Posted by: joshjasper | February 17, 2013

Mad as Hell

I’m just going to write.  I’m not going to worry about how the sentences connect to one another, the grammar, or whether  or not I’m staying on point.  I just need to write.  Maybe it was yesterday’s article in the Telegraph Herald about the bus driver from my school district that got a suspended sentence for raping young boys, not having to serve any jail time.  Maybe it was the death threat I received after our Super Bowl Bingo game that challenged the overwhelming amount of sexism found during the commercials.  Maybe it’s the woman that continues to seek justice for being physically assaulted by her boyfriend, and not being heard.  Whenever it happened and for whatever reason, I’m mad as hell.

I plan on reaching out to the County Attorney about this recent case to ask how it could possibly have ended in a suspended sentence, but I know what the response is going to sound like.  In yesterday’s article, she was quoted about the suspended sentence saying, “it’s the best we could have hoped for.”  Do you have any idea how many times I have heard this from a county attorney, state’s attorney, or judge?  Enough!  It’s not the best we could have hoped for, not even close.  What do you suppose the guy that is thinking about raping a child in our community right now thinks of this decision? And rest assured, he is there.  OF COURSE HE IS!  This decision has only empowered him.  We have done NOTHING to deter him.

Is anyone else as angry and disappointed as I am about this?  Will anyone else question why more than 85% of sexual and domestic assault cases in our community gets dismissed or reduced?  Aside from being concerned about future victims, aren’t you worried about the message this lack of accountability sends to perpetrators?

Here’s the cold, hard truth: We live in communities in which kindergarteners are slaughtered, little boys and girls are raped and abused, and women are physically abused every single night.  And by and large we do nothing about it.  We close a blind eye to it all, focusing our attention on things like gun control, the state of mental health services, increased law enforcement, and the Kardashians.

I’d like to think that everyone I know wants to prevent the violence mentioned before.  But here’s the thing, you need to DO SOMETHING to make it happen.  Violence prevention is not the work for a select few.  It’s ridiculous and quite dangerous to assume such a fallacy to be true.  Hopefully you’re wondering now where you can start.  Start by opening up the newspaper tomorrow or watching the news tonight and paying attention to the stories that include violence against women, sexism, racism, or homophobia.  I’ll bet my paycheck you’ll find one of them there.  Now do something to speak out against this garbage.  Start a conversation with a friend or post something on Facebook.

At the very least, just start paying attention…please.

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Dear Josh:I am so sorry about this mess…..I so agree with you. We are all on our high horses with being angry at a clergy man from California….and letting this slide by right here in our own communities….our own schools. I support you and your work…. Your saddness is heartbreaking. Betty Anne Scherrman Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2013 01:34:14 +0000 To: iowagranny@hotmail.com

  2. Thank you Betty. I very much appreciate your support and as you know, the sadness I feel is the very same sadness you feel as well. Keep up the good work.

  3. I too was outraged and could not figure out how a man got a suspended sentence for sexually abusing 2 boys. They have to live with that the rest of their lifes and he got a slap on the hand. Where is the justice in all of this?? so WRONG in so many ways.

  4. Thank you for sharing and speaking out, Cindy. It’s nice to know that other people are out there, feeling the same way I do. And you’re so right, what about the victims? What’s next for them?

  5. Many, many times the court system fails those who have been abused. I know first hand what it feels like to be that child who was abused and found out the sexual assault I went through was just “disorderly conduct.” It is absolutely terrifying for me to know that men like him are allowed to run around freely, amongst all the children. But you do everything you can, and justice fails. I feel your outrage, but where do you start?

  6. I’m sorry to hear about your experience, Audrey. I really am. Time and time again, charges are reduced if not all together dismissed. It’s such an outrageous decision. You ask where we can start. Well, it depends on your comfort level. I’m starting tonight by sending an email to the County Attorney to respectfully ask for more information about this decision and to make it be known that I am deeply disappointed with the outcome. We need to start speaking out. Start with your family and peers. Let them know of your outrage. You will find that you are not alone.

  7. Can a complaint be made to the State Attorney General? Iowa American Civil Liberties Union? We had some problems here with our rights being ignored and the perpetrators not being held accountable for their actions. When the County Attorney retired, a large group of us told the candidate we were considering endorsing, that we would not support him unless he held people held accountable for their criminal actions. So far he has kept his word, and upheld our rights. We didn’t ask to have the book thrown at these people, we just wanted the County Attorney to make our rights a priority rather than the lawbreakers.
    Chris

  8. Chris-It sounds like you participated in some amazing advocacy. Great work. A person can file a complaint/concern with the offices you listed above. We’ve done that in the past in other communities as well. You make a great point in that this is not about throwing the book at anyone. It’s simply about accountability and victim rights.

