Monday, October 22, 2007


When I set out to develop this website one of my main objectives was to give Elizabeth and her co-defendants back some of their humanity, to present them as people. In our society, when people are convicted of a crime we assign them a label - murderer, thief, arsonist.... That is part of the shaming process, a method by which we show our disdain for those who have broken the social contract and need to be punished for their actions. Once we assign that label it becomes easier to mete out punishment. They are no longer full-fledged members of our society, but transgressors against our laws and therefore we feel justified in depriving them of their liberty, or administering other punishments we deem fitting their crime. It is the role of the government and judiciary to attempt to define and administer a punishment which is equal in severity to the infringement committed by the criminal against our society. Any rational process of thought can only conclude that is impossible. Pain and suffering are subjective and not tangible realities, so how can we measure these things, let alone return them in equal measure? It is a bizarre concept, yet one that is part of the basis of our criminal justice system.

Of all the criminal acts we recognize, and all the labels we assign to those acts, one of the worst is that of pedophile. It is a natural reaction for any society to protect it's children from harm, and those who intentionally harm children, especially those who exploit them sexually, are considered amongst the worst of our criminal offenders. We see them as monsters, and something other than human. In many cases that is an accurate description of the offender. No one with any level of credibility would suggest that we should not remove child sexual abusers from society and punish them severely. This particular crime invokes such a strong visceral response in most people that even those merely accused of the crimes are treated with tremendous disdain. The rule of "innocent until proven guilty" has often been bypassed by some members of the media and community members when someone is merely accused of being a child molester. However, we also now know that the rate of false accusations of sexual assault of a child is extremely high, and jury members often find it difficult to maintain the presumption of innocence during a trial.

A major roadblock in soliciting support for Elizabeth and her co-defendants is the horrible stigma of being accused of sexual assault on a child. Even the Gay community hesitates in providing support. Bernard Baran, a gay man in Massachusetts who served 22 years in prison on a wrongful conviction for child molestation, believes the lack of support arises from years of the media reporting that "gay priests" had been molesting boys. Although these men were not gay at all, but rather pedophiles, the association had been made in the public mind, and the Gay community wishes to maintain it's distance.

Because so few agencies will come to the aid of Elizabeth and her friends, it is difficult to write a website soliciting support that has the credibility that comes from supporting agencies. This, in turn, causes hesitancy on the part of media and others to investigate and publicize the case which would bring the supporting agencies onside. So we are caught in something of a Catch-22 scenario. At this point all we can do is continue to present our case to as many journalists and others who might be interested, and hope that some will be able to see past the stigma associated with the crime and recognize the appalling truth of what has happened to these innocent women, and help them move toward freedom and justice they deserve.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Opening Day

Well it's been over 18 months now of researching and writing to come to this point. I have learned a great deal about the Criminal Justice system both in my own country and in the United States in that time. Like the majority of the population, I believed that the Criminal Justice system worked well, and only the "bad guys" went to prison - if someone was arrested and prosecuted they were probably guilty. The truth is much more complicated and unpleasant than that. The reality is that other factors such as socio-economic status, skin color and even sexual orientation are increasingly becoming the deciding factors on who is, and who is not convicted and incarcerated. It has been an eye-opening journey for me.

There are many problems and social injustices in our complex modern society, and it is far too easy to feel overwhelmed and become apathetic. That is exactly what has happened to many who no longer participate in the democratic process, and have instead turned their focus to other pursuits and distractions, becoming indifferent to the actions of government. There is an inherent danger in political apathy. When we do so we leave ourselves open to the abuse of our social systems by those who have agendas other than the best interests of the people.

We can't tackle all of societies problems, so we have to choose our battles.

This one is mine.

I first "met" Elizabeth Ramirez in March of 2006. I haven't (yet) met her in person, or even talked to her on the phone. Our sole means of communication has been by old-fashioned postal mail. At first I scoffed at her claims of innocence, but after a year of collecting documentation and reviewing all the facts of this case I am convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that she and her friends are completely innocent, and the alleged crimes never occurred.

We live in a world where we seem to be constantly bombarded with hype and empty rhetoric. In a society that is a "mile wide and an inch deep" (I'm working on the metric equivalent) Truth seems to have become an ever-increasingly plastic and negotiable reality, and profits more important than people. Increasingly we no longer live in a society, but rather an economy. Elizabeth and her 3 co-defendants are all staunch and unwavering believers in Truth. They refuse to negotiate or compromise their innocence for any reason, even when admitting to a crime they didn't commit could cut their time in prison by half. It is that commitment to Truth that has been a major factor in my motivation to advocate for them.

Please take the time to review our website and feel free to make any (constructive) criticisms or comments. At the very least I would ask that you think about their situation. If you would like to help out you can contact me at the emails provided on the Contacts page.