Athletes and sexual assaults

Okay, this is from 2003/4, but I think it’s quite interesting. Also, I’m not sure if there’s ever been research that has looked at the accusations of sexual misconduct against athletes. I found this on USA Today.

In sexual assault cases, athletes usually walk

USA TODAY research of 168 sexual assault allegations against athletes in the past dozen years suggests sports figures fare better at trial than defendants from the general population. Of those 168 allegations, involving 164 athletes, only 22 saw their cases go to trial, and only six cases resulted in convictions. In another 46 cases, a plea agreement was reached. Combined with the six athletes convicted at trial and one who pleaded guilty as charged, that gives the athletes a 32% total conviction rate in the resolved cases. That means more than two-thirds were never charged, saw the charges dropped or were acquitted.

Here’s their list of cases.

Robbie Crockett Iowa football He was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1998 and was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Crockett pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to 90 days in prison and three years of probation. He was also ordered to pay fines and court costs of more than $2,700 and to pay for the victim’s counseling.

A pedophile gets 90 days in prison? Read some of the others – reduced sentences, probation only… It’s quite enlightening.

Advertisements

Who am I to judge?

That’s what Judge Andrew Tarantino needs to be asking himself.

Thanks to Mark Fass for reporting on this judge’s incompetence and the dilemma of judges’ virtual impunity. His email is below – please consider writing to thank him.

Judge transferred over alleged actions in visitation case 

Judge Transferred Over Alleged Actions in Visitation Case

Mark Fass

08-12-2010

A Suffolk County judge who was the subject of a searing complaint by a children’s advocacy group has been transferred from Family Court to the County Court’s civil term.

A court source called the immediate transfer “unprecedented” and an indication of the how seriously the allegations are being taken by the Office of Court Administration.

According to the complaint, Judge Andrew G. Tarantino Jr. granted a father who had been convicted of possessing child pornography and third-degree rape of a minor overnight visitation of his three children, supervised by his own parents.

Read the complaint and Judge Tarantino’e earlier ruling.

During the visitation hearing in January, Judge Tarantino joked about child pornography, misstated the facts of the case, refused to hear expert testimony regarding sexual-abuse recidivism and maintained an “inappropriate” relationship with the father’s attorney, according to the complaint.

The complaint was filed Tuesday with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct by Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center, a Long Island advocacy group. It was also forwarded to the OCA, which is independent from the commission

The OCA transferred the judge out of Family Court on Monday, based on the allegations underlying the complaint.

A spokesman for the OCA said he could not discuss the grounds for transferring judges and that the court system could take no further remedial action.

“This is a matter for the Commission on Judicial Conduct,” spokesman David Bookstaver said. “The courts by statute cannot discipline or punish judges.”

Robert Tembeckjian, the conduct commission’s chief administrator, said he could not comment unless and until a sanction is issued or a judge waives confidentiality.

Judge Tarantino, 57, declined to comment.

The complaint against the judge alleges numerous instances of bias and inappropriate comments during a child custody proceeding earlier this year. The judge held a four-day hearing in January and issued an eight-page decision in April.

The father, Dennis DeMille, a former middle-school teacher, is a registered Level II sex offender. He pleaded guilty to possessing pornographic photographs of 12- to 16-year-old girls, and sexually victimizing a minor.

The children’s mother, who is not named in court records, had contacted the Parents for Megan’s Law in November 2009 to complain about the judge’s behavior.

The group in its complaint said “Judge Tarantino has exhibited a bias and a blatant disregard for the facts.”

The complaint cited such examples as the judge’s joke that, to get around a law that prohibits replicating child pornography for court records, a court officer could “do little stick pictures” duplicating the images underlying the father’s child-pornography conviction.

“You can do an artist’s rendition,” the judge joked.

Judge Tarantino asked to view the photos to determine whether they were “pieces of art or pornography,” notwithstanding the father’s conviction. The judge then never ruled on the issue, the complaint said.

It describes the judge joking about the treatment methods for sexual addiction, asking whether “a little electronic device” might be placed in a patient’s keyboard.

The judge’s decision to allow Mr. DeMille supervised overnight visits quoted his therapist as saying “the father is not a predator,” when the therapist had declined to rule out that possibility, the complaint alleged.

The OCA rarely moves so quickly to transfer a judge, the only remedial power it holds. After Brooklyn Family Court Judge Robin Sheares jailed a mother for refusing to facilitate visits between her son and his father, a thrice-convicted rapist, OCA took three weeks to transfer her to Civil Court.

Judge Tarantino forwarded through a court spokesman a corrected copy of his order in the underlying case.

This case presents with the issue of when and if a sex offender should be able to have a normal relationship with his children?” the judge wrote in Matter of D.D. III, 13176-07. “[T]he children are entitled to grow with and have as normal relationship with their Father as is possible under these circumstances. To consider sinister every activity in which there may be contact may approach paranoia in some circumstances. This court cannot render a decision based upon paranoia.”

Judge Tarantino was elected to Family Court in 2006 and took the bench in 2007. A 1991 graduate of City University of New York School of Law and a registered Democrat, he worked as a solo practitioner speciaizing in family law from 1991 to 2000 and as a partner at Long Island’s Sarisohn Law Partners from 2000 to 2004. He was an assistant county attorney assigned to Suffolk Family Court from 2004 through 2006.

Mark Fass can be reached at mfass@alm.com.

Is it worse to be a racist or a rapist?

Ooh, ooh, I know this one! A racist! Right?

