Monday, December 31, 2012

Another News Blurb Without Enough Information

I need to call more attention to examples of news reports that do contain enough information to get an idea of what is alleged to have happened in criminal cases. It can be done without compromising the identity of crime victims. When reports or "incest" are vague because law enforcement is not releasing enough information and newsrooms aren't asking enough questions before they publish items, we have no way of knowing if what is alleged to have happened was a matter of assault or consensual sex. Those are two very different things, and yet in many places, the latter is still treated as a criminal matter even though it shouldn't be.

The latest example I have is this blurb from in Wellsville, New York by Liz Reiman...
A 16-year-boy of Wellsville was arrested Saturday around 4:30a.m. Sunday.

The youth was charged with Incest and was committed to the Allegany County Jail on $5,000 bail.

The 16-year-old, whose name has not been released,  is due back in Wellsville Village Court on January 15th at 1p.m.

That's it. A charge of "incest," without hearing a degree attached, doesn't tell us much at all. If this was a matter of assault, why isn't their a charge of assault or rape? If this was a matter of consensual sex between minors close in age (for example, with his 14-year-old niece, nephew, brother, or sister), and was reported by some freaked out family member or neighbor, then it is a far different matter than if you have, say, a 16-year-old assaulting an 8-year-old, but both could call under being "charged with Incest."
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