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Q: What Happens When We Treat Crime as a Medical Problem?

A:  Children suffer and lives get ruined.

That is the only fair conclusion from this AP story.  It's about a father and scouting official who, after he was caught molesting a scout, was kicked out of the troop but not reported to the cops, on the theory that the problem was a manifestation of "mental illness," not a crime.

Not having to worry about the criminal justice system, but deprived of his inventory of scouts, what did he do?

He started in on his own children, a daughter 12 and a boy 7.  Both suffered from this for years, and both of course left home as soon as they could.  But the damage was done. The daughter attempted suicide at 23, and the son, previously a happy, promising student, got in constant fights and became a desperate alcoholic.  He now lives in a village in Africa.

I am not one to jump on the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church for the abuse scandals in each.  That is largely old news.  The lesson we need to learn for contemporary purposes is this:  When someone starts the lecture that we should turn away from the "punitive approach" of prosecution and jail and instead apply the "humane approach" of therapy and counseling  --  someone like a defense lawyer, for example  --  remember this story, and remember that victims, not criminals, are first in line for humane treatment.  And, if a point be made of it, for justice.

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