Attorney Douglas Mahoney reflects on priest sex abuse cases in a Connecticut Law Tribune article. Below is an excerpt from the article:
Some legal topics are tough to talk about. One of those topics is sex crimes. There are few crimes against humanity that can resonate such emotional trauma like sexual assault. This is one reason why it is so important that those responsible for sexual assault crimes in Connecticut to be held responsible for their wrongdoing.
This week's New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) focuses on the realities of elder abuse. Elder abuse includes physical abuse, verbal or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and neglect. The rate of elder abuse has been estimated to be between 7.6% - 10%. The article discusses strategies that can be used by the medical profession when there is a suspicion of elder abuse. With our growing elderly population, it appears that elder abuse will be an ongoing problem. One particular concern is the fact that elder abuse can occur in nursing homes. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 was supposed to create a framework that would heighten awareness and reporting of elder abuse. However, family and friends always need to a keep a watchful eye to make sure their loved ones who reside in nursing homes are being taken care of properly. Nursing home residents always need advocates especially if they suffer from any type of dementia. Never be afraid to speak up and complain.
In the interest of public policy, it is essential to protect vulnerable populations such as children from abuse and neglect. Abuse can be physical, emotional and sexual in nature. Though in Connecticut anyone who in good faith suspects that a child is being neglected or is suffering abuse is encouraged to report it, there are certain individuals who under Connecticut law are mandated reporters of abuse.
Mark W. Irvin, 63, of Meriden has been charged by federal prosecutors with possession and production of child pornography. Investigators received information from a teenage male that Irvin had sexual contact with him and filmed it in Irvin's Meriden home. The teenager also reported that other minors were involved. Upon searching the home, law enforcement found cameras in several rooms including the bathroom of the home.
Child sexual abuse is probably one of the most heinous actions that any person can perpetrate on an innocent, defenseless child. It is estimated that one child in every ten is likely to be sexually abused before they reach the age of eighteen. Shockingly, current estimates put the number of people who have had to endure and live with the pain and suffering of being sexually abused when they were a child at 42 million people in this country.
It may take years and even decades for those who have suffered sexual abuse in their childhood or adulthood to come forward, but when one comes forward it is important to hold the abuser accountable for their actions. Our Connecticut residents may not be aware of this dire statistic but there are an estimated 39 million childhood sexual abuse survivors in the United States. It is further estimated that nearly 20 percent of girls and about 7 percent of boys between the ages of seven and 13 have suffered sexual abuse. In fact, in Connecticut it is estimated that about 14 percent of the state's population have suffered some kind of a sexual assault.
Without a doubt healing from a sexual assault is a process and varies from person to person. The harm caused by a sexual assault can have a long-lasting impact, and can be emotionally draining and stressful for a victim of sexual assault. Many victims may feel disempowered, may be in fear, feel guilt and not know what to do. In an effort to help victims and provide guidance to their family or friends to support victims of sexual abuse, the Connecticut Judicial Branch's Office of Victim Services has published helpful information on the issue.
Victim was an altar boy in the 70s and 80s when assaults occurred
Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney continues to represent survivors of sexual abuse including priests. We have represented hundreds of victims and will continue to do so. All organizations need to have policies and procedures in place and enforce them in order to protect children. A recent article outlines child pornography found at the Vatican last year.