October 29th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should people who witness a crime face jail for failing to report it?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

California police now say as many as 20 people were present at the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside a high school homecoming dance last weekend. 10 people were involved in an assault in a back alley at the school that went on for more than two-and-a-half hours. 10 people stood around and watched without calling 9-1-1 to report it. Police say some witnesses took photos, while others laughed.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/29/art.richmond.jpg caption="Police say a student at Richmond High School was gang raped outside during a homecoming dance."]
California law makes it illegal not to report a crime against a child, but the cutoff is 14-years-old. Since the victim in this case is 15, cops say they can't arrest the spectators. The law needs to be changed immediately.

Meanwhile this horrific rape of a young girl follows that brutal beating death caught on video of a 16-year-old honor student in Chicago.

That case has been hampered by the refusal of witnesses to come forward. These kids in Chicago also stood by and watched this teenager murdered - beaten to death in broad daylight - and did nothing.

Experts say the reason crimes aren't reported could be a social phenomenon known as "the bystander effect" that means the larger the number of people involved in any situation, the less will get done...

One famous case happened in New York in the 1960s - where people watched or heard a serial killer rape, rob and murder a woman named Kitty Genovese. At the time, one witness said: "I didn't want to be involved."

Here’s my question to you: Should people who witness a crime, like the gang rape of a 15-year-old California girl, face jail for failing to report it?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Maureen from Estes Park, Colorado writes:
Failure to act still requires a decision. A decision not to help is a decision to harm. These people should be held accountable. If arrest is not a legal option, then you in the press need to hold them up to shame.

Mike writes:
My gut instinct says "yes", but then you start thinking about situations where a bunch of people are just standing around watching a fistfight. Somebody gets punched in the face, falls down, hits their head, and dies. So what, everybody that was watching is on the hook for not reporting murder? What if the victim doesn't want the crime reported? Should the bystander still be liable if the victim asks them not to report it?

Joe writes:
I am a retired judge. If I had these people in my courtroom, I would charge them with aiding and abetting the crime and deal with them accordingly.

Trish writes:
Absolutely! People who stand by and watch violence should be charged; they are complicit if they do not help. I do not want to be part of a society that is so cruel it would allow an innocent person to be attacked with impunity. If we need to force people to act decently, then we will have to do

Sabatino writes:
"Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ Maybe those witnesses would have been less amused if it was their sister or mother being gang raped. In that case, I'm sure they probably would want the witnesses to be jailed... and so should they.

Keith writes:
It is a difficult question. Basically we're talking about punishment for *not* doing something. But, I think in extreme situations (with crimes like this) there should be a requirement of at least reporting it to the authorities… But it is an extremely grey area. What I would like to see reported in the media are the names and pictures of those who watched and didn't report it.

Filed under: Crime and Punishment
soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. P Jena

    Yes, they should be jailed – how else are we going to teach these young people that watching a crime and not reporting it is an offence? I am telling you, let these people go to jail then you will see how nicely the rest of them come forward to report crimes like bullying, racial slurs in campus etc.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  2. SO RIGHT!

    Yes – Jail time for those who witnessed the crime and did nothing! They are just as responsible because they could have stopped it.

    And I want to praise Kami Baker, the girl who's coming out against that school. Good for her for standing up against WHITE racism, the way we don't protect girls, the way we treat women in society, and the way the laws NEED to change! I watched the video and I'm proud of you, Kami!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  3. Derek

    Absolutely. Each person who stood and watched such a twisted crime is no better than the lowlife scum that participated. It amazes and sickens me to realize that individuals can just watch an innocent person being raped and beaten and do absolutely nothing to stop it. Was their initial reaction not to kick one of these bastards in the head? Sadly, I fear that justice will not be properly served to the cowards who were more interested in taking pictures with their phones than actually using them for their most basic feature...calling. My prayers are with the victim and are family, but I also pray that the perpetrators and the so-called "men" that carelessly observed the crime face the harshest penalties possible. And dare I say they deserve more than that.


    October 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  4. phothone#9

    They should all be arrested and charged as accomplices for not doing anything. The people who watched this happening and not doing anything should be treated just like the suspects that they have in custody.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  5. Jerry Jordan

    I believe some kind of incarceration is necessary to give these young people a wake-up call and make it abundantly clear that such behavior is unacceptable. Some kind of restitution should demonstrate to the public that these people are going through some kind of change of attitude.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  6. Maggy

    I absolutely think people who witness a crime and do not report it should face jail time. I think this should be the case with any crime, but especially a crime of this nature. It seems that the people responsible for the rape of this young girl thought they could commit this crime without anyone stopping them, and I am so shocked that they were right. If it is true that ten people stood by and watched this horrific act happen, I am very scared for the state of humanity.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  7. Nj Mom

    Yes they most certainly should face jail time!!! If a man or woman can get jail time for looking a kiddie porn, then anyone who sits back and allows such a horrific act take place right before their eyes and do nothing MOST definitely belongs in jail too!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  8. Kay

    In my view, anyone knowingly witnessing a crime against another, no matter the age of the victim, and who does nothing to report it immediately, is guilty of abetting the perpetrator(s) and should be prosecuted as an accessory. The only exception would be if the observer was threatened at the time.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  9. Robert Beam

    Writing from Fairbanks AK
    There are crimes, then there are evil and horrorific monsters.
    These By- standers "enabled" the gang-rape to continue. They should be prosecuted under the law as an accomplice to the crime, as opposed to a by-stander that failed to call in. Sadly, this event will forever cause pain to this young lady. As an afterthought- where the hell were the police who were on duty at the dance, further where is the education that no individual, regardless of gender or beliefs are at "fault" for the monsters that commit such horrid crimes- Give these monsters that watched life without parole and death to those that took part in this gang rape.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  10. Tara

    HeII yes they should go to jail. By standing by watching, and doing absolutely nothing, they are just as bad as the rapists themselves.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  11. John

    In theory, yes. Practically no. After all, how to you prove what they saw? Did they know what was actually happening or maybe thought it was something else that was non-criminal? What if the person did not report because reporting put them in danger? Is it your obligation to help someone else if it puts you at risk?

    Again, in theory it seems obvious that the people that saw and did nothing are guilty of something. But practically, all it would do is further overload an already overloaded criminal system trying to find guilt in cases where guilt would be all but impossible to prove.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  12. Stacey Bahr

    I think there is an inherent fear in people to get involved in anything anymore, a fear of suffering some sort of retribution for reporting crimes as brutal and vicious as this. However, I think it is the duty of anyone that witnesses a crime such as this to report it immediately. What if it were you laying there, barely alive, beaten, with a dozen people around you and no one willing to help? I cannot imagine the horror of suffering this kind of attack and feeling so helpless, looking for that one sympathetic face that could offer a glimmer of hope, that even if they may not be able to stop it, they could help you to find justice later.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  13. Ran

    In this case? Definitely. They found the assault of a young girl entertaining enough to laugh or take pictures for future "amusement." They didn't think of the victim as a human being; they didn't think of their own mothers or sisters or female friends and step in to stop things or step away to call 911. In doing these things they demonstrated a complete lack of empathy. There is something criminally wrong with all the people involved in this crime–the bystanders as well as the actual rapists.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  14. Kenneth

    Coming forward is a personal decision. In some cases like if you witness a mob hit, or even police brutality you are taking personal risk. People are sometimes afrade to come forward. The idea you sould be criminally liable for not reporting a crime/or preceived crime is crazy especially when you are not participating with or involved in any way. I guess I have to ask why our society has gotten to a point where this kind of thing happens in the first place. I'm not sure who was comitting the crime but I got the impression they were kids. Parenting has gone down hill for many years. Too many "well intentioned" people trying to tell everyone one else how to be a parent. Parents are afrade to dicipline there kids any more. Also with the loose morals of kids these days there are too many single parents. Even two parent house-holds have a hard time in this economy. With a single parent working to support a kid who is watching the kid? How are they being raised. You are looking to put a band-aid on a much bigger problem.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  15. Brooke

    Unfortunately, Jack, it's a pretty basic tenet of criminal law that you can't arrest someone for inaction.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  16. jay

    Jack you need help if this is truely a question, this shows everything wrong in this country

    October 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  17. Brian

    The School and security at the school should ashamed! Every person that watched this crime should do a minimum of a year in ADULT prison so they can find out how she felt.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  18. Dan

    The people that didn't say anything are terrible people, but I don't think we can start down the road of prosecuting people for not reporting crimes. Its something that is too hard to prove and almost impossible in a lot of cases for a person to know for sure what is happening. We don't know what the "witnesses" really saw or thought was happening.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  19. Pat Lindell

    I think everyone has a moral obligation to help the victim of a crime no matter what their age may be. This doesn't require physical intervention it can be as simple as just calling 911 and reporting it. To stand there and watch it only encourages this kind of horrific behavior. Don't think of these victims as a person of no value, what if this was your own child. This is someone’s child for goodness sake!! They are priceless to family and friends. This whole story makes me sick and enrages me to see what has become of this country. This poor girl’s life is destroyed, she has had something horrifically taken away from her and she could have been saved from this very quickly. But because bystanders just watched this like a movie she we never are the same and the people in her life will never be the same. Not for the good either. In this situation there should be some sort of ramification for just watching this happen. Don’t people have any moral values anymore? If we don’t hold people accountable for there action and inaction things will only continue to get worse.

