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January 23, 2001
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When I was a green jailer, two years before I hit the streets as a patrol
officer, I met my first child sexual predator face to face.

He wasn't much to look at  a scrawny, little man with a beard and stringy, shoulder- length hair.  I knew something was different about him because of the disgust and contempt shown by the arresting officer, who was normally upbeat and pleasant.  When he handed me the arrest report and warrant so I could book the man, I saw for myself what was wrong.

The warrant said he had raped his nine-year-old stepdaughter and his crime had been discovered when the mother took the little girl to the hospital because she was bleeding badly.  The man sat staring straight ahead as I read the report and warrant in preparation for his booking.

As I opened his wallet to log in his property -- one of those big leather ones attached to a chain -- I saw a picture of the suspect astride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a little girl sitting behind him, arms around his waist. She was smiling.

"Is this your victim?" I asked in a trembling voice. He nodded his head affirmatively but still did not look at me. At that moment, my shift sergeant, after finding out what the prisoner was charged with, came out and took over the booking process. He had handled many child rapists in his day.

Later, we walked our prisoner down to the cellblock where those who needed special protection for one reason or another were kept. As the sergeant turned the switch and the steel door began to slowly slide open, the scrawny, little man turned and asked: "Will I be able to watch television tonight?"

The sergeant immediately stepped between us, allowing the man time to get to his cell.  As we walked away from the cellblock, I was shaking with rage.   He had raped a little girl and was concerned only with whether or not he would be allowed to watch television.

Of course, it wasn't his first time. He had two prior offenses for molesting children but they had been bargained down to the lesser charge of sexual battery and he had walked after serving only a few months both times.

For raping his stepdaughter, he was actually convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 years plus.  Of course, by the time he was actually convicted and sentenced, I had moved on to a patrol position and wasn't there to watch him go to the pen wearing chains.

Seven years later, while working the beverage control detail and handling criminal intelligence on outlaw bikers in my spare time, I was reviewing the arrest reports from the previous shift to see if any of my owners or bikers had been misbehaving.

A name caught my attention on an arrest report. It was  an arrest for a parole violation  and I saw it was definitely the child rapist I had booked seven years earlier.  But I was puzzled because the warrant said he was on parole for raping an  11-year-old boy.

I carried the arrest report down to the child sexual abuse office and asked the investigator in charge if she was familiar with the case and explained that I was certain his victim had been a little girl, not a boy, seven years earlier.

"It was a little girl seven years ago," the investigator said. "Since then, he was paroled on that conviction, raped the little boy, was paroled again -- and has now  had his most recent parole violated for molesting two more little girls."

"Why?"  I was too stunned to say anything else.

"Because the law won't recognize that sexual predators are sexual predators forever. Maybe someday there'll be a cure, but right now, it's like a revolving door -- especially with our overcrowded prisons," the disgusted investigator told me.

This week, I remembered my conversation with the child sexual abuse investigator as I read a story about a six-time rapist from Washington State who has been in jail for 10 years beyond his original sentence because the state considers him too dangerous an individual to turn loose on society.

In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the state can legally hold him indefinitely.  Sometimes, there is an unexpected outburst of judicial logic that totally surprises me.  

The highest judges in the land have finally realized what the sexual abuse investigator  knew in 1989 — sexual predators are broken people who can't be fixed by medical science as we know it today.  All we can do is keep them locked up.

I say, let's hear it for the Supreme Court.

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