A Disgusting, Truly Retrograde Italian Court Ruling

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Ralph
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A Disgusting, Truly Retrograde Italian Court Ruling

Post by Ralph » Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:08 pm

Italian court: Not a virgin? Sex crimes aren't as serious
Mussolini's granddaughter slams all-male court after recent rulings

ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- Sexually abusing a teenager is less serious a crime if the girl is not a virgin, Italy's higher court said on Friday in a controversial ruling that immediately drew a barrage of criticism.

The court ruled in favor of a man in his forties, identified only as Marco T., who forced his 14-year old stepdaughter to have oral sex with him after she refused intercourse.

The man, who has been sentenced to three years and four months in jail, lodged an appeal arguing that the fact that his stepdaughter had had sex with men before should have been taken into consideration during his trial as a mitigating factor.

The supreme court agreed, saying that because of her previous sexual experiences, the victim's "personality, from a sexual point of view, is much more developed than what would be normally expected of a girl of her age".

"It is therefore fair to argue that (the damage for the victim) would be lower" if the abused girl was not a virgin, Italian news agencies quoted the court as saying.

This means the man could now be handed a lighter sentence.

News of the ruling immediately drew fire.

"I think we have gone back 50 years," said Maria Gabriella Carnieri Moscatelli, head of the Telefono Rosa association that helps sexually abused women.

"It is inconceivable that such a serious crime that ruins the life of a woman, irrespective of her age, might be considered in a different light depending on whether she is a virgin," she said.

Female politicians from across the political spectrum also strongly condemned the court's decision.

"This is a shameful, devastating ruling," said Alessandra Mussolini, grand-daughter of wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. "The real problem is that there are no women in the supreme court."

Luana Zanella of the Greens opposition party called the court's arguments "abominable".

The supreme court is no stranger to controversial judgments.

In recent years it has ruled that "an isolated and impulsive" pat on a woman's buttocks at work did not constitute sexual harassment, and returned a verdict that a woman could not have been raped because she was wearing skin-tight jeans.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:46 am

I thought everyone knew that kiddie diddling is not punishable. It's just not considered much of a crime even here in the US. Look at the idiot judge in Vermont who gave that guy a 6 month sentence for molesting a girl for 4 years. While that was an extreme case, the system just doesn't treat forced sex with a child seriously - too many men do it. So how could it be considered setting us back 50 years? It's never been treated seriously so its a very modern sentence for a very modern crime.
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Post by CharmNewton » Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:10 am

Corlyss_D wrote:Look at the idiot judge in Vermont who gave that guy a 6 month sentence for molesting a girl for 4 years.
The sentence was actually 60 days. The molestation began when she was 6. Many in the Vermont press defended the judge, who seemed to think that the only place this predator could recieve rehabilitation was on the street. The prosecution requested the sentence be reconsidered, and after assurances the perpetrator would receive therapy, the sentence was upped to 3+ years. In striking interviews on the O'Reilly factor, several public officials from Vermont appeared and were unwilling or unable to express outrage at this travesty.

It came out in a later interview (the D.A. in Clackamas County, Oregon no less) that Vermont as a state is heavily into "restorative justice". I'd never heard the term before, but an Internet search turned up 1.5 million hits. There is a pretty good explanation of the theory on the DOJ web site which sounds promotional. From what I read, restorative justice wasn't followed in this case, as the girl's family wanted to fry the guy and this concept requires participation of the victim and perpetrator to heal the harm done. Right!

John

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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:01 am

Many countries make exceptions for young people with prior experience. ("Already corrupted" is the phrase often used.) Nothing in this post should be construed to mean I condone this kind of sex.

When I was teaching in Maryland, several cases came up, but one is of particular note. A male teacher who had recently been through a divorce was specifically and repeatedly solicited by a 13-year-old student. He finally gave into her and was sentenced to 20 years (excessive, in my opinion, but you get the point). Keep your hands off the kids.

As a teacher, I feel obliged to add, that the instant the teacher-student relationship is established, all possibility of sexual attraction instantly evaporates. It just happens automatically in your head. Any teacher would know what I am talking about, even though you read about occasional violations of this principle.

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Post by Ralph » Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:09 am

Corlyss_D wrote:I thought everyone knew that kiddie diddling is not punishable. It's just not considered much of a crime even here in the US. Look at the idiot judge in Vermont who gave that guy a 6 month sentence for molesting a girl for 4 years. While that was an extreme case, the system just doesn't treat forced sex with a child seriously - too many men do it. So how could it be considered setting us back 50 years? It's never been treated seriously so its a very modern sentence for a very modern crime.
*****

Prosecutions of men/women having sex with underage kids are way up and so are sanctions. In virtually all states even statutory rape, for example a 21 year old having sex with a 17 year old, lands the offender on a permanent sex offense registry.

Many urban areas have established special prosecution units to deal with child sex crimes. Mandatory incarceration for some offenses is now common. While some of this is a reaction to the Catholic Church scandals, every week brings reports of teachers and other persons in positions of trust who committed sex acts with minors.

