Friday, April 06, 2007


Two really full on news stories I've read in the past week...One which I was incredibly disturbed by, the other which I just felt extreme sadness over...Both just affected me and I'm still musing over both...Thinking they would lend themselves well to some sort of theatre...But maybe that just sounds too callow...Read it and I'm sure you'll be thinking about both of these stories for a time after...

Story One
Five fifth-graders in the US state of Louisiana have been arrested today after an investigation into allegations that students had sex in an unsupervised classroom, with other classmates present.
"After 44 years of doing this work, nothing shocks me anymore," Union Parish Sheriff Bob Buckley said. "But this comes pretty close."
The alleged incident took place March 27, at the Spearsville school in rural north Louisiana.
Four students - two 11-year-old girls, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy - were arrested on charges of obscenity, a felony. An 11-year-old boy who was the alleged lookout was charged with being an accessory after the fact, Buckley said.
The class was inadvertently left unattended while the teacher attended a meeting, Buckley said.
"It's not clear how long they were left alone but speculation is that it was about 15 minutes," Buckley said. "When no teacher showed up, the four began to have sex in the classroom with the other elementary students in the classroom with them."
The students, who were not identified because of their age, were released to their parents after their arrests because the parish has no juvenile holding facility, Buckley said.
"I'm sure they're like everybody else up here, shocked that children that age would be indulging in sex acts, especially with witnesses," Buckley said.
"Children now are subjected to sex in music and movies these days. They are certainly are a lot more knowledgeable now."
Buckley said it was unclear what a juvenile would face in penalties. For adults, conviction on obscenity in the presence of someone under 17 carries a $US10,000 ($A12,260) fine and from two to five years in prison.

Story Two
A mother and father who admitted killing their blind and intellectually disabled son "out of love" were released today on good behaviour bonds after a judge said they needed help not punishment.
Margaret and Raymond Sutton were sentenced in the NSW Supreme Court for the manslaughter of their son, Matthew, on April 2001.
"Nothing that the court can do by way of sentence can add to their suffering," Justice Graham Barr said, handing down the five-year good behaviour bonds.
The judge found that the parents had suffered from "an abnormality of mind" and that there was an overwhelming need for them to be treated, not further punished with a custodial sentence.
Matthew was killed the day before he was to face an operation to overcome a chronic ear infection that would have left him deaf for three months and taken away his only link to the outside world.
It would have permanently reduced his hearing to 10 per cent, at best.
According to a police statement, the couple said "they decided that they could not subject [him] to any further pain, and knew in their own minds that the operation [he] was to undergo would take away his quality of life".
During their trial, the couple's lawyer, Tony Bellanto, QC, told the court they should not be jailed for the act "born out of love", but should be treated with compassion and mercy.
From the age of five, Matthew lived in institutions but regularly went home on weekends.
The court was told that, at 18, he moved to a group home in Katoomba, run by the Department of Community Services, where he was frequently physically and verbally abused by staff and other residents.
His behaviour changed and he became violent and hard to manage. Furniture and fittings had to be screwed down to prevent him from throwing them. The Suttons' family and friends no longer visited when he was at the couple's Leonay home.
Mrs Sutton, 60, who battled to improve conditions in the group home, had two nervous breakdowns and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her 63-year-old husband turned to alcohol.
The couple filled their son's "last weeks of hearing" before the impending operation with everything he enjoyed: a visit to the beach, a trip on a Harley-Davidson and rides on the escalator at a shopping centre.
The day before the operation the couple discussed their son's prospects and made their plan.
Mrs Sutton told police afterwards she gave her son some tablets to sedate him, so that "a further act could take place to end his life". She said she did not know what it was, and was not with him when he died.
Mr Sutton told police he later went to his son's bedroom and "released" him from this world. He did not want to tell police what he did but agreed the act he performed caused his son's death.
An inquest heard Matthew's body contained traces of tranquillisers, and suffocation could not be ruled out, but no cause of death could be determined.


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