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If You’re Still Thinking Bob Barr Might Make A Good Candidate Despite That Baby Doc Thing . . .

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I urge you to take a few more strolls down memory lane.  Let’s take the older post first.  Note the date:

September, 2011: Gaming The System: DragonCon Founder Edward Kramer Caught With Another Boy 

“Are we actually supposed to believe that Bob Barr and his partner, Edwin Marger, knew nothing about Ed Kramer’s real physical condition when they claimed he was too sick to attend court in 2009, or that he had basically fled what little court-ordered control they had managed to wrangle for him under extremely questionable circumstances?  Well, here’s some clues:

Ed Kramer sporting a Barr ’08 button

Here’s Ed Kramer in either 2007 or 2008.  He claimed he was too sick to stand trial for molestation, but he looks like he was having a really good time campaigning for his lawyer, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr.  If anyone knows more about this photo, please contact me.

Ed Kramer at the 2008 DragonCon

Here’s Ed Kramer hanging out at DragonCon when he was supposed to be housebound and in such serious pain from a “spinal injury” that he couldn’t stay awake for trial.  Hundreds of people saw him hanging out at a hotel in downtown Atlanta after midnight, chilling with some guy in latex shorts carrying a bongo drum.  What, they couldn’t pick up a phone when they saw the following story in the newspaper a few months later?  You know . . . acting to protect kids from getting raped, like their favorite superhero might do?

Read the rest of my 2011 post here

Now fast-forward a mere 26 months.  Bob’s client didn’t waste much time after Barr got him sprung from protective custody . . . again, check the date:

December, 2013:  Ed Kramer Guilty of Child Molestation: Now Will Bob Barr Face Consequences for His Role in the Deception?

After leaving Congress in 2003, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr reinvented himself politically in dramatic ways.  He aligned with the ACLU, began advocating for the legalization of marijuana, and ran for president on the 2008 Libertarian Party ticket.  Now Barr is attempting to rejoin the Republican and conservative mainstream in a bid to secure Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, where he is currently a leading contender.

Barr’s about-face on issues that alienate conservative voters left many wondering what he really stands for.  His role in the notoriously corrupt defense of now-convicted child molester Ed Kramer should raise more questions in voters’ minds.  Here is my previous post on Kramer’s decade-long manipulation of the justice system.

Edward Kramer, co-founder of the sci-fi and fantasy convention, Dragonconpled guilty in a Georgia courtroom yesterday to three counts of child molestation in a case that has been delayed thirteen years, thanks to repeated efforts by Kramer himself to claim medical incapacity.  Barr served as Kramer’s attorney until early 2013, when he decided to run for office again.  But Barr did not just serve as Kramer’s lawyer: he held the sci-fi purveyor up as the victim of a religion-fuelled witch-hunt; he helped him deceive the court regarding his client’s capacity to sit through a trial, and he helped him acquire an eyebrow-raising bond agreement that enabled Kramer to flee the state illegally, resulting in Kramer’s arrest in 2012 for endangering another child — a 14 year old boy Kramer had in his motel room in Connecticut.

As if these facts aren’t bad enough, Barr used the molester’s defense to promote his new libertarian politics.  You cannot separate the Kramer case from the person Barr is offering to voters, even if he tries to distance himself now.

In 2007 Barr told an audience at the Federalist Society that Kramer was a victim of his new pet peeve, prosecutorial over-reach.  Despite the fact that it was Kramer himself who had created the delays, Barr insisted that it was the fault of the state.  The video of Barr promoting Kramer’s case as a civil rights issue has, curiously, been scrubbed from the internet in the last 24 hours, but Barr’s incredibly sophomoric amicus brief on behalf of Kramer is going to be harder to erase.  Barr should be called on to re-release the video: he isn’t running for dog-catcher; he’s running for Congress, and his behavior and expressed beliefs between 2003 and 2013 should not be hidden from voters this way.”

Read the rest of my 2013 post here

Now — back to the future:  for those of you gearing up to send in whiny comments about how “everyone deserves a defense lawyer,” don’t bother.  Of course they do.  What child molesters don’t deserve is decades on the run while their lawyers use dirty tricks to keep them from facing justice in a courtroom.  And that is what Bob Barr did for this piece of human trash.  I don’t see how anyone could seriously believe Barr did not know that his (now former) client’s alleged “profound disability” was and is a stunt.

Porter on [April 2013] called two witnesses who testified about seeing Kramer, a science-fiction author and film buff, at movie sets in Kentucky and Connecticut taking behind-the-scenes pictures and video clips. Both the witnesses, one who was a makeup artist and another who was an audio/visual producer, testified that Kramer seemed to have no serious problem breathing, standing or walking around. They also said Kramer did not have an oxygen tank with him at the movie sets

Someone in the media ought to ask candidate Barr how much he billed his client — cough, the taxpayer — AND cost the court system — cough, the taxpayer — for everything from Ed Kramer’s faux vapors before every court date for over ten years to the medical privileges he demanded in prison to the gas mileage on the cop car that had to haul Kramer back from his 2012 woodland adventure in Connecticut.  Some details are here, but it’s hardly the final tally.

