The first meeting is always the hardest. The criminal justice system is often only known to the average citizen through television dramas such as “Law & Order”. In the days or even hours following victimization, victims of crime realize that TV’s version of “the system” can be dramatically inaccurate. Solutions aren’t immediately available and problems can’t always be solved in an hour.
In those early hours or days after a crime, I’ve met with those left in the wake of violence and trauma. I’ve held their hands, heard their sobs, and I’ve seen their tears. I’ve explained the long and arduous legal process to countless victims of crime at metal tables in police stations, in dated courthouse conference rooms, and in hospital waiting rooms. I’ve led complex investigations and argued the evidence in court with victims looking on hopefully from courtroom benches. They all share a common hope. The common tether linking all victims of all crimes is a single word and goal sought in those early moments after life has changed forever until the end of their journey ... justice.
Few crimes forever alter the world of a human being like the crime of child abuse. Neglect, sexual exploitation, and physical violence in the formative years of the human experience leave an indelible mark on survivors. Child abuse is recognized as a severely underreported crime, yet studies show that at least 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys in the United States are sexually abused. Statistics related to physical abuse and neglect are difficult to calculate but estimated at much higher rates. The impact of the crime slams into its victim with violent force, expands to the victim’s family, and sends shock waves into the community. This is a public welfare crisis.
The cost of child abuse is incalculable. Survivors deal with feelings of loss, betrayal, shame, and cognizable psychological conditions such as PTSD and anxiety. This cost isn’t simply carried by the victim alone but often becomes a cost to the community in lost productivity and social services to address collateral issues such as addiction, disability, and medical care. There is no political lobby for children, and so, survivors of child abuse often face these hurdles alone with little support. Our most innocent citizens, our most helpless community members, our children and our future are being targeted by criminals and the corrupt. We must fight back.
I’ve fought this fight in courtrooms across Pennsylvania. I began this fight as county prosecutor and continue to fight it as a state’s attorney. Lancaster County is my home. A vibrant, beautiful community of over 500,000 citizens. As a prosecutor, father of two boys, husband, Christian, and Lancaster County resident I am done reacting to crime. It is time crime, and in particular child abuse, is forced onto defense. Recent state supreme
court rulings have taken us in the wrong direction - terminating sex offender registration for some offenders and exterminating mandatory minimum sentences - including sentences for pedophiles who harm infants.
This site was created as a hub - central nexus which will allow me to take my knowledge gathered in over a decade of crime-fighting to the larger community. Beyond those tear stained conference tables and police stations into an active philanthropic role in an educational, preventative and substantive effort to confront the epidemic of child abuse in a whole new way.
On this site you can gain information about events and fundraisers in the community in which I’m fighting this fight with like-minded individuals. Battles in which WE are fighting this fight ...together.
History will judge us for how we reacted when our children cried out for rescue. The future will ask “did they do enough?” Our response will require determination, perseverance and engagement. But together we can answer history’s call. And our children and grandchildren will thank us for it.
Daniel J. Dye