October 12, 2007

International outrage over abuses of U.S. boys

If you walked in partway through my presentation you might have assumed I was talking about human rights violations in a Third World country."
- Gregory Kutz, GAO investigator
speaking at Wednesday's Congressional committee hearing

Two days ago, I posted about a scathing governmental report and Congressional inquiry into widespread abuses at juvenile boot camps. In the wake of Wednesday's Congressional committee hearing, the topic is generating outrage around the world.

"Torture, starvation and death: how American boot camps abuse boys," screams a headline in today's Times of London.

The article, available online, presents unsettling details of abuses and deaths of youths around the country. Online comments from countries as far-ranging as Australia and China lament the failure of the world's superpower to protect its children from state-sanctioned abuse.

The publicity coincides with the Florida manslaughter trial of seven juvenile boot camp guards and a nurse over the death of a 14-year-old boy last year. Physical abuse of Martin Lee Anderson was caught on videotape. Jurors in that trial are set to begin deliberating today.

UPDATE: Just hours after I posted this, the jury reached its verdict. The all-white jury took just 90 minutes to find all of the defendants not guilty. "You kill a dog, you go to jail. You kill a little black boy and nothing happens," the lawyer for Anderson's mother told reporters outside the courtroom. CNN has the latest (along with links and blog commentaries, including the post you are reading here at "In the News").

Photo: Martin Lee Anderson, 14, who died at a boot camp on Jan. 6, 2006. A disturbing, 8-minute video clip of the boy's abuse is available online. Court TV also has a photo gallery on the case.

CNN linked to this post.