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 last week after Genise Schu pleaded to 10 felonies, 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 published statements made by Genise Schu’s attorney, Steve Balash, after sentencing March 22 that has made that sad truth evident. I wish to respond to them.

Mr. Balash’s 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 pathetic attempt to portray his client’s systematic and prolonged sexual abuse as “love” or as a “relationship” is infuriating. The facts are these:

» His client, Genise Schu, pleaded guilty to all 10-felony counts of child abuse.

» His client, Genise Schu, is going to state prison for six years for these crimes.

» His client, Genise Schu, will have to register as a sex offender.

» 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.

These facts are indisputable. To insinuate that these crimes are anything other than the acts of a predator is insulting and prolongs our pain.

Perhaps the most disturbing feature is the sexism that is fundamental to Mr. 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 pleaded guilty to 10 counts of 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