July 15, 1997
LICENSE TO RAPE!
A 15 year-old boy is caught raping a three year-old child. His punishment? Sent home with probation for a year.
A 14 year-old boy repeatedly sexually assaulted his six year-old sister. He is sent home, where his bedroom is next to that of his defenseless sister. Four years probation.
Juveniles in Tarrant County, Texas seem to have a license to commit the most heinous crimes without fear of reprisal, while their victims are left without protection from further attacks.
Who can be more vulnerable than a small child? What act can be more vicious and destructive than sexually assaulting a child? Who is responsible for leaving such children without any protection?
We can only answer the last question. Judge Jean Hudson Boyd oversees juvenile courts in Tarrant. She is the person who allows sex offenders to go home to continue their attacks.
All available evidence shows that sex offenders usually repeat their crimes and are unlikely to be "rehabilitated." As Representative Toby Goodman says: "A sex offender is a repeat offender. That's a predator."
Statistics compiled by the Kempe National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect in Denver show that juvenile offenders report having abused as many as seven different victims.
Judge Boyd believes that juvenile sex offenders can be rehabilitated, and that such rehabilitation works best in their own community. Mrs. Boyd relies on a government agency known as Child Protective Services to protect victims from their assailants, even when the assailant lives in the same house as the victim and has constant access to a small child they have previously attacked.
Judge Boyd realizes that Child Protective Services won't always be able to stop a repeat offender. "They can be wrong, we can all be wrong," says Boyd.
(Source: Fort Worth Star Telegram.)
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July 15, 1997