Man rapes, tortures five daughters, impregnates them repeatedly, forces them to deliver babies at home.
Administers beatings with steel-toe boots, wooden boards. Withholds food, doles out extreme psychological torture.
Flees authorities. Keeps the young women captive for decades. For their lifetimes. Receives probation after getting caught once. Some of the babies die. Daughters, wife forced to secretly bury them.
But what about the admissibility of evidence? Isn’t that what’s really important here?
AP — A New Jersey man with apocalyptic visions is accused of years of terrorizing his family, raping his five daughters and impregnating three, beating his children with wooden boards and even moving at one point to avoid child welfare investigators. The nightmarish picture of a family subjected to more than a decade of threats and violence and largely cut off from the outside world is emerging in a state courthouse where prosecutors are preparing to have the man stand trial five times, one per child victim. . . . In her testimony, his daughter described experiencing and witnessing beatings administered with wooden boards and steel-toed boots. She said minor transgressions often were punished by the withholding of food. The girl’s mother testified some of the babies were delivered at home and never received birth certificates, and said in at least two instances babies who died in the home were buried without authorities being notified. The children were home-schooled, she said, and were discouraged from interacting with other kids. “No one really asked questions of each other because somebody would tell on somebody and somebody would get in trouble,” she said. Even after she became aware of sexual abuse, she said she was too frightened to confront him. “I was afraid to ever accuse him of being demented, or being a pedophile. I knew the word but I wouldn’t dare use it because it would result in a beating,” she said. “I’m sure my not standing up to him didn’t help the kids. They felt disempowered also. There was just a lot of fear. Everybody was threatened.” Daryl Pennington, an attorney representing the defendant, did not return messages seeking comment
Now, wait for it . . .
Attorneys are scheduled back in court on Friday, when state Superior Court Judge Raymond Reddin is to rule on the admissibility of the wife’s testimony.
It’s the system, not Judge Reddin’s fault, but they will spend more time in that courtroom quibbling over rules of evidence than talking about the crimes themselves. Such is our justice system, after fifty years of defense-driven exclusion of evidence rulings. The truth, the whole truth, about what this man has done will unavoidably take a back seat to our sickening and criminal-biased criminal procedural rules.
So who, other than the defendant, is at fault?
Usually, the media’s default angle in a case like this is the “failure of child protection authorities” line. But is it really the child protection workers who failed when the court lets him go? In this case, child protection did their job by getting this animal into a courtroom and at least temporarily removing one of his children from the home. They some judge cut him loose.
Many reporters view child protection workers as fair game — prosecutors and judges, not so much.
Refreshingly, the AP reporter here does not point fingers at the child protection workers and call it a day. He seeks comment from the prosecutors in the previous case, where the offender was permitted to walk away from extremely serious charges. However, the reporter doesn’t name the judge who delivered such a lenient sentence. Maybe the prosecutors were asking for more time. Maybe it was the judge’s fault. Maybe both the prosecutor and the judge wanted to throw the book at this man, but they were constrained by a system that still makes it difficult to hold people responsible for crimes committed against their own children. Here is the AP account:
As the first [rape] case nears trial, questions have been raised about whether state authorities could have put a stop to the abuse sooner. Some of the crimes are alleged to have occurred while the family was under scrutiny by the state child welfare agency, and after the father had been arrested and pleaded guilty to assault and child endangerment.
During that time, child protection authorities has already brought the man to court. His success in essentially beating the charges (mere probation, despite fleeing, kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, abuse) cannot be laid at their feet. Doubtlessly, beating those charges empowered the abuser. I’m sure the child protection workers feared for his daughter’s lives after the court cut him loose. Then, this:
Arrested in 2006, [the defendant] stands accused of raping five of his daughters, three of whom are believed to have given birth to a total of six children. He is being held on $1 million bond. Having been ruled competent to stand trial earlier this year, he faces 27 charges including aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, lewdness, child endangerment, aggravated criminal sexual contact and criminal sexual contact.
