Michael Marshall and Sharon Glass
A teenager who showed up on the stand this week to testify against his father's girlfriend in a child abuse case is lucky to be alive. Two years ago, Florida cops found the then 12-year-old boy weighing just 40 pounds. The boy had spent nearly two years of his life starving and being locked in a closet or tied to his bed.
A Florida jury is now trying to figure out what to do with Sharon Glass, the father's girlfriend, who faces multiple felony charges, including aggravated child abuse. I don't envy them.
According to police, the abuses this poor boy, now age 14, went through began in 2010 and went straight through 2012 when cops rescued him based on a tip from a family friend.
During that time, the boy would spend days at a time either tied to his bed or locked in a closet. He would eat toothpaste to stave off hunger. One Christmas he reportedly was allowed out of his closet only to watch the other kids in the family open gifts, while he was given only coal and then returned to his closet "home."
The alleged tortures continue, all of them horrifying. Police reported that when they found the 12-year-old, he was so thin that he looked like a skeleton.
Glass and the boy's father, Michael Marshall, are both facing charges (they are being tried separately).
But what do you do with people like this? If they did even part of what they're accused of, how can you come up with a punishment that fits the crime?
The fact is, we don't treat criminals in our justice system this badly. Prison may not be a picnic, but you still get three hots and a cot. You have rights. You have DIGNITY.
Granted we want our prisoners to have some rights because they are still human beings, and we are showing ourselves to be the bigger people by affording them human treatment. But with cases like this, I have to say it's hard to say, sure, let's throw them in jail; that'll teach them. Will it? Is giving them better than they gave really PUNISHMENT?
I know I'll be watching this case closely to see what the judge and jury decide ... but I don't envy them.
What do you think the punishment should be here? Is there any way to truly make up for what was done to this child?
Image via police