Edward Ericson Jr.'s cover story "Keeping Secrets" (Feature, March 14) is quite excellent, and reads like a crime novel in which the dregs of society are exposed for their amorality and indecency. But here our crime scene is in Fells Point, and the perpetrator accused of sexual abuse of two young girls.
If Douglas Lester Sexton is absolved of possible criminal responsibility, by dint of mental incompetence, it seems that these women, now grown, have been once again "assaulted" by a flawed legal system.
If we agree that physical crimes often leave physical damage in their victims—a gun shot, a knife slash—then why is it so hard for us to see the damages left by sexual abuse? I have known men and women, victims of incest, of rape, of clergy abuse, who now, as survivors, often carry similar wounds: They are deeply depressed, or suicidal; they live with eating disorders, or drug abuse. These wounds are profound and real.
Why are these very wounds not introduced into court as evidence in the crimes of sexual violation?
The accused may say he is incompetent. But the survivors have a life's worth of pain and damage, the scars of which are, sadly, all too permanent.