He is back in jail now, awaiting trial, but this man was out of jail on bail for the 2006 rape charges for a very long time. NorthJersey.com has more troubling details about his time out, below.
If the defendant was being evaluated for mental competence, for such serious offenses — five young rape victims, three repeatedly impregnated by him — and if the question was whether he even had the ability to control this behavior (shades of the twinkie excuse of sexual assault), and if his wife and daughters had been tortured by him and were terrorized by him, and he believed their lives were his to destroy, what the hell was he doing out of prison for five minutes, let alone 3+ years, while being “evaluated for psychological competence”?
What type of system says to a serial rapist and torturer: OK, you may not be able to control your rapin’, torturin’ behavior, so we’re going to cut you loose while your lawyer drags out the process of getting you checked out by the yours-and-mine shrinks?
Our system. I wonder how many other little girls this rapist was able to “get” while awaiting trial this time. We know some of what he did the last time he walked away with a slap on the wrist:
Authorities say the assaults began in the mid-1980s and lasted until 2002, when the parents separated, and occurred at residences in Paterson, East Orange, Orange and Eatontown. . . According to court records and published reports, the girls’ father was arrested in 2000 and charged with kidnapping for allegedly trying to take three of his children from state custody at a Monmouth County medical center. He posted bail and later pleaded guilty to assault and child endangerment and was sentenced to a year’s probation. Prosecutors in Passaic County say one of the daughters, then in her early teens, was raped as late as January 2002. New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services declined to comment, citing confidentiality requirements. But the man’s wife and one of his daughters testified that the agency had indeed removed at least one of the children from the family’s home, and that the family had temporarily moved, first to Jersey City and then to Florida, to avoid the agency’s investigation.
Who was the judge in the 2000 case? What does he or she have to say about the decision to give him probation for such serious offenses?
NorthJersey.com has more information about the 2006 bail decision. The defendant has been out on bail for years and was only remanded six months ago. Read this horrifying passage carefully:
It is a complicated series of events that led a state Superior Court judge in Paterson to remand [the defendant] to the Passaic County Jail on Sept. 24 after having been free on $500,000 bail since his 2006 arrest. [He] is awaiting trial on charges he sexually assaulted his daughters and deliberately impregnated them. [The defendant], 50, committed the sexual assaults from 1985 through 2002 in Paterson, East Orange, Orange and Eatontown, according to prosecutors. Authorities have described him as a “blueblood,” or someone who believes in keeping his bloodlines pure, and that the assaults were a disturbing attempt to create “purebred” offspring. A hearing is scheduled before state Superior Court Judge Raymond Reddin in Paterson on Tuesday to determine how to deal with the matrix of factors that have made and could continue to make the $280,000 home he used as collateral for his bail insufficient. [The defendant] will remain in jail as long as the matter is unresolved. What led to the suddenly precarious status of [the defendant's] bail was that prosecutors noticed the defendant was apparently accompanied by a woman and a young child at a recent pretrial conference before Reddin last month, said Joseph Del Russo, Passaic County chief assistant prosecutor. Defendants in sexual assault cases — as a condition of bail — are often ordered not to have contact with small children. Prosecutors checked to see if such a no-contact order was part of [the defendant's] bail conditions set back in 2006. As it turns out, it was. But that became a side issue when prosecutors noticed an even bigger problem, Del Russo said. “We began to discover that his original bail posting — that is, the original process of posting bail with the County Bail Unit — was flawed,” Del Russo said. The most glaring problem, Del Russo said, was that proof that the property [the defendant] owned was worth $285,000 and was unencumbered — meaning no liens against it — was misleading. The document providing that proof was actually a title search produced by the seller of the property, according to Del Russo.
Let me attempt to reign in my disgust here long enough to paraphrase:
This child-raping animal has been walking free for 3 1/2 years while his attorneys successfully deflected his trial on multiple rape and torture charges. By now, the defendant is so unworried about consequences that he actually showed up in court with a woman and young child — knowing full well that by having the child with him, he was violating his bail conditions in a child-rape case — in front of law enforcement, the prosecutor, and the judge.
