a vicious rape decided that she could not withstand the stress of trial, a decision which freed her stalker and negated the sexual assault protection order against him
- The U.S. Supreme Court was forced, yet again, to overrule the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco over its decision to allow the parents of a