Is it a crime to raise a killer?


Yahoo! News:

Is it a crime to raise a killer?

Anthony Pasquale stops to visit his daughter at the Cedar Green Cemetery every morning, then returns once or twice more during the day. He sits on the small white bench and faces the polished granite headstone, etched with a hologram of Autumn on one side and the things she loved on the other — bicycles, soccer balls, cheerleading, skateboards. From where he sits he can see the middle school, where his 12-year-old girl was a student, and next to that the high school, where the 15-year-old boy who killed her was one, too. When school is in session, Pasquale has even glimpsed a classmate peering out of the ground-floor science-lab windows, which look directly onto Autumn’s grave.


It has been nearly two years since Autumn went missing and Justin Robinson went to jail, pleading guilty to strangling her after she stopped by his house to trade parts for her brand-new bicycle. In that time her parents have learned that the stages of grief now include another step — finding someone to blame. It’s a stage well known to parents wrenched by a particular kind of loss, a kind arguably more common and certainly more public of late — losing children at the hands of other children. And it is raising questions with few answers in the existing legal system.

“Where were their parents?” grieving families asked after Columbine and Newtown, after Isla Vista and Troutdale.
“Where were the parents?” asks Anthony Pasquale, sitting in the back booth of the Liberty Diner in Clayton, where his coffee is on the house now, because, as is the case everywhere else in town, everyone knows who he is. “Parenting comes with responsibilities, and one of those is to raise your kids right, to pay attention and know when they’re a danger to someone else. That’s a parent’s job.”

To fail at that job is a crime, he believes. He’s recently taken his certainty to court, suing Justin Robinson’s parents for, essentially, being bad parents. He has also turned to and the New Jersey Legislature, advocating for “Autumn’s Law,” which would punish such parenting with prison.

Horrible idea.
I feel terrible for Mr Pasquale but just as seeing his daughter’s killer go to jail hasn’t brought any comfort I doubt winning his lawsuit or getting this law passed will.


Losing a child or any loved one is a lifetime loss. I doubt any outcome would bring much comfort as the personal loss is a ongoing real part of daily life with numerous time life events that cannot be enjoyed and shared.

It is not a crime to raise a killer if the parents have tried the best they can manage to raise a child well. People make their own life choices. So often parents are saddened and may blame themselves for their children’s choices, but that is sometimes unfair.

If anyone deliberately raises their child to be a killer by criminal neglect or deliberate intent, that would be a crime. Mostly parents try to raise children as happy and decent human beings, so if the children make bad choices they are themselves responsible for their crimes.


Yeah, I feel for the guy, but that’s a bad idea. The thing about people - even 15 year olds - is that whole choice thing. We can act other than how we are raised. People rise above or fall below how they were raised all the time.


The civil suit may a very slight chance, but the legislators will never make this a crime. What would the elements be? How could a prosecutor prove it?


So, does mean that Adam and Eve should have been sued when Cain killed Abel?


I actually think it is reasonble to find parents accountable for the damages caused by their minor children if it can be proven that the parents neglected their duty to supervise their children, provide mental healthcare, or seek means to restrain them if required. However, claiming that their parenting choices caused their child’s murderous tendancies and actions is completely impossible to prove.


I’m familiar with this story. I think the Pasquale family is in a very tough place. Of the two boys that killed Autumn, one was not charged and the other was only given a few years, meaning he’ll be out in no time. I can understand them feeling like they had no justice for their daughter. I’d feel the same way. But suing the boys’ parents? It wouldn’t do anyone any good. In point of fact, the boys’ mother did help the police in catching her sons during the investigation. A sad case all around.


Some people seem to be “born bad.” They are always in trouble. I say that they seem to be that way all the time. Even if young, they appear to be that way, but as they get older and wind up in jail, they are chronic offenders. I have heard of sociopaths who sometimes just can’t fit in anywhere and they do things that are wrong. Then they get out of jail and a few months later they’re back in. I know someone like that. He is in for life.


No - and I’m saying that as the victim of a violent crime. After the trial, the man’s mother came to me in tears and said, over and over, “I’m so sorry.”

I was too young then to know what to say. Now I would hug her and tell her, “It’s OK. It wasn’t your fault.”