However, the revelation that the child-rapist had another child under his control isn’t what landed him in jail again.
No, the endangering-another-innocent-child-after-impregnating-three-of-your-daughters-six-times-and-raping-two-others isn’t the problem. Oh, heck no. That, according to the reporter, the courts can swallow. Regarding that, they’re good with the guy being out on the streets indefinitely. Another two or three years, at least.
So what’s this bigger problem than child rape? Real estate valuation.
The quote bigger problem unquote is that the child-rapist’s house, which he put up for collateral for bail, has some title issues and needs to be reappraised. Yes indeed, that’s far more relevant than letting a child-rapist traipse out of the courtroom with another little baby in tow:
The most glaring problem, [Passaic County assistant prosecutor Joseph] Del Russo said, was that proof that the property [the defendant] owned was worth $285,000 and was unencumbered — meaning no liens against it — was misleading. The document providing that proof was actually a title search produced by the seller of the property, according to Del Russo.”The seller produced for [the defendant] a title search that showed the house was paid for — free and clear — and unencumbered,” Del Russo said. “Instead of [the defendant] showing his interest in the property, he showed us a document from the seller, rather than from him. So we don’t know, when he brought the house, whether he had a tax lien that followed him, or if he took a second mortgage on it. It was certainly misleading, let’s put it that way.”
Pardon me for being blunt, but shouldn’t the prosecutor be raising hell about the fact that the child rapist has a little child in his custody instead of prattling on to the media about real estate minutiae?
To heck with the mental state of the defendant: unless the NorthJersey.com reporter got the story very wrong, the heads Passaic County authorities need to be examining are the ones on the northern end of their own necks. While the rest of us examine our hearts. Doesn’t child rape matter? Child rape. Impregnating your daughters, over and over again. Forcing them to give birth in front of you, for the love of God. Making them bury their babies in secret.
Kicking their little bodies with steel-toed shoes. Between rapes. The prosecutor is busy talking about real estate?
Whenever I read a story like this, I wonder at the lack of outrage.
- Where are the campus rape activists and the N.O.W. activists, with their “take back the night” marches and “teach-ins” and glossy “no-means-no” leaflets? Is that all just . . . self-serving theatrics?
- Where are the legal activists and law school students and law professors who pour millions of dollars and thousands of hours into investigating perfectly legitimate convictions every year because “every single injustice is unacceptable” . . . unless, of course, it is injustice absorbed by the victims of crime?
- Where are the across-the-disciplines academics who never met a violent offender who didn’t simply titillate them? Do they ever doubt their loyalties, ethics, or research claims, looking at a case like this?
- Where are the tough-on-crime politicians? Are conservatives still playing shy on child molestation because their “pro-family” constituents don’t like the state messing with private lives? Are the “dad’s rights” deadbeats whining about attacks on the patriarchy again? The small government purists linking arms with the A.C.L.U. to denounce prison costs?
- Where are the crusading journalists, especially self-styled experts like Dorothy Rabinowitz, who has been dining out on the story of two (two!) bad child rape prosecutions from two decades ago, although no pattern of wrongful prosecution was ever uncovered (because none existed)? Rabinowitz’s large-print account of the Amirault and Michaels cases has done immeasurable damage to the ability of prosecutors to convince jurors that a child has been raped, yet Rabinowitz has never revisited her own claims that these anomalous cases represented anything other than a real good chance to present herself as some sort of breathless freedom fighter. “Like lightning, the charge could strike anyone” she trilled. With no supporting evidence. Because there was none. This shameful chapter in the usually reliable Wall Street Journal’s history, and Rabinowitz’s histrionic, projection-heavy, thin-on-facts book, No Crueler Tyrannies, could both use an honesty makeover via some attention to the unfolding Paterson case, which has far more in common with the average child molestation case than the handful of decades-old cases Rabinowitz still rails about.
You know, in the interest of opposing cruel tyrannies.