As first-time offenders, teenage boys got no jail time when they appeared before a judge in Superior Court in eastern Connecticut. Each got something that would turn out to be far worse — a probation officer named Richard Straub, says the Hartford Courant in the first of two articles. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Straub ran his office like a fiefdom, fueled by a close connection with prosecutors and judges. He picked the boys who reported to him. State police have verified that he molested 15 boys when he was their probation officer.
Many of them have become abusers themselves. Eight of them have since been convicted of sexually assaulting someone, in many cases children the same age as they were when they were first abused. Another three have served time for assault. All but one have been to jail at least once. Just over one-quarter of Straub’s 157 clients have since been convicted of sexual assault, although authorities say they are not sure exactly how many of them were abused by Straub. The Straub case has evolved into a textbook example of how childhood abuse can have lasting effects on society, often creating a whole new generation of victims. Research generally shows that about one-third of those who are victims of sexual assaults later commit sexual assaults themselves.