We have written many times about the institutional failings that have allowed for the widespread sex abuse of children by Catholic priests and other church officials. Even if sex abuse was limited to just a handful of priests (which is not the case), some of these predators have abused dozens of victims. Such crimes can only continue for so long because those in power allowed them to continue.
We recently wrote about the strong passage of House Bill 1947 in the Pennsylvania House. If passed in the senate and signed into law, the measure would give many more victims of child sex abuse an opportunity to hold their abusers (and the institutions they worked for) accountable in criminal and civil court.
In our previous post, we began a discussion about the long and difficult aftermath often experienced by victims of violent crime. A recent news story noted that in the case of particularly horrific crimes, even the jurors in criminal cases can be left with emotional scars and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
No matter what your views on gun control may be, it is difficult to ignore the fact that no other industrialized nation on earth experiences as many mass shootings, murders and other violent crimes as the United States. These horrific incidents are now so common that many Americans have simply stopped watching the news.
Imagine you are driving on one of the many major freeways in Philadelphia during heavy traffic. You're trying to watch out for other vehicles when suddenly you collide with another motorist who was just zipping around cars in a rather reckless manner.
When a person becomes a sex/violent crime victim, the emotional and psychological trauma they face doesn't end when the crime is completed. It often doesn't even end when the perpetrator is arrested, convicted and sent to prison. Depending on the nature and severity of the crime, victims can struggle for years with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and other mental health issues.
For many victims of sexual abuse, facing the perpetrator in court can be a scary prospect. And because sexual abuse typically involves layers of shame, embarrassment and fear, victims often find that discussing it in court can also be very difficult.
Imagine being the victim of a crime and having the bravery to testify against the perpetrator in court. When you file a civil lawsuit, however, attorneys for the defense essentially call you a liar. Their proof? Some Facebook photos that seem to show you smiling and enjoying life.
Among the most controversial figures in modern Pennsylvania history is a man named Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. During the nearly 30 years he spent on death row, Abu-Jamal made a name for himself from his prison cell as a writer and political activist. His death sentence was commuted in 2012, and the 60-year-old will instead spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Last week, America added another mass shooting incident to an already long and distressing list. Six people were killed during a 22-year-old man’s shooting rampage, which occurred near Santa Barbara, California. Making the case even more chilling is the fact that the shooter revealed his plans ahead of time in a YouTube video.