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#226151 - 05/23/08 08:47 PM Jury Trial advice?
momofteenager Offline


Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 2
I am a mom that has a teenage son that is a victim of sexual abuse by a family member. We are facing an upcoming trial against a rich, prominent, and manipulative abuser. I am interested in hearing from other families who have been through the legal system, and I am curious about the outcome of the trial. Also, has anyone used any expert witnesses for their case?

Besides a professional therapist and lots of family support, what else can I do for my son during this difficult time? I would love to hear from someone who has been through a similar situation tell me that there is hope for recovery and a chance to move past this nightmare that has consumed our life.


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#226191 - 05/23/08 10:13 PM Re: Jury Trial advice? [Re: momofteenager]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Hi Mom, from another Mom,

I've never been in your place, but I have worked for lawyers for 27 years, including criminal lawyers. The best thing you can do for your son is what you are doing - professional therapists and lots of family support. That's your job. Convicting the abuser is the Prosecutor's job. He/she will prepare your son as best they can for the trial but no matter how prepared he is, if the case goes to trial it will be brutal on him. Every scary awful thing you've ever heard about what the victim of a sex crime goes through at trial is probably true. It's especially hard on a kid for the simple reason that he is a kid. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I'd be lying and that's the last thing you or your son needs.

What kind of an expert witness are you talking about? A psychiatrist/psychologist to speak to the harm caused to your son? It will be the Prosecutor's decision as to whether they will use one but it's certainly likely.

ROCK ON........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#226327 - 05/24/08 10:11 AM Re: Jury Trial advice? [Re: Trish4850]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Mom,

One thing I hope you will do is make sure your son knows he can come to you with his fears and questions. He will have a million of them, but may be too frightened to ask them. He will want to know if he will have to testify in front of people, how his identity will be protected, and so on. Believe me, he has a ton of questions and anxieties that can be summed up as "What's going to happen to me now?"

Apart from that he will have a lot of self-doubts. He needs to hear as often as possible that you love him, that you don't blame him, that it wasn't his fault, and that you will keep him safe.

Good luck with all this. Don't be intimidated by the abuser's wealth and power. The taller they stand the harder they fall.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#226385 - 05/24/08 05:23 PM Re: Jury Trial advice? [Re: roadrunner]
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
This is outside my line of experience, (the legal proceedings such as this.) But I thought I might tell you about a local story that I had watch unfold last year.

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/grmetro_article.aspx?storyid=76828
http://www.wzzm13.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=77177

The reason I'm bringing this story up is because I want you (and your son in particular) to gain some courage as to what the most likely outcome of this trial is going to be (GUILTY!!!).

In this local story, the accused (and now convicted) perp, in pleading Not Guilty, forced a dozen or so boys (ages 5-10) to take the stand and to testify against this former teacher. Yes, the defense attorney grilled these boys about facts and places and events and times and physical details and tried to catch any holes in their accusations.

But would you like to know what this one 7yo boy reacted with these questions? He answered these questions with a tone of ANGER. He STERNLY looked at the defendant much of the time. He was not afraid, he was ANGRY. Obviously, his parents had harnessed this anger and made him immune to the defense tactics of asking for details and trying to catch any discrepancies.

So what's my point to this? If a 7yo boy can be taught that he doesn't have anything to fear anymore, certainly your teenage son can too! Also, remember that if you lose your case, you simply get to go on with life as best you can, if your accused perp loses however, he has EVERYTHING to lose! Remember that. He's fighting for his life here, not you. YOU have the advantage, NOT HIM.

Anger CAN be a useful tool, as I just described. Maybe you can use that too.


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#226394 - 05/24/08 05:44 PM Re: Jury Trial advice? [Re: Hauser]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Mom:
In the early stages, everyone pleads not guilty. The prosecutor's office/DA will often make a plea offer for something more leinent if the person pleads guilty and spares the expenses (financial and emotional) of going to trial.

The DA may have a strong case (good witness who has a consistent and clear presentation of what happened) and hold the option of taking it to trail for considerable jail time. The defendant may opt for a lesser charge as part of a plea bargain but that must be acceptable to the victim and the judge.

As others have said, lots of support and not pressing him to talk about it unless he wants to is the best way to go.


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#226395 - 05/24/08 05:46 PM Re: Jury Trial advice? [Re: Hauser]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hi momofteenager,

I'm sorry you're all in this position now, I know it must be really painful. You stated that your son has a therapist, and it's good that he can talk to someone in detail about what he's feeling. It really is the only way past the emotional damage that has been done to him. I wish him and your family all the best in this.



Edited by EGL (05/24/08 05:49 PM)
_________________________
Eddie

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#226408 - 05/24/08 07:09 PM Re: Jury Trial advice? [Re: EGL]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Mom,

I have a book suggestion for you that I hope you will take up: Cynthia Mather's How Long Does It Hurt? There are numerous good books out there, but this one is unique in that it speaks to teens at their level and addresses their concerns as they see them. You will be especially interested in a chapter that's written for friends and family of an abused kid.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#226700 - 05/25/08 11:43 PM Re: Jury Trial advice? [Re: roadrunner]
KeithR Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 363
Loc: Georgia
All I can say is make sure your son knows that he is the most important thing in the world to you. This can't be at all about a perp. It sounds like it's not your intent to make it about the perp, but your son needs to "feel" that, not just understand it. I know you have to keep other children out of the hands of the perp, but it's a shame he has to be dealt with at all.

This site does have a teen forum, and many teens come here. The teens I've met are wonderful, strong inspirational people. Knowing you are not alone it a powerful thing. It's a good place for him to talk about his feelings. He may want to post, or write poetry, or chat, or he may just want to see what some others are saying.

Keith


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#226979 - 05/26/08 10:26 PM Re: Jury Trial advice? [Re: momofteenager]
momofteenager Offline


Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 2
Thank you for the good advice and support. I can only assume until I hear otherwise that most abusers get away with with their unacceptable behavior and are not held accoutable for their acctions. Unless there is multiple victims or an eye-witness, it appears to be the perfect crime. If the victim is a child it is their word against an adult-not a great scenario. I am lucky to have an articulate teenager who wants to do what is right-even if it will be painful for him. I have often thought what if my son was 7 years old? How does a parent obtain justice, and stop the cycle of abuse for other children?

I will keep you updated on the pending trial.
The Perp is maintaining that my son made it up. He is using their continued contact and communication as evidence that nothing was wrong. Also the defense is going to claim that my son didn't run out and tell everyone the first time it happened. I do not want to call his therapist to the stand because he needs a place to go and feel safe to share his feelings. I was looking to see if anyone had used an expert in the area of abuse during a trial to validate that my son's reaction to the situation was normal. I have seen that children frequently stay in abusive relationships (especially if it is family), and sometimes never tell anyone.

Thanks again for your thoughts.



Edited by momofteenager (05/26/08 10:28 PM)

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#227034 - 05/27/08 08:35 AM Re: Jury Trial advice? [Re: momofteenager]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Mom:
If you pm me with your location (where the trail is being held) I may have some names of experts who can testify on the delay many/most victims have in reporting. Talk to your attorney about bringing in an expert to refute these claims of continued contact and delayed disclosure.
Ken


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