Monday, June 19, 2006

Baltimore Happenings - Can You Explain This?

From: Tehilla Sunshine
Efraim Ohana
On Sunday, June 18th, there was a peaceful demonstration in front of the home of a man who has refused to give his wife a Get. The demonstration was attended by many of the rabbonim of Baltimore. There must have been over one hundred people in attendance. Including:
  1. Rabbi Moshe Hauer - Congregation Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion
  2. Yaakov Hopfer - President, Vaad HaRabbonim
  3. Shraga Neuberger - Magid Shiur, Ner Yisroel

What I don't understand is why there has never been a rally on behalf of the survivors of sexual abuse/assault who's alleged sex offenders include principals, teachers and or other respected community leaders from the Upper Park Heights/Pikesville Community area?

Why is it that these three rabbis have not signed documents denouncing "alleged" sex offenders?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe, just maybe...not giving a get is factual,above suspicion of falsehood, in other words, it is incontrovertable.
Allegations are precisely that...allegations. If perhaps, the allegations were to be investigated by the civil authorities and found to be substantive, then action is appropriate.
A rally in support of survivors is admirable. Accusing people and making allegations that may or may not be based on fact is an entirely different issue.
I know, I know... I must be in denial or something, right?
Sorry, no denial here. Just the cold reality that without proof, allegations are just allegations.
Survivors need to come forward and establish some level of credibility not just allegations.
It's a very difficult situation and I wish I had an approach.
The more militant and extreme and quick to condemn and accuse, the less credibility you have and the more you appear like a "crazy".
On the other hand, how does a survivor sensitize and educate people to their plight?

June 19, 2006 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allegations of domestic violence is just that. allegations. Except in cases where the survivor has physical evidence (broken bones, bruises, etc.).

How do survivors of sexual abuse or assault prove something happened?

Do survivors of sexual abuse need to undergo a forensic exam to prove their hymen was broken? The problem is that just because a hymen is broken doesn't prove who did it or that it was an assault. What happens if it takes a survivor a few years go come forward?

What happens if the survivor is male (there is no hymen).

The only way anyone will ever know that there's a sex offender is in the community is if those who were abused make allegations.

How does one prove a crime of secrecy? One has to look at the symptoms of the individual making the accusation. There are certain consistencies. Very few people make false allegations. Why would anyone do that anyway? Who would want to pretend they are a victim of a sex crime?

June 19, 2006 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Maryland Legislation Update said...

Sex offender legislation survives late alterations
Friday, June 16, 2006
by Alan Brody, Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS — Huddled in House Speaker Michael E. Busch’s office late Wednesday night, the six conferees working out technical differences on a comprehensive bill to clamp down on sexual offenders seemed near agreement.

An hour later, the legislation was once again in jeopardy as Sen. Brian E. Frosh protested a last-minute House effort to expand a provision that he opposed.

The key stumbling block was in a Republican-sponsored provision known as Jessica’s Law that would mandate minimum 25-year prison sentences for anyone convicted of first- and second-degree rape and sexual offenses against children under 13.

Earlier in the day, Republicans reluctantly agreed to reduce the mandatory minimum sentence on second-degree charges to five years and allow the possibility of parole on all sexual crimes.

Frosh (D-Dist. 16) of Bethesda, who opposes mandatory minimum sentences, said the House wanted to add attempted sexual offenses to the list of applicable crimes. That last-minute change had Frosh rushing between chambers and saying the bill was on life support.

‘‘There’s no one-size-fits-all justice,” he said. ‘‘You have to give judges discretion, and you take away discretion when you do mandatory minimums.”

After hours of backroom negotiations, lawmakers agreed on final language and overwhelmingly passed the sex offender legislation just before 5 a.m. Thursday, relieving supporters of a bill that had considerable momentum in January and fizzled on the last day of this year’s legislative session.

Although lawmakers were in Annapolis this week primarily to address electricity rate relief for 1.2 million Baltimore Gas & Electric customers, tightening controls on sexual offenders was also a priority.

Key details
The sex offender bill, which passed 137-0 in the House and 39-5 in the Senate, would:

Subject convicted child sex offenders to extended parole between three years after release from jail to lifetime supervision, based on a pre-release clinical evaluation.

Require child sex offenders to register with local law enforcement agencies every three months and have updated photographs taken annually

Notify public and private school administrators when a child sex offender resides, works or attends school nearby.

Bar convicted sex offenders from school property without written permission from local school officials.

Set a parole-eligible mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for anyone 18 or older convicted of first-degree rape or first-degree sexual offense of a child under 13.

Set a minimum five-year sentence with the possibility of parole for anyone convicted of second-degree rape or second-degree sexual offense of a child under 13.

‘‘To a lot of people, protecting their grandchildren and children from a sexual predator is more important than their electricity bill,” said Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R-Dist. 34) of Abingdon, one of the primary sponsors of Jessica’s Law, named for 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was abducted, molested and murdered in Florida by a known sex criminal.

The early-morning passage had everyone claiming victory for Maryland families and children.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who told The Associated Press he will sign the bill, said the legislation includes ‘‘85 percent” of the administration’s objectives — allowing parole was the shortcoming.

House Minority Whip Anthony J. O’Donnell said he was satisfied with what was a watered-down version of his original Jessica’s Law proposal.

‘‘With the makeup of this body being as liberal as it is, some people predicted we would never get this far,” said O’Donnell (R-Dist. 29C) of Lusby.

Maryland becomes the 21st state to adopt mandatory minimum sentences against sex offenders, but there’s still work to be done, said Stacie D. Rumenap, executive director of Stop Child Predators, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that promotes the passage of Jessica’s Law at the state and federal levels.

