Sex Offender Island
Here's a little blast from the past and an excerpt you might have heard me spout off...
My solution to our problem with child predators? Sex Offender Island.
Think about it.
Over the years, I have debated this question in my mind over and over. I firmly believe they can never be rehabilitated. Professionals will tell you the same…at least the ones that are honest with you and not trying to give you political window dressing and rehab fluff.
Several sex offenders will tell you the same about themselves…they can’t be rehabilitated. THEY WILL SAY IT ABOUT THEMSELVES. (tap, tap) Duh! Hello! That is what we in law enforcement call a C.L.U.E.
I think, secretly, in their mind they hope for it; that they can be rehabilitated. But what tells us the most about whether our systems are successful in this battle is history and the offender him- or herself.
No one single sex offender hit home more with this reality than one I put away for over 20 years. He even said that 20 years wasn’t going to be long enough. His criminal career started out in the 80’s when he was labeled the mysterious “unsub” (unknown subject) on the west coast as "The Columbia River Rapist". Stalking young children, raping and sodomizing them, and then beating them with shovels until almost dead was his MO (Modus Operandi). I read the case file before I interviewed him about the cases I had piling up on him in my town. What was even worse-he told me the back story.
Once captured, he blamed the police for planting his DNA inside the children’s vaginal and anal cavities. That was his defense. He was sent to prison. Then he was released after serving a short sentence, changed his name legally, and moved to my town.
I first met him in 2004-one hundred (100) or more victim children later. I took over the case that was long ignored by law enforcement and DFS. He had been reported over and over. No one could prove anything. It was one of those cases that rode the fine line of attention and although we all knew something sinister was going on, we needed that one thing: proof. In fact, my DFS partner prodded me to look into some strange reports she was getting through citizen complaints to her department.
My DFS partner and I worked his case for several months, traveling the globe (at least our little globe of Wyoming and Colorado). Finally, arrest and search warrant day came. We went toe to toe-only he had grown wise to the system and was much harder to crack. He changed his MO to avoid capture. He befriended parents. He groomed children. He slipped into church and school functions. He took kids out of town. The violence still inside his mind plagued him which caused him to act out his fantasies. This time he learned to control his temper and desires and to avoid the injuries to his victims, but instead displaced the abuse onto his wife and children. He sodomized his own sons. He beat his wife. He beat his kids.
Incredibly, he succeeded in his activities. He became several personalities. It worked for over 15 years. That’s how they think. All of them. Some worse than others.
The criminal mind fascinates me. Often when I got a confession, I dove into what drives them. I wanted to know what was inside their mind? They would answer. Our conversation must have resembled what they revealed to their therapist. Only it was me, Fargo the Cop. I think most perps can psychoanalyze themselves as well and regurgitate what their psychiatrists tell them. They are all the same. I could cut and paste their brain activity and thoughts and the next guy would say…“that’s me.”
So how do we fix them? We can’t. They cannot be rehabilitated. What they have told me is they can somewhat function in society with very high supervision and a tough monitoring system…and a very tight leash…with a choker chain.
Another child molester told me what worked best for him was his weekly psychiatric visits, monthly polygraph tests, an ankle bracelet with GPS, probation and parole home visits, drug testing, and a work release job away from children. The address registration is just part of the process. Then there is the flyer notifications to neighbors, warning them of a potential threat. That’s a lot of tax payer dollars. When I spoke to him in 2008, he had not had any police reports, complaints, or victims come forward for 10 years. Do you know what his program had to cost? Wow. But that's what they need.
Now, do I believe he has re-offended? Yes, at least in his mind. Over and over. And inside his mind he is planning the perfect opportunity. If it lands in his lap…so to speak…it will happen. He knows that. He told me he struggles to live every day without bad thoughts and he can’t. He worries every day he will offend a child. And he will someday if the perfect opportunity comes his way. Would you want to risk that man victimizing your child? Or any child? Absolutely not.
Sounding better all the time, isn’t it?
I’m a cynical and sarcastic former cop…and a wishful thinker. But it isn’t something that will happen unless Martial Law takes over the land. THERE IS NO CURE. They are like Zombies, only we aren’t allowed to shoot them in the head, but they don’t have a virus, so they really aren’t like Zombies at all. Bad analogy.
So, in the meantime, while we are all waiting…the best thing I can suggest is a very precise and detailed monitoring system for these offenders and at the same time try to make them productive enough in society to pay for their own system.
First and foremost…innocent people’s needs and safety must prevail over the criminal... for once.