Program Details

Court Cases Involving Sex

Myrna Goldberger
History / Law

Course Description

Court cases intrigue the public and they are even more captivating when they involve sex crimes. This lecture series will examine court cases to evaluate the motivation for the crime, court procedures, strategies, testimonies, the techniques of the lawyers, and the outcomes of each case. Did the media contribute to the final decisions? Would the verdict have been the same in the 21st century? What do the verdicts tell us about society in general? From the racially-connected case of Lieutenant Thomas Massey to the excusable verdict of "dementia Americana" for Daniel Sickles, to the forced sterilization case that had an impact nationally and internationally, these cases will provide patrons with an opportunity to decide, "How might I have voted had I been a juror?"


  1. Cases Involving Celebrities: The Case of Fatty Arbuckle - Greed and sex result in the destruction of the career of a famous American comedian who is wrongly convicted; The Inquest of Cheryl Crane - The daughter of Lana Turner kills her mother's lover, mobster Johnny Strompanato; Raymond Finch and Carole Tregoff - Will a woman go to any extreme to win the man she loves?
  2. The Roxanne Pulitzer Divorce Case - Was Roxanne Pulitzer a "strumpet" unfit for motherhood or was Herbert Pulitzer just anxious to call it quits? Alice Crimmins Trial - Did she kill her children because of lust for a life as a swinger?
  3. The Case of Vera Stretz - A young woman kills her lover who debases her sexually and gives rise to the recognition of her lawyer, Samuel Leibowitz.  Caryl Chessman - The debate over the death penalty is of prime concern in this case involving a man accused of sexual perversion and robbery.
  4. Albert DeSalvo Case - The self-acclaimed Boston Strangler fights to use insanity as a defense for multiple murders. Buck vs. Bell - Carrie Buck, wrongly classified as feeble-minded, is involuntarily sterilized resulting in an excuse at the Nurenberg trials years later.

About the Instructor

  • Myrna Goldberger has been a presenter for 25-plus years. Educated at the University of Maryland, Loyola College and Johns Hopkins University, Goldberger has had more than 50 years of experience in educational programming, including Elderhostel and special function and scholar-in-residence weekends. She currently presents lectures to community and religious groups, as well as to special-interest groups in Florida and other states. Moreover, she performs in self-written, one-act plays focusing on famous American women and men.

    Recipient of the 1999 Excellence in Teaching Award

Upcoming programs presented by Myrna Goldberger.

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