The recent powerful allegation by 1976 Olympic boxing champion, and later professional pugilist, Sugar Ray Leonard that at age 15 he was victimized sexually by an unnamed “prominent Olympic boxing coach” resonated yesterday, at an important gathering.
In San Jose, California, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to an assemblage of more than 1,000 prosecutors, agents and investigators at the inaugural National Strategy Conference on Combating Child Exploitation. In his remarks, Holder told the group that only the age of sexual assault victims has gone down and that “was unacceptable.”
During Holder’s tenure, he has made the protection of vulnerable groups including children, the elderly, victims of hate crimes and human trafficking and exploitation the Department of Justice‘s main priority. At the San Jose event, he said, “We are signaling that when it comes to keeping our children from harm, a new era has begun.”
The three-day conference was an outgrowth of the 2008 Protect Our Children Act. The law requires that the Justice Department develop a strategy to battle child exploitation and devise ways to implement it.
To get ahead of predators and child pornographers who are early adopters of technology, the conference hosted workshops on areas such as digital forensics, investigative techniques, victim advocacy and community outreach.
The event was sponsored by the Justice Department's Project Safe Childhood Initiative and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program.
Sugar Ray Leonard waited until adulthood to tell his story. If U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has his way there hopefully will be fewer individuals that experience what Leonard says he did.
(Photo: AP Photo/Christophe Ena)