As Richard and Gloria Habel tried to navigate the Pennsylvania juvenile justice system this year on behalf of their 15-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, a number of things caught them by surprise. The greatest shock came as they realized that the judge and probation officers working on Elizabeth's case were not considering an alleged sexual assault against her in deciding her punishment. She had been placed on probation for a simple assault charge, and sent away for probation violations.
“That judge should've at least put Liz someplace where it's more of a setting to take care of her post-traumatic problems with the rape,” Richard told the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. “Liz was acting out because of what (James) O'Brien did to her, it should be obvious. But no one wanted to talk about that at any of her hearings – like it never happened. They just wanted to send her away.” The newspaper profiles the family and its travails in the state juvenile justice system.