 

Common Core: The Bluest Eye Debate

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I’m coming late to the discussion about the inclusion of Toni Morrison’s novella Bluest Eye on high school reading lists (it is a popular choice for high school and college English classes as well as women’s studies classes, and this popularity predates the relatively new Common Core standards debates).  Some activists who became aware of the Toni Morrison book through their opposition to Common Core are arguing that Bluest Eye endorses child molestation because the book contains a character who is a molester speaking in the first person, and Morrison herself has made comments to the effect that she is trying to get readers to see his point of view, comments that are being taken out of context and misconstrued.  Incidentally, the book is also extremely graphic, more graphic than many people who are weighing in to defend it seem to be aware of — I suspect many of them didn’t actually read the book.

I don’t think The Bluest Eye is in any way an endorsement of pedophilia.  But I also don’t think that it, and other “problem story” books like it, are appropriate for literature classes — nor that they are put on the curriculum for their qualities as literature in the first place.  We’ve turned English and literature classes (excuse me, language arts) into social problem encounter sessions — sessions that often devolve into narcissistic competitions between varying claims of victimization.

This isn’t a new development: when I attended high school in the early 1980′s, Ordinary People was the “problem story” we were spoon-fed.  I remember embarrassing classroom discussions where the teacher seemed to be screening us for The Warning Signs of Suicide Attempts By Nice Middle-Class Kids, and to this day I also remember the general horror when she tried to make us talk in class about references to masturbation in the story.  To make things worse, rather than just being about thinking about Elizabeth McGovern, who played the love interest in the film version, masturbation was presented therapeutically — as the solution to anxiety recommended to the main character by his earthy white-ethnic psychiatrist — so there were layers upon layers of creepy psychologizing and equally creepy racial stereotyping being imposed on us.

I remember thinking at the time that the moral lesson of Ordinary People was the opposite of the moral lesson of Johnny Tremain.  I also thought it might be a sneaky exercise in making us appreciate reading Shakespeare.  For that, at least, it was effective: I gladly embraced the rigors of Elizabethan verse after wallowing in the claustrophobic wimpiness and snide references to female WASP frigidity unleashed by Robert Redford in his unpleasant movie version of that unpleasant, practically anti-literary novel.

Poor Mary Tyler Moore, too.

The Bluest Eye isn’t appropriate for children.  Full stop.  And though it is generally recommended only for 11th and 12th graders, I don’t think it’s appropriate for them, either, because any protracted classroom discussion forces students to engage in a sort of competitive demonizing — whites and child molesters being the targets — while simultaneously forcing discussion of extremely graphic sexual assaults, which is not appropriate for any literature classroom — including college classrooms.

Yet, Bluest Eye doesn’t endorse pedophilia. It accurately depicts the ways pedophiles view their crimes — how they seek tacit approval from society while abusing and grooming their victims.  It’s a powerful book for that, though the ways I have seen it taught have much more to do with creating tension between students of different races based on the child character’s feelings about whiteness.  And the way Morrison conflates “whiteness” with child molestation from the victim’s perception is disturbing.

It might be a good book for a college or graduate-level psychology or criminology course if the purpose of the assignment was learning about the dynamics of sex offenses involving children.  It’s also beautifully written, though I think Morrison cribs an awful lot — pretty much everything stylistic — from Faulkner.

The justification given for such readings — the claims that “social problem” books should be taught to “sensitize” and give voice to victims and help them speak out — is largely just self-aggrandizement by educators.

The activists who became aware of The Bluest Eye through their scrutiny of Common Core materials are certainly on the right track.  Through fighting Common Core, they are gaining an ever-deepening understanding of what academia has become.  The movement is maturing impressively fast, and the deeper they dig, the more evidence they’re uncovering about the ways that Common Core is both a new threat to local control of education — and just the latest iteration of the political and emotional manipulation that took over K – 12 classrooms a long time ago.

But to say that The Bluest Eye is sympathetic to child molesters is not defensible.

 

Ed Kramer Guilty of Child Molestation: Now Will Bob Barr Face Consequences for His Role in the Deception?

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After leaving Congress in 2003, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr reinvented himself politically in dramatic ways.  He aligned with the ACLU, began advocating for the legalization of marijuana, and ran for president on the 2008 Libertarian Party ticket.  Now Barr is attempting to rejoin the Republican and conservative mainstream in a bid to secure Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, where he is currently a leading contender.

Barr’s about-face on issues that alienate conservative voters left many wondering what he really stands for.  His role in the notoriously corrupt defense of now-convicted child molester Ed Kramer should raise more questions in voters’ minds.  Here is my previous post on Kramer’s decade-long manipulation of the justice system.

Edward Kramer, co-founder of the sci-fi and fantasy convention, Dragoncon, pled guilty in a Georgia courtroom yesterday to three counts of child molestation in a case that has been delayed thirteen years, thanks to repeated efforts by Kramer himself to claim medical incapacity.  Barr served as Kramer’s attorney until early 2013, when he decided to run for office again.  But Barr did not just serve as Kramer’s lawyer: he held the sci-fi purveyor up as the victim of a religion-fuelled witch-hunt; he helped him deceive the court regarding his client’s capacity to sit through a trial, and he helped him acquire an eyebrow-raising bond agreement that enabled Kramer to flee the state illegally, resulting in Kramer’s arrest in 2012 for endangering another child — a 14 year old boy Kramer had in his motel room in Connecticut.