Oh, that’s beautiful.

Thanks for sharing that. You have learned a lot!


I completely agree with you here. However, the parents should not be sentenced for their child’s crime and they shouldn’t be blamed for the child’s crime. However, they can and should be sentenced and blamed for any neglectful actions such as refusing to provide mental healthcare which could have affected the child’s behavior.


I wasn’t thinking of it in lawsuit terms. It’s a crime anyway to deliberately raise a child as a killer. In my mind, for instance, was thoughts of those Isis people who are putting guns into even the hands of small children, and in one known case, encouraging a young child to cut a man’s throat. Most of those adults who are raising children as ISIS killers will probably never be brought to justice, but what they are doing is criminal.
How many crimes are never brought before a court, but that doesn’t make crime any less criminal. For many who commit crimes the first judgement is likely only to come from God, not any human court.
Matthew 18:6, Luke 17:2, Mark 9:42


I agree with everyone else here that we can’t make a crime from the results of parenting, but some of the least prosecuted crimes in our society are child neglect and non-support of a dependent.

Parenthood is both a great blessing and a great responsibility. Parents owe their children food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and education. The biggest part of the education parents owe their children is a good example, and that starts even before the child is born. In a culture that has little respect for marriage and even seeks to redefine it into meaninglessness, the protection of children will be the first victim.

Saint Paul would be considered way to judgmental when he said:

1 Timothy 5:8
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.


I was thinking more along the lines of a kid who has unrestricted access to weapons in their parent’s home and ends up bringing a gun to school to shoot someone. Or a kid who is constructing dozens of bombs in his basement for months and his parents can’t be bothered to go down and see what is going on. Or a kid who is missing for days on end, but the parents don’t do anything about it because they don’t want to get in trouble themselves. Or a less extreme case like the one in my neighborhood, where a kid had filled his parent’s garage to the rafters with stolen items from other people’s homes and when the police asked the parents why they didn’t do anything when their eleven-year-old started bringing home jewelry and lawmovers they shrugged their shoulders and said, “Well, he told us someone gave it to him.”


You can add the millions of cases where kids have drug problems when they are raised by parents who have drug problems. You can find one of these stories any day fo the week. Here is one for today:


I would say yes to this if there was proof that the parents actively provided drugs, knowingly allowed drugs, or used the child to obtain the drugs. Addiction does run in families and is very invasive. Sometimes parents with drug problems can do everything they can to keep it away form their kids, but it still goes down the line.


Addictions do run in families, but is it genetic or environmental? I would say it is overwhelmingly environmental when parents tolerate drug abuse and teach that it is normal by their example. Some babies are even born addicted, but those children can be removed from that home immediately.

Violence also runs in families. My state, Indiana, has a law that automatically upgrades domestic violence to a felony if it occurs in the presence of a child under 16, on the grounds that it is also child abuse to subject the child to that.


While I don’t condone a law to punish parents, sometimes IT IS THE PARENT’S FAULT.
It’s also a failure of the community - Hillary was right in stating it takes a village (including Church, CCD / Sunday School, etc.).

Instead of revenge action, the focus should be on prevention.


It’s both. Some people’s brains are chemically wired toward dependency and it seems this trait can be passed down. That’s why different people can experiment with the same drugs, but some get hooked while others don’t. Drug dependence also has a high rate of comorbidity with depression, which has a genetic component.

Agression can be a completely learned response to a problem, but it can also be a symptom of mental illness, which can also have a genetic componant. However, when it comes down to it, whether a person has a predisposition toward a vice or not, they are still accountable for their actions.


Sometimes it isn’t & sometimes it isn’t & it’s hard to tell from the outside…
I’m one of seven & the only “failure”, i’e, the only college dropout, only one ever arrested (shoplifting, bounced checks), the only one economically unsuccessful. Obviously not my folk’s fault since the rest turned out well.

You’re roght it “takes a village” vut by village Hillar means gov’t intervention while, as you suggest it means extended family & community involvement.

I’m sorry for Mr Pasquale but I suspect no amount of imprisonment, nor the death penalty (if it were an option), nor winning a lawsuit would ever bring “closure”.

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