Ghoul TV

Sex Crime

In October 2013, Philip Chism, then 14 years old and a student at Danvers High School, Massachusetts, committed an unspeakable crime. Staying behind with his mathematics teacher, 24 year old Colleen Ritzer – who was trying to help him – he followed her into the bathroom, strangled her, stabbed her 16 times, and then raped her, apparently after death.

Philip Chism

Philip Chism, 14, allegedly followed Ritzer into the bathroom where he attacked her with a box cutter.

Dumping her body in a recycling bin, he wheeled it out to some nearby woods. Colleen Ritzer was stripped naked from the waist down, and a tree branch was thrust into her vagina. After this outrage, Chism went to see a film using her stolen bank card. When he was arrested he was found also to have stolen her underwear.

Apart from the murder and rape, almost all the important elements of the crime were caught on CCTV. Tried as an adult, the only defence Chism could put forward was insanity, which is no defence at all. Needless to say, he was convicted. So why then was it deemed necessary for all the gory details to be not only recited in court but for them to be filmed and uploaded to YouTube, for her parents, family and friends to have to relive it, and for the world to stare in ghoulish fascination foe years to come?

Colleen Ritzer

Colleen Ritzer, 24 (Facebook)

YouTube may be the biggest but it is far from the only video site to host shocking videos, and it is right that such videos continue to be uploaded. Videos like this one, which shows a likely deranged woman who had murdered a young girl and severed her head. There are limits though; surely we do not have to become ghouls watching lawyers discussing (largely unnecessarily) the defiling of a young woman and her body when the lessons of the crime have already been learned?


About the author

Alexander Baron