As if these facts aren’t bad enough, Barr used the molester’s defense to promote his new libertarian politics.  You cannot separate the Kramer case from the person Barr is offering to voters, even if he tries to distance himself now.

In 2007 Barr told an audience at the Federalist Society that Kramer was a victim of his new pet peeve, prosecutorial over-reach.  Despite the fact that it was Kramer himself who had created the delays, Barr insisted that it was the fault of the state.  The video of Barr promoting Kramer’s case as a civil rights issue has, curiously, been scrubbed from the internet in the last 24 hours, but Barr’s incredibly sophomoric amicus brief on behalf of Kramer is going to be harder to erase.  Barr should be called on to re-release the video: he isn’t running for dog-catcher; he’s running for Congress, and his behavior and expressed beliefs between 2003 and 2013 should not be hidden from voters this way.

Ed Kramer, Out and About

Ed Kramer claimed for more than a decade that his medical condition prevented him from participating in a trial.  He claimed he was in excruciating pain, that he couldn’t walk or move or sit up, that he was not able to breathe.  Yet there are pictures of him from this time happily participating in a Dragoncon convention, and after Barr helped him get cut free from house arrest (a strange request from an invalid), he fled to another state and began filming a movie, where he was caught with the 14-year old boy in his custody.  He continues to play these legal games today.

Barr was not just Kramer’s defense attorney: he helped Kramer remain free through serial deception, then he helped Kramer blame the system — and the public — for trial delays he had actually created.  Along the way, Barr used Kramer’s case to assert that our justice system is corrupt and untrustworthy.  This is Barr’s political record for the last six years: by all means let him run on it.

Kramer avoided trial for almost a decade. He was released from house arrest in 2009 and the case remained in a holding pattern for two more years before he was allegedly spotted in a Milford, Conn., hotel room with an unsupervised 14-year-old boy.

Barr stayed involved in the Kramer case until it didn’t until it didn’t serve his political goals to be involved anymore.  He even lacks a strong commitment to injustice, is the best that might be said.

Timothy Alan Oates: Florida Under Gov. Bob Graham Let Another Child Rapist Free To Rape Again, Thank God for Registries

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. . . The bad old days.  This is Timothy Allen Oates:

In 1987, according to the Tampa Bay Times, he was sentenced to “27 years for ransom, attempted sexual battery on an adult and indecent assault on a child younger than 16.”  Actually it looks like it was ten years.

In any case, he was not supposed to be out of prison until 1997.  Or maybe 2014.  But he only served four years.  He got out in 1991, and guess what he did next?  He went back to prison for additional charges (and some of what may be the same charges).  In 1993, he was sentenced to 27 years and served ten years and nine months.  He got out a second time in 2004.

And then guess what he did next?  We don’t know the whole story, but last month he allegedly molested at least one child younger than 12 and took off for Washington State.

So why was he released in 1991, just a few years after being sentenced for multiple, violent sex crimes?  Why did he receive a sentence of 27 years in 1993 and get out a little more than ten years later?

In order to understand this case, you have to do a bit of digging.  Here is his record with the Department of Corrections.  This first block is the sentencing from 1987.  The second block is the sentencing from 1993.  The third block is the time he actually served in prison.  Look at the dates of the offenses — the 2/1/87 and 9/2/87 offenses appear in both sentencings.  The 5/18/86 charge was only part of the 1987 court decision, while a new 3/1/92 charge appears in 1993.  So my guess is that he was released VERY early for the first set of charges, then re-offended the minute he got out, then was re-sentenced on some crimes and given additional time for the new charges.

There are some other things to understand: he was 23 when he was first sentenced for this set of crimes.  So we don’t know if he had a juvenile record.  He was given a serious second chance, then he went right back into prison.  He got a third chance after his sentence was cut by more than 60%.  Now he’s been caught again.

This is what crime control was like in the 1980′s.  Things got better in the 1990′s, but not enough.  What does it take to put away a child rapist?  I’ll get back to you when we figure that out.

Thank God for sex crime registries.  Without registration, this guy would still be on the loose.  If only the media would mention that once in a while.

Prior Prison History: (Note: Data reflected covers periods of incarceration with the Florida Dept.of Corrections since January of 1983)
Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Prison Sentence Length
05/18/1986 L/L, INDEC.ASLT CHILD U/16 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8607334 10Y 0M 0D
05/18/1986 KIDNAP MINOR FOR RANSOM(ATTEMPTED) 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8607334 10Y 0M 0D
09/02/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8711422 10Y 0M 0D
02/01/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 09/29/1987 HILLSBOROUGH 8711423 10Y 0M 0D

Current Prison Sentence History:

Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Prison Sentence Length
09/02/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 03/11/1993 HILLSBOROUGH 8711422 27Y 0M 0D
02/01/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 03/11/1993 HILLSBOROUGH 8711423 27Y 0M 0D
02/01/1987 SEX BAT BY ADULT/VCTM LT 12(ATTEMPTED) 03/11/1993 HILLSBOROUGH 8711423 27Y 0M 0D
03/01/1992 KIDNAP;COMM.OR FAC.FELONY 12/09/1993 PINELLAS 9206504 27Y 0M 0D
03/01/1992 L/L, INDEC.ASLT CHILD U/16 12/09/1993 PINELLAS 9206504 15Y 0M 0D

