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The Reader's Digest (OLD print issue) ^ | Oct 1991 | Robert James Bidinotto

Posted on 07/20/2002 6:11:03 AM PDT by GailA

Readers Digest Special Report October 1991

Freed to Rape Again

By Robert James Bidinotto

By the time Michael L. Reese was 17, he had sexually assaulted at least four children. Each time he was caught he spent, at most, a few months in a youth facility or in counseling.

Later, given six years in prison for a rape, Reese was paroled in three. With in weeks, he attacked another girl and got six months in jail. Soon after his release, he raped again. But the judge refused to impose any mandatory minimum term. "I feel that is inconsistent with having him treated," he said.

After spending three years in a sex offender program at Oregon State Hospital, Reese was declared a "successful graduate" and paroled. Then he tried to sodomize an 11-year-old girl. He got three -- to -- ten more years, but was paroled after serving the minimum sentence. Last December, Reese kidnapped and tried to sexually assault a young woman.

James Charles Stark got three years to life for a kidnap-- rape in California. He was paroled it less than three. After attempting rape again, he got 1 to 20 years but was in there three. Six months later, he molested a 14-year-old girl.

Stark was sent to Patton State Hospital near San Bernardino. After four years there, he was to return to court and sentenced to eight years in prison. Paroled only a year later, he then kidnapped, raped and shot a teenage girl.

Sickening cases like these two are occurring with alarming frequency, a nationwide Readers Digest investigation has discovered. Of the thousands of chronic rapists and child molesters, who prey on society, surprisingly few are arrested or convicted. And for those who are, the punishment rarely fits the crime.

Their juvenile offenses are glossed over. They are allowed to plea -- bargain. They are put on probation. When they do receive prison terms, they are paroled early. "Most return to their predatory ways," says Capt. Thomas Chronin of the Chicago Police Department, a noted expert on criminal psychology. "Often, their behavior escalates in frequency and brutality."

Haunting Picture. "Up to the mid-1960s, we saw few juvenile sex offenders," reports veteran forensic psychologist John Cochran. "Today, there's a flood."

The justice system has failed to come to grips with the problem. A study commissioned by Utah juvenile -- court executives explained that many sexual offenses by youths went unreported, or charges were dropped, redefined as normal "experimentation."

Teenagers Timothy Anthony Combs and Danny Lee Hill were well known to authorities in Warren, Ohio. Combs, who had and extensive arrest record, had been convicted for gross sexual imposition on another boy. Hill had been given a "permanent commitment" to juvenile facilities after raping two women at knifepoint, during which he threatened to kill his victims and rape one woman's three-year-old daughter. While incarcerated, Hill sexually molested a boy and threatened other boys with violence. Nevertheless, he was released after only a year.

On September 10, 1985, 12-year-old Raymond Fife of Warren, Ohio was biking to a Boy Scouts meeting. He never made it. Hill and Combs raped, beat and tortured Raymond. After choking him with his clothes, they impaled the unconscious born with a stick. Then they set him on fire.

Raymond, who was found by his father, Isaac, never regained consciousness and died two days later. The horrors of that evening still haunt Isaac. "I can't tell you the hell he has had to live with, seeing that picture in his mind," says his wife, Miriam.

"Bargain Day" in Court. Investigators have discovered that by the time sex criminals reach adulthood most have committed an extensive member of offenses that are never reported. Psychologist Philip Humbert of Eugene Oregon, was treating eight sex criminals charge with 16 offenses in all and convicted of 12. The eight admitted to over 13,000 deviant acts, including molestation and rape.

When the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico, Virginia, research the backgrounds of incarcerated serial rapist, they found that 41 of them were responsible for at least 837 rapes and over 400 more attempts. In a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, Emory University psychiatrist Gene G. Able found that 453 criminals admitted to molesting more than 67,000 children. Those who abused girls had an average of 52 victims each. But men who molested boys had an astonishing average of 150 victims.

When these repeat sex offenders are finally caught, they are encouraged to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for reduced punishment. Multiple charges pending against them are dropped, and they are often given probation instead of prison. Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge Ralph Adam Fine asks, "What is the serial rapist to think when its 'bargain day' at the courthouse: three rapes for the price of one?"

Melvin Hemphill was arrested in Hollywood CA for robbery and accused of sexual assault by the victim. A plea bargain dropped all him but misdemeanor charge. Hemphill was freed on two years probation. Arrested again for robbery and sexual assault in Ohio, he was allowed to plea bargain only to robbery. His 3 to 15 years sentence was suspended. Hemphill was put on probation and sent back to California.

A few months later, in May 1988, a janitor at Hollywood High School followed a 200-ft. trail of blood to a ventilation shaft. There, strangled and sexually assaulted, was the body of teenager Robert Campo, Jr. Hemphill was soon arrested and allowed to plea bargain to second-degree murder. He will be eligible for parole in 1998.