Hat’s off to Keli Goff for writing Is it worse to be a racist or a rapist? What Gibson, Brown and Polanski teach us. I was heartsickened to find out Switzerland was letting Polanski go. Ply a 13-year-old with alcohol and drugs, rape her, serve a few days in jail and live the rest of your life as an “icon.” The media and Hollywood may worship Polanski, but the mere mention of his name turns my stomache. Like Goff, I think he’s poo – a disgusting old dirt bag that (well, like the majority of perps who commit violence against women) got off too easy.

The idea that men can commit violence against women and have impunity is not new – but it’s not well-known.  One and a half to 3 million women are killed each year by men in this world. Impunity is the #1 reason it continues unabated. Sexual violence during war, rape, domestic violence, honor killings, acid attacks, female genital mutilation, sexual slavery and femicide exist in this world – it receives little media attention – it receives little commitment by governments to take action – it receives little fanfare by societies that deem it inevitable for women and girls to be subjected to violence and abuse by men.

  • In the Congo, where atrocity rapes are occuring, I cringe when I realize that there is more stigma to being a rape victim than a rapist.
  • In Guatemala, to be initiated into a gang, one must rape and kill a female. Since these youth are new to killing – you can imagine their inexperienced hands wielding a knife – it would be considered more humane to kill bulls in Spain than it would to describe how these young men kill young girls.
  • In South Africa, 28% of men have admitted to raping a woman (Yet The Daily Show thought the “news” of finding a racist was more interesting and humorous to finding a rapist – I’m sure they have no idea as to what’s happening to women – why would they afterall? The news is not reporting this).
  • In Florida recently, a man killed his ex-wife and targeted 6 women (not men), killing 3 of them. This man shot at 7 women in total. You haven’t heard this story? I’m not surprised.

Here’s some excerpts from Goff’s post:

In Gibson’s case it appears that everyone was so focused on not approving of his so-called “golddigging” girlfriend (whom Gibson accused of extortion) that whether or not he knocked her teeth loose became secondary to whether or not she was trying to possibly turn his knocking her teeth loose to her financial advantage. But the most telling clue regarding where our priorities lie, is that the majority of headlines chronicling Gibson’s downfall in recent weeks, from major publications to small blogs, highlight Gibson’s alleged use of the N-word on tape, not the fact that he appears to be terrorizing a woman with an infant on tape. It’s as though everyone universally had it with Gibson only after tapes initially created to support her allegations of abuse happened to include his use of the N-word.

The Civil Rights movement has helped change society’s mindset about race relations and language – it’s far from perfect, but we have come a long way (baby). We have NOT come a long way in terms of the Violence Against Women movment. We still witness countless injuries and deaths, impunity that protects perps, propaganda about false allegations that severely threatens justice, defenses that protect males and their careers, and apathy from leaders and the public.

So why is it that much of Hollywood is ready to welcome admitted statutory rapist Roman Polanski back with open arms, and much of black Hollywood is arguing that people like myself need to get over it already regarding Chris Brown’s assault on Rhianna? (Note to Polanski and Brown: It might help some of us who think you’re both poo to “get over it” if you were to display an ounce of real remorse over what you did, as opposed to remorse for the inconvenience it has presented to your careers. If you’d like to see how “remorseful” Polanski really is (or rather isn’t) for violating a child, listen to him in his own words in one of his last TV interviews on the matter.)

We all know that Gibson, Brown and Polanski are not the first notable public figures to be accused of abusing a woman, and will not be the last. Besides the countless professional athletes who have been accused of assault, in recent years various elected officials have been accused of everything from choking a woman, to slashing a girlfriend’s face (Click here to view a tally of members of Congress accused of spousal abuse as recently as a few years ago.)

But I guess the silver lining for abusers everywhere is that it looks like unless you use a racial slur while committing abuse you might be okay, career wise.

Yeah, Power to the Perps as I say.

And if you really need another piece of evidence to see how we protect perps and men, in particular, look at the video attached to this article: Dad tosses tot into traffic: Cops An off-duty police officer witnessed the father throwing his 18-month-old infant into traffic. The mother? She sticks up for the dad. Because men can do no wrong? (Oh, wait, that’s contrary to gender stereotypes) Because it would harm his career? (No, that’s contrary to facts). Hmmm. Hell, I don’t know why does she stick up for him?  Why would anyone want to offer him impunity?

Custody catastrophes

Remember the case involving 9-month-old baby Wyatt? His mother Katie Tagle was denied a restraining order 3 times. The 3rd judge, Judge Lemkau, called Katie a liar and handed the infant over to the ex-husband. Ten days later, both were found dead. Here’s an article by Cara Tabachnick about judges’ virtual impunity:

Disciplining the judge

Advocates contend that many family court judges are not properly trained or ignore abuse guidelines.  And such judges tend to view protective mothers as not trustworthy and overwrought, making biased decisions on which they have no true recourse, according to Darby Mangen , chapter president of the San Bernardino National Organization of Women (NOW). “No matter how exiguous the case there is no help for the victim,” added Mangen, who was active in the campaign to remove Judge Lemkau.

Furthermore, since so much of the decision making in custody cases relies on the judge’s discretion, litigants are fearful of bringing any motions against the judge.

“Family judges have so much power over cases that you can not afford to challenge the judge,” says Tony Tanke, a former senior judicial staff attorney for the Chief  Justice of the California Supreme Court, who advises on family court cases pro-bono.

Moreover, the often tight relationships between local bar associations and judges make it difficult to find an attorney who wants to take on a complaint against a powerful judge, according to Tanke. Indeed, in the Lemkau v. Hoskings election, Lemkau received endorsements from the local Family Law Bar association and other area attorneys, who supported his decision in baby Wyatt’s case

The result:  parties who feel victimized by a judge’s biased decision are left with nowhere to turn.

Read the rest of Cara’s article to find out about the appeals process and court watch programs. We need the media to highlight these cases, as well, in order to raise awareness and reform the courts.