4. ABUSE PROCEEDING CONTINUES DESPITE SEVEN-YEAR DELAY
4. In the case of sexual abuse hearing for children, even those grown older in the seven years after the fact of the incident, the issue will be both why it took so long and does this violate the defendant’s right to a speedy trial?
When CC was 9, visiting his stepbrother’s family over a holiday, CR was 5. The obvious question to ask is: what were they both doing in the same bathtub at that age? Which is completely irrelevant. It seems strange to say, but this is the nature of the job. The allegation of sexual abuse has to take a back seat to the frame around that event. Before you can get to the facts of the situation, you have to find out if Time has rendered the situation moot or more. It is all well and good to say, this is why the Courts are so clogged up and bogged down: every case is multiplied by its circumstances. At the end, this is how it should be: the courts are FIRST--the protection of the innocent. In this case there were two minors, which further complicates the issue. But then there is SECOND--the prosecution of the guilty. Here, you have to, as well, find out if that is part of the Time factor as well. And, further, does the victim change with Time?
The delay was both the lack of the victim’s report of the incident—only discovered by his mother six years later, finding an open journal entry in his hand. As well, upon that discovery, wanting to not assume the perpetrator’s actions were unprovoked by other factors—such as abuse at his mother’s home—and also wanting to bring this to counseling and therapy, the mother’s course of actions were careful and prudent. The prosecution of a law suit for the finding of juvenile delinquency is, as it should be, the last resort.
And yes, we can say that justice delayed IS justice denied. Then look again and ask: can an abstract concept be subject to Time? Only if we decide it is.