Legal System Child Abuse (All Ages Affected)
WHAT CHANCE DID THESE KIDS HAVE? THEIR FAMILY WAS AGAINST THEM.
THE SOCIAL SERVICE SYSTEM FAILED THEM. THE LEGAL SYSTEM LOCKS THEM UP
How many kids go through the legal system already abused, neglected, mistreated ... thrown aside as if they are rags for the trash? Then the legal system turns around and places them in just as worse situations as what they came from. It's the stories of the victims that illustrate how the legal system has abused children who have already been abused.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. — The majority of Catherine Jones' 29 years have been spent in prison. Before that, they were spent languishing in the hell of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member.
Catherine was only 13 when she plotted — with her 12-year-old brother Curtis — to kill their abuser as well as their father and his girlfriend, Nicole Speights, whom they thought were allowing it to continue.
They became the youngest children in the country's history to be charged as adults for first-degree murder.
The siblings started by shooting Speights with their father's handgun, hitting her four times out of nine bullets fired.
They immediately realized their tragic blunder, tried to cover up the crime and ran to a neighbor's house to say it was an accident. They eventually fled to a wooded area where they hid for the night before Brevard County Sheriff's investigators found them near their Port St. John home on the chilly morning of Jan. 7, 1999.
Facing the prospect of life in prison, they plead guilty to second-degree murder and were sentenced to 18 years in prison followed by probation for life.
There was no trial. There was no testimony. There was no opportunity to present the documentation from the agency later renamed the Department of Children and Families that showed welfare investigators found signs on more than one occasion that the siblings were being abused by a family member. That same family member had already been convicted of sexually assaulting his girlfriend's daughter in 1993.
So agency officials never had to explain how they could have so utterly failed a pair of young children. Children who felt so trapped, so alone and so victimized that they thought their only way out was through blood.
The story went untold until 2009 when Catherine agreed to meet with a Florida Today reporter.
The gruesome tale she recounted included her natural mother — who is white — fleeing for life and leaving her children behind after years of domestic abuse. Their father wouldn't let the children go and the mother's family did not want them because they were half-black, Catherine said.
Their father was charged with second-degree murder after shooting two men in a Titusville pool hall in 1989. Catherine was 4 at the time. The charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor when the police decided it was self-defense.
The family member accused of abusing Catherine and her brother once spent six years in an Alabama prison for a strong-arm robbery. Later, he was convicted in Brevard of having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
According to Stacey Lannert, her father started molesting her when she was in third grade. It quickly developed into full-on sexual intercourse, usually when her dad was so drunk that her mom would kick him out of her bedroom. He would often perform oral sex on Stacey, which sometimes brought her to orgasm, adding another queasy layer of shame and confusion. He also became violent toward her when she resisted his advances. Even when her mom found Stacey’s blood-streaked underwear or heard her crying while down in the basement with her father, she did nothing.
When her dad began abusing her younger daughter Christy in 1990, Stacey decided it was finally high time to kill daddy. On July 4, she grabbed a rifle and shot at him while he was asleep, hitting his collarbone. He bolted awake, unaware he’d been shot, and yelled at Stacey to call 911. When he started berating her for taking so long to make the call, she says she thought to herself, “He doesn’t deserve to live” and shot him fatally in the head. In 2009, weighing Christy’s abuse at her father’s hands, Missouri’s governor commuted her life sentence to 20 years. She was released after serving 18 years.
THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF MORE STORIES ... JUST CHANGE THE NAME ...
BUT LEGAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM WILL BE THE SAME.
WEALTHY ARE TREATED DIFFERENTLY THAN THOSE WHO ARE NOT WEALTHY
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