"More than one person murdered my son," says Robert's mother, Mary Campo. "The whole criminal justice system let us down."

Crazy like a Fox. Many of us assume that anyone who would molest, torture or kill women or children must be insane. As a result says Terry Miller, an Oregon therapist who has worked with many violent offenders, "treatment programs have been used as a substitute for imprisonment." The Vermont based Safer Society Program, which monitors treatment efforts, reports that such programs have mushroom nationally, from fewer than 600 in 1986 to over 1400 today.

Yet, increasingly, experts reject the few that sexual deviants are mentally ill. Virginia clinical psychologist Stanton Samenow, has studied criminals for over twenty years. "The sex criminals anything but 'sick.' He is calculating and deliberate in his actions. He just shuts off his knowledge of right and wrong long enough to commit his crimes."

Warren Bland, the serial rapist, was sent to California's Atascadero mental hospital, released on probation, convicted for more rapes imprisoned and paroled. He then abducted, sexually assaulted and tortured and 11-year-old boy with clothespins, wire and pliers. "I get my fun this way to" Bland told the screaming child.

Sexual predators take their primary pleasure in dominating a helpless victim. "They are playing God," says Miller.

No "Cure." Oregon researcher Lita Furby and two associates reviewed the re-offense rates of sex criminals from treatment programs through out North America and Europe. They concluded: "There is as yet no evidence that clinical treatment reduces rates of sex re-offenses." Cautions forensics psychologist Cochran, "Treatment has been oversold."

Moreover, the legal system rarely monitors offenders once they are diverted into therapy. "Judges and parole boards order sex criminals into treatment, but do not necessarily follow up when they quit," complains Steve Jensen, director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention in Beaverton, Oregon. And to often psychiatrist recycle dangerous offenders back into the streets, says Wisconsin's Judge Fine.

Convicted of exposing himself to a small boy in Washington, Wesley Allen Dodd entered a sex offender treatment program. Even though he repeatedly violated treatment rules, a court allowed him to move to Idaho and enroll in the another therapy program. Officials there said he seemed to be "benefiting from the sessions." Less than a month later, he was arrested for molesting another boy. Dodd was ordered to resume treatment.

Dodd moved back to Washington, abused a four-year old for months, then tried to lure another boy to an building. He spent 118 days in jail, was again put on probation and the to seek treatment.

In September 1989, Dodd raped and killed William and Cole Neer, ages 10 and 11. In October he sodomized four-year-old Lee Iseli, then hung the boy in a closet to die. In November, Dodd was caught trying to abduct another boy from a movie theater. He now awaits execution.

Theodore Frank was convicted of numerous statistic sexual assaults on children. Frank was committed to, then released from, several mental hospitals, where he became an eager student of psychology. He was invited back to a California hospital to lecture as a guest speaker at a model of the effectiveness of therapy.

Weeks later, he raped, then strangled a two-year old girl. "When convenient," he admitted, "I have used by knowledge of psychotherapy as an ongoing game a manipulation."

"Sexual offenders are far better at manipulation and deceit than many therapists can comprehend," says therapist Jensen. "And I admit that I can be fooled by them."

Common-Sense Solutions. Sexual criminals must no longer be allowed to terrorize society with impunity. To control this growing menace, psychiatric experts and law-enforcement officers suggest these measures:

1. Get tough on first offenders. For those who commit violent assaults or sexually abuse children, penalties should be massive from the outset. Too many first-time sex offenders get suspended sentences or probation. “This is a gross perversion of justice and common sense,” argues Chicago’s Captain Cronin. “When first offenders get a slap on the wrist, they think, ‘I’ve beaten the system.’ They get the wrong message from the start.”

Experts warn that therapy should never be a substitute for incarceration. “Every sex offender should do some jail time,” Jensen says. “It gives them a taste of reality.”

2. Get even tougher on repeaters. Jill Otey, a former sex-crimes prosecutor in Portland, Ore., who helps victims with civil suits, says of violent rapists, “After the second offense, such attackers deserve life in prison. Why give them a third chance?”

But though sentences can be undermined by plea bargaining, which is sometimes meant to spare victims further pain. “This puts the rest of us at risk,” Judge Fine says.

Though a judge must make sure that a trial is not overly traumatic to victims, Fine contends that “in my experience, the victim’s worst trauma occurs when the attacker isn’t properly punished.”

In addition, the lunacy of basing parole on a sex criminal’s behavior in prison must end. “Of course the rapist or pedophile is going to behave himself behind bars,” observes Captain Cronin. “No women or children are there to attack.”

3. Tracking them. Whenever sex offenders are freed, their activities must be carefully supervised and monitored.

“Right now, our country has huge gaps in the identification and tracking of convicted sex offenders,” declares Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

David Barry Harrington was convicted of child molesting in Connecticut. While under investigation for a similar crime in Vermont, he disappeared. Then Harrington became principal of a private school in Maryland, where he molested several young boys. A pre-employment background check of Maryland records had revealed none of his out-of-state crimes.

