From North Carolina, a plan by Democratic North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue to compensate women who were forcibly sterilized by the state was struck down by Republican legislators on Thursday.
Republican state Senator Austin Allran justified the Senate’s decision by claiming that the payouts would set a bad precedent.
When an injustice has been committed, the “bad precedent” is to not allow justice for the victim. Especially if the victim is both black and poor.
Despite efforts by some legislators in the wake of the Sandusky allegations, Pennsylvania remains the only state in the country that doesn’t allow experts to testify for the prosecution in sex crimes — a situation that stands to benefit Sandusky.
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Sandusky’s defense pivots on psychiatrist Dr. Elliot Atkins, who testified on Tuesday that Sandusky wrote the “creepy” letters to alleged victims and engaged them in “soap battles” in the shower not because he’s a pedophile, but because he suffers from Histrionic Personality Disorder. That esoteric diagnosis, incidentally, is scheduled to be eliminated from the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Prosecutors called Philadelphia psychiatrist John Sebastian O’Brien II to rebut Atkins’s testimony.
Atkins’ job was to convince the jury that, while Sandusky’s behavior doesn’t conform to general expectations of a 68-year-old authority figure, they are typical of a man suffering from a problem that the average juror is not expected to readily understand.
By contrast, the prosecution is not allowed to call an expert to testify that, while some of the behaviors of the eight men who testified against Sandusky may not conform to common expectations of childhood sex abuse victims, research shows those behaviors — not telling anyone for years, keeping social appointments with an assailant after alleged attacks, holding back details in initial reports to authorities — are typical of victims of childhood sex abuse, and especially of young boys abused by authority figures.
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Yet, after sailing through the House, it stalled in the lap of Republican state Senator Stewart Greenleaf, chair of the Judiciary Committee.
“Two things we’re looking at,” said Greenleaf when asked about the delay in an interview last December. “How other states address these issues, and two, what other states have it?”
The answer, as discussed ad infinitum since the bill’s introduction five years ago and in two recent public hearings, was that all of them allow expert testimony about victim behavior — except Pennsylvania.
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Last week, as the Sandusky trial was already underway, the bill finally passed the Senate. It now awaits concurrence and sign-off by Republican Governor Tom Corbett, who touted his aggressive stance on child sex abuse in his previous role of Attorney General — where he oversaw the remarkably slow-moving Sandusky investigation.
The bill will again die if not signed by fall.
A non-guilty verdict would mean a lot of civil suits against Pennsylvania, Penn State Univ and a lot of individuals would either die or be much harder to get a conviction.
I wonder why Gov. Corbett hasn’t signed the bill yet.
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