    Pat Lindell
    Alexandria, MN

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  20. Melissa

    YES. They should be tried as accessories to the crime. Enough is enough. Tolerating this behavior is wrong.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  21. Ronald Holst

    Jack isn't this like asking If we should prosecute people who watch politics close .

    In all seriousness Though Jack I would have to say Yes we should , I realize that a lot of people say there are scared for there own safety as well as those of there family members at times but I have a felling that If people started doing the right thing there would be a lot less of the wrong things going on. .

    San Antonio

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  22. Joseph Manteca, Ca

    Yes people who witness a crime and fail to report it should face some kind of punishment. These people should be held as accomplices, and should be held accountable.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  23. Kristi


    I think we need to employ common sense more often in our judicial system. After all, not all crimes are alike. If it is a violent crime, such as rape or murder, bystanders who do nothing should absolutely be sent to jail. If it is a non-violent crime, such as a petty theft, I think imposing a fine or communtity service on bystanders who fail to report is more appropriate. The bottom line is, until everyone starts taking responsibility for their own actions, our society is going to continue its tailspin into Hell.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  24. shellibelli

    why stop at age 14 or 15 or even 70? if someone witnesses a crime take place then yes by law they should re port it! Im not talking petty theft here either. This is rape and murder!
    all involved should get some sort of punishment

    I cant believe there isnt some sort of failure to report a crime law in place!

    Michelle Louisville Ky

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  25. Shaun

    No, although they should face some kind of repercussion (besides shame) for doing nothing. I'll tell you who "should" see some jail time. The parents of those found guilty! We're not talking about a couple kids caught stealing car stereos here. The parents definately failed their children here & I hold them equally responsible.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  26. heidi

    How are the witnesses to this crime not being considered accomplices or accessories? I thought being an accessory to a crime is also a crime.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  27. Mitch

    I'm not sure that there could be any real legal basis for trying the bystanders.

    Personally, I'd do something MUCH more serious to them: I would publically list their names.

    I can understand people being afraid to step in personally, but it is inhuman that none of them even called the police, or went looking for campus security. These people deserve to be publically ostracized.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  28. Rod

    Sorry a 21 year old. my mistake.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  29. Jennifer

    Absolutely. They are equally as guilty.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  30. Mike

    Why not? Is this what our younger society has come to? Taking pleasure in a classmates vicious suffering? It is time to send a message that this type of behavior is not only animalistic but completely unacceptable in this society.
    Seriously, what is going on in the brain cells of these kids? These kids are all culpable to some extent.
    If this was my child who witnessed this and did nothing I would be so ashamed that I would demand some form of extreme legal repercussions.
    I don't think long jail sentences are the answer (except for those personally involved in the assault) but some jail time is certainly not too extreme.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  31. Brian Kauffman

    I think there is a fine line here that may be difficult to define. On one hand, using this particular gang rape incident as an example, it would be difficult to try and step in and try to help the girl being that there are so many people involved in the assault. On the other hand, one could easily run to a phone (provided you don't already have a cell phone on your person) and call the authorities. I think the problem lies, in this instance, in that the crowd was not a bunch of innocent by-standers walking down the street when all of a sudden this attack started to happen. No this group stood by and viewed the event as one would view a sporting event. In this case, there was no intentention of helping the girl, whether it be by physically coming to her aide, or by phoning the police who could have handled the crowd and rescued the girl. The fact that folks in the group were laughing and taking picture's sickens me. There may be no law on the books that allows charges to come to them, but certainly the school can choose to punish the spectators.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  32. John Marcley

    Absolutely! Everyday you read or hear the stories of spectaters who see assaults occuring and do not have the guts to attempt to help the victims or even the decency to call for assistance. They have this apathy they develop of fear, it's not my problem, or I do not want to get involved. What kind of a society are we cultivating that can be so cold and non-caring.

    John Marcley

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  33. William Boyd

    In some cases, witnesses fear to report crimes for fear of retaliation from the offenders of crimes. Some witnesses may fear for their life if they report a crimeTo me it is cowardice to not report a crime, but the reality is, some offenders do retaliate against those that report crimes

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  34. dave meccariello

    how about charging everyone of them as an accessory after the fact, obstruction of justice, violating the girls civil rights, inciting a riot, felony battery for anyone who so much as laid a finger on her, felony assault for anyone who cheered.

    i would dig through the law books and find something to charge every single one of those kids with. i dont care how old they are. and if you cant find something, expell every one of them, and follow them around for a week or 2 until they do some minor speeding ticket kind of thing and throw the book at them.

    its not that hard for the police to find something to arrest you for ... they do it all the time

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  35. Cris

    ABSOLUTLY!!! No one should ever go through what that girl did, and for the people that stood around and watched shame on them!! How could someone even think about watching that and NOT call the cops. Really Jack, are we getting to be so desensitized as a culture that we don’t want to help people when they are in need like that girl was? Really those that watched it I hope that they can live with their lack of humanity. It’s outrageous in this day and age to now only ALLOW something like that to occur but to stand there and watch!? What the heck is going on with our culture??????

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  36. anne

    Yes, of course. Plus this kid could have died,they left her for dead. It sounds like attempted murder. The rapists should be locked away for LIFE.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  37. Tony

    Good day Jack, Its quite unfortunate that crimes like this happen a lot, some suffer/die from it while some people that could have done something about it just move on. It is the selfish attitude of majority of Americans and the lack of communial relationship that would make as many as 10 people stand and watch a poor 15 years old girl being gang raped. I support the motion of making such people face jail for failing to report.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  38. Marcia M

    YES they should all face jail time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  39. J Mattson

    Send all who participated or stood by and did nothing to Afghanistan. Send them with out any training or weapons. If they can survive for 1 year, they can come home and spend the next 20 years in solitary confinement. We’ll just how tuff they really are when they are the one screaming for there lives.

    West Central IL

    October 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  40. Jamara in Los Angeles, CA

    Jack, this has to be the easiest question you've had thus far. Yes, without a doubt the 10 who stood by and watched should be sent to jail. It's just as if they committed the crime.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  41. Cecil Terry

    Right Crime but Wrong Principle Criminals – On the CNN Home Page, the article before this one quotes a person "who was near the scene of the crime, observing other criminally incompetent (under existing laws) and/or professionally irresponsible behavior. "I looked outside of the gym and I saw 12 to 15 guys, sitting there, with no IDs," Baker said at the hearing. "The officers - not only did they not check the IDs of those students or men sitting outside of of our campus, but the security officers who are employed here did no ... checking either. The assistant principal looked outside and actually saw those men, and did nothing about it." Seems to me, and no doubt, most critical obsevers, that the identifiable officers and the assistant principal should be immediately suspened, and after a "fair hearing," probably be fired, de-licensed for life, and criminally prosecuted, if at all possible.

    As for your "bystander witness question," the answer is "yes, if you have an actual law that addresses this." If there is no such law on the books, impeachment and/or criminal prosescution must be considered for the state's legislature and judiciary. The need for such a law is nonparisan and a clearly foreseeable as a risk of actual danger. Pass the law, then send the perps, bystander witnesses, the identifiable officers, and the assistant principal (and all of their immediate family members ) as permanent ambassdors to Iraq and Affganistan. No need to waste tax payer funds on domestic imprisonment, when these individuals can earn a living in Republics that reflect their values on behavior and human life.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  42. Michael Gallagher

    Absolutely Jack, this 15-year old girl will never recover from TWO HOURS of rape with an audience of peers and adults who failed to report the crime in progress or attempt to stop it.. Under Illinois law these individuals are regarded as an Accessory to the Crime, carrying a minimum sentence of three years in prison. It is inexcusable for those present not to intervene, and the School Board is negligent for having insufficient lighting and little or no security present during a public event.

