In Reply to: Re: Exposing the Family Leadership on SA posted by Sam Ajemian on August 21, 2003 at 22:10:01:
Sam A.: One young member who was detained in South America with the rest said things were not really that bad. Thinge were not that pleasent, but not that bad either.
Secondly the Family had scared the kids so much about the outside world that they must have been scared of the police even if the police were the nicest people on earth.
There were a couple very tragic cases which the Family loves to capitalize on.
Anovagrrl: You have anecdotal evidence from one member who says things weren’t that bad for him/her. There are lots of 2nd gen who claim something similar: I wasn’t abused. That doesn’t change the fact that many 2nd gen were horribly abused. From what I’ve read (exfamily sources), several kids experienced really invasive medical examinations and interrogations during the South American busts. To me, “collateral damage” like this is not acceptable.
Sam A. What is so naive about asking the authorities to arrest Faithy for having sexual relations with minors? Maybe I should had said that the authorities should investigate the allegations against Faithy. Is that what the problem is? I do admit a know very little about the law concerning these matters, but can you explain your choice of such a strong word as "naive". I went to the FBI long ago, and they said I should go to the police. I never did. Would it had been naive to go to the police to report her? Are you referring to the complexities involved as for example jusistictional issues?
Anovagrrl: To do an investigation, the person who was abused has to provide solid evidence that will stand the scruitiny of "beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt."
If that person is a child and the abuse is currently occurring, adults can file a complaint requesting an investigation. Child welfare authorities are obligated to check out the allegation. To get a serious investigation involving the police and courts, there needs to evidence or probable cause. It’s easy to make an allegation of abuse — divorcing couples do this all the time, and child protective services will check it out. However, it’s quite another thing to get law enforcement to do a serious, ongoing investigation. Child welfare authorities get hundreds of calls every day to investigate allegations of abuse. They have to make decisions about where to focus their resources, because quite frankly, child protective services are short staffed, under paid, and overwhelmed by the workload. To get a serious, ongoing investigation, there has to be probable cause, which is stuff like the kid has said something to indicate s/he’s being abused, or there’s visible evidence like bruises, vaginal bleeding, etc., or the kid is behaving in sexually precocious and inappropriate ways.
If the allegation involves past abuse, the victim has to step forward and file a public complaint that details what happened. You can try to file a complaint for that person, but if they refuse to cooperate with the police, it will go absolutely nowhere. You cannot make a case for abuse if the victim is unwilling to cooperate.
Regardless of whether it’s a case of current or past abuse, the victim has to provide evidence for a criminal case to proceed. Evidence includes testimony naming who was involved, exactly what occurred, where it occurred, when it occurred, and how long and how often it occurred. Evidence also involves corroborating witnesses to the crime. Those witnesses have to be willing to testify in court.
Where the perpetration occurred speaks to the issue of jurisdiction. If the crime occurred in France, it could be difficult to prosecute the perpetrator in an American court. It depends on local statutes regarding jurisdictional authority to prosecute a crime that occurred elsewhere. In addition, laws regarding the definition of what specific acts constitute “sexual abuse” vary from state to state and country to country. When the perpetration occurred speaks to the statute of limitations on sex abuse crimes. In some states, victims abused in the early 1980s would not be able to make a case, because the statute of limitations has run out. The issue of jurisdiction involves finding a court that’s willing to hear your case.
Sam: OK, let's say that the best way is to have the many victims of abuse take their abusers to court. But what is wrong with going to the police and having them starting criminal litigation against the child molesters?
Anovagrrl: Police don’t start criminal litigation. They start criminal investigations. If the district attorney feels the case warrants prosecution, it goes before a grand jury for a decision on whether to bring it to trial. You have to have a hell of a lot of evidence to get a criminal prosecution on child sex abuse. Only the worst of the worst cases actually go to court. Trust me on this. Workers in the child welfare system watch perpetrators evade prosecution ALL THE TIME because investigators can’t produce enough evidence to convince a grand jury to uphold the charge.
Remember innocent until proven guilty? If someone accused you of a heinous crime like child sex abuse, wouldn’t you want that presumption of innocence? Even if the charges are dismissed for lack of evidence or you are acquitted in a court, there will always be a taint on your name and reputation. That’s why the legal system tries to be very careful in its proceedings.
