Robert Mullally, the legal researcher turned whistle-blower who brought attention to domestic violence felonies committed by Los Angeles police officers, may face time in federal prison for leaking personnel files to a local television station. The files documented 79 LAPD officers who had brutally beaten, and in some cases raped, wives, girlfriends and family members. None of the officers were ever arrested, and the majority remained on the force as gun-carrying police officers. By exposing the files, Mullally hoped that public outrage would lead to reform in the LAPD.
In March 2001, Mullally was sentenced to 60 days in jail. The sentence was stayed, pending an appeal, and was heard last week by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court’s decision is expected in a few months. If sentenced, Mullally could become the first person every sentenced to jail in the United States for violating a protective order in a civil law suit. Mullally’s appeal comes at a time of increasing controversy over the use of court orders to seal files containing information on pedophilia committed by priests, and on the dangers of cigarettes and automobile tires.
In the wake of the media coverage generated by Mullally’s actions, the Feminist Majority Foundation and the National Center for Women & Policing pushed for reforms that resulted in an investigation of the LAPD by the Inspector General, and the development of a special internal affairs unit to handle officer-involved domestic violence. Both FMF and NCWP have continued to support Mullally throughout his case by helping with court costs, filing amicus briefs on his behalf, and by publicly urging that Mullally’s sentence be overturned on the grounds that he acted to protect women and children from police officers who had abdicated their duty to protect and had themselves become threats to the public.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .