Cleveland’s Ariel Castro should be named in a civil-rights charge under Ohio’s law against violence “based on sex,” contends former prosecutor Wendy Murphy of New England Law/Boston in Women’s eNews, citing allegations that Castro kidnapped three young women, two as minors, and kept them barricaded as sex slaves, often in chains, for 10 years. One victim was reportedly impregnated five times, then beaten and starved to induce miscarriages. Another became pregnant and gave birth to Castro’s child inside the home.
District Attorney Timothy McGinty initially brought only a handful of crimes against Castro, but made it clear that he would seek many more charges during grand jury proceedings. Castro not only selected females to be his kidnap victims, he committed countless gender-specific sex crimes for 10 years, including forced pregnancies and abortions. He also had a past history of extreme domestic violence against his ex-wife and child. Murphy says that adding a civil rights charge won’t likely increase the ultimate punishment given that Castro will surely serve at least multiple life sentences, but she says, “it is important for government officials to label civil rights crimes correctly when they happen in order to give value to the harm to democracy itself when people are singled out for violence based on their status as females.”