 

Incarceration History:
Date In-Custody Date Out-of-Custody
10/02/1987 11/27/1991
04/08/1993 01/01/2004

Tina Fey Defiles Memory of Murdered Actor and Mocks Male Victims of Child Molestation While Denouncing “Hate Speech”

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Tina Fey: hypocritical, thoughtless bitch

I don’t normally commit slurs to the page: I just think them. My non-slur caption for this photo was “Tina Fey: Not Derrida.”  But I can commit the word “bitch” to the page because calling someone a “bitch” doesn’t count as “hate speech” by Fey’s lights.  Unless, of course, it’s said about a man.  Otherwise it’s just banter.  It certainly isn’t something that summons images of men calling women “bitches” as they stomp their faces into gravel, or abandon their broken bodies on the tall grass side of the road, or boil the skin off their bones on the kitchen stove.

Nope, “bitch” directed at females is a freebie, and doubly so when it comes from the mouth of an attractive woman like Fey.  You go, girl.

Fey recently slammed co-star Tracy Morgan for saying crude things about gays during a stand-up routine.  She did so, she said, because of the existence of anti-gay violence in the world.  If this really were the litmus test for comedy, there would be no comedy.  And Fey didn’t merely slam Morgan: she insinuated nastily that he should be on his knees thanking God for being forgiven by her and the gay people who work on 30 Rock. Here is her diatribe, which ugly-juggles sanctimony and threat:

[T]he violent imagery of Tracy’s rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community. . . I hope for his sake that Tracy’s apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket. The other producers and I pride ourselves on 30 Rock being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace.”

Well, slap my ass with a five-pound take-out chicken from Whole Foods, as one of Ms. Fey’s syndicated stereotypes might say.  Look, during a week when a jury in Cincinnati is deciding whether a baker’s dozen of raped, dismembered and decapitated women should equal death for a mere male-on-female hater, you’d think Ms. Fey would be more “inclusive” in her angst over victimization.

You’d think wrong.  In fact, Fey and the rest of the extra-sensitive 30 Rock crew were super busy this week mocking male victims of child molestation.

Thanks to the existence of a politically correct hate crimes movement that assigns wildly different values to different types of crime victims, the arithmetic of outrage has become so warped that Tracy Morgan, a black man who was raised in extreme poverty, whose father died of AIDS, whose brother suffers from cerebral palsy, and who recently endured the horrors of kidney failure, has become a kicking boy for powerful people like Fey . . . who makes her living mocking other people’s misfortune by playing pathetic versions of them while standing on red carpets criticizing “bullying” by others.

But Tina Fey didn’t jump down her ill co-star’s throat on just any day: she did it as 30 Rock was busy ridiculing young male victims of child sexual abuse using a star whose speciality is demeaning murder victims.  You know, real rape, real murder, of real young men, not the chimera of potential future victims Fey waved in all our faces to conveniently distance herself from Tracy Morgan.

This week, 30 Rock featured a disturbing cameo by Susan Sarandon playing a child molester who has come back to reclaim the “affection” of her grown victim, an emotionally damaged character named Frank Rossitano.

Would Fey have approved a script featuring a female victim of child sexual abusing sucking face with her adult male rapist, played for laughs?

Would Fey have approves a script featuring a gay male victim of child sexual abuse sucking face with his adult gay male rapist, played for laughs?

Two guesses.  Hint: one answer.

But Fey’s extraordinary insensitivity to real victims of actual hate-fuelled violence doesn’t end with her choice of plot.  Another choice reveals the depth of her selective outrage.  By choosing Susan Sarandon to play the role of a convict and sex offender, Fey is spitting in the face of a victim whose murderer Sarandon helped free from prison, then continued defending, even after he killed an aspiring young New York actor in cold blood.

This is the actor killed by Sarandon’s acolyte, Jack Abbott, with whom Sarandon was clearly enamored, to the point of naming her unborn child after him:

Richard Adan, aspiring actor.  Killed at 22 thanks to advocacy by Susan Sarandon that freed his killer

Who is Tina Fey to pretend that Tracy Morgan’s comedy act might contribute to anti-gay violence as she prances around with a sick women who is utterly unrepentant about the starring role she played in a real hate killing (all murder is hate killing) that took a young actor’s life?

Don’t expect Fey to answer that question.  In the entertainment world, some people’s lives are just more important than others’.  And some people’s murders, and rapes, are apparently just funnier.

“Poppa Love” Speights: It Takes a Village to Rape a Child

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This has been the unfortunate theme running through my head as I watched the “Poppa Love” Speights saga unfold in recent weeks on the Tampa news.  Speights came to the attention of police years ago, when his young daughter reported being repeatedly raped — and threatened — by him.  But despite his lengthy police record (30 arrests) and the young woman’s testimony, prosecutors felt they could not convict Speights at the time.  A year later, the police had proof that Speights was a child rapist when another, even younger girl gave birth to his baby: she had been 12 at the time Speights impregnated her, and DNA matched him to the crime.

