The Sunday Paper

Yesterday, my whole family got up bright and early...
well, we got up at 8am which IS bright and early for us on a weekend.
We were going to drive to our hometown and visit my husband's family. We hadn't exchanged Christmas presents with them yet and my husband's baby sister had a baby of her own a month ago that I had yet to cuddle and bond with him.
Once we were all packed for the night, loaded into the car, and getting ready to pull out of the hour behind phone rang. It was my friend *Marie. I could tell she was upset about something because she sounded like she had been bawling. Her voice was shaky and she was out of breath. Once I got her to calm down, she told me there was an article in that morning's newspaper about *Mr. Smith. And it must have been a doosey cuz she was pretty upset over it.
I was uncharacteristically calm about the news and I reassured her that it was ok. I told her I couldn't read it because I was driving but as soon as I got to my mother-in-laws' I would call her.
That was the longest 4 hour drive of my life.

(Actually, I spent 4 hours on the George Washington bridge in NYC once. Now THAT was the longest 4 hour drive of my life. Four hours and I went four miles. I will never take the George Washington bridge again!)

So, four hours later, I arrived at my mother-in-laws and I finally got to read the article.
(I changed the names to protect the innocent...and the ignorant.)

What Price Is Too High?

>*Mr. Smith spent 20 years in prison for raping a 17-year-old girl. Now a judge must decide whether to release him on parole or civilly commit him to a psychiatric facility at taxpayer cost of about $175K a year.

After 20 years in prison, a man -- who admitted he raped and would have killed his victim had she not escaped--could soon be released into the community.
It will be up to a County Supreme Court Judge *Ms. Frank to decide whether *Mr. Smith, 48, should be released on parole, or be confined to a psychiatric facility under New York's civil commitment law.
*Smith has served his maximum sentence after pleading guilty in 1991 to first-degree rape, a felony.
According to court documents, he offered to help a 17-year-old girl after striking her with his pickup truck while she was riding her bike. But after she got into his truck, he tied her up, drove her to a secluded area and raped her. The girl got away, running into the woods when *Smith returned to his truck to get his gun. He said he would have killed her to avoid being arrested.
*Smith was in court on Thursday for a disposition hearing in his civil commitment case--the last step before a judge decides his fate.
If confined, *Smith would be committed to a psychiatric facility for treatment for at least one year. At the end of that year, he'd be up for a review and the court would determine if he had yet completed treatment and could go free, said *Clark Kent, the assistant attorney general who is arguing on behalf of the state to civilly commit *Smith.
But under the civil committment law, there is a requirement that four phases of treatment be completed, and no offenders are even near release more than three years after the program began in the state.
In 2007, state lawmakers approved civil committment to route dangerous sex offenders whose sentences are ending into treatment in secure state psychiatric facilities.
Now the state is coping with cost and space strains as a result of the program. The average annual price tag to treat sex offenders in secured facilities is about $175,000 per person, making New York's program the costliest of its kind in the nation.

*Smith's Case

Court documents show that before the 1991 incident, *Smith had been convicted eight times for different crimes, with three of them involving a sexual element:
>A conviction for public lewdness;
>A burglary conviction which he plastered a woman's walls with clippings from pornographic magazines;
>And a felony count of first-degree unlawful imprisonment: *Smith tried to kidnap two girls--one of whom was 10 years old--within hours of each other, *Kent said.
Following a petition from the attorney general's office to confine *Smith to a psychiatric facility, a jury decided in November that *Smith had a mental abnormality--a requirement to civilly commit a sex offender in New York.
The only decision yet to be made in *Smith's case is if he will be detained at such a facility, or if he will be released into the community on a parole-supervised program known as SIST, or Strict and Intensive Supervision and Treatment.
Under SIST, offenders are required to wear GPS monitoring devices and are regularly subjected to polygraphs.
According to state data,eight of the 94 offenders ordered into SIST from 2007 through Nov. 30 are now charged with new sex crimes.
Twenty-one others are accused of non-criminal, but sex related violations of their release terms.

