This recent article in the Hartford Courant highlights an interesting trial going on. The defendant is accused of sexually assaulting a child who he adopted through the Department of Children and Family Services. Rather than try the case before a jury, the defendant has chosen to allow the judge to decide his guilt or innocence. The article is below. HARTFORD -- A trial began Tuesday for one of two men accused of sexually assaulting boys they adopted through the state Department of Children and Families, with his accuser describing physical and sexual abuse he said he endured from both men over several years. The state had sought to try George Harasz, 51, and Douglas Wirth, 46, together, but their defense attorneys objected and convinced Hartford Superior Court Judge Julia D. Dewey to hold separate trials. Both also waived their right to a jury trial and opted to have Dewey hear the evidence against them and render a verdict. Wirth's trial is first. But before testimony began, Wirth's lawyer, Michael Dwyer of Middletown, tried to get the judge to admit medical reports that he contends are evidence of the accuser's propensity to lie and exaggerate. Dwyer argued that the accuser's competency to tell the truth was at issue. Dewey responded that competence related only to whether the accuser could understand the obligation of his oath to tell the truth. The credibility of his testimony would be a matter for her to determine, after hearing his testimony as well as cross-examination, she said.
Lesser known fact about Sigmund Freud - early in his career he was all but laughed out of his field for suggesting that sexual abuse within families was a significant social problem. To remain respected he recanted his findings. Toward the end of his career he went back to his original claims and backed them up, demonstrating that this ugliness was indeed not simply at the fringes of society.
This article was a feature story in The New York Times Magazine last week. It speaks of victims of child pornography and possible restitution they may receive. The story features 2 victims and their struggles into adulthood. The detective spread out the photographs on the kitchen table, in front of Nicole, on a December morning in 2006. She was 17, but in the pictures, she saw the face of her 10-year-old self, a half-grown girl wearing make-up. The bodies in the images were broken up by pixelation, but Nicole could see the outline of her father, forcing himself on her. Her mother, sitting next to her, burst into sobs.
We saw this article written about author Barry Lopez and his book about his own childhood sexual abuse. We were really struct by the following quote from his NPR interview to explain why he wrote his book and why abuse victims are compelled to file lawsuits. "I had become impatient with the cast of newspaper articles that suggested that in the legal pursuit of pedophiles what young men and women were most interested in was winning a financial judgment or in punishing, seeking vengeance. And it struck me that that was the last thing, really, you'd be interested in as somebody who had been serially molested. What had been taken from you was a sense of self-worth and dignity, and the only way you can get those things back is in open, unjudged relationships with other people, and then you ... have a chance to develop again a sense of self-worth. So what you really want, in the simplest terms, is for somebody to believe what happened, to take you at face value and not to manipulate you in a courtroom, for example, to seek justice." Below please find the summary of Barry Lopez's interview on NPR with excerpts from his book Sliver of Sky.
In just over a month, more than 120 sexually exploited children -- one just 19 days old -- were identified in an international operation that found them depicted in child pornography on the Internet, U.S. officials said Thursday. In Operation Sunflower, led by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigation unit from Nov. 1 to Dec. 7, 123 victims of child sexual exploitation were identified, ICE Director John Morton said at a press conference in Washington. Of that group, 44 children had been living with their abusers, and 79 children were exploited by people outside of their home or were victimized as children and are now adults. Seventy female and 53 male victims rescued; 110 of the victims were identified in 19 U.S. states and the rest were identified in six foreign countries.
Every year millions of children from all walks of life become victims of, or witnesses to, abusive or violent events that can result in long-lasting symptoms of distress. The events can range from sexual and physical abuse to involvement in a natural disaster, fire or serious motor vehicle accident.
At least six out of 10 children who have been sexually abused suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, according to the state Department of Children and Families. As such the DCF will use a $3.2 million federal grant to improve the way the agency, community-based clinics and social workers statewide handle children affected by trauma in all its forms.
With all the media attention given to the Penn State and Syracuse scandals, more victims are finding coverage to come forward even long after the incident. The victims of came forward to not only expose the perpetrator, but also highlight the shortcomings of time limits associated with the statute of limitations. Currently under Connecticut law, any person who claims damages as a result of being sexually abused, sexually assaulted, or sexually exploited as a child has until 30 years past the age of majority (typically until age 48) in which to file a claim in court. Below is the news story. A veteran sportswriter and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News was accused in a newspaper report Tuesday of molesting three girls and a boy in the 1970s, including his niece, who is now a prosecutor.