But that was two years ago: since then, a judge granted Speights bail to await his trial for child rape, and he apparently returned to the household where he had raped and impregnated the young girl and where a dozen or more other minor children still resided.  His mother, wife, aunt, and several of his own children supported Speights, so it is reasonable to assume that he remained in contact with many other potential child victims, either with or without the permission of child protection authorities.  His bail was not repealed when his trial began, and Speights absconded two weeks ago when it began to dawn on him that he might not walk away from the latest charges, as he had done literally dozens of times after arrests in the past.  He was convicted in absentia and recaptured after an expensive manhunt.

Yet despite all this, despite raping and impregnating a child and fleeing a courtroom and being featured on America’s Most Wanted, Speights still believed he could game the system: he asked the judge yesterday for house arrest for the child rape and seemed genuinely surprised when Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe ordered life in prison instead.  Is Speights crazy, or are we crazy?

I say we’re the crazy ones.  Speights was merely reacting logically to a situation he had experienced dozens of times in the past.

For, until yesterday, the state has never really held Speights responsible for anything, from serially abandoning children, to breaking dozens of laws, to committing heinous sexual crimes.  Despite his extremely lengthy arrest record, he has never served state time.  Despite fathering more than 30 children and apparently having no legal employment (none was reported in the news), he was still living with approximately a dozen of his offspring in housing doubtlessly subsidized by taxpayers, who also doubtlessly subsidize the dozen or so other women who have filed paternity charges against him over the years.  Despite being accused of child rape twice, and fleeing custody once, he was permitted to bond out of jail in 2008 and remain free for two more years, as taxpayers also paid to prepare his defense.  Despite being identified as the father of an infant conceived in a child rape that took place in the presence of other minor children, he was apparently permitted to return home to those children (I say apparently because nothing was reported about restrictions placed on Speights when he was released to await trial).

It isn’t accurate to say that Speights tried to hide his crimes: a man who names himself “Poppa Love,” and tattoos his name on his girlfriends and girl children cannot be said to be trying to hide anything.  And despite their unruly protestations in court, his mother and current wife and aunt and assorted girlfriends cannot really pretend that they didn’t know about his behavior, not when he has had a dozen paternity charges filed against him and multiple domestic violence charges, and other child rape charges.  These women knew, and they too should be held responsible for recklessly endangering children.  Speights even tried to pin the child rape on two of his own sons.

The obscene spectacle of a child rapist with 30+ children claiming in court that he is a good, responsible father who allegedly “puts food on the table” and “presents under the tree” is only exceeded by the grim spectacle of a court system and child protection system that either could not or would not prevent him from doing more harm a long time ago.

Speights is the rapist, but we’re the ones who failed to protect his victims, all the while literally subsidizing his crimes.

The Guilty Project: Why Were “Papa Love” Speights’ Other Victims Denied Justice?

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Now that fugitive child rapist “Poppa Love” Speights has been tracked down by the police (for the second time — after a Tampa judge actually cut him loose on bail despite his flight from the law on child-rape charges in 2008), maybe more of his victims will come forward.

Then again, that’s what was said the last time, too.

You can hardly blame Speights’ victims for not trusting authorities to keep them safe — some authorities, that is.  The police worked hard, for years, to put Speights away.  Other child victims came forward, at grave personal risk, only to be denied a day in court.  The courts remain bluntly inaccessible to victims of child rape and overly sympathetic to their assailants.  This is true despite decades of advocacy.  Here’s why:

  • Myths of wrongful prosecution, fed by media activists such as Dorothy Rabinowitz, who wildly exaggerated the prevalence of wrongful prosecutions after a handful of unjust prosecutions made headlines . . . twenty years ago.   Rabinowitz and other self-proclaimed “wrongful prosecution experts” irresponsibly claimed that these isolated cases constituted a vast, shadowy movement against innocent, falsely accused defendants.  There was no such thing, and neither Rabinowitz nor any of her equally irresponsible peers ever bothered to try to make a statistical case.  Nor were they asked to do so: it was enough to point fingers, shriek “witch hunt” and dine out on the outrage they were generating — while countless child victims watched their own chance for justice evaporate, thanks in large part to the hysteria Rabinowitz orchestrated.  How many prosecutions were actually found to be flawed?  So few they are remembered by name and may be counted on one hand.  How many victims of child sexual assault were consequently denied even a chance for justice?  It’s impossible to know.  But hundreds of thousands of cases of child sexual abuse have gone un-prosecuted in the twenty years since Rabinowitz et. al. helped put a deep chill on the public’s willingness to believe victims of this crime.
  • Pro-offender biases on the part of judges. Too many judges see their role as defenders of defendants instead of objective arbiters of the law.  This probably has a lot to do with the number of politically-connected defense attorneys who make it to the bench.  I personally can’t conceive of any other reason why some judge let Speights walk free in 2008, even after he was found to have fathered a child by raping a 12-year old.
  • Defendant-biased evidence rules that make it virtually impossible to introduce facts and arguments in the courtroom.  In Trials Without Truth, William Pizzi explains how Supreme Court-driven exclusionary rules have warped the trial system, always in favor of defendants.
  • Public unwillingness to foot the bill (and the defense bar’s successes in padding it).  Even when evidence exists to try defendants, prosecutors working with extremely limited budgets can only afford to try a fraction of cases, or sometimes a fraction of charges against individual defendants.  Add that to the multiple ways defendants can get off on technicalities, and prosecutors are forced to shelve the majority of the cases they ought to be bringing to trial.

