Tag Archives: Sexual Assault

There’s No “Normal” Way For A Clergy Abuse Or Sexual Assault Victim To Act

This post is cross-posted on the Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog. As Ralph Cipriano reported, the defense attorney for Father Brennan spent a lot of time cross-examining the prosecution's chief witness against Father Brennan by going into the alleged victim’s reaction to the molestation, including why the alleged victim — an adolescent boy at the time — did not call out to his mother afterwards, why the alleged victim took a subsequent motorcycle ride with Father Brennan, and why the alleged victim didn’t report the assault to authorities sooner. Father Brennan’s attorney, coincidentally named William Brennan, has an important job ... Continue Reading

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The Ethics Of Using Money To Link Criminal And Civil Sexual Abuse Cases

Norm Pattis' latest blog post raises an issue near and dear to me: the ethics of personal injury lawyers. I certainly don't think personal injury lawyers are above reproach, and I've commented before on some of the stupid things they can do, but I'm not going to sit quietly and nod politely when a lawyer in another field claims its unethical for an alleged victim's lawyer to zealously represent their client. Norm is a criminal defense lawyer; as he posted a few days ago, the next year brings for him "trials involving child sex abuse, child pornography, drugs." I'm going to ... Continue Reading

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Colleges and Universities Start To Take Campus Rape Seriously (We Hope)

The fallout from the child molestation scandal at Penn State continues with a thousand articles saying roughly the same thing and a handful of in-depth reports, like Sports Illustrated’s This is Penn State piece, which explains a lot about what Happy Valley was like: Outgoing, accessible (his home phone number is in the campus directory) and philanthropic, Paterno was the benevolent despot. But he was a despot nonetheless. Org chart be damned—unlike Schultz and Curley, Paterno is not classified as a senior staff member—he ran the place. "He built this university, he built this town, and everybody knows it," says ... Continue Reading

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Can Jaycee Dugard Sue The Government For Negligent Parole Supervision?

I've written several times before how difficult it is to sue the government for failing to do its job, like how you can't sue the police department for failing to enforce a court order. It's tough to sue the government even when they wrongly entrap and then kill your son for the trivial 'crime' of sports betting. The government doesn't even need to train its prosecutors in the basics of constitutional law. "Civil rights" is a tough area in which to practice law, if you're representing the plaintiffs. There aren't "typical" civil rights cases, because typical isn't good enough under ... Continue Reading

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Examining The Annie Le Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Yale University

As a Yale alum, I was shocked and horrified by the death of Annie Le, a Yale School of Medicine student murdered just a week before her own wedding. Like the Petit family murders, the crime was just a depraved act by a stranger, despite attempts by some to downplay it as a "crime of passion" or "workplace violence," as if any rape-murder were less evil if the perpetrator had delusions of attachment at the time of the crime or if they happened to be employed by the same company. She was targeted and it was murder; we know that from the ... Continue Reading

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Can The West Memphis Three Sue For Wrongful Imprisonment?

The "West Memphis Three" have long been a cause célèbre, for good reason: the case had all the hallmarks of a railroad prosecution, from hysteria over Satanism to a coerced confession by a minor with a well below average I.Q. to the lack of any forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony connecting Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to the brutal murder of three young boys in 1993. NPR's blog sums up much of the story: The original convictions, based on a theory that Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley killed the three children as part of a Satanic ritual, were the ... Continue Reading

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Hotel Rape Epidemic Back In The Spotlight Again

Prompted by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn prosecution for allegedly raping a hotel maid, Jacob Tomsky in the NYTimes offered a window into the epidemic of hotel crime directed at women: On top of [their grueling work], they have to be sexually accosted by guests? Sadly, yes. And more often than you’d think. It’s not an everyday occurrence but it happens enough to make this question all too familiar: “Mr. Tomsky, can you give the new girl Room 3501 until next Tuesday? That man is back, the one who loves to let his robe fall open every time I try to clean.” ... Continue Reading

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Third Circuit Reinstates Civil Rights Suit Of Rape Victim Arrested For Telling The Truth

Yesterday the Third Circuit released a unanimous precedential opinion in Reedy v. Evanson: While working as a cashier at a convenience store, nineteen-year-old Sara R. Reedy was sexually assaulted and robbed at gunpoint by a serial sex offender. She reported the crime to the police within minutes, subjected herself to a rape kit examination, and gave detailed and consistent statements to law enforcement officers and hospital staff. Reedy needed Sam Spade. Instead, she got Der Prozess: However, Detective Frank Evanson of the Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania Police Department, the lead investigator assigned to Reedy’s case, believed that Reedy had fabricated the ... Continue Reading

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