Unique ‘pedo’ cases need attention

Last week brought two extremely interesting, if disturbing, cases involving the shortcomings of the court system in dealing with alleged child molesters. While certainly unique, both reveal loopholes and inadequacies that concerned citizens should take note of.

In Maryland, Mahamu Kanneh, a Liberian immigrant, was arrested on charges that he sexually abused a 7-year-old girl over the course of a year. But a judge released him last week because his right to a speedy trial was violated when court officials could not get a reliable translator that spoke his native language of Val, a West African dialect.

However, prosecutors provided evidence that the defendant attended high school and community college in America and spoke English to detectives after he was arrested. Even worse, the efforts of the justice system were questioned when during an investigation, The Washington Post (in one afternoon) found a firm that could have provided an interpreter at short notice.

If the judge’s ruling isn’t overturned, double jeopardy will preclude the charges from being refiled.

Also, 3,000 miles away in Los Angeles, a group of concerned parents have taken up a crusade against a man who calls himself a pedophile.

He had become notorious for posting nonsexual children’s photos on his blog that, according to the New York Times, “intended to promote the acceptance of pedophiles, and to direct other pedophiles to events and places where children tended to gather.”

The twist is that he’s never been arrested or convicted for any crime and according to law enforcement, there’s little that can be done.

While vigilante justice is frowned upon, it is heartening to see parents take matters into their own hands by using, thus far at least, nonviolent means.

Through the Internet and hounding by the news media, parents have been able to track his movements and frequently force him to leave events.

While the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” should never be infringed upon, sometimes common sense and a little initiative can help fill the gaps that are to be expected with an imperfect justice system.