"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Reasons We As a Society Are Doomed, #579

Now, you folks know that I'm usually all about the baseball. And when I'm not about the baseball I'm about the cats and the knitting and the piracy and the Levellers.

But sometimes I run across news items that make my head pound and crushes whatever sense of optimism I may have blindly acquired lately. And when that happens, I choose to share that news with all of you. Because misery may love company, but despair relies upon it.

Found through CNN.com (full article available through title link):

Convicted Child Molester Receives Probation

HOUSTON -- Jose Bernabe Flores, 30, was convicted of molesting a 7-year-old girl. The conviction carries a sentence from two to 20 years in prison. But, since Flores has never been convicted in the past, he was eligible for probation, which is what a jury gave him.

He lives down the street from Dunbar Middle School. The sentence has families in the neighborhood furious that a child molester will be living near their children.

A judge placed conditions on Flores' four years probation. He cannot be within 1,000 feet of places where children gather, such as schools and parks. He cannot be alone with any child, including his son. Flores must also register as a sex offender, undergo counseling with a sex therapist and submit to random lie detector tests.

But, when Flores' defense attorney asked him in court if he would comply with the conditions of his probation, Flores said, "I'll think about it."

It's been said that profanity is the refuge of a limited mind, or words to that effect, but frankly I don't have much to say right now that's suitable for public consumption.

You mark my words, though--ten to one he kills the next one. That shuts 'em up real good, as many a convicted pedophile has discovered.

1 rejoinders:

Jim H. sounded off...

First, this is Texas, which has one of the most dysunctional justice systems in the USA (in part because of the money involved in judicial elections and in part because, well, it's Texas).

Second, probation can and does work pretty well, even with sex offenders. People hear the word probation and think it's just some empty phrase. But it can be both strict (in terms of the amount of supervision and the extent of restrictions) and helpful (in terms of opportunities to change behavior). My office is next door to the probation officer in my small Minnesota County -- the probation officer that specializes in supervising sex offenders. He is part of a network of people (police, victim advocates, treatment providers, families, neighbors, prosecutors) who keep very close track of sex offenders. He knows their patterns, he knows their history, he can search their homes, cars, computers. There is a deterrent effect to all that supervision. So, at least in this county, probation actually means something -- it has teeth and it has the respect of offenders, police, victims, and the courts.