The Testimony

In court Thursday, *Frank--the County Supreme Court judge--heard conflicting testimony from two psychological experts on *Smith's liklihood to reoffend.
*Bruce Wayne, a psychologist employed by the Office of Mental Health who testified on behalf of the state, warned that *Smith was dangerous and needed to be detained. *Wayne said he had diagnosed *Smith with antisocial personality disorder, sexual sadism and psychopathy.
"The triad puts him at the highest level we know of potential to reoffend," *Wayne said.
*Lex Luthor, a Massachusetts-based psychologist who testified on behalf of the defense, disputed *Wayne's testimony. He argued *Smith shouldn't have been diagnosed with such disorders, that testing methods used by *Wayne were unacceptable and that, even if he was a sexually sadistic psychopath, that doesn't necessarily predict a higher recidivism rate.
"*Mr. Smith is a rapist," *Luthor said. "I do not believe today he would be adequately diagnosed as a sexual sadist. Even if there is an element of sexual sadism, recent data shows very little to no correlation with the liklihood to reoffend."
*Luthor also said because *Smith has aged 20 years, his likelihood to commit another sex offense has decreased.
An issue of concern, *Kent said, was that *Smith admitted during recent therapy sessions to having violent rape fantasies--something he said occurred before the 1991 incident. But *Luthor insisted that *Smith's admission was therapeutic, and a sign that he is trying to make progress.
Before adjourning and reserving her decision, the judge admitted this was an issue of concern.
"It's a troubling situation we find ourselves in now that, if you participate in therapy, you are kind of hanging yourself legally." *Frank said. But the defendant was ina court of law, not a counseling session, she added.
There's no clear timetable as to when *Frank will issue a decision.

What this article fails to mention is that while *Mr. Smith was serving 20 years in prison, he managed to obtain a few addresses of people involved in his case and send them threatening letters. He tracked me down a couple of times and he pretended to be my step-brother in the hopes someone would send him my picture.

What this article also fails to mention is that because he was convicted before Megan's Law went into effect, he can not be made to register as a level 3 sex offender, which is what level he should be. Level 3 sex offenders are the most dangerous. Usually the highest level most people see on that little flier that gets mailed to your house are level 2's. However...he will only be required to register as a level 1 sex offender. They are the least dangerous offenders. If a level 1 sex offender gets released, no one in the community is notified.

*Mr. Smith could move in right next to you and you would never know!

But, honestly, I will be happy with whatever Judge *Frank decides because whether he is confined to a mental health facility or strict parole, it's more than I expected. I've spent the last 19.5 years thinking he's getting out and roaming free and there's nothing I could do about it. This is a victory for me.

So, I say...que sera, sera.

Whatever will be will be.
Did this article make me angry? Yes! I felt that the reporter was saying that saving money was more important than our safety. And I just think that *Lex Luthor is an idiot.
But I've had a long time to prepare myself for things like this.
And I just have to marvel at God's timing because I can't help but think, if I never wrote Intended Harm and had it published last March, then this article would have devestated me. There's no doubt about it. I can only imagine what kind of hot mess I would be in at this very moment.
But I DID write Intended Harm, and I DID publish it for the whole world to read...unfortuneatly the whole world hasn't gotten the memo yet...And because of that it no longer hurts to hear about.
What should have been a day of tears and binging for me, based on the past 18 years, was instead a day where I felt surrounded by love and support from my friends and family. The amount of support I got yesterday, and am still getting today, reassures me that sharing my story was the right thing to do.
I am so grateful to all of you.
You give me strength.
And I thank you.

Jurney Eve


  1. We all love you and wish the best for you and your family. If you ever need anything just let me know. You are in my prayers.

  2. This sickens me. I'm fighting to maintain a 'christian' way of thinking...the anger and respulsed feelings are taking over.
    You are an amazingly strong and beautiful woman. I love you, my dear friend.