Remember me? Some call me “The Bull”, but here in the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog, I am just plain ol’Attorney Sam. I want to thank my associate, Ian Keefe and the good folks at Altman & Altman, LLP, for helping me in this blog when I am unable to post. But after an unfortunate absence, I am back to give you my “take”.
As many of you know, I hang my personal hat in the North Shore…a place where criminal catastrophes occur as often as…the rest of the Bay State. Why, just this weekend, at least one dead body was discovered at Revere Beach. Today, however, I turn to a recent story from Gloucester.
Douglas Campbell, 46 years of age and, today, the “Defendant”, is not a free man today.
Earlier this year, the Defendant served time in connection with a convictions of larceny and check fraud. Now, based on allegations stemming back for more than several years, he is back in custody.
According to the Boston Herald, the Defendant has been indicted on charges that he had sexually assaulted a child. The aggravated rape and other charges claim that the complainant, now 19 years of age, was so assaulted back when she was 11 and 12 years of age.
According to the Commonwealth, the girl’s contacted police May 22, prompting an investigation. Police say the girl told them the Defendant sexually abused her several times.
The Defendant is said to have actually allowed an interview by the police. He denied the allegations.
It would appear that the authorities did not believe him.
The Defendant now resides at the Middleton jail, awaiting his court date later this week.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Other Concerns In Child Sexual Assault Cases
Sudden complaints of crimes from years prior present a number of issues that have no REAL answer.
First of all, children are often easy victims and, particularly in sexual crimes, often blame themselves for the criminal activity. Further, they are often afraid to come forward with the disclosure out of fear or the misguided protectiveness of their assailant.
These issues are well-known to most of us and politicians, activists and prosecutors make it their business to make sure the rest of us understand it.
However, those once-sided concerns are not the entire picture. They underscore the summation of “Why would a child lie about such a thing?” The obvious response they expect us all to have is that, of course, a child would NEVER lie or be mistaken about such a thing.
But, truth be told, you and I both know that this is not true.
Children do sometimes misinterpret or outright lie. The younger the child, the better the chance that the child does not even understand the gravity of the mistake or lie. Further, in cases such as this, we are not even talking about a child making the report…we are talking about a teenager.
Do teenagers ever lie? Do they ever act irrationally?
“I get it, Sam. So, all kids who complain that they were raped or assaulted should not be believed, right?”
No. Of course not. As I mentioned, children are often easy victims for the wicked among us. They must be protected and their reports of being victimized must be taken seriously.
But not necessarily as Gospel.
You see, there is another part of this problem which you may not think about until it is YOU or someone you care about on the other end of the finger of accusation.
Let’s say the accused is innocent. How does one disprove the allegation?
Lab results? Nope. Too late. There wouldn’t be any anyway.
Alibi? Can you remember, much less prove, where you were on June 19, 2010? Can you get others whom you might have been with to remember?
Actually, that last one is a trick question. The law does not require the complainant in these cases to specify a date or a time in the allegations. Just indicating “various dates” over a few months or years is considered enough.
“Yes, but Sam, the accused is not REQUIRED to prove his or her innocence in this great legal system of ours! It is the PROSECUTION who must prove the defendant guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. The defendant can just sit there, shrug and say ‘Prove it’ ”.
Yes, that is theoretically true. We tell jurors that every day.
Do you really think it works that way…especially in these types of cases?
Don’t get me wrong. These is no simple solution here. Like most criminal allegations, sometimes the defendant “did it” and sometimes he/she didn’t.
As mentioned, there are many folks who will proclaim with great indignation of the great trauma and difficulty a complainant faces.
I kinda thought it would be nice if you understood the other side of the problem.
I mean, before it is you on the hot seat.
And when it is you… make sure you find experienced legal counsel who understands this and knows how to fight for you!