Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Native Americans women more likely to be victim of violent crime

"The chance an Indian woman will be the victim of a violent crime is three and a half times greater than the national average..." says the article.  What a scary statistic, and one that the Native American community would like to overcome.  With a new law to support them, they are making efforts to change these numbers.

This week, over 150 people in New Mexico met to discuss the Tribal Law and Order Act, a broad new federal law that will focus on crime on reservations.  The act will require training so that any officers that serve Indian Country will be able to interview sexual assault victims and collect evidence at the crime scene. 
A protocol for aiding these victims will also be established along with additional services.  They are hoping to improve the care and concern that both sexual assault and domestic violence victims are in need of. 


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Levy to get justice?

Nine years ago, a young pretty woman was killed in Washington DC.  Now, a man believed to be responsible  for her death is finally facing trial.  Chandra Levy's body was found in Rock Creek Park, where Ingmar Guandique had already been convicted of assaulting two other women.  Because of a high profile relationship Ms. Levy had with California congressman Gary Condit, it is believed Guandique was originally overlooked as a suspect.  The entire country was watching this case and Condit seemed to be the only person who might be able to answer the question of what happened to Chandra.  Even though it is said that Guandique admitted killing Levy and had discussed the crime with numerous prisoners while incarcerated, there is no physical evidence and he has never confessed to police.  Chandra Levy's family have waited many years to see someone be held responsible for her death.  Let's hope they aren't let down by a case that has has gone in many different directions, and put blame on more than one person over the years. 


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wisconsin District Attorney under investigation

When the people who are assigned to uphold the law and to keep the public safe from harm take advantage of victims, it's disappointing and difficult to understand.  When people in power abuse it, they tarnish the image of those who do their job respectfully.  District Attorney Ken Kratz has now been accused by a third woman for harassment.  Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin now has the job of investigating Kratz on the allegations and determining whether or not to try and remove Kratz from office.   Apparently, Kratz is unavailable for comment because he is now in an outpatient program.  The other women to come forward have been a domestic violence victim and a woman who claims Kratz wanted to take her to an autopsy after the had had dinner.  Aren't we supposed to trust people like Ken Kratz?  If the allegations are found to be true, how do we maintain and build trust with those in Kratz' position?


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Protecting ourselves is costing us money

Sometimes when a sexual predator has served their prison sentence, but has been deemed too dangerous to enter back into the real world, they live out their life behind bars in what is called a civil commitment program. Although we may all feel a little safer and believe that is where they should be held, but these programs cost money-a lot of money. Minnesota alone spends $65 million a year to house and treat these offenders and they have a "smaller" facility, housing about 400 inmates. These sexual predators may not have freedom, but they have a roof over their head and three square meals a day which is more than some people who have done nothing wrong and are just trying to survive in this unstable economy. It just doesn't seem fair and yet lawmakers are at a loss as to what to do. It's unfortunate that the state has to incur the cost to make sure these people are "taken care of properly". Let's hope they are getting fed the bare minimum of cheap, bland food and that they all participate in cleaning and maintaining the facilities. This wouldn't be cruel and unusual punishment, and even if it was, the reason they are living out their life in these places is because of cruel acts that they have been convicted of . So what is the solution? How do we keep these predators locked away without putting ourselves into a bigger deficit? What steps can we take to ensure our safety without draining state funds?


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Joran Van Der Sloot at it again?

Natalee Holloway disappeared more than five years ago. She was in Aruba, on a class trip when she went missing. A local teen, Joran Van Der Sloot was arrested and released twice in her case, due to "insufficient evidence". The son of a prominent
judge, Van Der Sloot admitted he was with Natalee, but insists that he left her on the beach, drunk. An undercover journalist even filmed Van Der Sloot discussing Holloway, and how he asked a friend to dump her body in the ocean. Even though Holloway's family, with the support of American authorities, has pushed the Dutch government to pursue the case, they have had little or no help from island officials. Now, Joran Van Der Sloot has been arrested in Chile after a young woman was found dead in his hotel room in Peru. Stephany Flores is seen on video leaving a casino with him and again arriving at his hotel. Four hours after they arrived, Joran left alone and headed to Chile. He was arrested in Chile and authorities returned him to Peru to face charges. He has denied any involvement in Stephany's murder. Joran Van Der Sloot is also being sought by US officials after reports that he tried to extort money from Natalee Holloway's family, stating he would disclose the whereabouts of her remains. Apparently, this man has been able to do and say whatever he pleases without any kind of repercussions. No, he has not been found guilty of any crimes yet, but is it really a coincidence that two young women end up dead after spending time with him? There is said to be DNA evidence in Flores' murder, so hopefully that will be "sufficient evidence" to be able to prosecute him. Maybe now, facing serious charges in another country, he will finally pay the consequences for his actions. The island of Aruba cannot protect him now.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jennifer Schuett Lived to Tell

Jennifer Schuett is an inspiration. She forced herself to remember every detail of her assault. Raped as a child, she didn't want anyone else to be victimized by the same man. After twenty years, she got her wish. As horrendous as this crime was, the story of this woman's courage and determination is what makes this so amazing and empowering. Dennis Earl Bradford had kidnapped and raped eight year old Jennifer before trying to kill her. Thinking she would die, as she almost did, Bradford left her in a field. He went on to assault at least one other woman and served time in prison before he was let out on parole. He had a wife and children, and when confronted with the DNA evidence, confessed to the crimes. As comforting as it is that he is off the streets, he was a coward. Jennifer knew exactly what she would say to him, and wanted him to know that she never gave up looking for him. Before she could face him, he hung himself. Some people say death is what he deserved anyway, but Jennifer Schuett deserved to face him first, and speak the words she waited to say. Jennifer Schuett is a survivor no matter the outcome, and for that and her voice, we applaud her.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Million Dollar Arrest Warrant Issued

Last week, Sacramento was on the lookout for a convicted sex offender who had a $1 million arrest warrant issued for him. Benjamin Dee Kendrick disappeared after police had searched his residence and seized his computer. The images and information found on the computer were highly disturbing. Kendrick had over 100 child pornography images and was maintaining an online relationship with a woman in Brazil who was discussing the transfer of her 7 year old daughter to the United States for sexual purposes over email. The correspondance between Kendrick and this woman was believed to have been going on for at least a few months. Kendrick was arranging for the woman's daughter to come live with him and serve as a sex slave. He even discussed killing the girl. When authorities became aware of these emails, they were unsure if the girl had already gotten into the United States and was in danger. Due to the serious nature of the emails, they scrambled to find Kendrick as soon as possible. Brazilian authorities were cooperating with US officials as well. On May 13, Kendrick was finally arrested in Davis, California which is just a short drive from Sacramento. What became of the young girl remains to be disclosed. Kendrick was also a designer for a website for the National Safe Child Coalition. He admitted to using the site to have access to children to continue to abuse them.