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The Huntress vs. The Headline: “Massachusetts Paraplegic Charged After Attempting Citizen’s Arrest On Alleged Molester”

April 6, 2011

Today is hump day and with it brings a whole new selection of choice headlines from around Australia. AdelaideNow has presented us with two quality headlines today – “Angry Anglers Hold The Line” and “Lining Up For The Battle Of The Bikinis. PerthNow is keeping up with “Kochie v Kylie In Bitter Parenting Rift”.

Scary stuff.

I picked today’s headline knowing the story might hold something interesting as one does not normally hear of a paraplegic making a citizens arrest, let alone being charged for doing so. It was rather intriguing and I was certainly rewarded for my curiosity. As it turns out US man Frank Herbert acted when his 3 year old granddaughter began ‘asking for protection’ from her stepfather. Herbert’s girlfriend took the girl to the police, while Herbert went to confront and arrest the man himself. Risky in any situation, but Herbert evidently thought about this and prepared himself. By arming himself with a baseball bat.

Is it just me who could forsee that it would only end in tears?

When Herbert went to confront his granddaughter’s step-father, Joshua Hardy, he ordered Hardy to sit and wait until police arrived. When Hardy stood and laughed at Herbert, Herbert hit Hardy with the baseball bat. Unsurprisingly, Herbert has now been charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Hardy has since been charged with indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, enticing a child and disseminating obscene material. Another victim has since come forward and further charges have been laid.

I have two very particular feelings about this article. First of all, why did Herbert not leave it up to police to arrest Hardy and why was it really necessary to equip himself with a baseball bat? He must have anticipated some kind of violence or resistance, which takes it back to my first question of why not leave it up to police to arrest Hardy. I hear the police a rather good at the arresting business. However, Herbert feels he has done the right thing and would make no changes to how he conducted himself.

The one thing I do commend Herbert for is believing his granddaughter with her concerns and taking it to the police (in some respect). All Australian states have some degree of mandatory reporting of child abuse, however studies have shown that a large percentage of Australian adults would not act in any manner at all when a child confides in them that they are being abused. Reasons for this usually centre around not wanting to destroy a family’s reputation, thinking the child is over-exagerating or lying or the belief that it is none of their business. This is a culture in Australia that needs to be changed. All allegations of child abuse MUST be taken seriously AT ALL TIMES. It is very rare for a child to lie about being abused and is it not better to report what the child has confided and trust matters be handled professionally, rather than break the child’s confidence in reporting to adults and possibly condemn them to further abuse?

I, personally, am bound by the mandatory reporting laws of my state to report any case of suspected child abuse I come across. To me this is a no-brainer. It is a difficult path to tread, but if you’re ever unsure here is some information on mandatory reporting of child abuse across Australia and here is some general information with international contacts on what child abuse is, how to recognise it and what you can do to make a difference if you’re ever in that difficult situation. It’s not an easy path for anyone, but remember you could change a child’s life, for the better, forever.

If you’ve made it this far through today’s post (I know, it’s been a heavy topic, but one that needs to be discussed more openly, more often) here is something to lighten things up a bit. German schoolgirl, Regina Mayer, has taken up the novel sport of cow jumping after being refused a horse by her parents (that’s not child abuse by the way). I find her approach to be very refreshing and not to mention, very charming.

How can you not love a jumping cow?

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One Comment
  1. Chris permalink

    I would suggest that the reasons Mr. Herbert took such ctions himself could be along the lines of having been dissatisfied with police action in the past, and an overwhelming desire to thump a child abuser.

    I can relate.

    But, just so you know, when I was being interviewed for a position as a foster carer/emergency carer position the topics of mandatory reporting came up. Mostly in a way relating to trust and losing it…
    I think my mum (a primary school teacher) also has a set down way dealing with these things.

    So, importantly, these things are taken seriously, by people who should.

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