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Ethical Treatment for All Youth

Email: etay@ethicaltreatment.org

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JOE, 14
As told by his mother Karen

My son's situation began when the "victim" in his case was staying at a friend's house.  She and her friend contacted my son to sneak out of the house to meet her to consume alcohol.  He initially told her he would not meet her.  She then asked to speak with a young adult who was staying with us temporarily, who decided to "mix some drinks" and go to meet her.  My son tagged along, only because this was his acquaintance from school.

After some time, the "victim's" friend decided she had to go into the house so that she was not discovered missing.  The three remained sitting on the sidewalk talking and consuming more alcohol.  My son told the friend that the "victim" could come back to our house to sleep on the couch to not wake the friend's family.  The "victim" was hanging on the boys while they were sitting on the sidewalk, kissing and hugging them on a regular basis.

The "victim" and the young adult walked ahead of my son.  My son was given the task of returning the bicycles used to meet the girls back to the house.

When they returned to the house, of course everyone was asleep with the exception of themselves.  The "victim" decided she had to use the bathroom.  She apparently got sick, and was vomiting in the bathroom.  The young adult involved heard her throwing up, and decided she needed help.  He went into the bathroom to find her throwing up on my bathroom floor.  He asked my son to find her clothing to change into, and got her out of the bathroom.  The young adult and the "victim" went to my son's room to change her clothing.  My son stayed behind to clean up the mess.

When he returned to his room, the door was closed.  He knocked on the door, as he thought she still may be changing clothes.  When he entered the room, the "victim" and the young adult were engaged in sexual activity.  The "victim" asked my son to join them.  Unfortunately, he did.

The next morning, my son's cell phone rang. It was the friend whose house the "victim" was to be sleeping at the night before.  He indicated to her that the "victim" was still asleep, and he would have her call when she awoke.

When the "victim" awoke, the first thing out of her mouth was "where is (the young adult male)".  My son indicated that he was asleep on the couch, so they proceeding to my living room, where the young adult was engaged in a telephone conversation.  She was loud and boisterous at this point; trying to capture the young adult's attention.  When he indicated that she was making too much noise, and asked my son to get her out of the room, they went back to my son's bedroom, where she invited him back to bed with her.  She then went directly to the police department from my home, and claimed she had been sexually assaulted.  I believe to this day that my son was sexually assaulted by this alleged victim.

Later that evening, after returning home from work, I was sitting in my living room reading a magazine when I heard rapping at the door.  The police were there with a search warrant for my home.  I, of course, let them in.  They roused everyone in the house, and we were forced to stay outside.  They had indicated that my son was involved in a sexual assault, and of course, I thought they were mistaking the young adult for my son, never even thinking that he would be remotely involved in such activity.  They had indicated that he had already been taken into custody, as he was standing in the driveway (barefoot) when they arrived.

They were in my home for an undetermined amount of time, as I am not exactly sure what time they arrived.  His father and I had recently separated, and I was desperately trying to reach him so that he was aware of what was going on.  I do want to mention that on more than one occasion, I asked to talk with my son to find out exactly what had happened.  I was told that I could not see him, and he would be sent directly to juvenile detention.  I had no idea what had occurred in my home the night before.

The young adult was currently on probation for some other trouble he had been in, so he ran when he saw the police arrive at my home.  They were primarily focusing their attention on locating him, as opposed to what was happening with my son.  All of this time, my son was handcuffed in a police car in my driveway, without me being able to see him.  We were standing on the back patio with a police Sergeant, and I again asked if I could see my son.  He indicated that was not possible.  After standing for quite some time, our legs began to feel tired, so I suggested that we move to the back deck where there were chairs available.  I remember asking the sergeant if he would like something to drink, and proceeded to get myself a soda out of the refrigerator that is located in the garage.  He indicated he wanted nothing.  Once on the back deck, the detective indicated that they had finished gathering evidence from my home, and they were going to the police station.  I asked again to speak with my son, and was told that he would be going directly to juvenile detention.  I told them that I would be at the police station as soon as I could reach my son's father, and he could join me.  Approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour later, I joined them at the police station.  It was approximately 10:30 or 11:00 p.m.  When we arrived, the detective was in the police lobby.  The first words out of my son's father's mouth were "Can I see my boy".  Again we were told that he would be sent directly to juvenile detention, and we could not see him.  The detective began asking us questions about the whereabouts of the adult male.  I told them once again that I did not know where he was, and attempted to give them ideas, knowing that his regular girlfriend lived in some apartments not far from here.  I indicated that eventually he was guaranteed to show up there.   Meanwhile we were also informed that my son was cooperating with police.  I knew that he would, because he was frightened.

At approximately 12:45 a.m. the following morning, a police sergeant came out to the lobby.  He seated himself on the bench next to me, and indicated that the sex was consensual, and he did not fit "the profile".  They would be releasing my son to our custody.  There would, however, be a referral sent to the District Attorney's office.  I was so relieved at this point; I was longing to talk with my son to find out exactly what had happened.  At 1:05 a.m. the following morning, we were allowed to leave the police station with our son.  We all thought it was over, not knowing that the nightmare had just begun.

When we arrived home, my son was exhausted, barefoot and cold.  I sent him to bed to get some rest, indicating that we would talk about it the following day.  Remarkably, I was able to get myself up to go to work the next day.  My son was still asleep, and his father indicated that he would stay with him, and not let him out of his sight.  The following evening, we began to discuss what had happened.  My son was forthright and honest with us, and told us the story in its entirety.  I questioned him about the activity at the police station, and he indicated to me that he was very frightened, as the detective was shouting at him and had a gun.    I was very surprised to hear, however, that he did not write a confession.   The detective wrote it for him.

Approximately two weeks later, we received papers in the mail indicating that he was being charged with second degree sexual assault.  We were forced to sit through court hearings where the "victim's" parents were able to speak their minds; however, we were allowed to say nothing.

I of course instructed the attorney appointed to my son to file a motion to suppress his statement based on the fact that he was held without supervision, was unable to speak with either of his parents, and the "confession" that was given was not written by my son, but the detective in the case. I had been sequestered from the courtroom while the officer testified, and to date, have no idea what was said.  We of course, lost the motion.

We were then dragged through the court system for four more months, listening to the "victim's" parents whine about the event.  I indicated to my son's attorney that we would like to take this to trial, as we both believed the victim to be lying.  We were told at this point that if we went to trial, my son would be sent to detention until he attained the age of 18, allegedly through messages from the D.A.'s office.

On the date of the last hearing, I again indicated to my son's counsel that we would like to take this to trial.  I wanted him to be aware that the alleged victim would crumble on the stand, as she was lying.  We were again told that the D.A. indicated she would recommend lock-up if we did not take the plea.  In essence, my son was threatened into pleading guilty to the crime.

My questions remain unanswered, as no one at the State or local level is willing to even discuss these cases.  It is my contention that if the State of Wisconsin indicates that sex cannot be consensual under the age of sixteen years of maturity, how then could my son consent to this "victim's" request to have sex with her?  I believe that if his actions were criminal, that hers were no less criminal, and should either be charged alike, or neither charged at all.  I attempted on two separate occasions to press charges against this girl.  I met the detective at the police station after the October 24 status hearing.  He indicated that he would have to contact the District Attorney.  He contacted me at approximately 5:00 p.m. by phone that evening indicating that they would not accept the complaint.  I have contacted other law enforcement agencies outside of our county who indicate that she, indeed, should have been charged alike. This County Sherriff indicated that I should again attempt to press charges against the girl.  I was at the police station again on October 30, 2005 and was told that they would not accept the complaint.   I am still working on this process, although it feels as though it may be futile.

On the day that my son was sentenced, I was informed by the Judge that he did not want to hear any derogatory comments about the "victim".  The District Attorney indicated to my son's counsel that any further attempts to charge the "victim" would result in sanctions against my son.  In my opinion, this is a direct threat to my son's safety.

We have filed an appeal for post-conviction relief.  We meet with the appellate attorney tomorrow, March 27, 2006.  Although I am not sure what to expect, I believe that we will hit another brick wall, as no one seems willing to even look at this case in it's entirety.

It is horrifying to me to believe that these children can be threatened and coerced into pleading guilty to a crime that the alleged victim is no less guilty of, and because he is male, he is automatically convicted.  We call this a justice?  I had contacted a State Senator who indicated to me that once a child has been charged with a juvenile crime in this state, they are typically convicted.   There is no defense, no preponderance of evidence, no totality of circumstances, and no jury of their peers.

I have begun a petition in an attempt to try to change some of these laws.  It is unbelievable to me that in this day and age, a young girl can solicit sex from a boy of the same age, and then cry rape!

Submitted March 26, 2006