Posted in Criminal Law on August 16, 2017
For many crime victims, reporting a crime can be just as painful as the crime itself. Law enforcement agencies have long recognized this problem and worked to address it by use of anonymous tip phone lines and Silent Witness programs. The Baltimore Police Department has taken this approach one step further with the use of online reporting technologies.
According to the Washington Post, the Netflix series “The Keepers” has raised concerns about sexual abuse in one particular Baltimore high school. The series follows the cold case of the murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik, a teacher at Archbishop Keough High School, whose body was discovered in January 1970. Investigations focused on the school’s chaplain, Reverend A. Joseph Maskell, who had been accused of sexual abuse by various teenagers and women at the school. There was insufficient evidence to connect Maskell to the crime, and he was never charged with the murder. Maskell died officially innocent in 2001.
In response to the series, the Baltimore Police Department established an online reporting system for crime victims involved with Archbishop Keough High School. Many had not previously reported their offenses. The Department believes that creating a streamlined, quiet process will help victims tell their story simply without reliving the crime unnecessarily. It will also give victims guidance on where to go to report the offenses against them.
This Baltimore program is part of a larger trend nationwide. Many cities now have online reporting for minor crimes. These include Tucson, Arizona; Monterey, California; Newport News, Virginia; and many others. A streamlined process and convenient technology make it easier to report crimes. These programs are suitable for witnesses who may be hesitant to walk into a police station or make a phone call. Unfortunately, such online reporting programs also make it easier to falsely accuse innocent people of crime. Anyone accused of a crime should make sure their rights are protected by retaining an experienced lawyer immediately.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, you need the skilled legal advice of a Maryland criminal defense lawyer immediately. Attorney Randolph Rice, Jr. has years of experience working to protect the legal rights of criminal defendants in the Baltimore area and throughout the state of Maryland. Call 410-288-2900 to schedule your free consultation today. If you would prefer to contact us online, please send us an email through our online contact form.