In Jackson, Michigan, a mother is being held without bond on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison. Her alleged crime? She assisted her husband in sexually molesting their three-year-old daughter, and has apparently admitted it. She said she had to hold her daughter’s hands so “it wouldn’t hurt that much,” according to a Department of Human Services petition seeking to terminate her parental rights. If you dare, you can read the whole, terrible story, at least what we know of it now, here.
I know that she will have a defense attorney, as she should, and probably battered woman advocates, abused women specialists, psychiatrists and Gloria Allred will plead for understanding and compassion for her, as a victim, not a criminal. They will explain that the mother was in fear for her own life, and that her mind and priorities were so warped from years of psychological abuse that she felt she had no choice but to choose the sick compulsion of her husband over the safety of her helpless daughter.
I don’t care.
I don’t care if she was abused as a child, or an alcoholic, or from a dysfunctional family; I don’t care if she has an IQ of 75 or a rare submission gene; I don’t care how sorry she is or horrible she felt while she was letting her husband rape their three-year-old daughter. There are some crimes so evil that strict liability should apply, and the prominent societal attitude that the punishment for every wrong should be mitigated by understanding the conditions that “made him/her do it” begins promoting tolerance for the intolerable. That is the point that is reached when we apply that attitude to a crime like this.
Just as I believe there is some point,( we can argue about its exact placement), where a person forfeits the privilege of living in civilized society, and where society must exact the ultimate penalty in order to assert its continued belief in the value of human life, I believe that there are crimes so repugnant to the most basic human values that no defense, no explanation, no special circumstances should mitigate society’s revulsion at the acts themselves, and, consequently, the punishment exacted for them. This was the position taken by the court at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials, even as the tribunal recognized all the forces, some nearly irresistible, that turned those who facilitated, perpetrated and ordered genocide into monsters. I believe the abdication of a mother’s duty to the child she brought into the world, the betrayal of the sacred obligations to protect and love her, and the willingness to actively abet the most heinous of violent crimes against that child demand equivalent treatment.
Go ahead—tell me why I’m wrong.
42 thoughts on “No Excuses For The Worst Mother In The World”
There are hundreds of horrific cases like these every year where the parent abuses or kills the child they are responsible for. Even worse, this abuse continues even when the State’s Department of Children and Families are alerted.
The Miami Herald found that 20 Florida children with child protection histories who have DIED since April 11, 2013.
Who deserves the worse punishment, the parents, or the incompetent government workers who are charged with saving the lives of children who are known to have been abused?
If you can ask that question, you’re already confused.
Well my point is that after the fact punishment doesn’t help the child..These type of abuse cases occur every day and it is DCF who is relied upon to stop the abuse and protect the child. When they fail to follow through it is a travesty.
I get it. But no punishment helps the victim after the fact. I agree that the failure of the agencies is a big problem, but it’s a complex one, and it is a distinct issue. One neither mitigates nor add to the other.
The question then becomes, how much will you tolerate over zealous prosecution leading to removal of children from families that don’t warrant removal in order to ensure that no children are still under ‘care’ of abusive parents?
That is the trade-off you see. Err on the side of breaking up families that don’t warrant it or err on the side of some kids being in abusive families. You can be sure the government will never get it just right.
To bolster your point with an example: http://jonathanturley.org/2013/08/05/texas-takes-away-daughter-from-couple-for-marijuana-use-two-year-old-girl-put-into-abusive-foster-home-then-dies-after-injuries-sustained-in-second-abusive-foster-home/
There has to be a balancing act of when people should and shouldn’t be taken away and the amount of evidence involved.
Is that a problem with taking a child away from a family or a problem with not properly vetting foster families? Or both?
Both. There’s a trade off in how much time can be spent vetting foster families, too.
I think the original comment by Jj was asking who deserved more punishment – the abusers or the people charged with monitoring these abusers’ children. And of course – the parents who abuse their child deserve the most punishment. The child protection service did not abuse these children. Gross neglect in fulfilling their job’s duty is another question.
Just plain uggh. (the here link got lost)
Thanks. Now how did THAT happen? (Fixed)
Any horrible thing humans are capble of doing will be done somewhere. I read of a Jukes-Kallikak father in the mountains who was highly indignant when arrested for incest with adolescent daughter. His rights were being violated. Local paper had redacted version of his protest: “It’s gittin’ pretty bad in this country when a man cain’t raise his own f___ing.”
You’re not wrong.
Defiantly not wrong, there is no greater responsibility then to protect a child. To aide, even under duress in your own child’s harm is the gravest of sins. The father was sick and the mother does not deserve any consideration other then how to keep her forever from the child.
She should be tried and, if convicted, burned at the fucking stake.
I would settle for “burned at an oil-soaked stake.”
Leave off the oil. The burning will take longer if you do.
Really, Beth? I’ll take your word for it. Pyro expert, eh?
I think the oil would both increase the burn rate and cause more smoke. She would likely die of smoke inhalation before she succumbed to the flames. Just a theory…..
The oil would cause the fire to burn longer (oil gets consumed first, THEN the wood), and the fire would likely be a little hotter, but I’m a traditionalist – pile of wood and tinder under her, and a big pole of wood to tie her too.
There you go! Sounds good.
What about rotisserie style?
I would have no problem hanging her myself. Or electrocuting her. Or giving her the 21 gun salute. Or any other form of execution.
Gah, it’s cases like this that test my objection to the death penalty. This particular woman? I’d be glad to see her used to test a bag of hammers (Let alone the vermin she is married to). BUT, and this is the key for me, I absolutely positively do not trust the government to get it right every time. Not every capital case is as clear cut as this one looks, and if the state gets it wrong just once then they have commited murder. Commited it in our name, using authority derived from us.
Because I don’t trust the state to be 100% correct every time when deciding to execute, I don’t trust them to do it at all. Put her in a cell, let her epitaph be the clang of a closing iron door until she rots away. But don’t use the power of the state to cross an irrevocable line by killing in my name.
Oh, don’t worry, she won’t rot away. Even murderers, gangbangers, and skinheads have standards.
Shiv -> Neck.
You know, they are going to kick the crap out of her in jail.
That’s a start.
Nothing in the story indicates that she was held hostage, or compelled in any way.
I can imagine cases in which I don’t think a person in this situation should be punished – for instance, if a gun was held to her child’s head and she was told “hold down the child or I shoot it,” or if she was herself beaten and held hostage along with the child. There are, I believe, some real-life cases of mutual hostages being forced by their captor to hurt each other, and I don’t think that should be punishable.
But nothing in this news story indicates that anything even remotely like that occurred here. This seems like a straightforward case of two partners in child abuse who should be punished harshly.
Yes, a distinction worth making, Barry. Thanks.
This is very hard for me. I give monthly to the ASPCA because I am appalled by the abuse of total innocents (animals/pets). In this case, where do I go? Whom do I support to stop this depraved behavior toward children?
I really don’t think you can lay all this on the various departments of child services… How many thousands of child abuse cases are never reported to authorities? A 3-year-old can’t pick up the phone and call 911 (or most wouldn’t, would be afraid to, or even understand — at that age — that what was going on was not “normal.”). If this family was not already under surveillance by some child services agency, can the agencies be blamed for what happened? If the parents were “in the system,” can child services move into the home and or check every day on the hundreds of cases each social worker has on his/her plate, Can/should they still have to take responsibility?
We know from various celebrity autobiographies that all kinds of abuse are heaped on small children and no one knows about it until they are old enough to tell the stories themselves. (Read, for example, about wealthy children who were regularly abused, or child stars whose parents took all their money, or the number of kids left alone, starving, and filthy while parents do drugs.)
So, the question is: as a mother, am I willing to have someone check in on my family two or three times a year to “evaluate” the care and treatment my son is receiving? Is that an invasion of my privacy? Regardless of the fact that there would never been enough child advocates to do this job, would I succumb to it if I thought it might save some other abused child?
I will say this: when my husband and I adopted a child from overseas (will not name country), we were investigated by the local child services agency, the police, the FBI and Interpol (!) before we were given leave to make this adoption. Since then (many years ago) NO ONE has checked on the status/life/happiness/health of our child. Frankly, I expected this to happen, at least for our child’s first few years. There have been a few stories of adopted children being abused, but only because the behavior was observed by others, open and frankly admitted by the parents, or something.
Some other countries have it right, I think. One clear-cut case of abuse means the child is taken from the parents. Yes, the child may be put in an orphanage, but so was our son, and the love and care we saw there was astounding and beautiful. Unfortunately, in the US we have done away with such institutions, deciding that the foster care system is better. That’s bullshit, and we all know it. The number of abuse cases that come from foster care homes (where the “parents” take in kids just for the monthly stipend they get for each) is as sickening as this one story.
This story should make us all stop and think. For a long time, I have sardonically espoused the idea that pets shouldn’t be licensed, but that their owners should be (before the fact). This seems trivial at this point, but it’s real enough. We can’t stop sadists, morons, idiots, or any other American from reproducing; and similarly, we can’t (and shouldn’t) monitor children’s environments, family situations, care, etc.