    Edwardsville, Illinois

    October 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  43. Len

    When an individual's conscience, morals and upbringing doesn't compel them to do what is right then a civilization must enact laws and penalties which provide the required motivation.

    Anything less is a failure of the civilization.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  44. Terrance Pearson

    Jail time will do little to change the behavior of those who watched this horrific crime and did nothing. In my honest opinion, the witnesses rationalize their behavior. They look at what they are doing as nothing more than watching an event that they find curious. In this day and age when we can on demand via the internet and other media satisfy an appetite for depravity, I am convinced they saw this as no different. Was it wrong that they didn’t step in and try to stop it? Their moral compass would not allow them to do that as they saw nothing wrong with it. Now subjecting them to the same acts......that might get their attention.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  45. Neeraja

    Yes, they should be punished with jail time. Only then, people will think twice before being bystanders to a heinous crime next time!! This could mean life or death to some one!! No one is asking them to stop the crime from happening by physically getting involved...all they had to do was make a phone call to 911.

    They could have changed the outcome of this violent crime and they didn't!!!!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  46. Katie

    Yes, anyone witnessing a crime should face a penalty for failing to report it.

    I would suggest any penalties be along the line of those currently issued for witholding evidence, which is, after all, what the witnesses are doing when failing to report.

    However, I doubt if, even if there had be a law concerning failure to report, it would have made any difference to the witnesses of the gang rape. That type of mentality won't change because of laws. Parents are still the best motivators.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  47. Richard McKinney, Texas

    Jack you have to ask yourself this. What sane and rational person would stand by and let this happen? There is no excuse for not reporting this. there is no excuse for not trying to stop it. To simply walk away and let this happen is a failure of what is right, good and decent. You do not have to be brave all you have to do is dial a cell phone. The worst thing about this is not what was done or what others stood by and failed to do. It will be what the court system does and fails to do to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  48. Lindsey

    People who witness crimes but fail to report them should definitely be held accountable for their role in the crime. We should all take care of and look out for each other. It is appalling that people witnessed this crime in CA and the beating in Chicago and didn't report it, but what is even more disturbing is that they took pictures and watched and even cheered the criminals on. Who is teaching these kids that it is ok to treat each other this way? And the "I didn't want to get involved" argument?? What if that was you under that bench, or your daughter? Wouldn't you want someone to "get involved"? Even if it just meant a simple phone call to the police? The witnesses of these crimes at least need to be examined by counselors because something is wrong with them.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  49. Nic - San Francisco

    If anyone is willing to stand around and witness such a thing with no reservation should most definitely at least be evaluated mentally or have to endure classes to combat any and all reasons they were observing and or taking part in such a horrific act. It's extremely bad all the way around. And it stems from our media and entertainment of today. Sad.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  50. Judy L. Morris

    Yes, those who witness a crime of violence against another human being should be held accountable for not reporting it.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  51. Prof Park Slope

    In France – and probably in other civilized countries – there has been forever against such beastly and voyeurish bystanders, just such a law, called "non-assistance à personne en danger" – need I translate?

    So pray tell, which constitutional amendments will be deemed to run afoul of any such legislation?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  52. Zach

    Like most legal action, this would be a subjective call, but I would think jail time would be a fair punishment for a person who was proven to have had the ability to alert authorities and refused to do so. Those who are unable to help for one reason or another – including threats – should not be held accountable for not helping others.

    From what I understand from this situation, there are many people who should be held accountable for their inaction.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  53. John

    The problem here is that if someone is capable of raping a young woman for two hours is also capable of other cruelty. Who knows what would have happened to the person reporting this crime? There is no excuse and I most certainly hope these men are prosecuted to the fullest extent f the law. However, if anyone is to blame (indirectly), it's the school and its security for not ensuring safety at this school event.

    Should police officers and school security face jail time? No more than innocent civilians walking by scared for their lives should.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  54. larrywi

    Wisconsin Rapids, WI

    At least hold them accountable for their sick minded acceptance of being entertained at the expense of someone who is being put thru HELL! To stand there and watch, and do nothing is for sure bad enough, but to not even bother to call for help is simply not acceptable from anyone, and beyond rational thinking. I can say with a clear conscience that had I been there, I would have been looking for a 2×4 just to have for back up in the event I exhausted all my bullets!.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  55. bj wiseman

    I believe people who witness crimes and chose not to report it should be held just as accountable as those who commit the crimes. What has happened with the youth of the nation? To take pictures of a brutal crimes with their cell phones instead of using the cell phone to call for help? You have got to be kidding me. Maybe the girl’s father should have 2 hours with each of them and let people stand around and take pictures…. Now that would be a picture worth a thousand words.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  56. Gary S.

    Our society has lost a great sense of its own humanity. We're all so consumed with our own welfare, appearance, and "keeping up with the Joneses", we barely think of our fellow man/woman as evidenced by these types of incidents. Without a punitive reaction to such a disgusting action like this, society will never learn the lessons of what's right and what's wrong. In addition to jail time, I think these teenagers should also be forced to volunteer time a a rape crisis center or forced to wear a sign saying "I witnessed a rape and did nothing!"

    Maybe then our youth will get the message about humanity and how we need to save it.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  57. Rose

    I would say they should be. what has happened to the ethical values of the society? Watching such a brutal act is as serious a crime as doing it. I nothing is done now, believe me, others will follow. Remember its a human being, a young girl of 15 who is subjected to this beastly act. Had it even been an animal that was being tortured, people shoud stop the doers. Where is our world going to? Morally down?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  58. Chris

    Of COURSE they should face jail time! I've studied the so-called "bystander effect" and it is by NO means an excuse for apathy regarding a fellow human being's life or much else. People have the social and societal responsibility of reporting incidents like this and if they don't they are contributing to our society's degradation.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  59. Annie, Atlanta

    Of course they should. It's bone-chilling to think that kids like this are our future. They have no moral compass. I'd find some way to charge their parents, too.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  60. Mr. Jones

    I think that the law should be changed and the age of a person that witnesses a crime should be more like 13yrs old. Either way the people who watched and took pictures of this terrible crime should go to jail. Seeing someone be assaulted, raped, or whatever and not helping or calling for help makes that person just as guilty of the crime as far as I concerned.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  61. Michael

    Okay poeple, let me get this right. Some people saw a crime committed and didnt report it. So now they should be sent to Afghanistan, locked in solitary for 20 years, held accountable for their "role" in the crime. Should everyone in the bar be an accessory to murder when a person drives drunk and kills? Should everyone on the road be an accessory when someone speeds and loses control and kills or maims? How many of you have witnessed a crime and not reported it? All of you! So get out of your ivory tower and accept it. It was a horrible crime and the rapists must be held accountable, but the people who were there? How close do you have to be? How do we know they saw it or heard it? You can't live up to it, dont ask for it!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  62. Chris in Laguna Niguel, CA

    One concern I have is the reason for a classmate's failure to report–it could be extreme fear that the madness could be turned on the witness if he/she left the scene.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  63. Lynn Gammel

    Yes, they should be held accountable when something as easy as an anonymous 911 call could help. What has happened to the idea of treating others as you would like to be treated

    Lynn- Ft. Mohave, AZ

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  64. Violet

    The by standards that watched should be punished the same as those who committed the crime. How can a human being watch and let another human being be raped and murdered. They are accomplices, by allowing this to happen. Fear for your own safety, or not wanting to be involved is no excuse. If you are watching a crime being committed and are present you're involved period. You saw it, you heard it and if you don't do nothing about it you deserve to serve the time that those monsters are serving.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  65. Tom baskette

    Yes, A witness is a willing participate in the crime if they take no action. The problem in most crimes that are reported is that the person reporting a crime is often persecuted or prosecuted for the crime. If you don't report the crime, they don't know for sure you saw anything.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  66. Nancy from Florida

    Nice thought, Jack. However, our current judicial system stumbles very often in their attempt to place and keep convicted criminals in a penal institution. In a perfect world, those with evil thoughts could fall into a similar responsibility as those who witness a crime and do nothing. I guess when all is said and done, especially when directing this thought towards the youth of this country, the lack of what right thing to do during a critical time could indirectly reflect upon guidance from within the home. With our population growth and more and more pressures being put on the system, I don't see it happening.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  67. Sabatino

    "Do to others as you would have them do to you"... Maybe those witnesses would have been less amused if it was their sister or mother being gang raped. In that case, I'm sure they probably would want the witnesses to be jailed... and so should they.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  68. Powell A. Holloway

    Absolutely!!! OMG!
    By-standers are just as guilty as the perps if they fail to render aid or call 911.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  69. Jan

    Yes, because these spectators, by staying, were saying that this terrible act was OK! They could have left and call the police. They all have cell phones!!!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  70. John

    No way!!
    The health bill I just saw on CNN was 2000 pages long.
    How long is the criminal code.
    How many laws are there.
    It could be against the law to spit on the street in some cities.
    Or chuck a cigarette.So if a person spits in New York city and 1000 people see it should they call 911?
    The poor bugger that takes a heart attack will never have a chance.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  71. Habib from new Orleans

    Jack we don't even need to think about. If they were standing there watching well they should be able to stand in front of the judge and take there sentencing. Make an example out of them

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  72. Kalen

    I should have included... for doing nothing.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  73. Jen

    if these kids watched and did nothing then they are just as guilty. What kind of world do we live in that this poor girl was raped and beaten for 2 1/2 hours and nobody helped her. It sickens me that it took that long for some to take pity on her. I feel they should all get charges pressed against them for not assisting her.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  74. Marge

    ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!! Our civilization is turning toward one that finds entertainment from the suffering of others....Reminds me of the spectacles of the Romans gathering to watch the lions kill and eat early Christians. We are doing something terribly wrong if we allow such violence to be a spectacle to photo and laugh at. Consequences to those spectators, punishment may send some kind of message. Doing nothing keeps the insanity!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  75. Mary P. Minneapolis

    What is this country coming to??? Bullies who gang up and molest a 15-year old who attended a homecoming dance and only "wanted to fit in" at her high school, as a friend reported. Kids with no moral conscience or, equally bad, kids with no guts to stand up to the bullies who witnessed such brutality. This country has MAJOR problems. I don't care if these are "teenagers." They're All past the age of reason, and reason they do not have. And where are the school officials? Hold them accountable, too. And most of all, hold the parents accountable. No one seems to be parenting their kids nowadays, and kids seem to have every right under the sun. No accountability, no parenting, no moral conscience, exposure every day to Hollywood violence (coincidental that it happened in California?!), look the other way... I hope these kids get the punishment they deserve, and I hope this girl has the opportunity to confront these brutes in court soon. May she gain enough strength to get through this ordeal, and may she understand that there is nothing wrong with her, but plenty wrong with her attackers (including the so-called "observers" as well as the country she lives in. I pray for her and I pray for justice for America's future generation.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  76. James Hussher

    While it is certainly deplorable that no one called police or otherwise to intervene in this rape, we have to be careful about punishments for those who did neither. The legal principle of "mens rea" which means the mental thinking of the onlookers, has to be considered. Did they fail to act in a deliberate attempt to abet the crime; or for other reasons such as fear of reprisal, etc. One "mens rea" is a criminal obstruction of justice, the other a product of fear, social apathy, etc., which can never be legislated away.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  77. Mark

    apparently bystanders cannot be prosecuted, but there is no reason not to publish their names. any news organization could publish those names and the offenders would become pariahs.

    yes, they will sue. fine, fight them in the courts.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  78. Lloyd F

    While we can't legislate morality, perhaps the specter of jail time would spur people to at least make an anonymous 911 call. There is obviously something seriously wrong with the way we're raising young people today. The bystanders can't have a shred of conscience. How in the world could they watch a helpless 15 year old being assaulted for two hours and do nothing to help, is totally beyond me. I was brought up in a time where we were taught to respect others and to treat people the way we would want to be treated. This case is an indictment of our society in general. I have little faith that anything would change even with a law that would make it a crime not to report or help. Every day I get more and more afraid for us as a people.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  79. CaliforniaLawStudentMPC

    I am a 20 year old California college student studying the criminal justice system and I believe that in any case no matter the age or condition of the victim that any people that witness a violent crime and do nothing to report it or stop should be held accountable for aiding and abetting or negligence. This is absolutely disgusting that something so wrong and evil can be allowed to continue. All it takes is one person making a phone call. One more thing, where were the security officers at that were at the dance?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  80. Allan Levi C. Morales

    by all means, let those who witness crimes and do not help or report be thrown in jail. but, only after every lying president, vice-president, senator, congressman and politician is sent in before them!!!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  81. Robin

    ABSOLUTELY!!! People should face a judge for standing by watching a crime particularly this such crime and the one in Chicago. And I agree with the others who wrote before me...these people AT THE LEAST, need psychiatric evaluations!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  82. Ev

    Sure, put more innocent people in jail and make more money for the lawyers and the corporate prison system. If you have such a law for failing to report "a crime" the cops will be arresting you for not calling them about someone you saw in a park smoking a joint. More laws is never solution as they seem to cause exactly the opposite of the intended effect.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  83. Ally

    People should definitely face jail time for not reporting a violent crime! Seems like a no-brainer Jack...the only exception for punishment might be anyone cognitively or developmentally impaired with the inability to understand the necessity of why reporting such criminal violence is an obligation for every community member. What has society come to when we have raised our children to not understand this? What have we done to our children when we have removed compassion and justice from their development?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  84. mark worrell

    what difference is it to a rape victim who's rape is being watched whether she is 14, 15 or 16?

    there should be jail that is an appropriate length, depending on the severity of the crime, for everyone who refuses to report an ongoing crime.

    all of these people should get 10 years, and the rapists should never be let out...i think they belong in an institution for the criminally insane (the watchers)

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  85. Nicholas

    if it can be proven the witness was there willingly, they should be tried as accomplices. pure and simple. not helping a person in that kind of situation or not reporting it is just as bad as doing the act yourself.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  86. Travis myers

    Absolutely, we all can understand being afraid, but taking no action whatsoever when someone is being raped or murdered crosses the line into cowardess, and in the good old day's soldiers were shot for it.
    any human being who has so little regard for his fellow man that he or she can not at the very least pick up a phone and dial 911 should be considered an acomplice to the crime,
    This sort of apathy is sickening.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  87. Armando Bartow Fl

    The real people that should go to jail are the parents of the kids the did this and those who just stood there and watched, for not teaching their children better. This is all parents who do not take the time to teach their own children and leave up to the schools to do that for them, and look at what bang up job they are doing!!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  88. Len Meinhold

    Those who do not come to the aid of a a victim should face jail time as they have no basic human decency.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  89. Jack Harrington Indianapolis,Indiana

    People ARE required by the Universal Law known as"I am my brothers keeper." If the Good Lord would have moved me to be at the spot, at that time, the fur would still be flying. What have we become, as a society when we allow this to happen? Wake up America, and show some heart!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  90. PeaceMaker

    Actually it would be much more practial to beat them with a good dose of common sence rather than putting them in jail,but since that is not an option then I say yes lock them up.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  91. John in Virginia

    Corrected comment

    They should absolutely face jail time, this is a civilized nation and if they want to be a part of it then they need to be civilized !

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  92. Phil Dyer

    It won't happen, but any person of double-digit age should suffer lesson-teaching corporal punishment for such action or non-action.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  93. Joan

    Regardless of whether it should be a crime or not, the bigger question, in my opinion, is what has happened to the basic human decency of our youth if they can stand by and watch, even shoot videos, of such an atrocity and not do anything to stop it or get help–
    the human race must be hitting an all-time low and it should be a wake-up call to all decent people.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  94. Amy

    Dear Jack-
    I feel that they who witnessed this crime should be held accountable to the fullest extent of Law. If I was a lawyer i would put them in prison for the rest of their lives. i also think that it should be enhanced to a hate crime. where did this hatred towards women come to the surface and I am tired of hearing about these women getting killed, or raped. we need to do something so me as a woman feels safe. At the present time I dont feel safe.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  95. Kevin L. / Omaha, NE

    When Law Enforcement (Police,Prosecutors, ect) TRUELY start Protecting and Serving...they WOULD get more cooperation. Right now the LAW does what it wants, when it wants, and how it wants. It ends up being a "Put SOMEONE in jail" hunt. Now that's not helping me so...why envolve others who end up being charged for SOMETHING.., just for walking by. This is where the MISTRUST lies.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  96. Jim Begley

    The last thing California needs is to pass any more laws requiring jail time. The state needs to find more creative and efficacious solutions for bad behavior. California already has the largest prison population in the nation and one of the largest in the world. The state prison system is under federal court supervision for its horrendous overcrowding. California currently has no money for prison expansion, and apparently our leaders lack the political will to ever do anything about the situation despite the court order. What would be the point of sentencing more people to incarceration when the state is currently releasing prisoners early to relieve overcrowding instead of actually doing anything concrete about improving the prison facilities or revising the state's ridiculous penal code?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  97. Pat - NH

    Absolutely! A sentence long enough to affect a change in behavior, + a substantial fine for not coming to the aid of victim. To stand around and watch/laugh/cheer/take phone photos is as dispicable as crime committed.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  98. Philip D. England

    Hell, yes; they should be punished as accessories to the crime.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  99. jedd NJ.

    The last episodes of seinfeld should sum this argument up real quick.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  100. Dan Ristau

    Witnessing a horrific crime and not reporting it? How do they sleep knowing what happened? This is a huge tear in the fabric of society!
    Warren, PA

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  101. Don From Lake Worth Florida

    Yes, I do... what a shame that our youth have become so complacent with crime in this country... when will this nation realize that our children are growing up without any morals… this nation was founded under God… What happens when you remove God From our lives… you get today’s world… God help us…

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  102. C.E. Family, Austin

    Yes. A crime is a crime, just like a lie is a lie. And this was a horrific crime.

    Whatever happened to civic pride and duty? With videotaping crimes as they are being committed; bad mouthing the office of the President of the United States; and toting fire arms at town meetings- somewhere along the line we [America] have lost our humanity; our dignity and our sanity.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  103. Mustapha

    You witnessed a crime ,you do not report it ,you are a comp lice:simple.If it is to hard to understand,then we need to rewrite the law.I trust you Jack.You can do that job.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  104. Kate

    I don't believe in this "Bystander Effect". My whole office was watching a man getting attacked on the street below and the first thing I did was call 911. I was even able to give them the license number of the car. I had to be interviewed by police and eventually had to testify in court, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. The kids who stood by and watched this poor girl be raped should face serious jail time.

    Boston, MA

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  105. JSL from Canada

    If not jailed, forced into making more jails.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  106. Gecko

    Yes I think that they should face some sort of punishment , but not necessarily jail time. It would be better to make the individuals to pay a fine, community service for years and to make them in roll in a program for public safety. The idea of jail is to remove someone that is a danger to the community till they have been reformed. These individuals just need to be fixed; they are not currently and danger to anyone. In va we have week-end jail (usually people with DUIs) where people check themselves in for every week-end. This is a good idea for people like this because most of the people involved were young. So lots of community work, week-end jail and some reform program. I think that could change these individuals.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  107. Sam What

    Yes, of course they should face penalties for not reporting a crime. Especially against a child. The law stating that the cut off is 14 years old is completely unreasonable. You don't stop being a child after you're 14 years old. We don't let 15 year olds drive cars, drink or vote yet so why would a cut off be 14 when it's a crime against another human being? There's a chapter in Jackson Katz's book "The Macho Paradox" called "It takes a village to rape a woman" and this incident is a perfect example of that. The people that stood and watched, and even RECORDED the event, knew what was happening and knew it was wrong. I agree with the statement that those people who just stood by need to be mentally evaluated and persecuted for their choices. And they can't use the excuse, "I didn't want to get involved" because merely by watching and knowing what's happening is being involved.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  108. Brian Wickremasinghe - Woodland Hills, CA.

    Not till the legislations are amended.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  109. Josh

    Yes, there's no doubt about it. Witnesses who do not report such crimes should be convicted with the SAME charges as the criminals who commited the crime. People who watch an innocent person get brutaly raped and do not act positively should be heavily condemned; if you're not part of the resolution, you're contributing to the punishment of the vitcim and the getaway of the other criminals. Bottom line.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  110. Karen Batchelor


    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  111. Mikael

    Jack, there was a time in our country when people helped other people because it was the right thing to do. People knew right from wrong. Where did that country go? Now so many people are scared, indifferent, or just too busy to be bothered. Do we need to create laws to make people do the right thing? Sadly, it seems that we do.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  112. Lisa-Stamford, CT

    Yes I think those who witnessed this terrible crime should be prosecuted. I think it's disgusting that there are people out there that not only witnessed this and didn't tell authorities, but some actually egged it on.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  113. Patty A Banks Palmdale CA

    Yes! i believe jail time is appropiate for a spectator of a crime, no matter the age of the victim, this might prevent someone from being a "silent partner" in this type violence

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  114. Damien

    It is truly upsetting when we need to even ask such a question. If i were to ever see anything like this happening regardless of the age of the girl –

    i would physically do everything in my power to stop it at that time. What sort of person cant trouble themselves to stay in the shadow and call 911?

    How no one helped this poor girl is troubling. but how there are others
    who will sit and watch this happen is much darker. They should be imprisoned. If they are insensitive enough to watch this happen – they are not mentally stable and likely candidates to join in the rape next time. How do we just excuse them? These are not good people. They are obviously not well – LOCK THEM UP –Lets not let our nations children grow up thinking it is OK to watch people rape each other....

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  115. Robert Prescott


    Isn't there a law on the books known as "Accessory", either before or after the fact? Or, how about aiding and abetting? You bet these folks should spend time in jail. Especially those who laughed and took pictures. How long before those photos show up on the internet. Disgusting!!!


    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  116. Matt

    Absolutely not. As much as I fee sympathy for the victims in these cases, I would not want to be legally libel. As a good citizen, I would have called the police, but to face jail time for doing nothing? That seems a bit ridiculous.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  117. Kay

    Tough question, simple answer: Yes

    We’ve already passed Hate Crimes legislation that seeks to hold people accountable for what they are thinking while committing a crime, so why then can’t we hold people accountable for what they are thinking while voluntarily watching one?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  118. Susan Farhat

    Anyone witnessing a crime has the minimal responsibility to report it; intervention may be dependent on circumstances. Due to overcrowding, our jails are turning hardened criminals out for early release, so I would favor a significant sentence of obligatory community service that involves LABOR. If refused, jail works for me.
    Here's what I'd like for the "witnesses" – publish their names in big print, so that parents can protect their daughters from such slime.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  119. Ian, Canada

    Do we need a law covering every circumstance? Why should citizens have to be compelled to do the right thing? Shouldn't something be ingrained in them? What kind of messages are they having reinforced at home, in school, at work, etc? Also, what if, instead of witnessing a gang rape, you witnessed a mob hit? How much time would like to serve for not reporting that?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  120. Ken in NC

    If you witness a crime and make no effort to contact police but rather stand around and watch, then you become a partner to the crime. Yes, put them under the jail.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |

    Jack people keep quiet til something happens to someone close to them then wanna hoop and holla at people to come forward. I think HARSH fines should be issued. Jail time a bit much i think.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  122. Ebony - California

    Hi Jack,
    Good Question, California should immediately adapt a law that will slam the doors in the faces of any witness to a crime and don't call 911.("Like 25 to Life"), especially in a city that's as rough as Richmond, Ca, Oakland, Ca and Bay View Hunter's Point areas. I live in Oakland, and I would not even entertain the thought of allowing my 15 year old son to attend any activity in any of these schools in the Bay Area. Look around at out schools, "Virginia Tech, UConn, Harvard" Schools in America has become nothing but a killing grounds, high schools and colleges. Wonder what went wrong???


    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  123. dennis

    By stander effect ? I guess the name fits. It is adults standing by and watching gangs and drugs take over our schools and making it hard for our children to get an education.They are to busy worrying about survival because of guys like schwarzenegger trying to leagalize drugs instead of trying to eliminate the obsitcales our children are having to deal with on an every day basis.
    Why should they care about someone else when the adults dont care about them? We need to take back our schools as well as our nation to once again support Americans and give our children something to be proud of again.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  124. Daniel Linehan

    It's called the Good Samaritan Law, Jack. They have it in Europe. Why we don't have it... your guess is as good as any. You would think that we would've done something about this way back when that woman was beaten and murdered in the middle of the street over the course of two hours, screaming for help to the apartment building next to her, while literally *dozens* of residents looked and did nothing.

    Make it a crime to stay silent. Make it a crime to knowingly witness a crime and not report it. If it takes a threat of jail time to make people realize they've lost their humanity, so be it.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  125. Dr. O. Ramos(Fmr. Richmond High Principal)

    As the former Principal of Richmond High School I can tell you that RHS has some of the most wonderful teachers and students anywhere. We are all devastated and appalled by the behavior of a very small segment of the population. Yes, I feel that witnessing a crime and not reporting it should be labeled as criminal and the consequences that comes with it. However; it is really tough to tell a community to report crimes when the police cannot protect those that are reporting it. If you saw a crime and knew that the police cannot protect you, would you report it? I truly believe most would and want to but are afraid of doing so.
    Dr. Orlando Ramos
    Richmond High School Principal 2006-2008

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  126. dogmom

    absolutely...where were morals & ethics left out in their learning years?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  127. Doug

    Should they have to report it? They should spend time in jail for watching – oh wait a minute, this is California. By the time it is all over the liberals there will give them awards for making sure she wasn't killed and they were watching for this poor girl's safety.

