Saturday, September 15, 2012

Is sexual abuse an excuse for murder?

NY Times  The scheduled execution of a convicted murderer has prompted pleas for clemency from thousands of people who argue that he should be spared because he had been sexually abused by his victim. 

The inmate, Terrance Williams, 46, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Oct. 3 for killing a man after what his supporters say was years of being abused by the victim, as well as by a teacher and an older boy who first raped him when he was 6.

Mr. Williams was 18 in June 1984 when he beat to death Amos Norwood, 56. [...]

Mr. Williams’s history as a victim of abuse was unknown to the jurors who sentenced him to death in 1986, according to affidavits signed by five of them who said they would have voted instead for life in prison without parole if they had known all the facts.


  1. Came across an interesting article re: pedophilia as a sexual orientation and what society should do about people with sexual orientations that cannot be changed but also cannot be acted upon.

    Two thoughts:
    1) I thought the writer was too optimistic about how effectively public policy and behavioral therapy can neutralize the danger pedophiles present to a community.

    2) I wonder how much the writer was aware of the similarity of his thinking with what has been written in many traditional Jewish blogs and publications regarding homosexuality.

    1. A commenter on the original article asks a great question; "can we say that the Catholic Priests who were abusing children had low IQ's?"
      I think this article omits an important consideration one must consider when discussing this subject.
      Like the Catholic Priests, lehavdil, an Orthodox Jewish man who wants to have sex outside halacha, will simply find it way more convenient to use children, and thus find a way to keep his deeds out a secret. We must consider that this is a very important factor when talking about perpetrators who live in a community where sex outside the marriage is just out of the question.
      A proof to this is why is it that the majority of molestation happens within the family? The answer is quite simple, the perp just feels freer, and safer that he won’t get exposed if he uses his family.


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