So? What do we do? Wait until the child is in school (ha ha) and see if any of those brilliant counselors pick up on the problem? Not an answer.
This is truly a moral, ethical, behavioral, societal dilemma. And right this minute, I have no idea how it should be addressed. There will always be sociopaths in any society, I know that. But is there something in our own culture that fosters this kind of behavior?
PS Along with all the other posts above, I agree that the mother should NOT be sentenced to death, but to life in prison. There are too many options for women (at least these days) to get help in any abusive situation. She has to take responsibility — either for her inaction or her own sadism.
PPS Does anyone remember the priest who was sentenced to life in prison for 25 years of documented sexual abuse of little boys? He was murdered by other inmates within the first year. Is THAT justice? Perhaps not, but it’s certainly karma.
No, agencies can’t be blamed for what happened. The people doing the wrong are who can be blamed for what happened.
No, we don’t need the government checking in on everyone because of the wrongs of some.
Abhorrent. Truly. And saddening.
I see your point Jack, and with cases like this it is very natural to want to dismiss any deterministic factors that may have set up the conditions for a woman like this to do what she did.
Having an understanding as to why a person commits a wrong act doesn’t mean society has to let him or her off the hook; clearly there are good reasons to protect others from those who would harm.
That said, the balance between deterrence and revenge is delicate. Sadly, no amount of punishment will undo what this despicable woman did. The punishment therefore can only have two primary purposes: preventing future wrongdoing by the perpetrator and affecting deterrence for other would-be offenders. A tertiary purpose is to provide some sense of justice for the victim’s loved ones and for society as a whole. This might be the bit most people are initially interested in when hearing about a case like this. Unfortunately people will have different opinions as to what constitutes justice, so that third purpose is also the most subjective.
I am left to wonder, what if it was found that the woman had a very large tumour in her brain that had eaten away key areas that deal with judgement, morality, etc? Would be be as quick to punish her to the same extent we would if she had a normal brain?
Seriously: Wonderfully thoughtful comments. Despite my earlier savage comment (which I might say was partly tongue-in-cheek, but that would be misleading and therefore unethical), this thread and its comments, particularly yours, have caused me to re-think my position on the death penalty like never before.
I said re-think, not change.
I’ll play devil’s advocate. Battered Woman Syndrome is a real thing. Abused individuals routinely have trouble breaking away from their abusers and routinely return to their abusers (or other abusers). It’s directly counter to logic. They aren’t masochists. They hate it, they just don’t understand how to get away. When someone is brainwashed by abuse, how much responsibility is it fair to lay on them? Commitment to a mental institution seems more appropriate to me than other legal punishments.
I can’t think of anything that would induce me to hold down my 3-year-old daughter so someone could attempt to rape her repeatedly.
There is no possible excuse for this kind of extreme evil behavior. People who spend time trying to find an excuse for it are bordering on evil themselves. Some things are not excusable ever.
I reallly think this is horrible. I do not understand why people want to hurt children. Children are a gift from God. This is just another confirmation of the depravity of this world. People live, speak and do whatever makes them feel good no matter what the cost is to another human being. When child protecting agencies get involved and are aware that these types of things are going on and do completly nothing then they too should be held liable. There job is to proctect.
What type of mother will allow this to happen to her child? Maybe this woman needs a psyc evaluation or maybe she just didn’t care enough about her child or children. There are some women who choose a man over their children which to me is also shows some type of sickness.
We really need to focus on helping the children now. They will need lots of love, care and support!
What is even scarier is how common such outrages as this seem to have become. Crimes against children are now taking place in any domicile or public facility. They are a common theme in the culture and are enacted by actual children for the “benefit” of audiences. They are virtually decriminalized in courts around the country for the benefit of politically connected groups such as teachers, perverts and illegal aliens. They are encouraged by the incompetence and/or overworked staffs of CPSs in all states. Child pornography is at an all time high and growing, despite all measures. And, to our great societal shame, we’ve allowed the status of our children to slip from “our beloved future” to “occasionally useful tools of our agenda”. All this strikes at the very basis of what it means to be a nation with a healthy culture.
Teachers, perverts, and illegal aliens are ‘politically connected’? News to me.
Is it, now?!
I hate to say this, but I’m not sure it matters what led her to this. She’s a mad dog, and considering what she’s going to face when word of her crimes gets around the cell block, putting her down may be the most merciful option.