You wouldn’t know it from the way many in the media cover crime, but recidivists with extremely violent records are still routinely cut loose from prison early, or allowed to stay free while awaiting trial.
Or allowed to attend high school with nobody knowing they’re sex offenders.
But wait, isn’t America supposed to be a police state, where people sometimes shockingly serve full sentences for their crimes? Not in these cases:
Jordan Anthony Gibson, Atlanta, Georgia:
Gibson is currently a suspect in multiple rapes. But even though he was caught in 2009 with items belonging to the rape victims, it took police a year to get back DNA results from the State Crime Lab positively tying him to two of the sex crimes. This story says a lot about the state’s priorities, letting a suspected serial rapist’s DNA collect dust on a shelf for 13 months while some judge actually let the suspect walk free. It also says a lot about the way the defense bar has convinced the judiciary to raise the bar way too high on evidence in criminal convictions: why isn’t being in possession of rape victims’ property enough to try someone for rape? Why couldn’t he have been tried, or at least actually held under real supervision, on burglary or robbery charges until the DNA came back? Don’t we have enough laws on the books to keep people like this off the streets for their other crimes. of course, that would involve the courts actually displaying a commitment to treating crime like crime.
Part of the problem is the perception that crimes like burglary and robbery are now deemed too minor to even address. And we know who to thank for that. yet, somehow, the Atlanta Journal Constitution wants you to believe that we are far too harsh on criminals. And so, you have a man now known to be a serial rapist, who could have been prosecuted for robbery and kept behind bars as the rape investigation continued, instead set free for a year as the crime lab didn’t bother to prioritize its work in a timely way. Money problems? Well, then, they should be using a case like this one to yell from the rooftops that they need more funds. They don’t make waves like that, though.
Nor do Atlanta’s politically motivated “victim advocates” — many of them campus rape activists — who would rather berate all men for alleged sexist insensitivities than get their fingers dirty actually advocating for swift justice against a real rapist. Oh, for the days when there were real feminists. Here’s the serial rape story:
Police charged a man Friday for two of a string of rapes early last year along the Briarcliff Road corridor. DeKalb County Police investigators believe Jordon Anthony Gibson may be responsible for more sexual assaults, however. Gibson, arrested Thursday, had been in police custody [that’s an ankle monitor, not jail] for more than a year on related charges. On April 11, 2009, Gibson, 19, was stopped for a traffic violation, and police found property from the rape victims inside his car, DeKalb County police spokesman Jason Gagnon said. Police, at the time, charged him with several counts of robbery, but continued to consider him as a person of interest in the series of rapes, Gagnon said. DNA samples were taken from Gibson at the time of his arrest, but they were returned only a few weeks ago, police said. The GBI’s results showed Gibson to be a positive match in two of the rapes.
Umm, so why wasn’t he arrested weeks ago? Why wasn’t he picked up the very same day that the DNA results were known? What exactly does it take to remove a dangerous, DNA-identified rapist from the streets, especially when he’s facing a long prison sentence? Why did the warrant take “weeks” after the DNA match?
“We had a strong feeling that he was our guy, just due to the fact that those sexual assaults discontinued the minute he was arrested,” Gagnon told the AJC. “However, we didn’t have the evidence. After the robbery charges, Gibson was released on a $60,000 bond and given an ankle monitor. “We wanted to keep up with him,” Gagnon said. There were at least five more rape victims for whom Gibson’s DNA did not match. “Sometimes DNA can possibly be tainted,” Gagnon said, in explaining why there were not more matches. As far as waiting a year for DNA results, Gagnon said investigators were patient. “We’re just glad it came,” he said.
Look, at some point, somebody in the system needs to stand up and say:
Waiting a year for DNA results in serial rapes with the main suspect out in the community is NOT acceptable. Having a court system in which we can’t even push a robbery conviction to get a suspected rapist behind bars while we investigate his other crimes is NOT acceptable. If the courts are so distracted and overwhelmed that they can’t process a case like this in less than 13 months; if the DA doesn’t feel it is a priority to get a guy like this off the streets ASAP, then we really don’t have justice. We really don’t have courts; we really don’t have prosecutors who can say they’re representing the people. We don’t have anybody bothering to prevent the next preventable rape.
I understand why a cop can’t say this. What I don’t understand is why a judge won’t say it. Somebody needs to be the person who has the courage to challenge this type of utter failure.
Somebody . . . some politician, some DA, some well-paid victim activist, needs to speak up.
Because when nobody speaks up, this is what happens: Jose Reyes, Seattle, Washington
A convicted sex offender is accused of raping a special education student at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School. KING 5 [news] has learned some staff [k]new a sex offender was at the school, but parents and students did not. Prosecutors say 18-year-old Jose Reyes convinced a 14-year-old freshman to go into a girls bathroom at Roosevelt to make out. But, he then forced himself on the student. Other students believe he was in some sort of relationship with the girl. Few at Roosevelt knew about Reyes’ disturbing past: In January of 2007, police say Reyes lured a 10-year-old-girl into a public library parking garage and asked her to take off her pants. In April of 2007, he was charged with trying to lure an 11-year-old girl at a [G]reenwood park. And in May 2007, he tried the same thing with a five-year-old girl, asking her to sit on his lap in exchange for trading cards.
And those are the crimes he was caught committing. Of course, if this were the New York Times reporting the story, they would probably describe Reyes as the victim of a vile Romeo and Juliet law and leave out the part about the five-year old.
When Reyes started school this year, certain teachers, staff and security were told that he is a Level 2 sex offender. State law dictates that no one else is required to be notified. Many parents say that’s ridiculous. . . The Seattle School District says while Roosevelt was notified of Reyes’ sex offender status, the report did not give details about his past and that report never made it from police to the school district itself.
I wonder why Reyes was granted a Level 2 status, given that he was a recidivist who targeted extremely young victims. Should his age matter, when he predated small children? Were some of the charges dropped (like they are always dropped), and that is why he was free to rape a special ed. student?
Shouldn’t every sex crime be prosecuted?
And shouldn’t sex crime cases take less than, say, a decade to process? Especially when the rapist spends that time walking free on the streets and then commits another sex assault? Was this a DNA-delayed case? Something else? Wilson Gomez, Brandon Florida:
A Brandon man already facing rape charges from last year was arrested Saturday morning on similar charges, according to an arrest report. Deputies arrested Wilson Gomez, 50, at his home at 202 Mason St., after, they say, he had sex with a woman who did not give her consent. He is charged with sexual battery, the report said. Gomez was arrested in 2009 and charged with sexual battery using a deadly weapon or force causing injury in connection with a 2001 incident, jail records show. According to Hillsborough County court records, these charges are part of an ongoing case and he has not been convicted. Gomez is held without bail at the Orient Road Jail.
It seems that when offenders know they’re going to jail, they often act out. Why don’t judges see this? Why do they keep letting dangerous predators go free to await trial? Like, in the next case.
Leonard Earl Scroggins, San Diego, California:
Scroggins is a convicted recidivist sex offender (very) recently out on parole who was allowed to remain loose even after fondling a child a few days after getting out of prison. Astonishingly, San Diego Deputy District Attorney Enrique Camarena feels that letting the two-time convict remain free after the sex offense against a child was a sign that the system is working, because Scroggins is now facing life in prison for removing his monitoring anklet and sexually assaulting four other females in a crime spree last week, including a 13-year old girl he stabbed and tried to kidnap at knife-point and another woman attacked with a knife.
That means the system is working? Using women and children as prey because we’ve raised the bar so much on prosecuting anyone for anything that you practically have to kill a child to get put away? That’s a solution? What does the system look like when it’s not working?
The prosecutor in the case says he is not frustrated with the system even though Scroggins has a history of breaking the law and violating parole. “Unfortunately we have to get to this point where the guy commits serious acts on consecutive days, to multiple victims to get to this point where he is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. But that’s a big punishment and I think as a society we have to wait until the time is right,” says Camarena.
“Society” has to “wait until” what??? Look, even though he was in Napa Valley, this guy wasn’t selling no wine before its time: he was kidnapping women and children at knife-point after the proud state of California cut him loose early for two previous sex crimes and failed to hold him accountable for attacking a child. I don’t know if D.A. Camarena is some wanna-be pol using his current office to climb the political ladder, or some wanna-be defense attorney using taxpayers and victims to train for his future job by working for the prosecutor’s office (a not uncommon scenario), or if he is actually a decent law-and-order guy driven insane by the impossibility of bringing charges against anyone for anything these days. But it is appalling to say that any woman or child should be sacrificed to “serious acts on consecutive days, to multiple victims” to get a bloody prosecution rolling.
I don’t quite know how to express this because it should not need to be expressed, but the system wasn’t working when Scroggins walked out of prison early for two rapes. It wasn’t working when he attacked a child and got away with it in March. It wasn’t working when he wasn’t punished for violating his parole — by molesting a child — and remained free on an ankle monitor. It’s not working if you need a high-tide body count before the D.A. feels he can proceed with prosecuting a dangerous recidivist predatory child sex offender. And if the D.A. reacts to these circumstances by making excuses instead of shouting from the rooftops, something is very, very broken.
Here are Scroggins’ prior offenses. Or, at least, the ones that someone bothered to prosecute:
Department of Corrections documents show convicted sex offender Leonard Scroggins in and out of prison. Back in the mid-90’s he was sentenced to ten years for rape in Napa County. He served four and a half, but violated his parole twice; finally being released in 2003. A couple of months later, Scroggins went back to prison after pleading guilty to a terrorist threat involving kidnapping and rape. He again violated parole, and was just released from prison this past March.
That’s two violent sex crimes, three parole violations. Then came the un-prosecuted child molestation (please drop the “fondling” bit), which apparently led to the ankle monitor but no prison time. Then the rampage this week, which relieved the District Attorney of actually having to take a stand by trying Scroggins on one child charge before he committed more sex crimes.
Look, I’m sympathetic to the difficulty of getting charges to stick in this joke of a justice system. But can’t the D.A. so much as express mild disgust that his hands are so tied? Isn’t that his job?
Meanwhile, as politicians fuss over expensive-yet-futile measures like requiring sex offenders to provide their e-mail addresses and instant messaging names to police, or creating yet another freeway alert system to warn of offenders who are “misbehaving” (their term) or absconded, the one sane voice in the California crime cacophony is that of Scroggin’s 13-year old victim. She harbors no illusions about the stakes of the game:
Scroggins [put] a knife to the throat of a 13-year-old girl and tr[ied] to drag her into his car. “He kept repeating in a low voice, ‘Get in the car or I will cut you,”‘ said Guadalupe Perez, an eighth-grader at National City Middle School. The girl said she screamed and reached for the knife, cutting her finger, then elbowed the man and ran. “If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “I didn’t want to be one of those cases where you find my remains three years from now.”
“I didn’t want to be one of those cases where you find my remains three years from now.” Shame on the rest of us.