California requires anyone convicted of specified sex crimes to register with the state, and to notify local police whenever they move. The registry helped lead police to serial rapist Warren Bland, for example, and to William Bonin, the infamous “Freeway Killer,” who is currently on death row for 14 sex murders.

“There should be a sex-offender registry in every state, and these should be coordinated through a national network,” says Ernie Allen.

The ultimate price of our leniency toward violent sexual marauders is paid each year by the thousands whose lives are destroyed.

Five-year-old Kenny Claudio of Roslindale, Mass., left his house to play one October afternoon. He never came back. A few days later, police discovered Kenny’s body in a garbage bag. He had been sexually assaulted, then drowned in a bathtub.

They arrested Matthew Rosenberg, 14, who later pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in juvenile court. But the criminal-justice system responded in all-too-familiar ways. The Massachusetts Department of youth Services placed Resenberg in sex-offender therapy, from which he may be released as early as March. A DYS spokeswoman explains, “Every kid should be given a chance.”

“He’s a rapist and a murderer. How many chances does he get?” asks Marilyn Abramofsky, the woman who raised Kenny. “My Kenny is dead. How many more have to die?”

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: crime; sexoffenders
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The disappearance of Elizabeth Smart and the kidnapping, rape and brutal murder of Samantha Runnion have FReepers asking WHY are these monsters on our streets instead of in prison. This old article gives a lot of answers to those questions.

This is an older article it is NOT online. The information in it is valuable in understanding why we are not locking our sex offenders up for life.

1 posted on 07/20/2002 6:11:03 AM PDT by GailA
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To: GailA
Just incase you would like to send cards or donations to the family of 5 year old Samantha Runnion of Stanton Ca., who was kidnapped and murdered this week, I have listed the address below.

Samantha Runnion Fund
Stanton City Hall
7800 Katella Ave.
Stanton, CA. 90680

2 posted on 07/20/2002 6:12:05 AM PDT by GailA
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To: GailA
Thanks for posting this. 11 yrs later I wonder how much more revealing these stats would be.

No parole, no get out of jail free card, no free meals in an air conditioned facility at taxpayer expense for the duration of the prison sentence.


No sitting on death row for 10-20 yrs.

Execution to be carried within 3 mos. of conviction.

Scum of the earth is what these perverts are.

3 posted on 07/20/2002 6:18:47 AM PDT by tutstar
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To: Nightshift; FresnoDA; davidosborne
4 posted on 07/20/2002 6:19:53 AM PDT by tutstar
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To: GailA
The thought just occurred to me, did you save this copy of RD for this many years? LOL
5 posted on 07/20/2002 6:20:48 AM PDT by tutstar
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To: tutstar
No I re-typed it into Word to save on my hard drive.
6 posted on 07/20/2002 6:22:07 AM PDT by GailA
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To: GailA
This plea bargaining and paroling early for good behavior, I'm sure it frustrates the police who know the guys are going to be back in their neighborhoods, preying on people they're trying to keep safe......something must be done in the legislature to have parole not been an option for sexual offenses (i.e., rapes).
7 posted on 07/20/2002 6:28:39 AM PDT by nicmarlo
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To: GailA
I feel like taking a shower after reading that article.
8 posted on 07/20/2002 6:35:20 AM PDT by cardinal4
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To: GailA
Obviously we as a society have decided that we would rather spend time and effortgiving absolutely useless so called treatment to the animals who have declared war on every decent human being. Clearly should any such animal ever attack someone close tome then there is nothing to prevent me from stopping him from any further attrocities and I would certainly do so.

Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown

9 posted on 07/20/2002 6:48:57 AM PDT by harpseal
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To: GailA
Well, we have to make room for those recreational pot smokers! You know, the "three times and you're out" hazards to society who are caught with a joint or two that have to fulfill those "mandatory" jail terms.

Let all the sexual creeps/pedo-pervsrapistsumbagsdogvomitus out to make room for joe, the the "pot head"
10 posted on 07/20/2002 7:09:14 AM PDT by corlorde
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To: GailA
In criminal proceedings, much attention is paid to insuring the Constitutional rights of the defendant and it is forgotten that the prosecution is the representive of the people who also have the same rights as the defendant. Thus, the courts and other government bodies administering "justice" are subject to the admonishments of the Constitutional Amendents to insure equal protection under the laws. Early release of dangerous felons is governmental action which may result in the denial of civil rights to innocent victims and thus is unequal protection
under the law.
11 posted on 07/20/2002 7:16:53 AM PDT by monocle
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To: GailA


A former economics major at Grove City College during the late 1960s, Robert James Bidinotto is an award-winning investigative journalist, author, lecturer, and a nationally recognized expert on crime.

He is perhaps best known for his article "Getting Away With Murder" in the July 1988 Reader's Digest. That investigative piece stirred a national controversy about prison furlough programs during the 1988 presidential campaign, and helped make convicted killer Willie Horton a household name. The Almanac of American Politics 1990 called it "the most influential piece of journalism in the whole campaign." It was honored by the American Society of Magazine Editors as a finalist for Best Magazine Story of 1988 in the "Public Interest" category.

Bidinotto has since authored Reader's Digest exposes on sex offenders, the secrecy of criminal "rap sheets," the legal system's "revolving-door" policies, and probation abuses. His November 1994 article "Must Our Prisons Be Resorts?" inspired federal legislation to reduce excessive amenities available to inmates. Criminal Justice? The Legal System Versus Individual Responsibility, his first book, was published in 1995 with a Foreword by John Walsh of the "America's Most Wanted" TV show. Acclaimed by legal scholars, victims' rights groups and law enforcement officials, it was distributed to every member of the 104th Congress. His latest book, Freed to Kill (1996), was issued in a first printing of nearly 150,000 copies. Promoted in media appearances by Fred Goldman, a vocal figure in the O.J. Simpson murder trials, the book garnered wide attention.

In 1985, the Free Press Association awarded Bidinotto its prestigious Mencken Award for Best Feature Story. During the National Victims' Rights Week ceremony in New York City on April 21, 1991, a coalition of 22 crime victims groups presented him their 1991 Media Award, "for sensitivity and fairness in reporting victims' issues." In 1996, he received the media award of the Philadelphia Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates, "for exemplary service and support to victims and witnesses of crime."

Besides his work on crime, Bidinotto has written investigative articles for Reader's Digest on such topics as homelessness, global warming and the 1989 Alar scare. His articles, columns, essays, book and film reviews have appeared in The Boston Herald, Success, The American Spectator, City Journal, Reason, Writer's Digest, and in many other publications and anthologies. His work has been cited or reprinted in such major media outlets as U. S. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Boston Herald, The Boston Globe, The Detroit News, The Miami Herald, Advertising Age, Forbes, Liberty; The Spectator and The Guardian in England, The Alberta Report in Canada, and in other journals.

A frequent public speaker and talk show guest, Bidinotto has appeared on such programs as CBS radio's "Crosstalk," CNBC's "Rivera Live," CNN's "Sonya Live," "The Rush Limbaugh Show," "Geraldo," and on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio network.

Currently, Bidinotto is on the staff of The Objectivist Center in Poughkeepsie, New York. In addition, he is at work on a novel, and other non-fiction projects.

I don't think I ever heard of that guy. There's 104 hits at google on him. As far as I can tell, this is his latest article (9-11):
Unilateral Moral Disarmament
12 posted on 07/20/2002 7:18:56 AM PDT by JudyB1938
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To: UCANSEE2; FresnoDA; Mrs.Liberty; demsux; MizSterious; Jaded; skipjackcity; RnMomof7; spectre; ...
*** PING ***
13 posted on 07/20/2002 7:21:52 AM PDT by JudyB1938
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To: JudyB1938

IF these guys have to be released back into society, it should be mandatory they are neutered before they are set free.


14 posted on 07/20/2002 7:35:44 AM PDT by spectre
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To: Thud
A criminal punishment adjustment needed ping
15 posted on 07/20/2002 7:46:54 AM PDT by Dark Wing
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To: spectre
I honestly don't think that would do any good. It's not about sex is what I've been reading - it's about violence and control. I think those kind of people should be given the death penalty upon a second offense, to be carried out within a designated time - regardless of the appeal system.
16 posted on 07/20/2002 8:48:01 AM PDT by JudyB1938
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To: GailA
Is it possible that the "judges" that give these slime light sentences aren't perhaps themselves rapists and child molestors just as klein in orange county, CA.

What filth walks the streets of America and perhaps wear black robes in some instances.

17 posted on 07/20/2002 8:51:14 AM PDT by poet
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To: GailA
I read a good post on one of these threads a while back that said the Eighth Amendment should be modified to read something like:

"No cruel or unusual punishment... unless the crime involves physical violence against a child. Then knock yourselves out."
18 posted on 07/20/2002 9:00:39 AM PDT by Jonathon Spectre
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To: tutstar
19 posted on 07/20/2002 9:00:51 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: GailA
2. Get even tougher on repeaters. Jill Otey, a former sex-crimes prosecutor in Portland, Ore., who helps victims with civil suits, says of violent rapists, “After the second offense, such attackers deserve life in prison. Why give them a third chance?”

Why give them a second chance? They deserve life imprisonment the first time around.

20 posted on 07/20/2002 9:25:02 AM PDT by Mrs.Liberty
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