13 February 2008

No Justice

This is shocking to read. It is always incredible when a court finds that women, particularly children, have made up allegations of sexual abuse. The traumatic event of having to recall those horrors is not something many--if any--people would do simply to get someone they "dislike" out of their lives. There are many out there who like to point fingers and say that women make up stories of rape and sexual assault "all the time," and they are going to use this verdict as evidence of that. The reality is that false allegations of rape and sexual assault hover around the same level as other false allegations--somewhere around 1%-2% It is not a common occurrence.
What makes this verdict so galling is that the judge accepts that physical violence was a common event in the household, and that the father was so evil that "cruel" was an "understatement" to describe him. Yet because the sister-in-law didn't like him, he found suspicion when these women claimed sexual abuse. He also mentioned that the children didn't come forward at the time. Apparently he doesn't understand that these events are so traumatic and the level of fear is so great in these types of circumstances that many children do not come forward for many years, some never, about their experiences of abuse.
Truly, these 4 women have not received justice.

Father acquitted of sexual assault
By JENNIFER STEWART Court Reporter Wed. Feb 13 - 5:33 AM
A Halifax man accused of sexually assaulting his daughter, stepdaughters and sister-in-law was acquitted of all charges Tuesday.
The man, who cannot be named because it would identify the four complainants, was charged with eight counts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
He was alleged to have repeatedly touched and fondled the girls between 1984 and 2003, while at their homes in East Preston and Halifax.
All three girls, who were between 11 and 19 years old during the alleged assaults, testified in Nova Scotia Supreme Court that the defendant was very strict. They said he often punished them physically and took advantage of them when they were alone. The defendant denied all the allegations at trial.
On Tuesday, the judge said he ac-cepted the evidence of the women that the defendant ran a strict household where beatings were not uncommon.
"He ruled the roost with an iron fist," Justice Kevin Coady said. "To call (the defendant) cruel would be an understatement." But he wasn’t so sure about the allegations of sexual abuse.
"I am suspicious of (the defendant’s) guilt, but I am left with a reasonable doubt," he said. "Suspicion is just not enough."
Justice Coady said he was troubled that the eldest daughter didn’t proceed with charges when she first reported the alleged abuse in 1993, if for no other reason than to protect her younger siblings.
He said he was also wary of the fact that the sister-in-law admitted that she disliked the defendant and didn’t come forward until after the girls went to the police in 2005.

No comments: