I am a family member of the boy in the Genise Schu case. Our family has been through a lot in these last months. Any trip through the criminal justice system will take you to places you never want to go again and this case was certainly no exception. While the criminal case was ended this week, after Genise Schu pleaded to 10 felonies and accepted a six-year sentence in state prison, as well as registration as a sex offender, to avoid a trial, it will really never be over. The Independent published statements made by Genise Schu’s attorney, Steve Balash, after the sentencing on Monday, that have made that sad truth evident. I wish to respond to them. [“Schu Sentenced to Six Years,” 3/24/10.]
His attempt to reframe this series of felonies, which his client has confessed to, as a “love” story is appalling. Had there been a trial the awful details of these crimes would have been publicly disclosed. Genise Schu knew this, knew her long history of crimes and lies would have been exposed. “Love” is not what a jury would have seen. As Mr. Balash himself has admitted, she could have gotten a much more severe sentence had a jury been forced to witness the awful truth of what she did to this boy. Now, because a trial was avoided, in the absence of these details being publicly disclosed, Mr. Balash apparently feels free to spin this fantasy of a misguided “love” story.
His client, Genise Schu, was 41, married, and the mother of three when this abuse started. The victim was the 13-year-old best friend of her son. Balash’s pathetic attempt to portray his client’s systematic and prolonged sexual abuse as “love” or as a “relationship” is infuriating. It is insulting and prolongs our paint to insinuate that these crimes are anything other than the acts of a predator.
Perhaps the most disturbing feature is the sexism implied in Balash’s shameless spinning. Can you imagine him selling this appalling story had the victim been a 13-year-old girl? Had a male client of Mr. Balash’s pled guilty to felony sexual abuse of a child, would he still feel free to talk about a “shared bond” between a pedophile and a victim? Would he have tried to portray a pedophile’s loneliness as an excuse for sexual abuse?
Our young boys deserve the same protections that we extend to our young girls. And their abusers deserve the same societal sanctions. To allow this fable to go unchallenged does a disservice to the boys in our community who continue to suffer abuse, alone and ashamed.
Mr. Balash has talked about the need to spare both families the continued mental anguish involved in this case. His shameless action in floating this preposterous tale make his words ring hollow. Perhaps he can start his part of the healing process by shutting his mouth.Name withheld to respect the privacy of the victim.