    We should put them all in jail and throw away the key. They are not even human. They are sub-human scum that don't deserve to be free.

    Imagine if this were an animal being beaten. The outrage would be too much Michael Vick did far far less and look what he got. Our priorities are way out of whack when we ask if these animals should have to report these crimes they watch. If this were my daughters and they didn't report it but stood and watched – God help them!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  128. Denise - Michigan

    Yes! Anyone who has experienced sexual abuse, especially as violently and hideously as this will have scars the rest of her life.

    The people who did this and the ones who did nothing to stop it need to face the consequences of their decision.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  129. Dave Bolger

    It's called, "Depraved Indifference!" Jack

    But if you'd advertise "fame and fortune" and their own reality show for those who report crimes to 911, all those so called innocent bystanders would have overwelhmed the local cell tower trying to be the first to report the rape so they could get their 15 minutes of fame.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  130. Willie

    Absolutely they should go to jail for not helping someone who is being attacked. They show no personal responsibility. All they had to do was dial 911 if they were too scared to do anything. 10 men against one small young girl is pretty horrific. All of them should go to jail, they are a menace one way or another.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  131. david

    I would think that a person who arrived as a rape was occuring would have a legal defense; no moral defense but a so-so legal defense. But when the second gang rape occured, and they knew that a crime was about to start and did nothing to stop it, i.e. call the police, isn't that accessory to the second rape and all subsequent rapes, assaults, etc.?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  132. Nancy, Kinsman Ohio

    As far as I'm concerned, each and every person who were there was either a participant or an accessory. I simply cannot bend my mind enough to understand how anyone could stand by and not help, if only to call 911. I hope every adult involved with the dance and supposed security is fired, and the poor victim at least sues and gets enough money to relocate somewhere that has people with at least a minimum of conscience. There is something so very evil about that whole thing.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm |

    absolutely, this is so beyond anything that you can imagine happening in this country. it will depend on what the law does, or this will become an every day experience. they should all go to jail and the law of 14 years of age should b e changed.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  134. Donald Elliott

    Absolutely not!!! By standers that are aware a crime is in progress will report and act. Those that don't are morally corrupt. Murky situations as to whether a crime is being or not being committed will place generally law abiding citizens at risk for criminal behavior which may not be warranted. If a law such as this were on the books, law abiding citizens would be calling to report all sorts of act legal and illegal so they do not run afoul of a law you are proposing. If you see a girl having intercourse with several young men and she is not struggling or fighting, how do you know if it is consensual or rape?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  135. Joseph

    Yes they should its called MISPRISON OF A FELONY..
    Joseph Brandon FL

    October 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  136. John

    NO We do not want the government in our lives anymore, THAT is the problem. When the government does not allow you to carry a gun, anyone can rape and kill anyone with little chance or getting caught. With little fear of any immediate reprisals. I can assure you that rapist would be DEAD if he were in Florida or Texas. I would have shot him where he stood, you would too (but the laws in Chicago and LA say "Let the law take care of it"; well that is what they did. Lets not take away freedoms by giving government the right to limit our lives and put us in jail for not being like them. People are basically good, the good can control the bad – if not hampered by rediculous laws that can not be enforced and only confuse and bind the good people; while the bad rob and rape ignoring the laws that bind us law abiding victims.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  137. Sashi

    it is against man-kind if anyone was just watching that heinous crime. And if there were more than 20 people, it's just ridiculous. But, do you really think all those 20 would have enjoyed watching it, had it been a rape? Is there a very different angle to the whole story that is being hidden?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  138. Billy Daniel

    Jack. I can't see how anyone can make any defense for anyone in this case except for this poor little girl. If I would have been there, not only would I have "gotten involved" and called the police but I would have most definitely been banging some skulls together in an effort to save the girl myself. "Why do we live in a society of cowards" is the real question you should be asking and "why don't we treat those people who didn't want to get involved as if they supported those criminals" is the one I will ask.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  139. ann

    No, they should have to see a psychatrist, to find out what is wrong with their brain !! But by the way it sounds...maybe they don't have one! What an atrocity, seems there is no mention of the bystanders "fearing" for themselves. Is our society so de-tached by what is seen on video games and in the movies that people cannot determine what is real and what is not ????

    October 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  140. Robin

    The Genovese (sp?) case is something that is taught in colleges in the psych departments, at least it was when I was in a master's program 15 years ago. Knowing the effects of group dynamics that take hold in criminal acts, public awareness of this effect needs to be "put out there" to decrease mass mentality , and to increase the odds of humanity doing the right thing. There is a law which protects people from prosecution for helping others, known as the Good Samaritan Law, It is sad that one's conscience must be ruled by either a law or mass mentality or otherwise, unspeakable heinous, primitive, prurient behaviors.

    Those who refurse to help a victim are as guility as the perpetrator.
    What if it was your sister, your daughter, your mother, your friend, or YOU?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  141. Habib from new Orleans

    Not a doubt Jack. If they have the courage to stand by without calling the police, they can as well stand un front of the judge and witness their sentencing. Make an example out of them.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  142. Appalled - Michigan

    What kind of country do we live in where people stand around watching a violent crime being committed and act like they are watching some kind of "spectator sport"? Throw them ALL in jail so they can lose their freedom. Its obvious they lost their morals and values a long time ago. Throw the ADULTS who were involved UNDER THE JAIL!!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  143. Carrie

    Yes. They need to be made the examples. Now is the time to let society know how wrong this was to stand by and watch! With the technology we have today why did'nt someone call the police! This young girl was raped will NEVER be the same again. Enough is enough. It is time for society to step up to the plate and not allow these people who watched and did nothing to help her go. How do they sleep at night knowing they are apart of this terrible act on a human being,

    October 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  144. Chris

    Hi Jack ,

    To answer your question people should and can be prosecuted for not reporting certain crimes. In most cases a prosecutor declines to prosecute bystanders who do not report crimes , the jails would be packed if prosecutors did this.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  145. texas gal

    Absolutely they should be held partly responsible. They should serve time for not at least calling 911! Who are these people who don't seem to have a conscious? Who don't know the difference between right and wrong, good or bad behavior? Unbelievable!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  146. Pete Hughes

    Have you forgotten the movie "The Accused" with Jody Foster done around 1988?

    A person is not an observer who actively participates in a crime.

    These people who took pictures and GOD knows what else are not innocent bystanders. They are "PART OF THE CRIME", and as such should be prosecuted.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  147. Leah Callen

    The witnessed rape of this little girl is horrific. I can't even begin to imagine the physical and emotional damage that was inflicted on her. There are people who don't have that many sexual partners in their whole life... little lone on one night by violent force. It's God awful. It is also pedophilia. Our society likes to impose sexual maturity on the young. The fact is she is a child.
    Yes. All the bystanders who failed to call 911 or intervene in any way deserve to be prosecuted. If this is not legally possible... then the victim's family should sue their asses off. The physical and psychological ramifications of such a rape will not be easy to overcome.
    They say evil happens when good people stand by and do nothing. Clearly there were no good people present the night of that crime. The law needs to recognize that no crime takes place in a vacuum. All participants, active or passive, should be punished.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  148. joseph L

    look, its bad enough we got people doing things and getting away with it, but doing this 15 year old girl in a parking lot with all these witnesses everyone of them should be charged with rape and accessory to and after the fact, kidnapping, false impriosment and given the max penalty. she may have went willingly, but she did not ask to be sexed by a group of onlookers. throw the book if they arent afraid to do it at them.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  149. Michael in Columbus, OH

    Jack, is this your question: Even though we're putting people in prison for doing so many things now, wouldn't it be a good idea to make inaction a crime as well? The problem is that people as a whole are little better than wild animals - selfish, violent, hateful, voyeuristic, uncaring and untruthful. We cannot legislate morals and ethics, and that's what a law like this would try to do. All something like this would do is force more witnesses to refuse to talk to the police for fear of being arrested for not intervening. The United States, with both the highest number of people incarcerated and the highest incarceration rate in the world (we have more people locked up than China!) the last thing we need to do is give the government more reasons to imprison us.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  150. shelly friedel

    yes i think they should do jail expecially those who stood around around and cheered them on I think it is asif they particapated in the act themselves how could any one watch and do nothing it makes me sick to think my grandkids are growing up in a time where nonone cares for the wellfare of each other if it was a dog getting kicked around how many of those 20 kids would have done something.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  151. Paul from Canada

