Thursday, September 09, 2010

The re-offender



The sickening report was told in this morning's local newspaper: less than six blocks from my house a four-year-old girl was led by a man into the men's room of a thrift store and raped. Her mother, who had left the child in the toy aisle of the store, tracked her down and banged on the door. The child responded to the mother's knocking on the door by yelling, "Mom! Mom!" The mother told the child to open the door but the girl said, "I can't." She later told police the man was "on top of her."

The mother continued knocking on the door until the rapist opened it. The mother tried to grab him but he struggled and escaped. He ran until three male employees of the store tackled him in front of a restaurant which is across a busy four-lane road.

The man who allegedly committed the crimes is Richard Randall, age 41, who has a history as a sex offender, arrested in 1999 for attempted sexual abuse of a 9-year-old, a second degree felony, reduced to a third degree felony. He willingly entered treatment, and was considered a model recovering offender. In 2003 after completing his treatment, a jail term and probation, his sentence was reduced to a misdemeanor. For this latest offense he was booked into jail on Tuesday for "suspicion of rape of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and aggravated kidnaping." Why he snapped after doing well in treatment is anyone's guess right now. Since he committed his crime in a public place he must've either been overwhelmed by the urge to the point where he lost all common sense or impulse control, or maybe he wanted to be caught. I can't see how he thought he could commit a rape in a bathroom in the back of the store--a store that was formerly a supermarket--and make it out of the building and to his car without being caught.

It doesn't give you much hope for rehabilitation when it comes to sex offenders of children, does it? Actually, there is a myth that no offender is ever cured, but the recidivism rate of sex offenders, depending on the type of offense, is not as high as other criminal offenders. I believe the people who worked with Randall on his original conviction were optimistic that he had put away his offending ways.

This depressing story is personal to me for a couple of reasons: One, I shop that thrift store, know the layout, and exactly where he and the child would have been when he took her, even the restroom where he raped her. We also have a four-year-old granddaughter, and the thought of what happened to this little girl happening to our little girl is more than I can stand. I have to chase those thoughts out of my head. I believe the mother of the little girl was too trusting, letting her child out of her sight for even a minute. Even if she had seen Randall, whose picture is above, she might not have thought anything about it. Sex offenders don't wear a sign or a special hat saying "sex offender", do they?I looked for some online statistics on sexual offenders re-offending and found some statistics. In many cases treatment does work, but not always, and apparently, if we can believe the story about Richard Randall, not for him.
A collection of official studies spanning the years 1983 to 2010 across all 50 states and the federal government has been assembled. . .the average recidivism of sex offenders committing new sex crimes since 1983 is approximately 9%, compared to the 42% average recidivism rate for all felony offenders committing any new felony offense.

According to the Office of Justice Programs of the United States Department of Justice, in New York State the recidivism rates for sex offenders have been shown to be lower than any other crime except murder. Another report from the OJP that studied recidivism of prisoners released in 1994 in 15 states accounting for two-thirds of all prisoners released in the United States that year, reached the same conclusion. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_offender)
In the meantime, when in a public place make sure you look and observe who is around you, and need I remind parents to never leave a child alone in a store for even an instant?

1 comment:

DEMiller said...

That is a very disturbing story and good lesson to parents to keep a close eye on their kids.