There be monsters

Click image to download the Greenville News story as PDF.

If I didn’t have a friend under indictment for molesting a three year old girl, the article might not have caught my attention.

But I do have such a friend. Life as he knew it ended over two years ago when the girl complained of genital discomfort and a doctor determined that her genitals looked suspiciously inflamed. The authorities were contacted as a matter of course and, since the girl’s parents had left her in my friend’s care prior to the complaint, it was assumed that he’d done the unthinkable.

My friend is still waiting for his day in court, but he’s already a dead man walking both socially and professionally. In most people’s minds, it seems, anyone accused of having sex with a minor is guilty. Period.

Greenville News reporter David Dykes’ August 11 article about 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins’ call for more funding to prosecute child sex abuse crimes doesn’t discuss what happens to the people who’ve been acquitted of charges or against whom charges are dropped.

Nor when my friend is found innocent do I think Dykes will write a followup article about the adult casualties of our criminal justice system. Because that’s what my friend is today – a casualty – and what he’ll continue to be almost certainly until the day he dies.

It’s easy to state the obvious, especially when the obvious echoes popular opinion. This just in: Child abuse happens, it’s horrible and we want it to stop. Who knew?

It’s not so easy to publicly examine the tacit and increasingly common assumption that almost no price is too high to pay as we wage proxy “wars” on everything from sex crime to drug use to political incorrectness to terror.