Crime Waves: More to Less Shameless

Today, stories about the sexual abuse of children, presented in very different ways.

At one of the spectrum, we have The Times’ second article in its series on runaways. Reporter Ian Urbina explores in painful detail the circumstances that lead many of the children who run away or are kicked out of their homes to turn to prostitution:

When recruiting, some pimps said they prowled homeless shelters, bus stations and shopping malls or posed in newspaper advertisements as photographers and talent scouts. Others said they worked Internet chat rooms and phone-sex lines.

“I’ll look for a younger female with a backpack,” said Mr. Thurman, describing how he used to drive near schools after hours. “I’m thinking she’s leaving home, she’s leaving for a reason, she had a fight with her parents or she just wants to leave home.”…

Runaways are especially attractive recruits because most are already engaging in survival sex for a place to stay, said Evelyn Diaz, who is serving a nine-year sentence in a federal prison in Connecticut for three counts of sex trafficking of minors.

“Some become very loyal to you since you take them under your wing,” she wrote.

Experts estimate that a third of runaways trade sex for food, shelter, or drugs, an arrangement that often evolves into more formalized prostitution. But by the time they’re busted for solicitation, they tend to be defensive  and resistant to intervention–so some authorities are finding that the best way to protect them is through programs that target high-risk “repeat runaways.”

The Post has an article headlined “Coach-Kid Sex Charge,” about a lawsuit filed yesterday over accusations that the football coach at Brooklyn’s Poly Prep molested students for decades. The suit, brought by five named plaintiffs and two John Does, claims that the school knew about the abuse, “but condoned and facilitated [Philip] Foglietta’s criminal behavior because he was a highly successful football coach and instrumental in raising substantial revenue for the school.” Lots of Gossip Girl prep-salaciousness, between the money-grubbing headmasters and descriptions of the school as ” elite” and “prestigious.”

The Daily News goes with “Girl Gang-Raped for Two Hours at Homecoming Dance–While a Dozen People Watched and Did Nothing.” It’s a classic Kitty Genovese situation, a story that conveys horror at onlookers’ selfish inaction while at the same time transforming its readers into gawking bystanders. The story does not take place in New York City–it is an AP story from Richmond, California. It is currently the most popular article on the Daily News site.

Crime Waves: More to Less Shameless