From what I understand, the MovingOn folks are looking at ways to litigate damages in a CIVIL prosecution. This is essentially the strategy that the Catholic abuse survivors have taken. If you don’t understand the difference between criminal prosecution and civil litigation, I suggest doing a little reading on the web. It’s basically why O.J. Simpson is not doing time in prison, but has been ordered to pay out millions of dollars to the family of Nicole Brown.
The only individuals who have any business "exposing" Faithy on the issue of childhood SA would be those young adults who were actually abused by her during their childhoods.
Sam: I found this statement shocking. You mean if none of the abused exposed Faithy or take her to court, it would be wrong for anybody else, me, the media, the parents of the abused kids, their friends, the apologists or anybody to expose Faithy's abusing these kids?
I can't believe you are making such a statement.
Or maybe I did not understand how you meant what you said.
Anovagrrl: Sam, until Faithy’s victims or parents of Faithy’s victims or people who observed Faithy abuse a child are willing to talk for the record in the media, you have no evidence to support allegations of abuse. Anyone can make this allegation — making a credible case for it is another thing altogether.
I think it is irresponsible to repeat unattributed hearsay like, “Someone” told me that he saw Faithy do such-and-such with a 16-year-old boy. First of all, who IS this “someone”? How do we know he isn’t a pathological liar? If he saw it, why isn’t he speaking out and putting his name and reputation on the line? Who is the kid involved? What does HE say happened?
Sam: Berg sexually abused his grand-daughter Mene. Mene sees it as abuse. If Mene did not see it as abuse, it would still be abuse, wouldn't it? Legally speaking it is abuse. Society in general says it is abuse. The Bible would say it is abuse. If the police and the courts say it is abuse but Mene says it is not abuse, well, maybe you should explain a little further how you see it. Well, I am begining to get a little suspicious of you.
Anovagrrl: What Mene describes is abuse legally, morally, socially, and clinically.
A better example is the case of “Davidito.” There is no doubt in my mind that he was sexually abused. However, “Ricky” has never come out publically (as Mene did) and labeled what occurred during his childhood as abuse. Although the law and society might define what happened to him as abuse, it would be impossible to make a case for damages in a civil court case if he insists no damage was done. If he refuses to cooperate with a criminal investigation because he believes no damage was done, it would be very difficult (although not impossible) to prosecute as a criminal case.
There is, after all, photographic evidence. But can you find a prosecutor willing to take up the case? From a practical standpoint, the district attorney will ask whether the taxpayers are served by attempting to prosecute a case that did not occur in his/her jurisdiction. The prosecutor will want to know that the woman (nanny) who perpetrated on Ricky actually lives in his jurisdiction. Has the statute of limitations in that jurisdiction run out on an activity that occurred somewhere in Europe (or gawd knows where) over 20 years ago? Where is the corroborating evidence that the child in the photos is the same person as the adult identified as "Ricky"? If he does not cooperate, you are hard-pressed to make a case.
There are legal definitions of abuse, which are quite rigorous and demand burden of proof, and clinical (psychosocial) definitions, which are broad and encompassing. My perspective is that of a clinician, not a prosecutor or child protective services worker. Objectively and clinically, I may view something a client describes to me as an abusive act. However, if the client doesn’t perceive what happened as abuse, I can suggest the possibility what occurred was abuse, but I can’t insist that the client see things my way. The clinical rationale for this “neutral” position is sound: Abuse victims have had all sorts of horrible things forced on them by people in positions of authority. It’s my job empower the victim’s autonomy, his or her capacity for self-determination, because it is one’s sense of self that is shattered by the sexual perpetrator. The victim has to have control over his or her definition and appraisal of what happened.
AND the client must decide for him/hersef what s/he wants to do about seeking justice if s/he’s define events as abuse. Many, many, many abuse survivors (such as Mene) forgo criminal and civil prosecution because they know they will loose control over what happens to their lives if they step forward. Abuse victims carry a fierce burden of shame, and they often prefer to put the past behind them and move on. Their wishes MUST be respected if they make the choice to avoid public exposure. Loss of control over what happens to them is a HUGE issue for survivors. That’s why I caution you to NOT behave like a bull in a china shop by doing what you believe is best regardless of who gets hurt. Are you prepared to take responsibility for re-traumatizing deeply wounded and emotionally fragile people?
Sam A. Actually it would be great if there as a big persecution in Russia of the type that happened in Argentina, Spain, Australia,France but without some of the excesses.
This time around there is a lot more info out to enlighten the authorites and the Family would find it very hard to deceive the courts like they did then.
Anovagrrl: How do you propose to control the “excesses”?