Attorney General Says Child Sex Abuse Victims Would Almost Be Better Off "Killed"

State's top law enforcement made comment on audio at fall meeting


At a speech in front of a group of young conservatives, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said that Wisconsin’s Internet Crimes Against Children program is his number one priority while in office. But then the state’s top law enforcement official made a more controversial statement.

“No more heinous crime can be committed against [children] than sexual abuse.I’m a firm believer that if you kill them, they’re almost better off,” he said, in a comment captured on audio by a student journalist. 

“And, as bad as that sounds, the reality is that these kids, when they’re sexually abused, statistics show that it will hamper them most of the time for the rest of their lives,” said Van Hollen in an interview at a Conservative Young Professionals Social Hour held at Palms Bistro and Bar on Tuesday, Oct. 27.


Better Off?


“[Sexual abuse] is an absolutely abominable thing that happens to any child.It’s a tragedy when anything happens to children that victimizes them,” said Amy Ginal, a clinic manager of the Children’s Hospital Child Protection Center.

Asked if children would be “better off killed,” Ginal said, “Absolutely not.”She declined further comment.

In protecting children through the ICAC program, the attorney general predicts that they can prevent future crimes.

“Most criminals who are incarcerated will tell you that they were sexually abused as children.And that is what turned them to drugs and alcohol, which turned them to criminality,” said Van Hollen.

“They will be sexual abusers, statistically.They will be criminals, statistically.They will be drains on the welfare system or other aspects of society.They will be detractors from society versus additions,” he says.He does admit, however, that there are many exceptions.

“I agree that sexual abuse against a child is an absolutely heinous crime.I can’t agree that it is so terrible and so impossible to recover from, that a child would be better off dead,” said Katherine D. Spitz, a Milwaukee attorney who attended the event.“I certainly don’t think killing the child is the solution to ending the cycle,” she said.


The Program


Under the attorney general’s direction, the Department of Justice has expanded the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force by 60 percent ( ICAC Task Forces are funded by a grant from the United States Office Of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  

ICAC Task Forces serve as sources of prevention, education and investigative expertise.They give assistance to parents, teachers, law enforcement and other professionals working on child victimization issues.

The Wisconsin DOJ leads the task force and is composed of DOJ special agents and detectives from local police and sheriff’s departments.

Using technology, the task force can track down child pornographers.“We received a list that over a 10-month period, there were 20,000… 22,000 plus unique internet protocol addresses in Wisconsin alone that downloaded known child pornography,” said Van Hollen.“People who intentionally, deliberately possess child pornography.  We’ve got their IP address.”

The task force then has to get a subpoena for the owner of that IP address, get a search warrant for their computers, and have an analyst draw information off the hard drive.

Number One Priority


Van Hollen said many thought that getting rid of the DNA backlog was his number one priority.“Well, it was my number one chronological priority, but not overall priority.It was the thing that we could effect most immediately.”

He said in an interview that it is a sin to spend money on other things in the government when they are not being given the resources to hire the people to go after child pornographers.

“So a big part of what I’m trying to do is not only fight for those resources and ramp up the education, investigation, and prosecution of these cases, which we have by huge numbers… but to try to make sure I raise the profile of this issue so that the public is so outraged that the legislature and governor can’t say no to the resources necessary to fight this problem,” said Van Hollen.

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