‘‘This piece of legislation is a good first step,” she said. ‘‘... You’ve got members of leadership claiming victory in passing Jessica’s Law, but in reality you’ve got rapists [potentially] going to jail for two-and-a-half years ... for committing a sexual offense against a child under the age of 13, and that’s not a just punishment.”

Others hailed the bill for strengthening supervision of sexual offenders after they are released from jail. The legislation requires a pre-release evaluation to determine whether convicted offenders remain a threat and how long they are placed on parole.

‘‘Under the system right now, if someone [pleaded] to a lower-level offense — often for good reasons to protect the victim — we wouldn’t be able to monitor them beyond the probationary period and this will give us the ability to monitor dangerous offenders for the rest of their lives,” said Lisae C. Jordan, legal director for the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Abuse.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. (D), one of the fiercest advocates for stronger monitoring of sexual predators, called Maryland’s current supervision ‘‘woefully inadequate.”

Just hours after the bill passed, party leaders were in full spin mode on who deserved credit for getting the bill finally passed out.

O’Donnell said the General Assembly’s use of the governor’s original bill was a ‘‘tacit acknowledgement of his leadership on the issue.”

But Curran maintained that his office has been in the forefront of cracking down on sex offenders for six years and offered its recommendations six months before Ehrlich’s bill was introduced.

‘‘I don’t care who gets the credit,” Curran told The Gazette. ‘‘All I’m looking at is that a hole in our system was plugged.”

Jordan, who was involved in negotiations throughout Wednesday and early Thursday, said there were several sticking points that endangered the bill’s passage. At one point Wednesday afternoon, Jacobs said Frosh had scuttled the bill.

‘‘It’s the politics over the policy,” Sen. Phillip C. Jimeno (D-Dist. 31) of Brooklyn Park said at the time.
But Sen. John A. Giannetti Jr. said there was ‘‘always a glimmer of hope” that consensus could be reached.
‘‘In a very short time, we came up with a very strong law that could not have happened without compromise on both sides of the aisle,” said Giannetti (D-Dist. 21) of Laurel, who was one of the conferees.

June 20, 2006 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firstly, the issue is not the making of allegations, it is how to react in response to allegations.

Why would anyone pretend they were the victim of a sex crime?
No. 1 answer according to the Child Welfare Services agent I spoke with: Ammunition in a child custody battle.
No. 2 answer: Something so difficult to prove nevertheless can cause tremendous hysteria in a community to effectively ostracize a person who may in fact be innocent.People have used accusations of false sexual abuse/molestation to take revenge on neighbors, on teachers and others.

A case before the Federal Courts alleges that a teenager used fabricated claims to exact revenge upon a neighbor who had asked the teen to leave the property.
And apparently there is enough credibility to the facts of the case that motions to dismiss have been denied repeatedly.

I do believe that these cases of false reporting are the exception and not the rule. Each and every allegation must be investigated by qualified investigators and NOT BOARDS OF RABBIS.
Rabbinical groups are not equipped to investigate these claims. Police and other civil authorities must be consulted and their recommendations and conclusions accepted, EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT WHAT PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR.

I also believe that allegations do not automatically indicate guilt. Unfortunately for those who are truly innocent, allegations are as good as a guilty verdict.
For those who are truly guilty, allegations will often be beginning of a long investigative process which will hopefully uncover the crimes.

But how do you convict the truly guilty while protecting everyone else from those who would use false allegations as a weapon?

I don't have an answer. When the question has been put to people who consider themselves to be authorities, like Vicki Polin or Rabbi Yosef Blau, neither has been able to give a reasonable and rational answer choosing instead to resort to the claim that only 1-2% are false. ONLY?? But aren't those people entitled to protection?
And yet, how do you stop the guilty ones from hiding amongst those 1-2%?

This is a dilemma not doubt that requires an approach before an answer can be given.
Some would choose to convict everyone accused.
The Torah exhorts us "Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof"-we must pursue righteousness and justice.

This is very frustrating.

June 20, 2006 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

However, "allegations of abuse" in the ohana case, were proven repeatedly in district court where protective orders were issued and violated. As well as confessed proven infidelities by e.ohana. How terribly sad that he should go around in his "costume!" What a disgrace!!!

June 20, 2006 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the Ohana case, I agree wholeheartedly.

June 20, 2006 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the person who was asking about false allegations. I think the following information would be helpful to you.

How often do children’s reports of abuse turn out to be false?

Research has consistently shown that false allegations of child sexual abuse by children are rare.

June 20, 2006 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No argument. But the report you recommended indicated more than 2%.
It was closer to 10%.
And the number of unsubstantiated cases was clearly more.
How do we determine how many of those unsubstantiated cases were actually false. Say a parent believed a child and carried the allegations to the nth degree. There was no evidence (since there was no crime committed)so the case can neither be proved or disproved. Do we declare guilt in the absence of anything substantive.
The case mentioned earlier in Federal Court quotes a police report that the teenager intentionally falsified allegations and could have been held accountable.
What do you say in a case like that when the authorities reach that type of conclusion?

Clearly ALL ALLEGATIONS MUST BE INVESTIGATED. But that alone gives people a pretty big weapon to use in cases of domestic disputes, etc.

June 20, 2006 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really think it depends on the study. I've read other statistics as being between 2 - 10%.

So that means at least 90 - 98% of the allegations made are true, and only 16% of those who go to court end up in prison. Why is that? Why isn't it more like 90% ending up serving time for their crime?

June 20, 2006 11:18 PM  

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