Category Archives: Justice

Child Labor in the United States

File:Pig carcasses in a Los Angeles meat packing plant.jpg

Workers with pig carcasses at Los Angeles meat packing plant (1945), Source https://digital.library.ucla.edu/catalog/ark:/21198/zz0002qn8w, Author Los Angeles Daily News (CC-BY-4.0 International)

The term “child labor” conjures up images of 19th Century sweat shops.  If meat packing plants are mentioned, some of us may recall Upton Sinclair’s 1905 expose The Jungle [1].

Few of us would imagine that child labor practices are still engaged in today.  Unfortunately, that is the case.

Cleaning Slaughterhouses

The Labor Dept. in December settled a civil suit against Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI) for the violation of child labor laws [2].

Investigators had found some 50 children (one as young as 13 y.o.) employed by PSSI cleaning slaughterhouses at 5 different locations in Nebraska and Michigan.  An earlier investigation in Kansas was dropped when necessary records could not be obtained.

“Oppressive Child Labor” Standards

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits “oppressive child labor” [3].  Labor Dept. regulations identify many positions in slaughterhouses and meat packing plants as hazardous for minors.

In particular, the “kill floors” in meat packing facilities are known to have slippery surfaces from animal fat, hot water, and soap [4A].  Though safety equipment is required for their use, strong cleaning chemicals can cause caustic burns from exposure.

No Penalties or Fines

Despite all this, the Labor Dept. issued no penalties or fines to PSSI [4B]. Continue reading

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Cover Up

New Bill Goes After Institutions That Cover Up Child Sexual Abuse, Giving Survivors Chance For Justice - Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Image courtesy of CBS News.

The following is excerpted from a post by Gabrielle Guthrie.  Gabrielle discusses the cover up of child sexual abuse by religious and other institutions, most particularly the Church of England [1].

The full post can be found at her blog See, there’s this thing called biologyhttps://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2022/11/06/he-fell-where/.

Colorado is among the states that have passed legislation extending the Statute of Limitations on sexual abuse, while targeting those individuals and institutions who knew (or should have known) about the abuse but did not stop it [2][3].

“…it’s the cover up that is so evil, it’s circling the wagons and protecting the power structure, that really rankles.  That’s what lurks behind those deep rooted feelings of powerlessness and injustice.  Sometimes that is even more emotionally painful then the initial assault.

Sexual abuse is evidence that you have no human value, no worth in someone’s eyes.  Those who look at the crime with apathy or complacency, and ignore it, validate that lie and amplify it.  It’s still a lie, but lies are a lot harder to dig out when they are deeply rooted due to other people’s complicity.” Continue reading

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Trafficking, Abuse, and the Disabled

File:COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Een gehandicapte bedelaar langs de kant van de straat TMnr 20000047.jpg

Disabled child begging in the street, Source Tropenmuseum part of the National Museum of World Cultures, Author H.W. (Henk) van Rinsum (Photographer), (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

There are nearly 240 million children with mental or physical disabilities worldwide [1].

Across the globe, the majority of these children have meager access to clean water and sanitation; adequate nutrition; and necessary healthcare, including immunization.

  • 53% are likely to suffer from acute respiratory infections, the leading cause of death in children under five [2].
  • 42% are likely to be “wasted” which is to say emaciated, with muscle mass far below normal.
  • 34% are likely to be stunted in growth.

Disabled children are often denied education.

  • 49% are likely never to have attended school.
  • 42% are likely to lack basic reading and arithmetic skills.

Children with disabilities are at higher risk of abuse (including sexual abuse) and neglect [3][4].  In the United States, that risk is 300% higher than for children without disabilities [5]. Continue reading

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Fierce

Amazon.com: Canvas Art Print Poster- angry grizzly bear 16x24 inches unframed: Posters & Prints

Angry Mama Bear (Image courtesy of Big_Grin Brand Posters)

“How and why are we being looked at as bigots because we want our children to learn how to read and write and do math so that they can function in society and make a living for themselves, and that we be the bastions of their emotional and social welfare and well-being?  We’re their parents.  That’s our job.  It’s not the school’s job, and it’s not no politician’s job neither [1A].”