The reaason why that Vermont judge got national pubicity is that he was so far off the radar screen that he shocked even some defense counsel who were interviewed on TV.

Sting operations to catch cyber-surfing pedophiles are now common and many arrests are made, sometimes in large groups where kiddie porn is disseminated.

The one barrier to stiff felony sentences is that the victim and/or his/her family often doesn't want a trial even when it can result in a hefty sentence. One of my former students just finished five years for possession of a huge amount of kiddie porn but evaded prosecution on sodomy charges because the victim and his family just wouldn't accept a trial.
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Post by Ralph » Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:11 am

And while Corlyss is correct that offenses against children are now taken more seriously than in the past the same can be said about domestic violence and driving while intoxicated. What matters is the state of law and policy now, not what existed a few decades ago. Italy is way behind the curve with this obnoxious and, indeed, evil decision.
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Post by John Bleau » Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:04 pm

I'm in Nassau right now, on the marina's wifi. Things going well here, Ralph, and I'm happy to see you as feisty as ever.

Just a question: what if the reverse situation had occurred and the court handed out a stiffer sentence because a raped minor was a virgin? Would the general outcry be as strong (yes, I'm asking you to speculate)? Would you be as outraged? Because the two are logically the same: stiffer because virgin equates to less stiff because not virgin.

The same questions apply to the other posters.

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Post by Ralph » Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:01 pm

John Bleau wrote:I'm in Nassau right now, on the marina's wifi. Things going well here, Ralph, and I'm happy to see you as feisty as ever.

Just a question: what if the reverse situation had occurred and the court handed out a stiffer sentence because a raped minor was a virgin? Would the general outcry be as strong (yes, I'm asking you to speculate)? Would you be as outraged? Because the two are logically the same: stiffer because virgin equates to less stiff because not virgin.

The same questions apply to the other posters.
*****

For me the issue of virginity is irrelevant. In an American court that fact, real or claimed, might be excluded from the trial as unduly prejudicial one way or the other but in a victim's pre-sentencing address to the court it could not be excluded.

American law and the laws of most nations protect children by classifying them by age. Sexual experience is irrelevant and in cases of statutory rape (actual consent by one not legally empowered to consent) it's often obvious that the victim has had extensive sexual experience.
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Post by John Bleau » Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:16 pm

Yes, Ralph, but would you have been as outraged if, in Italy, a virgin had been raped and the rapist received a stiffer sentence because the victim was a virgin? You certainly expressed outrage in no uncertain terms in the matter at hand.

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Post by Ralph » Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:57 pm

John Bleau wrote:Yes, Ralph, but would you have been as outraged if, in Italy, a virgin had been raped and the rapist received a stiffer sentence because the victim was a virgin? You certainly expressed outrage in no uncertain terms in the matter at hand.
*****

I would have found it equally reprehensible. Both approaches objectify iconic concepts of women and virginity. Both are repulsive.
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Post by jack stowaway » Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:29 pm

Jbuck wrote:
As a teacher, I feel obliged to add, that the instant the teacher-student relationship is established, all possibility of sexual attraction instantly evaporates. It just happens automatically in your head. Any teacher would know what I am talking about, even though you read about occasional violations of this principle.
With regard to high-school students, perhaps. But university-age and older students (and teachers) will recognise that Eros often forms part of the student-professor relationship. (I use the word 'Eros' to denote the erotic ideal, the idealised form of attraction which is an undeniable substratum of an intense mentorship.) It is present in both the professor and the student. I would even go so far as to say that it is an indispensible element of a meaningful teacher-student relationship. The ancient Greeks understood this intermingling of sublimated attraction, mutual admiration and pedagogy. Love and wisdom are inextricably linked.

Where things fall apart is when this sublimated passion for the idealised other is expressed physically. This has unavoidable and catastrophic consequences for the finely-balanced pull-and-attraction between admiration for the teacher and the gratification found in pedagogical inquiry.

Problems also occur when the erotic element in a pedagogical relationship is not acknowledged or properly understood by the professor. Bad teachers exploit the pleasure inherent in learning (about the self and the world) for base ends. Wise teachers understand it as a necessary concommitance of the pedagogical endevour, and respect it as such.

While a student at university I personally knew of two female acquaintances who were sleeping with their professor. Their idealised attraction for the (seeming) God-like figure of wisdom and authority had been callously advantaged by the professors in question. Wiser teachers, and better men, would have realised that the sexual relationship was a perversion of the reciprocal admiration/pleasure born of the pedagogical relationship. Quite properly, the responsibility for handling this attraction in an ethical manner falls upon the teacher.

