For society to reflect a culture that does not permit the sexual assault of a minor to go unpunished, we must hold accountable those adults who fail to step forward with pertinent information in sexual assault cases – specifically adults who agreed to protect minors as part of their jobs.
In the sexual assault case from 2012 involving Steubenville High School students (lead to the conviction of 2 individuals charged with sexual assault), early reports were that several adults were aware of information they did not share with authorities. Many organizations around the country were calling for any adult who withheld information to be prosecuted.
In the past week, Mike DeWine, the Ohio Attorney General, announced 4 adults are being charged with several criminal offenses: ranging from obstructing justice to failing to report child abuse. In most states, educators are mandated reporters of any kind of abuse against a minor. DeWine shared that the charges were brought forward after extensive consideration by a grand jury.
Good vs Evil
The defense attorney of one of the 4 people being charged is stating that the accused is “a good person.” An important lesson in these kind of cases is to remember that “good people” can make poor choices that fail to uphold the safety and protection of minors.
To categorize someone as “Good” or “Evil” can lead juries to not convict guilty individuals based on dangerous beliefs such as, “After all the good she has done, I can’t believe she’d do this.”
Lets hope we see this kind of accountability occurring in communities throughout the country – bringing more survivors the complete justice they deserve.
At The DATE SAFE Project, we are grateful for the work the Grand Jury has put in to this case to enforce the law.