Thursday, July 07, 2005

Suffer the little children part 2

I am pissed, angry and enraged.

This started in May 2005 in Coeur d'Alene Idaho, where the bodies of three people were found bound and beaten to death, Brenda Kay Groene, 40, her son, Slade, 13, and her boyfriend, Mark Edward McKenzie, 37. This is bad enough, but there were two children missing, Shasta Groene, age 8 and Dylan Groene, age 10, who were believed to have been home when the murders happened.

Amber alerts and manhunts, searches and tips turned up nothing. Then, July 2nd, an alert waitress at a Denny's in Coeur d'Alene saw a girl she believed to be Shasta. She notified authorities and delayed their order till the police arrived. It was her. Her brother Dylan was not with them, and is presumed dead. Investigators have found remains they believe are his in Montana. DNA tests are pending.

She was with a man named Joseph Edward Duncan, 42, who has been charged with kidnapping, and is the only suspect in the murders.

Duncan is a convicted, high risk sex offender. In 1980, when he was 16, Duncan stole several handguns in a burglary. Later that same day, he abducted a 14-year-old boy who was walking to the grocery store. He raped him a couple of times, dry fired the gun at him, beat him with a stick and burned him with cigarettes. Duncan pleaded guilty in adult court to first-degree rape and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. On the recommendations of a Pierce County probation officer, a judge suspended the sentence and ordered Duncan to enter the sexual offender program at Western State Hospital in Steilacoom, Wash. In 1982 after he left the hospital grounds and peeped in the windows of nearby homes, a judge revoked his suspended sentence and Duncan began serving his time in a state penitentiary. He was released on parole in 1994 but violated it by not registering as a sex offender and was sent back in 1997.

Just last July, he was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct and attempted criminal sexual conduct Ã?‚Â? accused of molesting a 6-year-old boy at a school playground in Minnesota.

In that case, he was accused of approaching two young boys with a video camera at a playground, and pulling down the shorts of one of the boys and touching him. He was released by Becker County, Minn., authorities in April on $15,000 bond and ordered to stay in touch with a probation agent. In May, authorities said they were seeking Duncan on a warrant after he failed to do so.

$15,000 dollar bond? For a level 3 sex offender? What were they thinking?

You know, recent news stories have really forced me to test my beliefs in many ways, one of which is on the subject of seoffenders andnd indeterminatsentencesss.

Iseemeddd to me that people needed the chance to rehabilitate and society owed people the chance for redemption. Now I wonder. Maybe we should just lock the bastards up.

If the authorities had used that method in April, and cuffed and stuffed him instead of letting him ouon anmeaslyyy $15k bond, then maybe Shasta would not have had to watch this guy tie up her family, murder theand shehwouldn'ttt have had to endure him raping her and her brother repeatedly over the course of several months as they were fugitives.

She is with her father now, and she is safe, but the wounds of her ordeal and the loss of her family will remain. Not much of a happy ending, but I will take one survivor over none.

Question to the reader: Is our society too easy on sex offenders? At what point do they deserve a chance to be rehabilitated and returned to society?

And as I read the accounts of his past cases, over and over I see leniency and compassion leading us to this horrible tragedy.

At a 1997 parole revocation hearing in Olympia, Wash., Richard Wacksman, a Fargo doctor Duncan had met at a coffeehouse in San Francisco, testified on his behalf. Wacksman said he would support Duncan financially and let him live in his home if he was released. (wonder what he thinks now) In 1999 another psychologist rated the risk of Duncan repeating his crime or being violent as medium. (same question) And in the recent case, a $15K bond and promise to keep in touch with a parole officer.

It's sad and sick. We as a society want to be loving and supporting and nurturing. We want to heal the sickness, and make the criminal productive. We argue for civil rights and due process. Did all that contribute to the death of 3, possibly 4 and the traumatic rape of an 8 year old girl?

What if there are people like this SOB, who are by all appearances just plain evil?

I don't like the answers any more then the questions.

For now I will pray a special prayer for Shasta. Forget.