Cast Adrift By Judge Cashman
The Anchoress calls him a judge Steven Spielberg could love:
In his “prayer for peace” Steven Spielberg’s film Munich reportedly draws a moral equivalence between Palestinian terrorists and Israel’s response…and he cautions that “fighting back” doesn’t work - it only leads to more violence.The Associated Press claims that this story was “whipped into a frenzy via Internet blogs” — a snarky aside, showing the growing fear the MSM harbors about the ability of distributive information to change outcomes.
Michelle Malkin weighed in on the reason for last week’s fury:
There was outrage Wednesday when a Vermont judge handed out a 60-day jail sentence to a man who raped a little girl many, many times over a four-year span starting when she was seven.Before we analyze what this judge did, it is important to know who he is. According to that same editorialized story by the Associated Press, Judge Cashman is a Catholic conservative and a former Vietnam veteran. He is known as a tough judge and has handed down some harsh sentences.
Prosecutors argued that confessed child-rapist Mark Hulett, 34, of Williston deserved at least eight years behind bars for repeatedly raping a littler girl countless times starting when she was seven.
But Judge Edward Cashman disagreed explaining that he no longer believes that punishment works.
“The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn’t solve anything. It just corrodes your soul,” said Judge Edward Cashman speaking to a packed Burlington courtroom. Most of the on-lookers were related to a young girl who was repeatedly raped by Mark Hulett who was in court to be sentenced.
On the other hand, he also been a volunteer for many years at a halfway house for prisoners who have been released and are attempting to start over.
He has won his state legislature’s confidence over the years and the Governor speaks highly of him.
So why were neither of these aspects of his persona — the tough judge, the fellow who understands the need for community — why were they not in operation in this case of the pedophile who was given sixty days for his four years’ of sexual abuse of a child?
Ignorance. That’s all it was. Judge Cashman has bought into the conventional wisdom that such men are “sick” and need treatment, not jail time. The judge is merely a man of his time, our time, a moment in history when perpetrators of crimes are seen as needing our help and not our censure.
Judge Cashman has probably never worked as a volunteer with the victims of crime, especially the child victims of sexual abuse. Had he done so, he would have put this man away for as long as possible. He would have put him on the same basis as John W. Hinckley, who is still in St. Elizabeth’s despite efforts to have him released. But then Hinckley didn’t rape a little girl over and over again. The permanent damage to a child simply doesn’t tip the scales of Justice when compared to an attempt on President Reagan’s life — even though it is more heinous and probably even less curable than Hinckley’s obsessions, Jody Foster notwithstanding. These two men chose different victims but their criminal obsessions are the same.
The Judge ought least to have read some of the studies which have been done on child victims of sexual assault. It changes the trajectory of a child's life; it is never gotten over; and the damage does not go away with time. What they’re beginning to understand is that trauma to children, but especially sexual trauma, actually changes the brain. The amygdala of such children is smaller than those of children who have not been victimized.
In a very long website article, Bruce Perry, M.D, notes that “states become traits” — i.e., the animal fear and loathing that arises during abuse becomes a permanent way of being in the world:
… Similar altered brainstem catecholamine and neuroendocrine functioning was suggested by a pilot study in sexual abused girls. Following abuse girls exhibited greater total catecholamine synthesis as measured by the sum of the urinary concentration of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine when compared with matched controls… In our laboratory, altered platelet alpha-2 adrenergic receptor number and cardiovascular functioning was demonstrated in children exposed to traumatic violence, suggesting chronic and abnormal activation of the sympathetic nervous system . In our clinic populations, evidence of brain-mediated alterations of cardiovascular functioning have been demonstrated in various ways… In both the acute and chronic post-traumatic period, resting heart rate is different from comparison populations. In other studies, clonidine, an alpha2 adrenergic receptor partial agonist has been demonstrated to be an effective pharmacotherapeutic agent… further suggesting altered LC functioning in children exposed to violence.And what does this translate to in every day life? These girls (and boys) live in a persistent fear state and their cognitive, social and emotional functioning are ruled by fear. Try to imagine life lived in that state, try to understand what it does to your ability to think, to make responsible decisions, or even to maintain yourself in present time.
Severely abused children do not plan for the future. The future has been wiped as a potential space. Thus, they often function well below what would have been their potential. Underneath it all is the shame and humiliation which drive a desire for surcease from the emotional blankness or pain. Suicide rates are higher, but more importantly, such children feel they do not deserve a future so they don’t make plans for one. They simply drift.
That’s what sexual abuse of the order of magnitude this child suffered at the hands of Judge Cashman’s prisoner has left in its wake: she is now a child set adrift on an empty sea.
Will she ever “recover”? No.
Will she ever find a way to live with her suffering? Perhaps. It depends on what kind of help she gets and for how long. It depends on the environment which takes her in. It partly depends on how resilient she was before this happened…
And there, but for the grace of God, go you.
Meanwhile, this piece of human garbage, Mark Hulett, will be given the opportunity to do this again and again, setting more little girls adrift on a sea of pain and self-loathing.
What is wrong with us?