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December 4, 2003
I Am Angry

I'm not just angry; I am furious, disgusted, outraged, and most of all, saddened.

For the many people who are following the Dru Sjodin case, the more we find out about the suspect at the center of this controversy, the worse it gets. Today, in the Star Tribune, we get this lovely look back at Alfonso Rodriguez' early career:

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. got in and Iverson drove away. What happened next on that October 1974 day in Crookston was Rodriguez's first of several known attacks on women, according to court documents that lay out his history of abuse, sexual assaults and rapes committed between stays in prison. ...

Records on file in Polk County show that Rodriguez ordered Iverson to drive, then turned off the car when they stopped at a driveway. He grabbed her by the neck and forced her back into the car when she tried to escape. He demanded sex. She refused but submitted to sexual contact.

He later confessed to attempted aggravated rape and was released on $1,500 bail. He raped his second victim one month later.

In 1974, you have a man who sexually assaults a young woman, gets released on bail that amounts to less than the price of a VW at the time, and then rapes another young woman while out on bail. And yet he was out of prison after those two violent crimes in time to sexually assault and attempt to kidnap a Crookston woman in 1980.

What the hell was wrong with us that we would ever let this man out of prison? Three times he had sexually assaulted women, twice by kidnaping or attempting to kidnap them, and those are just the ones we know about. When he got released after 23 years in prison, the last 18 refusing psychiatric care, the Level 3 sex offender scored astronomically high on a pre-release evaluation (indicating a >80% chance of reoffending), and the state decided not to seek a civil commitment based on his age and his lack of "acting out sexually", even though one could presume that he had little opportunity to kidnap young women while in prison.

Today I had a conversation with an employee of mine who was attacked and strangled in her apartment by a deranged neighbor a couple of months ago, only alive today because her boyfriend came home and knocked the assailant out with a baseball bat. His court date is coming up next week, and I asked her how she was doing. She said that she was nervous about facing him in court again, and she told me that the DA informed her that this defendant had been a known Level 2 sex offender at the time of the assault.

On Tuesday night, I listened to NPR on my way home from an Irish-language conversation group and the topic of the day was sexual assaults and the release of sex offenders. As I predicted earlier this week, one of the featured guests went on for quite a while about what women should do to minimize their risk of being assaulted; the second part of the show was taken up with a few released sex offenders calling in and discussing the difficulties of being released. One of the complaints (from another Level 2 offender, and echoed by the moderator of the discussion) was that the state wasn't paying enough money for post-release counseling.

So let me get this straight. If women get assaulted, it's because they weren't being careful enough. And if sex offenders reoffend, it's because we don't give them enough money and resources.

I have a better idea of what's causing sexual assaults and released offenders to be recidivist: sex offenders!

My employee should be able to have dinner in her apartment without a known Level 2 sex offender breaking in and strangling her. Dru Sjodin should be able to walk outside, talking on her cell phone, without being abducted and probably worse. Women should not have to feel like assaults are their own fault for not living their lives frightened enough, and we sure as hell don't need to be told that they're our fault for not providing enough counseling for the poor dears who commit these crimes. They know they have a problem -- why aren't they getting their own damn counseling?

I look at my beautiful 18-month-old granddaughter, who has so much spirit and joy at life, and I am saddened to think that soon, I will have to say to her, Sweetheart, let me explain something to you. You are developing into God's most beautiful creation: a young woman. That means you will need to live the rest of your life in fear. Stop smiling, honey. Don't make eye contact with anyone. Stop walking through parks and admiring the flowers and the trees, or someone will grab you by your beautiful strawberry-blonde hair and do things to you that are unspeakable. And if you're lucky enough to survive, we'll all tell you what you did wrong to deserve it.

Or, perhaps, we will start acting to protect ourselves and lock up these sexual predators for life, before they kill another Dru Sjodin. Before they come after your daughters. Before they destroy my granddaughter.

A note, somewhat off-topic: Deacon at Power Line is taking a few days off, but he mentions that he sometimes listens to NPR just to see how long he can stand it. I wonder if he was listening to this exchange Tuesday night and if he lasted any longer than I did. I think I made it about 15 minutes before I finally switched to WMNN.

UPDATE: I'm linking back to Venomous Kate's generous offer to allow some of us to ride the tail end of an Instalanche. That's one thing about being angry; you want a lot of people to know about it. But while you're at Electric Venom (if you haven't been there before), make sure to take a long look around -- it's a great site. I don't link to it often enough.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 4, 2003 10:39 PM

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» The Captain Is Angry from Earthly Passions
I sailed aboard The Captain's Quarter's tonight and read his excellent essay titled, "I Am Angry". Big Captain Ed writes powerfully about his frustration with sexual offenders who are released from prison and repeat their offense on other innocent women. [Read More]

Tracked on December 4, 2003 11:59 PM

» Insect Menagerie (Carnival 64) from Signal + Noise
Proliferation, adaptation, and a strange beauty that takes some time to appreciate. That serves as well to describe the blogosphere as it does to describe the insects, which are among the most successful groups of animals that ever lived. So... [Read More]

Tracked on December 10, 2003 5:50 AM

» Insect Menagerie (Carnival 64) from Signal + Noise
Proliferation, adaptation, and a strange beauty that takes some time to appreciate. That serves as well to describe the blogosphere as it does to describe the insects, which are among the most successful groups of animals that ever lived. So... [Read More]

Tracked on December 10, 2003 5:54 AM

» An Army of Sex Offenders from Interested-Participant
During the search and investigation phase of the case, it was found that about 200 known sex offenders lived in Shakira's neighborhood. That's right, 200 known sex offenders in one neighborhood. [Read More]

Tracked on December 10, 2003 9:40 AM

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