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Sex Crimes: Ten Years on the Front Lines Prosecuting Rapists and Confronting Their Collaborators Paperback – September 15, 1994

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1982, after seven years as a public defender in Manhattan, Vachss became chief of the Special Victims Bureau in the district attorney's office in Queens, where she vigorously prosecuted sex criminals for 10 years. In 1992 she was fired for openly criticizing her superiors. Vachss contends that "there seems to be a residuum of empathy for rapists that crosses all gender, class, and professional barriers." Judges, juries, defense attorneys, police and even prosecutors, she charges, frequently collaborate "in giving the rapist a break." Vachss describes inside details of office politics and courtroom practices which show how such "collaboration" occurs. Angry, insightful and righteous, this memoir recounts specific cases against pedophiles, serial rapists and incest offenders.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Vachss, who is married to crime novelist Andrew Vachss, here describes her experiences as, first, an assistant district attorney, prosecuting primarily sex crimes, then as chief of the Special Victims Bureau in the Queens, N.Y., District Attorney's Office, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. In a true sense, Vachss was a pioneer. She brought a passion for justice to an area of crime that had historically been seen as the victim's fault. The rights of women and children were just developing; marital rape was not considered a crime; date rape had not been discovered; and sex criminals were routinely treated leniently. Vachss had to work not only to prosecute these criminals but also to change the ingrained attitudes of those she describes as "rape collaborators"--the police, the judiciary, and juries--all of whom were products of a male-dominated culture. After ten years of crossing too many people, she was fired--but not before she successfully helped open society's eyes to these crimes. Her engrossing and insightful book is highly recommended.
- Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1st Owl book ed edition (September 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805035028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805035025
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,979,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Pat Brown on December 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
Many involved in the criminal justice system may claim that Vachss has no "hard" evidence, just circumstantial "sour grapes." Vachss, however, is letting the citizens know exactly what is going on behind the facade of elected and hired "representatives" of the citzens of this nation. There IS no accountability in the criminal justice system and the victims know it. From the time a crime is reported, the victim/citizen is at the mercy of the whims of his/her "protectors" and "champions of justice". Police respond IF and WHEN they want, DAs decide to take the cases IF it serves THEIR purposes, and judges play their ego games as they run their own private country inside the courtroom. There is little the private citizen can do to even find out what is being done. Vachss should be read by every citizen and anyone with the least connection to the criminal justice system. Rapists and serial killers walk free everyday because many on the inside of the criminal justice system have no interest in those outside of it. Pat Brown, Director/Investigative Criminal Profiler/The Sexual Homicide Exchange of Washington DC and Vicinity.
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Format: Paperback
Don't let the nay sayer fool you. My bet is they may well have some agenda for knocking Ms. Vachss' book. I read this book when it first was published; and found it searingly brave. Ms. Vachss stood up to cowardice in her job as a lawyer, cowardice and ineptitude from the judges who are paid by the very citizens they fail to even wish to protect. Judges who care more about being kissed up to, or any number of stupid things, than doing their job. People who are paid to protect, to help put monsters in jail, and who stop to comment instead on how green the lawyer's eyes are. Ms. Vachss also provides strength to the victims of the 'humans' out there raping and bragging about getting away with it all. She says how brave those women were to prosecute, and she is so right. Ms. Vachss and Andrew Vachss are my heroes. They are warriors out there for the most righteous cause: protecting those who are being victimized by evil predators, and prosecuting those same predators in an attempt to do all they can to put a stop to their deeds. They both have my highest respect. Read this book and get a clear idea from the inside, of how far there is yet to go before there is true justice. And of real bravery in action from one warrior who fought and still fights, to achieve it: Alice Vachss.
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Format: Paperback
In respnse to "What an ego" I can only say that this reader can't read perceptively and/or has a bad case of twisted projection or perhaps is a perpetrator him/herself and fears the justice seekers. 'Nuff said about that. Mrs. Vachss' book is a superlative testimomy to a strenuous career of unrelenting passion to procecute the sickening evil that goes by the understatement "sex crimes." People tend to be afraid of this subject because this country is rife with sexual (of all brands) crimes. I recommend this book highly, even higher than that for a look at the guts and undepinnings of this culture. I would make it mandatory high school reading. It might serve to scare would be perps and quiet the nervousness of the victims--to know that someone so courageous, uncompromising, and uncorruptible is on the side of true heroic justice.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a harrowing account of Alice Vachss’s decade as chief of the Special Victims Bureau in the Queens (New York) District Attorney’s office—harrowing not just because of the horrible crimes Vachss prosecuted, but also because of the politics and BS that hindered her efforts. Vachss built the Queens SVB into a force feared by rapists and child molesters, and then lost an epic battle to save the bureau from politics. The story is nonfiction that reads like a thriller: high stakes, a lone hero, a powerful villain (more than one, in fact).

I came away from the book in awe of the stakes a prosecutor like Vachss faces. If I have less than my best day, the writing won’t be what I had aimed for—and the next day I get to make it better. If a sex crimes prosecutor fails, a rapist goes free—a horrible twist of the knife to his previous victims, and a likely guarantee of future victims, as well.

There is so much I could quote from Sex Crimes, but maybe I’ll just go with this from the afterword, regarding the collaborators of the book’s title:

"We have allowed sex crimes to be the one area of criminality where we judge the offense not by the perpetrator but by the victim…

"Collaboration is a hate crime.
Read more ›
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