According to crime statistics from the Department of Justice, 67 percent of sexual assault victims in 2008 were juveniles and an astonishing 93 percent of these victims knew their attackers. This is not news to veteran prosecutor Robin Sax. When she worked as a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County specializing in sex crimes against children, she personally reviewed at least five new cases every day. In this county alone, there are some sixty prosecutors, all of whom deal with a similar caseload.
What really happens when law enforcement decides to prosecute a child sexual assault case? In this revealing, informative, and disturbing book, Sax shows readers how the real criminal justice system works, in terms you rarely hear about on the news. She candidly assesses what’s right about the system and what needs to be changed. Her hope is that, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of our current judicial system, we’ll all be in a better position to protect our children. Dividing the work into two parts, she begins with "Behind the One-Way Mirror," which deals with the investigation portion of child sexual assault. She defines exactly what constitutes sexual assault and then presents the ingredients of what makes a case "fileable." She also explains why some cases never get filed. In the second part, "Behind the Counsel Table," Sax sheds light on the whole court process. She discusses a range of issues, including mandatory sentencing, plea bargains, unsupportive parents, using children’s testimony to prosecute the perpetrator, DNA evidence, the importance of corroboration, and the weaknesses of the jury system.
This gritty, in-depth discussion from an insider on the front lines of law enforcement’s campaign against child sexual assault makes an important contribution toward protecting society’s most vulnerable citizens from a crime that is reaching near-epidemic proportions.