The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Case sways over rape allegations..

There are many subjects which I'm comfortable with my knowledge on enough to voice my thoughts about them. But I'm forced to admit that knowledge of autism is not one of my strong points. It's not that I don't know anything about it, it's just that I'm uncomfortable basing opinions on something which I know so little about. So, while I'll share the case- I'll leave the judgements on it for you, .

West Bloomfield police say a 14-year-old girl with autism who cannot speak cried rape the only way she could: through a controversial technique where a teaching aide helps a student type words on a keyboard.

Earlier this month, the girl accused her father of raping her repeatedly while her mother did not intervene, investigators said. The girl's 13-year-old brother, who also is autistic, told investigators he saw his father showering with his sister and naked with his sister.

I'm not sure how disabled the child is, or how much assistance is needed from the teaching aide in order to use the keyboard.

"The problem here is that the prosecutors are acting as though the only limitation this child has is that she cannot speak," said defense attorney Robyn Frankel, who represents the girl's mother against charges of child abuse and witness intimidation. "What they don't understand is that when a person has autism, their brains are wired differently."

Said attorney Jerome Sabbota, who represents the father: "Here these people struggle all these years to take care of these disabled children, and something like this happens"

The father is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

In court documents, authorities do not report physical evidence, such as DNA, to link the father to a sexual assault, instead citing a registered nurse's report that the girl's hymen showed three "nonacute tears," likely signs of sexual assault.

Defense attorneys said the strength of the prosecution's case is undermined by the girl's claim that her parents and brother violated a court order by visiting her in the home in which she was placed.

The child, in additional typed messages, said the parents visited her at night and said they would be taking her to South Africa.

"I can say absolutely it did not happen," said Rabbi Levy Shemtov, the family's rabbi with whom the girl has been staying. "Her parents were never there. And the child was never alone."


(side note, before anyone says anything- this case is labeled by the allegations, not as a way to voice guilt or innocence... )