-Gabrielle Clark

Gabrielle Clark is determined to safeguard her son and daughter against what she views as the woke indoctrination of young children with critical race theory (CRT) and gender ideology [1B].

Legal Challenge to Critical Race Theory

Clark (who describes herself as an “atheist, bisexual, bi-racial, homeless person”) brought suit in Nevada in what is believed to be the first case in the United States challenging critical race theory [1C][2].  Clark urges parents who agree with her to do likewise, across the country. Continue reading

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The Upper Hand – False Allegations of Abuse in Child Custody Cases

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7c/Dependency_docket_bench_cards_for_juvenile_and_family_court_judges_and_magistrates._-_DPLA_-_e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99.jpg/360px-Dependency_docket_bench_cards_for_juvenile_and_family_court_judges_and_magistrates._-_DPLA_-_e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99.jpg

Dependency Docket Bench Card, Ohio State Supreme Court, Source Digital Public Library of America (https://dp.la/item/e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99) (PD)

You are a divorced mother of three, working part-time to make ends meet.  You have custody of the children your husband expressed no interest in, even before the marriage ended.  You receive no alimony and little child support since he, also, managed to hide assets at the time of the divorce. 

Your ex and his new wife now feel custody would be cheaper.  Their ploy for gaining custody is to accuse you of neglect.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But you have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself, and wind up putting the $10,000 retainer on your credit card.

  • Although there are times divorce is the best option, divorced women are more likely than men to receive public assistance, live without health insurance, and have less earning potential [1A].
  • 29% of custodial mothers live in poverty, as compared with 16.7% of custodial fathers [1B].
  • Only 43.5% of custodial parents receive the full amount of child support [1C]. The aggregate amount of child support due in 2015 was $33.7 billion.
  • Children of divorced parents are 1.5 – 2 times more likely to end up living in poverty than children still living with both parents [2].

The lengths to which a good and loving parent may be forced to go, in order to defend against false allegations of abuse are troubling [3A].

A lack of financial resources will exacerbate such a situation.  An attorney is not likely to continue with representation in the absence of payment.  Necessary psychological evaluation of a child in such a case can cost money, as well.

Unfortunately, the better funded (and less scrupulous) parent often has the upper hand.  The falsely accused parent with fewer resources may find herself or himself attempting to prove a negative not only in a custody case, but a simultaneous Dept. of Human Services investigation and criminal action. Continue reading

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Change Is Gonna Come

The performer of this Sam Cooke classic is 10 y.o. Jordan Hollins.

Known as the “King of Soul”, Cooke was born in Mississippi in 1931, and later moved to Chicago [1].  Like Jordan, Sam Cooke began singing as a young boy.  He went on to write hits like “You Send Me”, “Wonderful World”, “Chain Gang”, “Another Saturday Night”, and “Twistin’ the Night Away”.

Cooke’s music contributed to the careers of such greats as James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder.

Sam Cooke is, himself, a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He was, also, important to the civil rights movement.  “Change Is Gonna Come” became an anthem of the movement.

Cooke died at the age of 33 from a gunshot wound.  The circumstances of his death are disputed.  He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and National Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.

To achieve peace, we must fight for justice and work for change.

But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5: 24).

[1]  Wikipedia,”Sam Cooke”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Cooke.

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A 12 y.o. Alabama girl chewed through her restraints to escape captivity by Jose Pascual-Reyes, her mother’s boyfriend.  The 37 y.o. Pascual-Reyes had kept the girl intoxicated after killing and dismembering her mother and brother. 

See, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/girl-chewed-restraints-bold-escape-week-captivity-alabama-rcna41351.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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The Turpin Children – The 9th Circle of Hell

Four years ago, the plaintiffs were among a dozen siblings removed from their home in Perris, about 70 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, where they had been tortured, starved and neglected.

Turpin Family – Image courtesy of NBC News

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Most of us remember the Turpin children because of the extreme abuse they endured.

The 13 children suffered years of torture, starvation, and neglect at the hands of their parents before being rescued in 2018 from the house of horrors in which they were raised. 

Now it appears that rescue was illusory.

Further Abuse

The 6 youngest children have filed suit against Riverside County, CA; ChildNet Youth and Family Services; and the Foster Family Network, alleging they were placed with a foster family who emotionally, physically, and sexually abused them [1A][2]. Continue reading

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“A Mother’s Love” by Kelly Fratamico

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Mary_Cassatt_-_Mother_and_Child_%28The_Goodnight_Hug%29.jpg

“Mother and Child (A Goodnight Hug)” (1880) by Mary Cassatt, Source https://www.wikiart.org/en/mary-cassatt/mother-and-child-1880 (PD)

Readers of my other blog A Lawyer’s Prayers will be familiar with Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia https://www.clcphila.org/, a non-profit whose predecessor I had the opportunity of co-founding.

Through the efforts of volunteer Christian attorneys and paralegals, CLCP provides the poor of Philadelphia with legal services at no charge.

This is one story [1]:

“In 2016 Maria, a native of the Dominican Republic, sent her two young sons, to live with their father in the US.  She could not afford to come with them, so stayed behind…Maria made this sacrifice so her sons could receive a better education and not be influenced by violence in their town.

Maria was finally able to join her sons and their father in the United States…in the summer of 2021.  However, their father became abusive with Maria and tried to keep the boys from her.  With the help of the police and her sister, she was able to retrieve her sons and move into a place of her own.  However, Maria…was scared that he would use the court system to take  her sons from her.” Continue reading

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The Link Between Domestic Abuse and Mass Shootings

File:05 22 21 Downtown Minneapolis Mass Shooting (51196885820).jpgMinneapolis Mass Shooting 5/22/21, Author Chad Davis, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/146321178@N05/51196885820/
(CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

  • 6 were killed and 12 injured in a recent mass shooting in Sacramento [1].  Three shooters were subsequently identified, and found to have domestic violence backgrounds [2A].
  • Last year, a man who murdered 9 coworkers at a railyard had earlier been accused of sexual assault and abusive behavior toward a girlfriend [2B].
  • The man who murdered 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub in 2016 had beaten and strangled his former wife [2C].

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions reports that 7 of 10 mass shootings were committed by batterers [2D].

A study in the Journal of Injury Epidemiology confirms that violence against a partner and violence against a stranger are closely related [3][4].  Between 2014 and 2019, 75 of 110 mass shootings were either domestic abuse related or perpetrated by an individual with a domestic abuse background. Continue reading

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Evil Never Rests

Evil eyes Royalty Free Vector Image - VectorStock

The past two years have been eventful for the world.  First, Covid dominated the news. Now, the tragic war in Ukraine (with 115 children killed, 140 injured, an untold number orphaned, and 1.5 million made refugees) is a major focus [1][2].

The following events have, also, taken place. They demonstrate that evil never rests:

  • Incest — Gucci heiress, Alexandra Zarini, has alleged that her stepfather, Joseph Ruffalo, sexually abused her between the ages of six and twenty-two. Her lawsuit has fractured the family, and confirmed that wealth is no safeguard against child abuse [3].
  • Catholic Church Sex Scandal — Retired Pope Benedict XVI (former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) has asked forgiveness from victims for his mishandling of four Catholic Church sex abuse cases [4]. Ratzinger did not in so many words apologize or accept blame. He continues to deny personal responsibility for the rapes and sodomy perpetuated by his failure to curtail the ministries of pedophile priests when complaints first surfaced [5].

Continue reading

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