  9. I also agree and I’m sure the athuorities and stayes attornies and judges and the rest of them would feel different and try harder to get these people pit behind bars if it was there kids or family that it was happening to

  10. That’s a great point, Kasey. Sadly, violence prevention does not become important or relevant for many people until it becomes personal. Until you know someone that has been impacted by violence. It shouldn’t be that way though.

  11. We made it known that we would be holding the future County Attorney accountable via the voting booth. There were enough citizens willing to follow through on this, that the man running for County Attorney knew we would vote for his opponent the next time around if our rights continued to be violated without anyone held accountable. I don’t know our County Attorney well enough to know whether he is holding people accountable now because he has a sense of fairness and justice about him, or if he is worried about re-election. I sincerely hope its the former, but the latter reason doesn’t hurt either.

  12. I am so saddened angry and outraged… where is the justice for these victims? They are left to try to pick up the pieces and can only hope to move forward.. while the abuser gets to live their life. I about flipped when i read “it was the best we could have hoped for” WHAT???? Really? Now the abuser continues on with his life… and these poor children and their familes have to live everyday with what happened and that someone can do something so evil to them and not get a punishment that fits the crime..

  13. I too am outraged by the outcome of that case. That man admitted what he did but used the defense that “PTSD made him do it”. BULL! He knew what he was doing, he paid them to keep quiet, and his younger family members have bullied one of the boys so badly that he missed a lot of school & has had to switch schools. He did it! He admitted to it! He contacted these boys & violated the no-contact orders! He drove around town passed their houses regularly, I believe to intimidate them. He got off and these boys got a life sentence! There is nothing keeping him from doing it again! Our police officers and detectives put their lives at risk everyday to protect us & do the work to make an arrest & Dubuque County lets them off with basically no punishment! Where do they feel safe at night? The rest of us know that they are not holding up there end of the bargain. If they are not willing to do their job to the BEST of their abilities, then get out of the way so someone else can! I certainly don’t feel that my children are safe in my small town anymore.

  14. Keri and Tami-I couldn’t agree more with the both of you. I have heard a number of stories from different people that have been impacted by this individual and none of it is good, as you can imagine. I have really been struggling with his statement about this was only one time, that he has PTSD, that he was sexually abused, and about how his experience in the Marine Corps affected his behavior. As a fellow Marine and someone that has known A LOT of people that have experienced sexual and physical abuse, and people with PTSD, it’s hard for me not feel like this is all excuses. I very much advocate for someone to receive treatment for mental health issues such as PTSD, but again, it feels like it’s being used to his advantage.

  15. Or how about the thousands of IL and midwest rape kits that were found in Ohio that had never been tested. Been wondering for 7 years why we never heard anything back about my daughter’s. Could this be the reason? I am angry too. She will never get over it, and nor will I. Brush it all under the rug. Who cares?

  16. I know, Susan. There was article in the Des Moines Register just this past weekend titled “Turning Back the Clock on Rape Investigations.” As you can imagine, it talks about the lack of support to have investigations, rape kits, etc. done correctly or even done at all. I am really sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter. Our communities need to better advocate for this type of support. We need more people to raise their voices. We need to be heard.

  17. I am sure that this man has other victims that haven’t come forward and really why would they now? He wouldnt get any just punishment and the victims get victimized more…

  18. Mr. Jasper – I applaud you for all the wonderful work you do. I cannot believe someone would send you a death threat for trying to bring awareness to the things that go on in our society. I, too, was appalled by the “Suspended Sentence”. Our court system does not do justice for everybody – not like it should. I totally agree with everything you do, and would also like to be able to make a difference, but am unsure how. I was also physically and sexually abused as a child – but would NEVER consider doing that to any other person – let alone use that as an excuse. I try to bury the memories and give my children and grandchildren a happy life – one that I did not have. The story of Bentley Randall broke my heart, and I tear up every time I even think about what that poor child endured. I hope our court system can at least do some justice for him. There are too many innocent victims and not enough punishment to the perpetrators!! Keep doing what you are doing -you have many people behind you!


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