The criminal career of “Papa Love” Speights is a direct consequence of these prejudices and shortcomings.  His sexual crimes against children have been known to the police for years, but they never succeeded in bringing charges that stuck, until DNA identified him as the father of an infant whose mother was 12 when she was raped and impregnated by him.  Even then, a judge let him go free to await trial.

Another child victim who had come forward — his own daughter — never got her day in court, says St. Petersburgh Times reporter Alexandra Zayas:

A teenage girl went to police in 2005, saying her father raped her repeatedly for two years, paid cash for her silence and for good measure, showed her a gun.  Prosecutors lacked enough evidence to pursue charges.  A year later, that same man raped a 12-year-old niece and slipped her $20.  He was John Jerome Speights Jr., a 45-year-old with more than 30 children and paternity claims from more than a dozen women. He calls himself Poppa Love.

Speights actually tattoos his name on his wives and female children:

His ex-wife’s thigh “belongs to P. Love.” Daughters are inked “Daddy’s Girl.”  Over the years, he has had access to many young girls, including his own daughters and other relatives.

The details of the daughter’s rape are chilling.  The child reached out to authorities and told the police of other victims, but the State Attorney’s Office declined to act.  Why?

His daughter was 14 when it started. At a family reunion in northern Florida, she told police, she ended up alone with him in a motel room.  He asked if she was a virgin, she told police. He said he was going to give her a test. Then he had intercourse with her, while telling her, “I am not having sex with you,” she said.  It happened more than once, she reported. On a porch, in motels, in his car, near a graveyard. In the front yard of her aunt’s home. In his house, after he locked the other kids out.  The daughter said he told her to think of him as her boyfriend. That he would whip her brothers if she didn’t have sex with him. That if she told, he’d shoot himself, she said, or drive them both off the road. . . Speights denied the allegation. When police came, he fled.  They spoke to his wife. She said neither of them was employed and that she collected disability checks for the kids.  “Eight children live with them,” the detective wrote. “She said that she doesn’t know their ages because there are too many of them to keep straight.”  The daughter reported seeing young girls taken out of the bedroom late at night, but none of them alleged abuse.  Speights skipped his interview with police. His wife told them his attorney had advised him against talking.  The following day, a detective presented the case to the State Attorney’s Office and was told there was insufficient evidence. The case was closed but could be reopened with more proof.

Where was child protective services?  Astonishingly, Speights actually took one of his victims to court for child support — and the victim was thrown into jail.  The girl was 15 when he impregnated  her:

Court files suggest that [the niece's child] wasn’t the first baby he fathered with a teen. In 2004, he filed a child support case in one such case. He was 30 when their son was born. She would have been 15. She could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.  When she failed to pay, the Hillsborough court held her in contempt and Gulfport police threw her in jail.

A judge in Hillsborough County court threw a teen mother in jail at the behest of the adult who impregnated her.  Another judge — or possibly two — let Speight remain free from 2008 to 2010.  If this case does not cry out for a top-to-bottom review of the court’s response to child abuse and sexual abuse cases, what does?

If only crusading journalists like Ms. Rabbinowitz behaved as if victims deserved justice, just like regular people.  Don’t hold your breath, though.

Tomorrow: What, if anything, can be done.

The Guilty Project: Who Let Child Rapist John Speights Escape on Bond? And What About Those Other 30 Arrests?

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This is John Speights. He strolled out of a Tampa courthouse last week during his trial for raping a 12-year old child and disappeared.  The sheriff couldn’t stop him because a judge had let him bond out back in 2008, when he was originally charged with ten counts of child rape.  And, oh yeah, he’s been arrested at least 30 other times in Tampa alone for charges including battery, bigamy, aggravated assault, cruelty to a child and domestic violence, yet he has no state prison record, which means that prosecutors had to drop some or all of those charges, or other judges cut him serial breaks for multiple violent crimes . . . or all of these things happened, enabling him to remain free to rape children.

The police catch ‘em and the courts let ‘em go:

John Speights, aka “Poppa Love”

Oh and, by the way, Speights impregnated his child victim, yet the judge granted bond anyway, even, apparently, after the results of the DNA test were known.  The child victim gave birth two years ago, and Speights was unambiguously identified as the father.

If ten counts of child rape affirmed by DNA doesn’t count as a no-bond situation, what does count?

Was the judge who let him go in 2008 (despite knowing about the DNA) the same judge who presided over Speight’s trial last week, or did two entirely different Tampa judges independently make the same troubling call: that a man who impregnated a little girl should be permitted to remain free while being tried for an offense that would put him behind bars for life?

And if there were two judges involved, why didn’t the trial judge withdraw Speight’s bond?  Is this another case of one judge not wishing to “second guess” the decision of another (see here, here, and here)?

