Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) is a non-partisan, volunteer human rights activist group, which supports the universal human rights guaranteed to all of our fellow human beings under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This has also included our repeated and public activism on behalf of the rights of children, including their protection under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989. The United States of America signed this child’s human rights convention on February 16, 1995 (but has not ratified within its Congress). The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a detailed acknowledgment of the Universal Human Rights already agreed to by the United States of America and most world nations under the UDHR on December 10, 1948, and which is codified as a formal treaty under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Convention on the Rights of the Child includes specifics on action necessary for nations regarding neglect and abuse of children, including child sexual abuse (specifically Articles 19 and 34).
The United States of America and its various states also have laws and protection of children, including child sexual abuse, which it is empowered and has the resources to investigate and fully enforce. The world can agree on such issues, because they are part of the fundamental human rights, which we must defend by law. R.E.A.L. has in the past, and will continue in the future, to challenge the actions by individuals in any nation, which does not enforce such human rights and laws protecting our most vulnerable, including our children.
The United States of America laws and resources for protection of children include the state of Alabama. It is deeply troubling that several detailed charges of child sexual abuse has been made in the state of Alabama against a former Alabama jurist. Since November 16, 2017, R.E.A.L. has repeatedly been calling for the Alabama justice system to investigate the charges regarding child sexual abuse, that have been widely addressed in the news media regarding a former Alabama jurist. It is our understanding that this would be the role of the Alabama Law Enforcement State Police and Etowah County Sheriff’s Office in Gadsden, Alabama on this case. R.E.A.L. has also directly written to Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Office of the Secretary of Law Enforcement and to Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin on this subject calling for an investigation into these charges of child sexual abuse. The allegations refer to actions alleged to have happened 30 – 40 years ago. But when it comes to enforcing the law and protecting our children, Americans and their law enforcement must be consistent, and must consistently send a message that there will be equality under the law for all. The primary purpose of law enforcement in democratic, free nations is to enforce laws to protect the shared human rights of its citizenry, especially its most vulnerable citizens such as its children.
In regards to Alabama State Law, Alabama has multiple laws to investigate, to protect children from child sexual abuse, and enforce the law, under Alabama Code Title 26. Infants and Incompetents § 26-14-1, as well as under Alabama Title 13A Criminal Code, Chapter 6 Offenses involving danger to the person, Article 4 Sexual Offenses, including § 13A-6-66Sexual abuse, first degree, § 13A-6-67 Sexual abuse, second degree, § 13A-6-65 Sexual misconduct, § 13A-6-69 Enticing child to enter vehicle, house, etc., for immoral purposes. In accordance with § 26-14-1, Alabama law defines a “child” as “A person under the age of 18 years.”
There is widespread belief that laws do not have to be enforced after a period of time has elapsed. In terms of Alabama State Law, R.E.A.L. would urge a review of Alabama Code Title 15 Criminal Procedure, Chapter 3 Limitations of Prosecution, specifically § 15-3-5 “Offenses having no limitation.” This § 15-3-5 provision of Alabama law states that there are time limitations on prosecution for “(4) Any sex offense involving a victim under 16 years of age, regardless of whether it involves force or serious physical injury or death.” Furthermore, § 15-3-5, also provides amendment to clearly indicate that this aspect of Alabama Code Title 15 Criminal Procedure “shall apply” “(1) To all crimes committed after January 7, 1985; and” “(2) To all crimes committed before January 7, 1985, for which no statute of limitations provided under pre-existing law has run as of January 7, 1985.”
Based on this documented information by the Alabama State Government on its Alabama Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure, it is apparent that in the case of child sexual abuse for a child under the age of 16, there is no statute of limitations, even if that child sexual abuse occurred as early as 1979.
Among the recent allegations made against the former Alabama jurist, one individual has made a detailed allegation of child sexual abuse when she was a 14 year old girl in 1979. Based on § 15-3-5 and § 13A-6, such child sexual abuse claims remain the responsibility of Alabama law enforcement to investigate. Ms. Leigh Corfman has made very specific and detailed allegations of child sexual abuse regarding a former jurist in the media, which have been broadcast across the nation. It is the responsibility of law enforcement to investigate such troubling charges.
R.E.A.L. also notes that former jurist has denied the allegations as a “baseless political attack,” “completely false and a desperate political attack,” “the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation,” and stated that “After over 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now.”
R.E.A.L. calls upon the accuser, Ms. Leigh Corfman, to use the justice system, as it was designed, for legal charges against the accused individual. Such serious charges cannot be a battle in the U.S. political media, but must be part part of the law enforcement system and laws intended to protect our society.
R.E.A.L. calls for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Office of the Secretary of Law Enforcement and Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin to make a public statement to reassure the public that it will take responsibility for such an investigation, under Alabama law.
R.E.A.L. is a non-partisan organization. For that reason, and given that the former Alabama jurist is currently involved in a political campaign, in this public statement, we have refrained from directly using his name, although we have been specific in our private communications with law enforcement.
The political nature of the very high national office involved, however, does have a further bearing on the urgency of the law enforcement investigation by Alabama in this case. Such high national office has influence on both national and international matters involving American citizens including our children and vulnerable individuals. In this unusual situation, it is of the highest priority to quickly and thoroughly conclude an investigation into such potential serious criminal charges in this case.
To U.S. President Donald Trump, R.E.A.L. also advises that while political measures may be necessary to achieve national legislative goals, our primary objective must remain our consistent adherence to the vow that U.S. Government representatives have sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America. R.E.A.L. urges President Trump to call for a full investigation of this matter by the Alabama state law enforcement authorities to get a resolution on this matter, and ensure the public’s confidence in the integrity of those in our highest offices, when it comes to such serious criminal matters of child sexual abuse. R.E.A.L further urges President Trump in regards to public governance ethics to avoid the appearance of being anything less than rigorous in calling for such an investigation. While this may be an Alabama state matter, the resources and commitment to defend national law ultimately comes back to the White House.