Jack

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Post by Febnyc » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:16 am

Corlyss_D wrote:I thought everyone knew that kiddie diddling is not punishable. It's just not considered much of a crime even here in the US. Look at the idiot judge in Vermont who gave that guy a 6 month sentence for molesting a girl for 4 years. While that was an extreme case, the system just doesn't treat forced sex with a child seriously - too many men do it. So how could it be considered setting us back 50 years? It's never been treated seriously so its a very modern sentence for a very modern crime.
You're entirely wrong. The one example you cite has no relevance in the real world. my dear. I know for a fact everyday men are locked up for 5 and 10 years simply for possessing kiddie porn - and longer for soliciting (just soliciting - with no consummation) sex with a minor. The Feds are very active in this area - with a whole unit assigned here in New York City headquarters. And Westchester County, New York, has its own program which has been quite successful. Not been treated seriously? Certainly has been, at least here in the civilized East.

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Post by Ralph » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:53 am

Febnyc wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:I thought everyone knew that kiddie diddling is not punishable. It's just not considered much of a crime even here in the US. Look at the idiot judge in Vermont who gave that guy a 6 month sentence for molesting a girl for 4 years. While that was an extreme case, the system just doesn't treat forced sex with a child seriously - too many men do it. So how could it be considered setting us back 50 years? It's never been treated seriously so its a very modern sentence for a very modern crime.
You're entirely wrong. The one example you cite has no relevance in the real world. my dear. I know for a fact everyday men are locked up for 5 and 10 years simply for possessing kiddie porn - and longer for soliciting (just soliciting - with no consummation) sex with a minor. The Feds are very active in this area - with a whole unit assigned here in New York City headquarters. And Westchester County, New York, has its own program which has been quite successful. Not been treated seriously? Certainly has been, at least here in the civilized East.
*****

Corlyss knows very little about the criminal justice system either with regard to law and procedure or current policies. Sting operations all over the country result in myriad arrests and subsequent prosecutions. Since many of these distrubed men can and do travel interstate there is often federal jurisdiction which also exists when telecommunications are used (and that includes the Web).

As I said in a previous post, men trawling the Web for victims often have already found them and evidence of sodomy is frequently there. The real issue then is whether it is in the best interests of the victim to go to trial or for the prosecution to accept a plea for possession of child pornography (which all these defendants have). The reason why so many sentences are in the 3-5 year range pursuant to a plea is that the trial was avoided with the victim's family's consent.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:43 pm

Febnyc wrote:I know for a fact everyday men are locked up for 5 and 10 years simply for possessing kiddie porn - and longer for soliciting (just soliciting - with no consummation) sex with a minor. The Feds are very active in this area - with a whole unit assigned here in New York City headquarters. And Westchester County, New York, has its own program which has been quite successful. Not been treated seriously? Certainly has been, at least here in the civilized East.
Yeah, well, when the perps get as long for actually committing forced sex with a child as they do for reading and thinking about it, which seems to me to be protected under the Frist Amendment, then I might think you and Ralph know what you're talking about. Until you or Ralph can site me some sentencing statistics that demonstrate that judges care more about protecting society than therapeutic sympathy for the perp, I'm skeptical. I'm not concerned about the 17/21 yr old scenario. I'm concerned about the father, uncle, step-father, live in boyfriend, neighbor, teacher, priest, scout-leader who rapes for years and ends up with therapy. There's no rehabing these people. There's no treating these people. And when the justice system fails to pick up its end, and sentences these people to suspended sentences, to light jail terms, or "treatment" instead of long jail time, it's like society is incapable of dealing with the issue, period, consigning future citizens to further victimization.
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Post by Ralph » Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:26 pm

Judges caring about perps? Here in New York special parts have been started in a number of counties to deal exclusively with sex offenses. Westchester just opened one two weeks ago to great fanfare. The conviction rate is high (of those who choose to go to trial) and sentencing minimums are high and can not be evaded. Defense counsel hate these special fora which are popping up all over.

You may not be aware, Corlyss, that when a prosecutor respects a family's decision not to have a child testify, judges almost universally accept whatever plea is agreed upon. Some judges became notorious a couple of decades ago for putting rape victims in jail for contempt for refusing to testify. They won't make that mistake again.

"Thinking" about sex with kids seems to be fairly undetectable. "Reading" about it is another matter. If a pedophile buys university studies about child sex, he/she is safe. The First Amendment provides zero protection for possession of actual kiddie porn. It's clearly understood that Stanley v. Georgia has no applicability to kiddie porn in any media.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:34 pm

Where's the stats, Ralph?
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Post by Ralph » Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:54 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:Where's the stats, Ralph?
*****

Corlyss,

I gladly do research for you or anyone else here when I have access that others lack (LEXIS, Westlaw). I don't have the time to do YOUR general research. Remember, I'm not retired - I have an active law practice even when I'm sidelined from teaching.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:18 am

Ralph wrote:I gladly do research for you or anyone else here when I have access that others lack (LEXIS, Westlaw). I don't have the time to do YOUR general research. Remember, I'm not retired - I have an active law practice even when I'm sidelined from teaching.
Hey, it's your argument, you find the stats to prove it. "No my yob" to prove your argument, counselor.
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