This week, we took note of these three stories. See if you respond to them like we did.
First, this one: following Mr. Epstein’s death, prosecutors said they would “continue to investigate his associates,” including Ghislaine Maxwell, “once a fixture on New York’s social scene,” who reportedly “also had participated in some of the abuse and lied about her conduct.” Authorities have “identified more than 15 bank accounts linked to her, whose total balance at times exceeded $20 million” and are trying to keep her locked up until trial.
Then this one: “In a $150 million settlement, the New York Department of Financial Services said Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender, had engaged in suspicious transactions for years” and Deutsche Bank “inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions. . . “
And this one: “Within a 48 hour period this week, many of the world’s internet giants took steps that would have been unthinkable for them even months earlier. Reddit, which spent most of its life as a lawless free-for-all banned thousands of forums for hate speech. Twitch suspended President Trump’s official account for ‘hateful conduct.’ YouTube purged a handful of notorious racists. Facebook took down a network of violent anti-government insurrectionists who had set up shop on its platform.”
We’re encouraged by these developments These stories may seem unconnected. But look closely and you’ll see that the common denominator: powerful individuals and institutions that let and helped others do harm are being held accountable.
We at Horowitz Law have noticed this positive trend for a while now. Over the course of the many years we’ve been helping crime victims, we’ve seen a greater push to pursue those who enable crimes, not just those who commit crimes.
Another way to put it: As a society we are gradually paying more attention to not just those who directly hurt others, but also those who help that harm happen, by action or inaction. And that’s just plain smart.
Sometimes the actual criminals can’t be deterred. No threat of punishment will really scare them from stealing or whatever. They may be desperate or addicted or mentally unstable.
But enablers are usually more rational and more powerful. They’re the supervisors and co-workers and colleagues of these criminals who either suspect or see wrongdoing but stay silent or hide it. They’re more concerned with their own comfort than with others’ safety. Their priority is protecting their positions, not protecting the public.
And they deserve to be prosecuted too.
We’re reminded of that exquisite Langston Hughes poem about exploitation called “In Explanation of Our Times.” In it, Hughes observes, that “there’s trouble in these our times” because “the folks with no titles in front of their names all over the world are raring up and talking back to the folks called Mister.”
He goes on:
You say you thought everybody was called Mister?
No, son, not everybody.
In Dixie, often they won’t call Negroes Mister.
In China before what happened they had no intention of calling coolies Mister.
Dixie to Singapore, Cape Town to Hong Kong the Misters won’t call lots of other folks Mister.
The “folks with no titles,” he explains, are largely “black, brown and yellow people,” those “bent down working earning riches for the whole world. . .”
And it’s clear he admires them for again, “raring up and talking back to those called Mister.”
In our experience, many crime victims also have no titles. They’re sometimes “Jane Doe” or “the alleged victim” or, worse, “Case # 334-561.” They may be high school drop outs, drug addicts or unemployed. They may struggle with eating disorders or anorexia or mental illness.
But none of that means they’re not entitled to justice.
And, slowly but surely, victims are increasingly ‘raring up and talking back’ to those who could and should stop crimes. They’re prodding local police and calling congresspeople and lobbying lawmakers and insisting on being treated fairly and taken seriously.
Like Hughes, we at Horowitz Law admire them! And we stand ready to help them!