Revelations of a career of sexual harassment and rape by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is overflowing in newspapers and on news and talk broadcast shows.
Same for social media: Facebook, locally, has even tied the discussion into the arrest of a Floyd County girls basketball coach and physical education teacher on charges of sexual activity with a girl under age 18 and another with physical/mental impairments.
Over breakfast at Blue Ridge Cafe, I heard expressions of “what is going on?” or “are we that sick?”
Sadly, mistreatment of women by men is neither new or going away. When I was a freshman at Floyd County High School in 1962, a girl I knew left after she became pregnant from an assault by her uncle.
Back in the 60s, our varsity basketball coach became involved with a cheerleader. They married after she graduated. At the Starlight Drive-In in Christiansburg, I saw a female student my date and I knew get out of a car while buttoning up her blouse. The car belonged to our assistant football coach at the time.
A former elementary teacher and softball assistant coach now sits on the Sexual Offenders database after an affair with a student.
At the present time, 33 Floyd County residents appear on the Virginia State Police Sexual Offender Registry, a frightening total for a small county. Others convicted of such crimes in the county now live in other cities, counties or states and appear on the registries for that area.
A Harrisonburg man talked a 16 year old student at Floyd County High School into posing nude and masturbate in front of a video camera and was coming to the county for physical sex but one of her friends told the school’s sheriff’s deputy resource officer about the plan and he was arrested, convicted and punished.
Sexual offenses often show up in Floyd County Circuit Court. Too often, the sex involves minor children, sometimes the sons or daughters of the offender.
These cases, along with nationally publicized events like the Weinstein case, show reason for concern.
An Indian Valley man who admitted having years of sexual encounters with a relative, beginning at age 12, claimed what he was doing “was not rape. It was love.” A jury did not agree. He will spend the rest of his life in prison. Judge Marc Long called it “a heinous crime and a heinous act.”
In one case, a sexual predator admitted picking up his step-daughter during lunch at Floyd County High School and having sex with her in his car. It happened too many times.
Floyd County Grand juries meet every quarter of the year. Each list of indictments usually has at least one case involving sexual abuse. A county senior citizen faces a jury trial for multiple charges of child pornography. Three other residents of the county have been convicted of the same crimes in recent months.
The Harvey Weinstein case reminds us that sexual aggression exists throughout our society. The cases we see here in Floyd County also shows that such aggression too often starts against children.