In Pursuit Of High-Profile Sex Abusers, Is Balance Of Power Shifting?


Publish Date:
July 12, 2019
The Christian Science Monitor
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New charges against Jeffrey Epstein have not yet been proven in court – and it could be years before any final resolution of the child sex trafficking case brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan Monday.

But when the financier and registered sex offender went to jail this week, relief was palpable among a growing chorus of people who say he avoided serious criminal penalties more than a decade ago because of his extreme wealth and social connections.

Just this month, two New Jersey judges were reprimanded for disregarding the severity of sexual assault crimes in order to hand out lighter sentences to defendants of means, says Michele Dauber, a sociologist and law professor at Stanford University.

In 2018, Professor Dauber led a recall effort of Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky, who gave a Stanford swimmer, Brock Turner, a light sentence after he committed a serious sexual assault. A solid majority of county voters agreed to remove him from the bench.

“The outcry in the Epstein case and the New Jersey cases, and other cases across the country, make it clear that when voters are given the opportunity to weigh in on the issue of sexual violence, they strongly want to remove perpetrators and enablers from office,” says Professor Dauber, who this year launched the Enough is Enough Voter Project, a political action committee aiming to unseat public officials who face credible allegations of committing or enabling sexual misconduct. “Women, younger people, people of color, in particular, do not support public officials who make exceptions for privileged sex offenders. It’s not an issue of right or left. It’s an issue of right or wrong.”

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