Thoughts on sexual assault story
The juvenile justice system is built on several fundamental principles, and the key among them is confidentiality. The system generally runs independent of general public awareness and oversight.
This is designed to protect both the victims and the perpetrators and to give youth the ability to learn from their mistakes, to heal away from public awareness, and to move ahead with their lives.
Charges and their resolution in the juvenile system are not reported in the San Juan Record, even though the newspaper has reported every felony charge in the adult justice system for the past 20 years.
This newspaper supports the confidentiality that is a cornerstone of the juvenile system. We will continue to protect the names and confidentiality of the accused and the victims.
Frankly, reporting on matters in the juvenile justice system is very difficult. As in every criminal case, the defendants and the alleged victims are likely to have a skewed view of the issue. And they can choose to speak freely and ignore the confidentiality that is a hallmark of the system.
Those who are tasked by their profession to investigate, prosecute, defend, and adjudicate the cases are bound to confidentiality.
The incident discussed in our article beginning on page A1 is unrelated to any current case in the juvenile or adult system. The crimes in this incident are resolved and justice has been served.
We are not publishing the names of anyone involved, and frankly, we superficially cover the actual crime itself. It is resolved and adjudicated and we hope the parties have moved on.
We choose to publish the story because it is highly representative of the issues faced by many victims in the justice system.
We also choose to publish the story because the judge – the one person in the entire system who is tasked with knowing and understanding the full story – spoke out during the sentencing phase of the case. The judge’s thoughts – eloquently and forcefully offered in a public setting – are very instructive.