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When the Police Are Trigger Happy, No One is Safe

Wilmington

The police who risk their lives everyday are understandably concerned when they get a report about an attempted suicide. People with a gun, especially emotionally distraught ones, can pose a risk to others.

The police need special training to prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Yesterday, again, it appears that rather than “talking down” and stopping a potential suicide, the Wilmington police shot first and ended up killing a man on his front porch.

This recent killing hit home to me. First it reminded me of the September 2015 killing of a young paralyzed wheelchair bound African-American man, Jeremy McDole. My law firm, Jacobs & Crumplar, represented his family in a law suit which recently resulted in the City of Wilmington paying his family 1.5 million dollars to settle their wrongful death suit.

Wilmington SealYesterday’s killing was literally closer to my home. It occurred in the neighborhood where If have lived for over 30 and was inches away from where my son presently lives. My son and I live in a racially diverse neighborhood full of young families and young professionals.

On the very porch where my neighbor was shot, I often chatted with the family that used to live there. Just a year ago they moved out and the new resident, a middle-aged DuPont engineer, was the individual shot and killed.

When the McDole settlement was announced, it was noted that the City of Wilmington was in the process of adopting a new use of force policy. This recent shooting may indicate that it can’t come soon enough.

National Media Quote Raeann Warner as Sex Abuse Specialist in Molly Shattuck Case

Raeann Warner of Jacobs & Crumplar was recently quoted by the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun on the sentencing of Molly Shattuck.

In June 2015, Shattuck pled guilty to fourth degree rape in the sexual assault of a 15 year old boy. She was sentenced on August 21, 2015 to 48 weekends in a community corrections center. Raeann commented on the light sentence given to Shattuck.

Molly Shattuck

In the Washington Post:

Raeann Warner, a Delaware attorney who specializes in sexual abuse cases, said she was surprised that Shattuck was not given any prison time.
“It just seems light … and not in accord with sentences in cases involving less heinous sexual acts that were committed by males,” Warner said. “I hope it’s not because she’s a woman.”

In the Baltimore Sun:

Raeann Warner, a civil attorney in Delaware who represents sexual abuse victims, said she was surprised by the sentence. She said many people tend to think that abuse by female perpetrators against male victims is less serious than it is. “That’s not fair or right, because boys are just as scarred by this,” she said.

Tom Crumplar has previously blogged about this case and the double standards he pointed out when women rape young boys appear to have been borne out in the sentencing of Molly Shattuck.

Protecting Our Children: Delaware And Other States Take Action On Behalf of Human Trafficking Victims

In 2014, the Delaware legislature signed into law S. B 197, a bill to fight human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. Forced labor and human trafficking is a billion dollar industry.

delaware-dover-legislative-building

The International Labor Organization estimates 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.

Human trafficking includes bonded labor, forced labor and includes the trafficking of children. S.B. 197 uses provisions of the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act.

Other states have also stepped up their efforts to address issues related to human trafficking:

In March 2014, the State of Maryland established a Maryland Human Trafficking Policy Advisor position to develop and implement policies, training, and data collection procedures that build Maryland’s capacity to combat trafficking and serve survivors.

The Maryland legislature also passed three bills on behalf of victims of human trafficking including protections from prosecution for youths forced into prostitution and free community college for victims of trafficking.

Pennsylvania’s Act 105, which became law in September 2014, added new definitions of sex trafficking to the Criminal Code and established expanded legal protections for victims of trafficking.

Act 105 also establishes a civil cause of action so that victims may seek compensatory and punitive damages along with other appropriate relief against their traffickers.

sextrafficking

The Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act in New Jersey makes it possible for victims to have unjust convictions removed from their records. The Act also provides witness protection for victims and makes it easier for law enforcement to prosecute the traffickers.

These protections, on behalf of our most vulnerable children, as well as others passed at the state and federal level, are helping to restore the rights and freedoms that have been stolen from them.

Molly Shattuck and the Double Standard of Rape

The recent press coverage of a rape of a 15 year old boy by an attractive 47 year ex Baltimore Raven Cheerleader sadly should remind all of us the rape is truly gender neutral and the all too present double standard the excuse the rape of boys by women.

shadow-boy

In many states (including Delaware) it was not until the 1970s that the crime of rape was even defined to include a woman sexually abusing a young boy.

Medical studies have shown the boys just as girls will suffer for the rest of their lives as result of this sexual abuse. Boys in some ways may have it even harder but society far too often has a double standard.

If the story in the paper had a been about a 47 year old man who had been Baltimore Raven’s football player and who had sex with a 15 year girl everyone would be outraged and want to send him to straight to prison.

In the case involving sexual abuse between Molly Shattuck and the young male victim, I am sure many of the victims friends and classmates are congratulating him for “scoring “ with a “hot woman”, not realizing the power imbalance and the lifetime of scars the sex will cause.

I can only hope this young victim will get the best possible help. I have had the honor and privilege of representing a number of boys who were abused by powerful women and I can tell you it is very difficult for them to come forward.

I would encourage him and others in a similar situation to not simply rely on the prosecuting attorney. The State prosecutor represents the State not the victim.

There are things a good civil lawyer can do even during the criminal proceeding to protect the victim, including asking the Court to make as part of any sentencing the requirement that the victim’s medical and counseling expense be paid by the abuser and that this be part of any sentence.

One final note from the sports world -one of my heroes growing up was Mickey Mantle, the Hall of Fame New York Yankee baseball player. His career and his life was cut short due to decades of hard partying. I recently found out why – he was abused as a boy by several older women, and this caused a lasting perverse effect on him.