The judge who let Speights bond out in 2008 put his child victim, a relative, in grave danger, but she’s hardly the only child who was endangered by Speight’s bond.  Speights has fathered 32 children of his own, and he raped his victim in a household where 12 of his children were also living.  So he was committing child rape in a house with 12 other potential victims, and he even committed child rapes in a room where his infant was sleeping, and yet, some judge looked at this evidence and let him go back to that household and those children to await trial?

That betrays a profound lack of seriousness in the court’s approach to this crime.

For, does anybody actually believe Speights only raped one little girl?  Besides the judge, that is?  Thanks to DNA, prosecutors and police were able to build the current case against him, but detectives told America’s Most Wanted that they had tried to build sexual assault cases against Speights in the past, only to have the victims withdraw out of fear.  Given that, and his prior arrests for acts of violence against women and children, and the fact that his relatives are defending him and have turned on the current victim, there is no way this man should have been permitted to see the light of day since his first appearance in the courtroom two years ago.

Not only is Speights a violent child sexual predator who tried to flee the police when they went to arrest him for child rape, but he is an extremely dangerous type of violent child sexual predator: one who has groomed a cabal of accessories among his own family.  The family is so well-trained that they left the courtroom when he waved his hand, marching out as he absconded.

It takes a village to rape a child.

In this case, the “village” includes Speights’ family, the Hillsborough County Courts, and twisted exclusionary rules that make it nigh-on impossible to mount a successful prosecution of even the worst offenders.  Not a very nice place to live, this village.  How many other children are in danger from Speights at this very minute?

It utterly defies comprehension how some judge could sit in a courtroom, look at Speights’ 30 prior arrests, his prior history of absconding, the intimidation of the victim, the age of the victim, the impregnation of the victim, the evidence of rapes committed in the presence of an infant and multiple other children, the record of violence, the family members supporting the rapist, and still say: “Hey, here’s a guy who deserves to be released on his own recognizance.”

And why isn’t anyone in the media asking the right questions? Instead of asking the court why a dangerous child rapist with a history of fleeing police was granted bond in the first place and then had that bond upheld by the trial judge, reporters asked the sheriff why he couldn’t keep Speights from leaving the courthouse.  The answer, of course, was simple: the law wouldn’t allow them to stop him, once the judge granted bond:

Speights had been free on $60,000 bond since 2008. According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Larry McKinnon . . . when a person has been released on bond, it is not the responsibility of the bailiffs to monitor them when they are in court. They are allowed to go as they please, although they have been entrusted to show up for all court matters.  “The bailiff’s responsibility is to monitor the proceedings of the court and not to guard or supervise those out on bond. That’s why they’re out on bond,” McKinnon said.

Reporters have carefully avoided naming any of the judges involved.  I imagine that’s because they know that if any judges get criticized, they will lose valuable media access to all judges.  That’s how the game gets played, after all.  I’ve had more than one reporter tell me so.  Easier to point fingers at the nearest cop and call it a day.

And God forbid if Bill O’Reilly comes knocking on the courtroom doors about another Tampa rapist inappropriately cut loose by a judge.

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America’s Most Wanted featured Speights on their show and have offered something nobody in the local press seemed to think important: a detailed description of the man, and his tattoos.  They’re hard to miss:

5 feet 10 inches tall and 205 pounds — and he’s covered with tattoos, including: praying hands and Playboy bunny on his right arm; snowman and tiger on right shoulder; cross with a rose on his left arm; a rose with the name “Twandra” on his chest; “Pop” on the left side of his chest; “$$$” on the inside of his left thigh; and the word “Psych” tattooed on the left side of his neck.  Catch this convict before he hurts someone else. Call us right now at 1-800-CRIME-TV if you’ve seen him.

Rodney Alcala: The Forrest Gump of Sex Murder. And What That Says About the Rest of Us.

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Yesterday, serial killer Rodney Alcala was sentenced to death for the third time for the 1979 murder of 12-year old Robin Samsoe.  He was also sentenced for the torture-killings of four other women.

Today, the media is reporting brief, painful snippets about the five victims.  Many other victims are believed to exist.

Tomorrow, Alcala will undoubtedly begin appealing the sentence again.  Why not?  The taxpayers of California pay his legal bills: his lawyers have grown fat over the past three decades, helping a serial killer play games with the appeals process.   The victims have spent lifetimes sitting in courtrooms watching him toy with their loved ones’ memories.

Perhaps the worst part of this story is the role played by certain culturally powerful people who knew about some of Alcala’s most vicious crimes but still allowed him get out of prison or provided him with the cover of social credibility.

Had Alcala been put away for life after he was caught, in 1968, in the act of raping and beating an 8-year old girl, his later victims — Georgia Wixted, Jill Parenteau, Charlotte Lamb, Jill Barcomb, Robin Samsoe, and others — would be alive today.  But in 1971, at his sentencing, the state of California decided that Alcala deserved another chance.  They gave him to just a handful of months for the crime, practically letting him walk free for the near-murder of an 8-year old.  The child survived only because police broke into Alcala’s house while he was beating her head in with a steel pipe.

This sentence is a perfect illustration of the theory that, until recently, predators actually received lesser sentences when they sexually violated their victims.  I believe Alcala would have gotten a much longer sentence if he had merely tried to kill the child, without raping her, too.  In the therapeutic environment of the 1970′s justice system, being a sexual offender was literally an excuse for lawbreaking.  Sex offenders were to be pitied, if not slyly admired.

Anybody care to challenge that?

Rodney Alcala

Now for the weighty hangover of such indulgences. Investigators are asking anyone missing loved ones to look at this gallery of photographs that were in Alcala’s possession.  It’s not known how many women and girls he killed, so the photos may lead police to more victims.

You have to wonder why this wasn’t done decades ago.  The photographs have been in the possession of authorities since around 1979.  Perhaps if the state were not so strapped from subsidizing Alcala’s relentless manipulation of the courts, they would have a little more cash on hand to look for more of his victims:

Alcala has spent his time behind bars penning You, the Jury, a 1994 book in which he claims his innocence and points to a different suspect; suing the California prisons for a slip-and-fall claim and for failing to provide him a low-fat diet; and, according to prosecutors, complaining about a law that required he and other death-row inmates to submit DNA mouth swabs for comparison by police against unsolved crimes. . . He has a talent for mining legal technicalities and has repeatedly enjoyed success with appellate judges.

Astonishingly, after being convicted of the vicious rape and attempted murder of an 8-year old, making the FBI’s ten most wanted list, absconding, being sent to  prison, being released, then getting packed off to prison again for abducting a 13-year old girl, Alcala landed a job at the Los Angeles Times.  The newspaper is being quite circumspect on the whole serial killer recruitment snafu thing, but it was reported in L.A. Weekly.

You might think a whole building full of investigative reporters would have betrayed a little curiosity when a two-time convicted child rapist started flashing home-made child porn around their water cooler, particularly considering the fact that he was also under investigation for the Hillside Strangler killings at the same time.

You’d think so, but you would be wrong.  From the L.A. Weekly:

Even as the L.A. Times was publishing sensational articles in the late 1970s about the mysterious Hillside Strangler, who terrorized much of L.A. at that time, Alcala, who worked typesetting articles for that paper, was being questioned by the LAPD in relation to those very murders.  In an interview with the [L.A.] Weekly, Alcala’s former Times colleague Sharon Gonzalez remembers: “He would talk about going to parties in Hollywood. It seemed like he knew famous people. He kept his body in great shape. He was very open about his sexuality. It was all new to me.”  He brought his photography portfolio to show his Times workmates, she says, and the photos were “of young girls. I thought it was weird, but I was young, I didn’t know anything. When I asked why he took the photos, he said their moms asked him to. I remember the girls were naked.”

You don’t want to seem like you’re judging the man.

Gonzalez adds that she wasn’t “smart enough or mature enough to know” that she was looking at child porn. Yet incredibly, she describes how L.A. Times‘ management in the 1970s had a golden opportunity to turn Alcala in, but did nothing: “There were other people in the department who were in their 40s and 50s. The [Times] supervisor at the time — she saw it.” Instead, the reaction at the newspaper was, “We thought he was a little different. Strange about sex.”

Which L.A. Times managers knew about Alcala’s record? His impromptu workplace polaroid shows?  Good for Gonzalez for coming forward: does anyone else have a conscience?  Considering the paper’s current editorial stance opposing sentencing enhancements and measures to monitor sex offenders, it would be illuminating to know if any current editorial board members were among those who knew him back then.

Of course, doing nothing to stop child rape was in at the time.

It is actually hard to believe that Alcala was given a job at the Times despite his heinous record.  Was he given the job because of it?  There is no way they couldn’t know about his past: he was a registered sex offender, had made a daring escape and had been, you know, in the papers.  Were journalists actually so besotted with ideas about the illegitimacy of incarceration that they bought the idea that he had been . . . rehabilitated?

Had Maileresque outlaw mentality really eroded such giant chunks of the ethical hive?

Alcala studied film-making under Roman Polanski, too. I wonder what other passions they shared.

Hollywood pedophiles, media crusaders, rapist-loving parole boards, lenient judges, hip defense attorneys, art-world glitterati, The Dating Game (also post-child rape): this guy was the Forrest Gump of sexual torturers.

The most painfully comprehensive coverage of the Alcala saga is Christine Pelisek’s excellent series of articles in L.A.Weekly.  Read them and weep:

Dating Game Serial Killer Suspect Cross-Examines Himself Over His Hair

Orange County Prosecutor: Suspected Serial Killer and Dating Game Contestant Rodney Alcala Savagely Killed His Victims Because “He Enjoyed It.”

Rodney Alcala’s Final Revenge: Begged to Spare Victims’ Families At Trial, The Alleged Serial Killer Ratchets Up The Suffering

Rodney Alcala: The Fine Art of Killing: One Man’s Murderous Romp Through Polite Society

Orange County Judge Sentences Serial Killer and Dating Game Winner Rodney Alcala to Death

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Tomorrow: Rodney Alcala’s Criminal Appeals

Jesus Wept

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Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys

The Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, with hands together, at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Wisconsin in 1960.

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.  The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal. . .

Read it here.