    Here is a suggestion of imposing the law on the most basic of morale values. While its a good idea on the surface I think it'd open a huge can of worms legally and result in huge amounts of resources to investigate, prosecute and incarcerate . While the the problem here I feel lies in the minds of these young people and the families, or lack thereof, they come from. This type of behaviour could be logged on a criminal record, but not prosecutable, have it become a matter of character.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  152. beverly nehmer

    yes, any witness to a crime who does nothing to stop it should be considered an accessory to the crime. They don't have to be heroic, they can dial 911 and run away, but they have to do something or be considered a participant in the actual crime, regardless of the age of the victim.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  153. Roy form Long Beach

    Absolutely! But let's not stop there: Their parents need to go as well.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  154. Kenny

    Before thinking about if people should face jail for failing to report a crime, we should think about why they wouldn’t want to report a crime! If we can identify why, we can, then, treat it more effectively. The savage rape of the minor by the ruthless beasts – which was viewed by the zombies, who coldly stood and watched it happen – is an indicative sign that the power of the law – including jail – cannot deter a crime from happening.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  155. Charlie

    All should go to jail and the ones that took the pictures should be prosecuted for child pornography.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  156. w

    Absolutely not this will only create another channel for the transformation of juveniles into hardened criminals compliments of our prison system. We have enough people in jail already.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  157. bryan

    i would love to hear what these pcs. of scum parents have to say for their behavior but more likely than not they have good kids like everyone else

    October 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  158. Maria-Spring

    Yes, they need to go to jail. They are just as much a part of this rape or any other crime because they did not do anything to stop it or report it.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  159. Roy

    Jack a better question would be why wouldn't these poor excuses for being a human NOT be charged. Aiding and Abetting should be the charge. If you are not going to come to the aid of someone in this kind of situation then you are a participant in my book. And people wonder why these neighborhoods have continuing problems. Where are the parents?

    Olympia, Wa

    October 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  160. Bill S.

    Certainly the bystanders should be prosecuted and the law should be changed immediately to eliminate the age cutoff. The public dialog that would come from the incarceration of the bystanders would, I think, be helpful.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  161. Glenn

    What about adults not reporting wrong doing in the workplace? Most adults would not report their peers or superiors for wrongdoing because of social pressure and fear of retaliation. Why should teenagers be expected to behave differently?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  162. Juliemac

    Animals. All of the rapists and the bystanders. Thats not a racist statement, but an observation.
    Not one of them attempted to help this girl while they KNEW she was in trouble?
    Find them all and charge them as accessories.
    About the aminal statement? That was an insult to animals. Make it sub-human, not fit for civilised society.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  163. Marie

    No brainer. They should be considered an accessory for not reporting it. It's hard to shock me – I was totally shocked to learn that people stood by and watched – unbelievable.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  164. Kelly

    You can call 911 anonymously. Fear of retaliation is not an excuse.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  165. Craig C

    Absolutely, Jack. We all make choices. A choice of inaction is still a choice, and that choice allowed the crime to happen. The bystanders should NOT be charged with rape or assault, but perhaps as an accessory or something lesser People who stand by as someone is violated in such a way are despicable.

    I can forgive someone who didn't step in and try to stop it, out of fear of repercussions, but failing to step away, call 911 and REPORT it is unacceptable.

    Craig C
    (Cary, NC)

    October 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  166. Joseph

    Yes! Not reporting a crime is "aiding and abetting." I guess they'll use the Sgt. Schultz defense - "I saw nothing."

    Joe in Delray Beach, FL

    October 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  167. me

    It is illegal to watch a sexual performance of a minor. Why aren't they all being charged with that?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  168. Claudius (from Belize)

    Jack, the truth is that watching a crime take place without reporting it, is like entertaining the one committing it. Hence becoming an accomplice. They should be criminally charged. The U.S is so in on protecting the right s of its "people", that it forgets to bring justice upon the very people it protects.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  169. Bruce McCutcheon

    This is just another sad comment on where our society is today. People refuse to get involved, unless it affects their world, their family, or the air that they breath. Yes, each and everyone of them should be charged as accomplices. The protection of society has to be extended to everyone, or no one is safe.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  170. Barret Graf

    First of all, the parents of these these bystanders, as well as the rapists of course, should be told that they have failed miserably as parents. I have raised my two sons to know the difference between right and wrong and to do something if they, or anybody else, are being wronged. The parents of these bystanders obviously have never spoken to their children about "doing the right thing."
    These bystanders should be held accountable because they themselves are a danger to society. Any person with the lack of intergrity that these bystanders possess will eventually commit a crime "because nobody is looking."

    October 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  171. Linda Oaks

    Absolutely! The rapists should do the maximum sentence and the bystanders should get at least half of whatever the maximum is.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  172. Paul Beane

    If they are juveniles they will be treated as people who are entitled to rehabilitation. I would use the information gathered from their psych evals to profile this new syndrome. So much appears to be unknown about such advanced aggression towards women and the inability of anybody to implement some type of educational approach to teach people this is not OK. I would think there wold be civil charges stemming from this but not criminal.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  173. Angela Davis

    Absolutely they should be incarcerated–if they were afraid enough to call, then they should be afraid enough to watch! Watching a heinous crime and doing nothing about it allows the crime to continue and get more horrific each second. This shows how callous the bystanders were, and they should be jailed as well, a minimum of 6 months. If we don't nip these crimes in the bud they will continue!!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  174. Melinda Ohio

    I don't know Jack. I learned in Pychology that this happens all the time. No one really knows why no one gets involved or calls police, but it seems to happen when a whole group are witnesses.

    Last month I came home early morning and a man was in my apartment, hiding behind my door. I screamed so loud and was ready to fight for my life. None of my neighbors called the police or came to my rescue. I don't even know if my neighbors heard me, but I don't see how they couldn't have, because I was so loud.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  175. Terry Munn

    YES! Once the crime is in progress anyone who fails to report it is aiding and abetting in my book. I feel the same on this sex crime as I do any other crime against property or persons. I'm as liberal as the day is long on social policy but choosing to act badly needs to be addressed and punishment. meted out

    October 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  176. EugeneWiese

    Yes in today's world,this horrible crime needs jail time,community service,a fine ,and religious teaching because obviously these people have no moral law in their minds. Gene

    October 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  177. richard

    I would think under current law, they could be charged with Aiding and Abetting, since this is a Felony, they should be charged accordingly.

    However, our government gives benefits and services to illegals ailens and no one prosecutes them.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  178. carmen

    absolutely YES!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  179. John

    Everyone who watched should be put in jail and everyone who participated should get the death penalty. This is an astonishing violation of human rights and should be punished with enough force to send a message. If I were a father or brother of this girl, I would already have stopped by my gun rack and be on the hunt.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  180. Alex

    Bear in mind this occurred at a high school. They all know one another. It was down a dark alley. To witness the act, one would need to be in a place visible to the perpetrators and those watching. One would also be known by the perpetrators. If you reported it, you would put yourself at great risk. They would find out. There aren't many secrets in high schools for very long.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  181. ashley in Seattle

    I don't think they should face jail time, but they should face some sort of weekend education. If they are minors then their parents should be forced to go with them as their parents have obviously failed to teach their children proper empathy.

    I also believe the parents of the boys who actually raped her should be held accountable, not necessarily with jail time, but possibly weekend parenting classes.

    Rather than sending the problem to jail why don't we try to FIX what is wrong?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  182. Denise

    Something must be done, there has to be a way to penalize evil behavior of this nature. Or our society is doomed.

    Could we begin with charges of aiding and abetting? Penalities of fines, community service, and probation are better than shrugging our societal shoulders and let them off. Why should an underage teen with a beer or a joint be slapped with fines, classes, and probation, but laughing and pixing a RAPE, and we can't do anything to them? What are we–a third world country with no standards?

    Our society is breaking down. This was something I though happened in Darfur or the Congo-but not in America.

