Should Mr B. move to Kentuky?

ŠĒ• Huffington Post

A Kentucky girl who was sexually abused by two boys is facing charges for daring to name them on Twitter. Normally media do not name victims but this victim wants publicity for her plight. Once again we are seeing abusers hiding behind protections provided by courts when it is the victims who need to be protected.

This is not ac ase of trying by media either, as the boys have already plead guilty…it was the secret deal that has upset the victim.

Courts should not be protecting abusers and they should not be prosecuting victims who speak out:

A 17-year-old Kentucky girl who was upset by the plea deal reached by a pair of teenagers who sexually assaulted her is now facing a contempt charge for tweeting their names in violation of a court order.

The Associated Press does not normally report the names of sexual assault victims, but Dietrich and her parents say they do not want to shield her identity and want her case to be public.

The boys’ attorneys have asked a judge to hold Dietrich in contempt for violating the confidentiality of a juvenile hearing and the judge’s order not to speak about it.

Dietrich told the paper she was assaulted in August 2011 by two boys she knew when she passed out after drinking at a gathering. She learned months later that pictures of the assault were taken and shared with others.

“For months, I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t go out in public places,” she told the newspaper, as her father and attorneys sat nearby. “You just sit there and wonder, who saw (the pictures), who knows?”

Dietrich’s attorneys want her contempt hearing open to the media, arguing she has a First Amendment right to speak about her case and to a public hearing.

The boys’ attorneys, however, have asked to keep the hearing closed.

The contempt charge carries a possible sentence of 180 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The boys pleaded guilty on June 26 to first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism. Dietrich says she was unaware of a plea agreement until just before it was announced in court.

She could not say what the proposed punishment was because of the court order, but said she feels like it was a slap on the wrist.

The teens are to be sentenced next month, and the judge could reject or modify the terms of the proposed agreement.

When Judge Dee McDonald admonished everyone at the hearing not to speak about what happened in court or about the crime, Dietrich said she cried.

“They got off very easy … and they tell me to be quiet, just silencing me at the end,” she said.

Afterwards Dietrich tweeted, “They said I can’t talk about it or I’ll be locked up. ….Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville.”

Enhanced by Zemanta
  • Random66

    Comment doubled up – re-posted later. Sorry.

  • Euan Rt

    Without going into the merits or otherwise of this girls partying
    , I agree absolutely that if she was the victim she holds the rights to name suppression. Interesting piece by Stephen Franks on his blog, in it he states,¬†¬†”The¬†purpose of the justice system is not the offender. If there is a priority list it is:

    a)      The victim
    b)      The community and its right to feel that crime does not pay, that cheats don’t prosper and that right will prevail over might.
    c)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The offender.¬†”

    • Callum

       Agreed, but only once someone pleads guilty or is convicted, prior to that innocent until proven guilty has to take precedence.

      • http://www.whaleoil.co.nz Whaleoil

        And how did that work out for the Kahui kids?

      • GPT

        Indeed.  That list works well for the convicted.  The priority prior to conviction is the ALLLEGED offender and ensuring a fair trial.  After all there is no offender until the state proves the offences(s) beyond reasonable doubt.

      • Callum

        Failing to get a conviction in high profile cases is not a reason to throw out innocent until proven guilty. Some crimes will always be impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt, fact of life really.

      • Euan Rt

        I agree also Callum¬†though in this case it was after pleading guilty, ”
        The boys pleaded guilty on June 26 to first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism.”
        GPT if there is no offender prior to conviction, does that mean there is no victim either? As stated I agree that there has to be safeguards for incorrect identification of a criminal, but would prefer there to be consequences for naming someone who is then found not guilty. If there is identification ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ by the victim then I would be happy to give them the right to name.

    • Neil

      ¬†Totally agree Euan – Thanks for putting this on your blog Cameron – saw this elsewhere and thought – Way to go that woman!!!¬† She still faces the prospect of contempt of court but is getting a heap of popular support – so wait to see what finally transpires when the courts get round to it…..

  • Tigger NZ

    How about the idea that these boys committed a criminal offense, and are in the process of being punished for it, fairly, by a judge who is a professional expert in judging fair punishments and is also impartial. I have every sympathy for the victim, who has lived through a terrible experience that should never have happened. Understandably she wants the boys to suffer the worst possible punishment. She may even wish them dead. That’s completely understandable – however, it isn’t right. The victim is not a judge; she’s not an expert in judging crimes; and she’s not at all impartial. Moreover from the HuffPost article it looks like she has decided to falsely accuse the perpetrators of raping her, which they didn’t do. A false rape accusation can destroy someone’s life. To me (and from the sounds of the article to the judge as well), that sounds like over-the-top punishment for the crime the boys have committed.

    • Euan Rt

      While this all sounds reasonable (and probably best describes my true position), I can’t help feeling that, using the case above, the victim is still in a worse position after the event than the boys are. Even after whatever reparations are ordered and complied with, she carries this with her because of their actions. To my way of thinking justice should end up with the offender in a worse position than the victim so as to teach a lesson. Yes the judge should be able to manage this but from several of my own experiences, I don’t have a lot of faith in the ‘justice’ system. Victims never cease to be victims.

    • Random66

      This victim should have every right to speak freely about what has happened to her and by whom once her abusers have been found guilty.  Interesting that you are defending their actions and are infact downplaying them.  Just because this girl placed herself in a vulnerable position did not give them the right to take advantage of it. I will try posting another article I read on this issue as I believe it is well worth the read.

    • Callum

      Yes it is up to the judge to sentence but to me the issue of name suppression should only be to protect the identity of the victim and they should have the right not to accept it. It should never be for the benefit of the offender.

    • Random66
    • parorchestia

       You take far too narrow a view of why societies have laws and punish offenders. Laws exist to guide and protect good people, not to slap the wrist of offenders with a wet bus ticket when they cause such misery as these tear-aways did. The court system exists to punish offenders, deter waverers from committing offences, provide retribution (and ideally some compensation) for victims, and to rehabilitate, if possible.  The later has, fo some strage reason, tended to dominate the court system in this country. Modern reseacrhy shows that rehabilitation is difficult at best and it should never hinder the other purposes of the legal system. The safety of the good should be the main concern and purpose.
      These purposes are not well served by that modern phenomenon of name suppression. The victim in this case suffered terribly, yet the offenders are going to get off lightly. This sure doesn’t sound fair or reasonable to me. She, the victim, is known to the world at large, but they, the callous offenders, aren’t.The deterrent effect of punishment will be weak or non-existent.
      Sure, suppress the names of the accused, until they are found guilty, although even here there are good reasons why court proceedings should be public. Once accused people are found guilty then they should suffer the consequences of their illegal actions, which includes societal opprobrium. Only then will the out-of-control offending blighting our country be brought under greater control.
      I also think you praise our judges too much. Some are good, others are out of touch with their communities. Sentences for the same offence vary far too much from judge to judge to allow you to conclude what you did, that judges are “expert.” And all judges would be improved if they were made more accountable. The system as a whole would be made much better if it were robust against performance.
      And why do we have that amazingly aberrant system of concurrent sentences? What possible justification can you have for such daftness? Offences attract penalties unless you do lots all together!

    • Polish_pride

      Perhaps but you also need to factor in that they will have plea bargained with the prosecutor on the case to charges far less severe than what they would have been originally (and in all likelihood should have been charged with. The Victim has had no say in this.
      Sorry to give a horrible example to bring it home but¬†imagine the situation where your Wife or Daughter is raped but through a plea bargain with the prosecutor the offender agrees to plead guilty to a much lesser charge of sexual abuse and voyerism and then gets say 6 months home detention. You have no say in this whatsoever and when you find out it is pretty much a done deal. Would you still consider the offender to have been punished fairly by a judge who is a professional expert in judging fair punishments…..?¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

  • Random66

    For some reason I can’t post the link, but here is the article that I read the other day on Yahoo.

    A Kentucky teenager is facing contempt of court charges for tweeting the names of the two teens who pled guilty to sexually assaulting her, in a case that inspires questions about the uses of social media in the legal system.
    Seventeen-year-old Savanna Dietrich tweeted the names of the boys in response to the frustration she felt over her attackers plea bargain.
    Now, Dietrich could face an $US500 ($A481) fine and up to 180 days in jail for the act if she is found guilty of being in contempt of the court.
    Her contempt hearing is scheduled for July 30.
    According to Dietrich, the sexual assault occurred when she passed out at a party last year. Her attackers then molested her, and they also allegedly videotaped the incident and shared it with their friends online.
    After Dietrich visited police with her parents, the juvenile defendants were charged with first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism, reports the Louisville Courier Journal.
    But Dietrich says she was extremely unhappy with the “slap on the wrist” plea bargain her attackers were given. Enraged, she took to her Twitter account determined to publicly expose the boys for their act.
    “They said I can’t talk about it or I’ll be locked up,” one of her tweets read. “So I’m waiting for them to read this and lock me up. ____ justice.
    “Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville.”
    She reiterated in a Courier Journal interview that she was fully prepared to pay the price for her actions.
    “I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” Dietrich told the Louisville paper.
    “If they really feel it’s necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me … as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don’t understand justice.”
    The courtroom repercussions of Twitter use have made the news before: in April, a New York judge ruled that prosecutors do not need to obtain a warrant to subpoena citizens Twitter accounts, reported Mashable.com.

    • Neil

      Thanks Random66 – that’s where I read the story – then went to USA News to get an alternate view in case Yahoo screwed up as they often do….

  • Bunswalla

    In all the predictable brouhaha and gnashing of teeth about the victim’s rights or lack of them, this silly girl has forgotten a few key facts:

    1. While she may be unhappy about the plea-bargain, it spared her the indignity and humiliation of having to go to trial, where her own actions at the party and prior to it would doubtless be put under the spotlight.

    2. I’m not condoning what the boys did in any way, but for a 17-year old girl to go to a party and take so much alcohol, drugs or both that in her own words she passed out, is incredibly risky behaviour on her part. She’s not responsible for what they did, but she’s certainly responsible for placing herself in a position where she was taken advantage of. There are no states in the US to my knowledge, where drinking is legal at that age. She was very stupid and it could be argued she was fortunate that something far more serious didn’t happen.

    She would be better off keeping her head down and reflecting on some of the life choices she’s made, and resolving never to put herself in a position like that again. But I realise being accountable for your actions and choices is not very fashionable these days.

    • A-random-reader

      The age limit of 21 applies to purchasing alcohol in the USA.

      It doesn’t apply to its consumption.

      As Wikipedia points out, there are 31 states that permit minors to drink alcoholo if they have the consent of their parents.

      Blaming the victim isn’t useful. Nobody forced the boys to sexually assault the girl and upload the photos to the Internet to share with their mates.

    • Euan Rt

      Buns, that sounds good and I expect she has been reflecting on her own stupidity – probably with the help of her parents. But this is about name suppression, and surely you are not trying to minimise the even more stupid behaviour of the boys and their accountability?

    • Random66

      “..this silly girl”…..”She would be better off keeping her head down…”

      There was a time a man protected the vulnerable now it appears it’s open season if you come across anyone who is in a position to not take care of themselves (regardless how they got in that position).¬† She might be silly but she should not have to keep her head down as though the shame should be hers, after all shouldn’t the boys be accountable for their actions.¬† Her crime was getting drunk, the rape and voyerism was all theirs.

      • Neil

        Absolutely – the above viewpoint seems similar to those that follow the:

        “She was asking for it with the clothes she was wearing”

    • Bunswalla

      A-r-r: I didn’t blame the victim at all, and went to pains to point that out. I’m a father of a 15 year old girl, and while I hope nothing like this ever happens to her, if it did I would definitely be asking (at the appropriate time, i.e. after hunting down and killing the little bastards that did this) “What the hell were you doing, getting drunk and passing out at a party at your age? Where were your mates, why didn’t you ring or text us to get you the hell out of there?”

      Also, the legal age to drink alcohol in Kentucky is 21. She was 17. Kentucky does not permit minors to drink alcohol even with the consent of their parents.

      Euan: of course I’m not, and you know this. But the girl should not have put herself in that position, and if she hadn’t then they wouldn’t have had the opportunity.

      Random: I wish we lived in a time when those values applied too, but sadly we don’t. The two scrotes that took advantage of the girl were almost certainly also immature, drunk and stupid. Of course the boys are accountable, but so is she accountable for getting herself into that situation. In an ideal world she would not be taken advantage of in that way, but those days are long gone. Does anyone remember seeing Animal House? Dean Wurmer’s daughter that worked in the supermarket, and went to the frat party? Hilarious wasn’t it, that scene with the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other?

      Neil: your comment seems to be along the lines of “I have totally missed the point, perhaps deliberately, but talking out of my arse may disguise the fact.”

  • Sarrs

    On a slightly different note…I still have zero idea who ‘Mr B’ is – I could spend the rest of my days guessing and probably never figure it out.¬†

    • Neil

      Damn I’m not alone in that afterall – thought it might be Banksie at first, but doesn’t fit – so for Sarrs and me – WHO IS Mr B.?? Anyone?

      • Sarrs

        I googled ‘dog name suppression’ and read all the articles that came up. Then I googled the two lawyers names from those articles to see if they appeared in the same article twice anywhere else.

        Surely it couldn’t be that easy…surely. NZ is a small place…what are the chances of the same two QCs working on opposing sides of high profile cases involving senior political figures who are divorcing their wives in the last two years? Is it a breach of name suppression if I take the information available in the public domain and combine it to find an answer?

    • Mr_Blobby

      As Mr B has not been convicted of anything he should have a right to name suppression.

    • Sarrs

      No one’s going to tell us Neil, we’ll just have to randomly speculate. It’s not necessarily a politician, he’s only identified as a party official. From what I have read the original Mr and Mrs B were unable to have children so that rules a few people out. The court case is being heard in the Auckland Family Court. The dog was nabbed while the new Mrs B was walking it in Remuera.¬†

      Mr Blobby – I’m not saying he shouldn’t have name suppression and that he doesn’t deserve it…I’m just gagging with curiosity

      • Neil

        That sounds like the script of a New Zealand TV series that was on a few years ago…Trivial Pursuit I think it was called…

  • Mr_Blobby

    The victim’s views should be paramount when it comes to name suppression. Once convicted naming and shaming becomes part of the punishment and is applied universally.

  • http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/ Unsolicitedious

    Super contentious posts today!

    Any way to find out who Mr B is – are they as known as other famous assholes who get name suppression here?

    Stephen Franks is completely right. However like Callum I believe in name suppression until they have been convicted or plead guilty…..I’m a big believe in Blackstone’s¬†”better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” as what if it were you that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time & were wrongly charged with rape or assault or worse child molestation because say you had a spouse that was deranged & hated you (not saying that was the case for the famous person we all know but cant mention).

    The problem I have is that everything seems to be in the criminal’s favour – I wish more people were like Cam & brave enough to risk conviction for breaking name suppression. I know I’m not (and couldn’t anyway as the primary caregiver & rainy day income earner if hubby’s income went down the toilet…plus if we win lotto I want to do the Sex & the City tour in NYC!).

  • Mediaan

    Here are a few more details.

    I was shocked by this case. The girl passed out, but nobody states she was responsible for the passing-out. There are many instances where a girl’s drink is doctored.

    This article names the young men, provides their photos, affirms it was actual rape, and provides a reference to the Judge having three teens in court to protect but only placing suppression on the names of the two “boys”.

    http://www.maggiesnotebook.com/2012/07/savannah-dietrich-rapists-voyeurs-austin-zehnder-will-frey-video-contempt-charges-dropped/

55%