Snodgrass: Sex trafficking accusations only a symptom of politicians’ abuse of power


Ike Hayman, U.S. House Office of Photography/House Creative Services, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Florida House Representative Matt Gaetz is being investigated for alleged sex trafficking and sexual relationships with a minor.

Jillian Snodgrass, Copy Editor

How many more times will politicians commit horrific crimes, only to walk free with barely a scratch on their careers?

Matt Gaetz, a Republican congressman from Florida, will face trial in June on sex trafficking accusations. He’s only one of a host of prominent figures in government accused of sexual misconduct, most of whom never faced repercussions–an issue that plagues both parties. If justice is served, Gaetz will go to prison. Unfortunately, prominent politicians are rarely convicted of such crimes due to abuses of power.

Gaetz is accused of paying a 17-year-old girl to cross state lines with him for sexual purposes two years ago. An investigation was opened up early last year, in the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency. It was partly due to an overarching investigation into possible sex trafficking committed by a political ally of Trump’s, Joel Greenberg, whose trial will also occur in June.

This relationship between predators is not uncommon, especially in politics. Jeffery Epstein was known to associate with Trump, Bill Clinton and other political figures who have been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct. 

Oftentimes Republicans deny that such a problem exists, while many Democrats seem to believe that it only occurs within the Republican party. In truth, it is widespread, and party lines are insignificant in practice. This is a case of powerful men using their positions to get away with heinous offenses. 

The issues with politicians using their power in corrupt ways don’t end with escaping justice for sexual misconduct. Trump’s list of pardons from his presidency shows that convictions of collusion, conspiracy, tax evasion and lies didn’t matter at all if those convicted had some relation or were of use to him in some way.

Essentially, problems with politicians stem from the amount of power given to them and their allies’ unwillingness to hold them accountable for the terrible things they’ve done. No one should be above the law. When there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a politician has committed a crime, especially one as serious as sex trafficking of minors, then that politician should be treated as any other lawbreaker.  

I can only hope that Gaetz and Greenberg will be convicted come June; unfortunately, I don’t see that as likely, all things considered. So many precedents and standards within the justice system would be broken for a conviction to occur, but only time will tell.