    I was wrong.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  183. Diana

    Yes, these people should be punished and the law need to change. Maybe this type of action can change the horrendous "snitch mentality" that exists among our youth.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  184. Jon

    Personally, YES they should all be arrested! It does not appear as though any "witnesses" were threatened at the time, they were there by their own choice and watched by their own choice thereby enabling and in my eyes becoming accomplices. I understand where the law will not allow the arrests to happen for this charge. BUT, I've read where videos/photos may have been taken, anyone caught with this material should be arrested, it is evidence to a crime that they are withholding. With the age of the victim it can also be considered child pornography. In essence the law is gray in many areas, use that grayness to find a way, but find a way to charge them all!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  185. cynthia

    Any bystander who does nothing to help should be arrested, and in this case, jail time. SHAME ON THEM!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  186. Stace

    People who witness a crime cannot be forced it, but, they're as responsible for aiding and abetting as than any lawless person is. No matter what their status in the community.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  187. Wally

    Of course not. If we have a "right" to remain silent, this should apply to ALL circumstances–especially if we are not a criminal. Besides, how do you prove that some "witnessed" a crime.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  188. me

    Are the policy going to offer 24 hour lifetime protection to whoever calls it in though? Was this a "gang" as in the Bloods, etc.? I know when I call something in, even though I ask to be anonymous, the police have still tracked my cell # and I sometimes get called back later about it even though I asked to be anonymous. I wouldn't put it past the police to mess up and give out my telephone # to the defendant's attorney who then gives it to the criminal and then we know what happens from there.

    I'm torn on this. You should burn in hell forever if you don't call it in, but I understand why some people don't want to get involved.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  189. Mike

    Yes Jack, they should be jailed. If a man robs a bank the person who drove the car but didn't enter the bank is prosecuted as well, so why aren't these people (I use the term unwillingly here) subjected to the same type of accomplice laws?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  190. Melissa

    Yes. For some reason, it is sometimes difficult to speak up to stop something like that (obviously anyone facing that group would be in a difficult situation). However, none of them even CALLED 911! They failed to dial emergency help for someone who was obviously in mortal danger–I don't even understand how they can consider themselves human! Minimum of a year in prison–not to have even called someone who could have helped that girl is inexcusable and I fail to see how these people can live with themselves.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  191. Rick

    ABSOLUTELY! It is beyond pathetic that this incident was allowed to go on for two and a half hours!!!! Whether it was 20 people, 10... 1. The number doesn't matter. And for that matter, you can take the lame excuse of "the bystander effect" and place it in a dark spot of one's choosing!!! That's a cop out. The truth is that too many people have become a sorry excuse for a human. For those in the school district to say anything to defend themselves is equally pathetic. For the useless little punks that did this, life in jail is being nice. They acted like rabid animals, then they should be treated like rabid animals!!! Unfortunately this forum inhibits my desire to rant in a much more colorful manner!!! How in the world anyone could WATCH that disgusts me!!! It doesn't matter that they didn't take part. The fact that they did nothing is just as criminal!!!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  192. MrVic

    Jack , have we not been paying attention? our youth today are afraid of retaliation, chicago is a good example about the don,t snitch policy created threw the street gangs and thugs. people are afraid to speak up or do anything because they are scared they will come after them. We need to come up with a solution to this problem it has law inforcement unable to solve crimes.
    Oldsmar Fl.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  193. Brian

    I watched someone run a stop sign today, and didn’t call the police. Should I get an attorney?

    However, this rape scenario is disgusting!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  194. Scott

    Yes, but I would not be in favor of charging people with say a diminished capacity or say a child who was too afraid; Clearly this not a case that would involve any of the afore mentioned. However, my concern is not that guilty people will be prosecuted, I am afraid prosecutors will potentially abuse this situation.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  195. Will S

    Wouldn't it be a better use of resources to focus on the perpetrators instead of the spectators? This is certainly a despicable and extreme event, but what's the next step down this path? What crimes must be reported? Everything? Drug use? Drinking too much? Prostitution? Speeding? Littering? Will you indict everyone at a bar where someone gets drunk and drives away in a car? It is a path which leads to a nation of snitches, fear, and surveillance – kind of the good old USSR.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  196. Arif

    The people who were just standing there without calling for any help or try to stop this horrific attack are just as guilty as being involved in the act as well. This would be counted as an accomplice to this horrifying crime. What was going on in their heads for god's sake?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  197. buckwheat

    There is a very good reason that a lot of people hesitate to be an admitted witness to a crime.First off people that would do such a crime would kill you also. You don,t remain unknown after the first bunch of leeches ,the news paper reporters, spread your name for doing a good deed and then the other bloodsuckers, the lawyers will probably have the jury believing you are the criminal.We have built a society by forced socialism that has created this mess.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  198. Colin

    No. The law is the law. If the victims were over 14, there's no case. No law was broken.

    Even if they were, prosecuting this just isn't a smart allocation of court and law enforcement time and resources.

    Colin, Portland OR

    October 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  199. chris

    whats alarming to me is that every kid these days carries a cell phone with them
    they text and email all day long
    why didnt one of them simply (STOP TEXTING) and call 911!!!!!!!!!

    October 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  200. John J

    Yes, they were aiding and abeting a crime and as such should be punished accordingly.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  201. Kate

    There is no question in my mind that those who took pictures should be prosecuted. That's porn–and porn involving a child. Child porn. That's illegal, right?
    It is amazing to me that we even question if this is a crime. Of course, witnessing and doing nothing is a crime. What is the world coming to?
    Think of this: if someone watched you having sex, pointed and laughed, shared jokes, would you consider that criminal? Sex is a private activity, by law. Even thought this was violence, and assault, and battery, and every manner of repugnant crime against a GIRL, not even a WOMAN, it was also sex–violent sex–on the part of the offenders. Shouldn't we remember that watching people having sex in a public place is criminal? Can't we stop talking and rage against those who allowed this? This is beyond reprehensible. What is the world coming to?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  202. Kris

    Is it not possible that the on-looker didn't know the girl was being rape? Could it be that in their minds this could be some exhibitionists having sex in public?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  203. Centinel

    Let me get this straight, we are now advocating criminal charges against people who do nothing? What's next? Going to jail for not reporting on your neighbors for stealing cable? This is one of those issues that show how idiotic those who go with their gut reactions are.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  204. Sandra Kingrey


    October 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  205. Daron Gribble

    Unfortunately is this not what these witnesess and suspects listen to
    when the turn on their ipods. They become numb to violence when they listen to music all day that that the words encourage violence by increasing the profits of those sing it. Freedom of speech was not designed for the ignorrant.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  206. l

    absolutely they should be prosecuted.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  207. satish


    They should be jailed for not reporting and watching the disaster.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  208. John

    These are children of the FREE LOVE generation, what do you expect?

    October 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  209. Elizabeth Polanco

    I just can't believe how our world is turning. Please parents teach your kids respect for others. This poor young lady cried for help and no body did anything. This kids thought it was funny. She will be scare for ever. Life is so short parents this is a wake up call...know where your kids are. Don't let them go out alone teach them rules. All this is because no body is teaching their kids love and respect for others. This young lady could it been your sister or mother. Please lets go back in time and bring God to our schools. Freedom of religion is important but we have taken God out and this is what is happening. who do you fear? I am so sad for this young woman. Now crime is funny and shame on the parents of this young offenders they just destroy their future too. If a parent know that he or she could it prevent it....SHAME ON YOU MAY GOD HAVE MERCY

    October 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  210. LBW

    I thought the plot of the movie "The Accused" was fiction. Guess not.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  211. David

    Yes, they should be prosecuted in such a vicious case as this, but such a question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. But in a crime like this, the audience-like behavior was more than witnessing; it was participation.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  212. Phil

    The fact that people are fearful about being identified as a witness and refusing to come forward to aid someone in dire need of help says a lot about the trust, or lack thereof, in our legal system, as well as our moral aptitude in this country.

    I would not call anyone who watched the crime for 2 1/2 hours a witness. Their action of watching and not calling for help made them an accessory to the crime and complicit in the felony behavior of those who violently violated the young lady that was raped.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  213. Lisa Bates

    Of course they should be punished! In no way would I ever condone this horrific behavior, but sadly our justice system often finds a way for these offenders to get off because of their "mental status" at the time of the crime. Well those standing around watching, laughing and often photographing the incident, have no excuse! How do you sit and watch a little girl be beaten and raped for 2.5 hours? That is nauseating and they should be hung high~

    October 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  214. Marsha Hall

    It's quite obvious that morality and ethics should be the biggest part of education, both at home and in schools. Punishing the effect never works....just look at our prison system in the US. The only solution to anything ever is addressing the cause which is emotional immaturity and instability. It's sad but young minds aren't equipped to deal because we let them down.

    October 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm |