After being fired from her post as Chief of the Special Victims Unit for refusing to “go along to get along,” Alice Vachss published the incendiary Sex Crimes, described as “a stark, passionate closing argument in [her] broader case against the criminal justice system” by the NY Times, which named it as a Notable Book of the Year. Nick (Goodfellas) Pileggi called it “the single best book about prosecuting sex crimes in America, period.” Now, twenty years later, Alice Vachss becomes Special Prosecutor for Sex Crimes in a new environment … on the opposite coast, in a small rural community. And asks the critical question: What has changed? Sex Crimes: Then and Now shreds the myths about sex crime prosecution in America, revealing that the passage of time and a different locale are mere window dressing for horrors America has yet to face. For those who want something more than press releases and Trash-TV “coverage,” this no-compromises e-book offers the brutal truth.
Subtitled: “My Years on the Front Lines Prosecuting Rapists and Confronting their Collaborators” Sex Crimes: Then and Now is a two-volume riveting autobiography of one of the nation’s leading and most controversial prosecutors.
From a scattering of reviews:
“Nobody knows rapists better than Alice Vachss. With this book she has scored a knockout.”
“Read this book: you will never forget it.”
“Gritty, real, heartbreaking and for me anyway, inspiring.”
“Unless you have actually been there, you can’t consider yourself an informed person without reading Sex Crimes by Alice Vachss.”
“This book hooked me from the first page on. I am grateful that there are such warriors in the world.”
“If you think you know how the criminal justice system works for prosecuting rape and other sexual abuse crimes from news reports and TV shows … you don’t. This important work by Alice Vachss will set you straight.”
“Alice Vachss has the experience, and the battle-tested credentials to be the only person who could write this book from the insider’s point of view.”
“This should be required reading for every school in America. A beautiful portrayal of the challenges facing sex crimes prosecutors and the honor of the law in a time when lawyers are poorly valued.”
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From “The Rapists’ Enemy, The Guardian, June 1, 2007: “Alice Vachss was once described by a judge as “a woman who drinks blood for breakfast”, but with her soft voice, small frame, and infectious laugh she initially seems anything but. It’s only when she starts talking about putting rapists behind bars that the description begins to make sense.
Once one of America’s most successful sex crime prosecutors, Vachss is in the UK this week, hoping to pass on her expertise to our criminal justice system. We certainly need it. With an estimated 47,000 rapes here each year, convictions running at a pathetic 5.6%, and much media coverage skewed towards anomalous stories of women who “cry rape”, her visit could not be more timely.”
Admitted as an attorney in New York in 1975, Alice Vachss was one of the first women criminal trial lawyers of her era. From the rough-and-tumble of Manhattan’s Night Court, to the gallery at the Old Bailey, in New York City as a sex crimes prosecutor and as a special victims bureau chief, as an educator and trainer at podiums, on paper, in classrooms and courtrooms, and in the Pacific Northwest as a special prosecutor, she has spent the past 41 years fighting for what she believes in.
Already famous in New York for convicting notorious rapists, Alice Vachss rose to prominence as the Chief of the Special Victims Bureau of the Queens (NYC) District Attorney’s Office. During her tenure, she tried more than 100 felony cases to verdict, including rape, child sexual assault, elder abuse, domestic violence, cult abuse, and homicide. Under her leadership, the Special Victims Bureau innovated new approaches and techniques in sex-crimes prosecution which ranged from trail-blazing the use of DNA evidence in New York courts, to firing the first shots in the still-current battle to modernize statutes of limitations for sexual assault. As author of Sex Crimes (Random House, 1993), she coined the term “collaborator” to describe those within the criminal-justice system who provide aid and comfort to perpetrators. Publication of that book provided the platform for the work to come: from the revolution in campus sexual assault response to authoring articles such as “All Rape Is Real Rape” (New York Times Op-Ed). Sex Crimes Now finds Alice Vachss, still the same, back in the trenches insisting to a jury: “I don’t have to prove motive. The motive for rape is rape.” She takes on a system hell-bent on freeing a monster, culminating in the true crime drama of her final trial as special prosecutor for sex crimes in a county of 50,000 people confronted with enormous villainy.