February 15th, 2008

Many victims of sexual abuse feel they are raped twice. Once by the perpetrator, then by the justice system. It appears to be no different for Lake County victims of sexual assault.

Like the military, victims complain of a "hurry up and wait mentality". The police do their jobs efficiently in collaring the criminals: then the victims and their families are left in legal limbo, in a system that tolerates drawn-out continuances and eventual plea bargains, hoping the abuses will just slip away, becoming another statistic in the grindhouse of justice.

And sometimes they do just slip away, resigned to becoming a victim once again: hoping professional counselors and time heals the wounds no one can see.

In one case, the father of a 14-year old Antioch victim hired an attorney to represent his daughters and his interests. “They want you to go away but we weren't going to go away."

That in itself is a sorry observation. Perhaps it is an exception to the 250 felony child sex offender cases which wound their way through Lake County in 2006. But from interviews compiled by Lake County News-Sun staff writers, it seems to be far from it.

Not everyone gets justice we understand. Most victims and criminals are players in a fair trial, a fair court hearing. But we think the youngest victims deserve more than fairness.

They do deserve justice. Taking the innocence of a child is a heinous crime. It is a crime not forgotten by the victim. It lives with them for the rest of their days. One girl sexually assaulted at age 11 compared her experience to loosing an arm. The other arm becomes stronger and tries to overcome the loss.

Lawyer and author Scott Turow observed that "the law for all of its failings has a noble goal – to make that little bit of life that people can control more just." Victims are asking for their lives to be more just. That’s the least they deserve.

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A girl who is raped must keep living.

"I was fortunate to have a parent who took action and who persisted through the turmoil. A lot of people go through it and their parents don't know how to handle it and don't have the resources they need to deal with it. If you loose one arm, you make the other twice as strong and go from there. I try to strengthen my emotions, get them in balance. If I'm bothered, I talk to my mom."

-- Jasmine

"How Does a Child Forget?" - read more

Mother of Victim Phones Radio Show

Listen as Marie, whose daughter is the victim of a child predator phones in with her experience, hosted by Fred Flannigan. : air date - 9/02/2008

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Jasmine speaks about her experience and quite eloquently shares her unique insight.
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     Court Transcript- 2/18/2003

     Lake County Board - Recidivism
     & The Strategic Plan

     Cordero Flowers Record

     Danielle Muellemann Record

     "It's Like a Murder" - News-Sun, 2/15/2008

A Crusade for Justice

Denise Rotheimer is an advocate for justice and the protection of children. After her 11 year old daughter was sexually assaulted and she was denied her rights and dignity in court, Rotheimer has fought tirelessly to change a system that favors the defendent at the cost of children and families.

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