The Baltimore Sun reported on the issue of providing rape kit exams to student survivors on college campuses. Currently, sexual assault survivors in Maryland must go to designated hospitals to obtain an exam, formally called “sexual assault forensic exams” or “SAFEs”. The General Assembly passed a law last session establishing a Planning Committee to increase access to sexual assault forensic exams after hearing testimony about the burdens the current system places on victims. The question whether schools should offer the exams is the subject of a national debate that is dividing school administrators, nurse examiners and advocates — with victims falling on both sides.
The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault appreciates the courage and commitment of survivors Jediah Tanguay, Benjamin Tanguay, and Roger Robbins.
Yesterday’s article in the Baltimore Sun explains how their actions helped convict the man who molested them:
Three men who were sexually abused by a church youth-ministry leader years ago experienced a measure of justice Wednesday as they confronted their abuser in court, read emotion-charged statements about how his crimes have damaged their lives, and heard a judge sentence him to 16 years in prison.
Jediah Tanguay, 33; Benjamin Tanguay, 31; and Roger Robbins, 30, were minors in the 1990s when Raymond Fernandez, then a longtime youth leader at Greater Grace World Outreach Church in East Baltimore, has admitted he molested them.
Fernandez, 50, of Nottingham in Baltimore County, pleaded guilty in May to three counts of child sexual abuse, one in relation to each victim. The Baltimore County state’s attorney dropped six counts in exchange for his plea.
His conviction came after Jediah Tanguay engaged Fernandez in a telephone conversation last year, an exchange in which Fernandez admitted the sexual abuse as a Baltimore County police detective listened in, tape recorder running.
Washington’s WTOP 103.5 reports that over 800 sex offenders will be removed from the Maryland sex offender registry.
A Court of Appeals ruling declares that retroactively requiring sex offenders to register violates Maryland’s constitution; therefore, the process of removing names of offenders convicted before 1995 has begun.
Some victims’ rights groups are very concerned about the ruling. However, others believe it was always an imperfect system.
For the full story, click here.
MCASA was in the news story:
"Most sex offenses are not reported, most sex offenders are not convicted, and so most sex offenders are not on the registry," says Lisae C. Jordan, Esq., executive director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
"We always worry that the registry created a false sense of security," she says.
Communities can protect themselves from sexual predators through prevention, education and awareness, Jordan says.
"Things that will make people more aware of how sex offenders operate," she continues. "The things we can do to help stop them, and the things that will send a message to potential sex offenders that we are going to stop them … arrest them and convict them."
"Unfortunately, you need to be suspect when someone is trying to get you to allow them to be alone with your child, or take care of your child and do things that might be helpful to you," Jordan says. "But you really need to make sure that the motives there are not ones that will be harmful to your kid."
While strongly promoting prevention, Jordan says she’s concerned the Court of Appeals ruling will make the sex offender registry less useful.
"We’re going to have less information and there are some very scary sex offenders who we used to know about and were able to easily find that we’re no longer going to be able to keep track of," Jordan says.