For years I have read in the Empire of pedophiles receiving weak sentences, and I’ve regretted the message that sends to their victims and to all victims of sexual abuse. I have remained silent.
Now, I am incensed over a charge of sexual abuse of a minor being dismissed in a plea deal (see Thursday’s Empire). To ever let that charge go with a judicial formality minimizes the enormity of the crime.
For almost 20 years I have taught in a classroom and worked as a counselor in a residential facility for youth. I have seen the devastating effects of sexual abuse. Its victims serve a life sentence: recovery is relative and rarely, if ever, complete. It’s always there.
What I am objecting to here is the plea deal. If an 18-member grand jury heard enough evidence to decide the case should be tried, it should be tried. To do otherwise is dismissive of the suffering of all victims of sexual abuse as relatively trivial.
And then there is the message such a plea deal sends to pedophiles and to perpetrators whose victims are adults. We know there is a high rate of recidivism among sex offenders. To address this problem we might make it in the interest of the perpetrator to do everything he/she can to control the urge to do such great harm.