Via The Oregonian:
The two boys tore down the hall of Patton Middle School after lunch, swatting the bottoms of girls as they ran — what some kids later said was a common form of greeting.
But bottom-slapping is against policy in McMinnville Public Schools. So a teacher’s aide sent the gawky seventh-graders to the office, where the vice principal and a police officer stationed at the school soon interrogated them.
After hours of interviews with students the day of the February incident, the officer read the boys their Miranda rights and hauled them off in handcuffs to juvenile jail, where they spent the next five days.
Now, Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, face the prospect of 10 years in juvenile detention and a lifetime on the sex offender registry in a case that poses a fundamental question: When is horseplay a crime?
Bradley Berry, the McMinnville district attorney, said his office “aggressively” pursues sex crimes that involve children. “These cases are devastating to children,” he said. “They are life-altering cases.”
Oh, this is devastating to the children alright, and will likely leave life-long scars. And the person who is most responsible for heaping this devastating, life-altering abuse on these two boys is Bradley Berry himself. At least Mike Nifong went after grown men.
Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison are quite simply victims of child abuse. We don’t say that to engage in hyperbole; they are being abused. The fact the abusers are agents of the government only makes it worse. When the state, which exists to protect the rights of its citizens, is the abuser, there’s essentially nowhere else to turn. Bradley Berry’s fate should be at least as bad as Mike Nifong’s.
In a just society, Mr. Berry, along with the principal who allowed the cops to interrogate the boys, the cops who did the interrogating, the cops who put the boys in jail for five days, and any judge that lets the case proceed would be fired, disbarred, forced to resign, etc. Some will argue they were just following the law. Well, injustice doesn’t become justice simply because it’s legislated. Slavery and segregation were legal at one time, that didn’t make it right. For starters, we certainly would not allow our kids to return to that school if they attended there.
If you’d like to contribute some money, even a few dollars, to help these boys’ families with their legal costs, the information is here.