People got real upset about the dog abuse case. As well they should. To hear about the horrific fate Bugenig's dogs suffered in Trinity County was bad enough. But to learn that people in Humbodt County had come forward and tried to get Paul Gallegos to stop the abuse long before it moved to Trinity County was truly shocking. He said there was nothing he could do. "In the interests of Justice."
But no one got upset about the revelations regarding CAST. No response to an equally horrific decline in child abuse prosecutions.
Why? Did you think it was just election rhetoric?
Why didn't the Times Standard follow up on that story, which was backed up by statistics. Backed up by professionals, people who worked for and with CAST. People like Gillian Wadsworth, Melissa Arnold and Allison Jackson. People who did have the courage to speak out.
Didn't the voters deserve to hear about it? People want to be informed.
CAST is a multidisciplinary team, it requires the DA's office working closely with law enforcement, being in on an investigation from the beginning, to insure that proper evidence is gathered, and that it is gathered properly and professionally, that interviews are properly conducted. When that working relationship breaks down, the system doesn't work.
Why don't the people care about the kids?
One thing that never made the paper was that during the campaign, the Dikeman campaign was approached by kids who were begging to star in ads. They wanted to say that they were ready, willing and able to testify against their abusers, and Paul Gallegos told them he "couldn't do anything." They wanted to ask him "WHY?"
Obviously they couldn't be used in the ads. That is a boundary which can't be crossed. The repercussions they did not anticipate were far too serious, the ways in which it wouild affect them, at school, and with friends and family far too longreaching. It was out of the question.
But re-electing Gallegos sent a very clear message to those kids. They had to go back to their abuser with no hope that the people who should help them would do so.
It's a tragedy.
And reading James Faulk's Bully Pulpit in which he reveals his disdain for any claims made during the election season, I suspect he just thought it was too unimportant for him to pick up the phone and interview any of the people who had the courage to speak out. To get copies of the statistics, to actually understand what they meant, to consider the possibility that there was something seriously wrong. Or maybe it just wasn't "funny" enough.
Now, as Gallegos removes Maggie Flemming from child abuse prosecution, the only seasoned prosecutor left with experience prosecuting child abusers and working with CAST, the one everyone agrees is one of the finest prosecutors in the office, and turning it over to a man who has only taken one case to trial in the year he has been here (and that one resulted in a hung jury), to a man who has plea bargained away a rape case where the guys tied a woman to a tree for days - it's simply unfathomable.
This time, I blame James Faulk and the editors at the Times Standard. You had a responsibility to at least look into the report. It wasn't campaign rhetoric. It isn't now. The election is over. The problem still exists, and it is getting worse.
I want you to imagine what is being done to the kids - the child abuse victims - tonight.