Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Case of the Recidive Rapist with a Drug Addiction

The following story is abstracted with direct quotes from John Graham: Citizen Circle: A mentoring model for rehabilitating ex-felons in Darke County Ohio March 9, 2009 [1]

One of the Darke County Citizen Circle successes as described by Graham is as follows:

"The Circle helped David find a job, something that can be very difficult for sex offenders because of the stigma associated with the crime. More important, they helped him with his family issues. He was living with a girlfriend and their son, and because he had come from an abusive background he had few parenting skills himself."

Even members of the Citizen Circle found some aspects of this success story troubling. After citing this dubiously successful mentorship, Graham goes on to say:

"That does not mean there were no failures with the Circle. James too, was a sex offender, a convicted rapist who spent 12 years in prison. James was extremely bright but he used his intelligence as a barrier to keep people from seeing his true feelings that he kept well hidden behind a mask of anger and contempt for all those he felt had let him down… In time James felt safe enough to talk about his family, about being adopted, about his anger and even his crime. He stated: “When you are under stress you might yell at someone or kick the cat. I do drugs and that is when I get into trouble [2]” he admitted. Although the natural reaction of the group was to say” Don’t do it”, they didn’t say that. They just listened while he ranted and railed on about the injustices in his life. In time, surrounded by so much acceptance and love his anger lessened. He even started attending church with one of the Circle’s members who was helping him find a job. Finally after 2 years in the group, he was released from parole. Unfortunately, he stopped attending the Circle and within 6 months was arrested for another rape. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to thirty years in prison. James failure hit the group on several levels... Unfortunately, a second and more critical result of James’s failure was the sense of violation, especially among the women in the group. “I don’t know if I want to be a part of this anymore. I put so much faith in him; I wanted him to make it so much that I don’t know if I can handle another loss like this, “Jane admitted to the group following James’ arrest. Kathy best described the feelings of most of the women,” I will never be able to trust another parolee again” she said in anger.” He was on my porch many times. He was even in my home. That could have been me!!”

Clearly, the word recidivism is not an abstract term but one that implies serious consequences when discussing sex offenders. In Darke County we recognize the gravity of sex offender recidivism. Well before Graham’s arrival, a brutal repeat sex offender raped and murdered a young woman, and, in a grizzly manner, attempted to dispose of her remains. We believe that all members of our community (Christian, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, atheists or agnostics), still feel the grief suffered by her family.

It appears that the Darke County Citizens Circle, composed of white Protestant and Catholic members, is ill-equipped when compared to the standards of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections’ Manual for Citizen Circles [3]. This training manual and subsequent brochure lists 23 types of professionals and individuals who should be involved in a “Citizen Circle of Influence”.

The Darke County Citizen Circle has only 3 to 5 of the recommended 23 types of individuals and professionals. Of the missing components (professionals in sociology, psychology, psychiatry and criminal justice), the most serious absence from the Circle is the participation of victims. Indeed when victims of sex offenders testified in front of the Greenville City Council, the gravity of their testimony was ignored by the Graham associates. One even had the impudence to chastise a victim who discussed the suicide that occurred in their family over sex offender problems.

Opinion by Charles E. Reier MD and Rebecca A. Reier (footnotes below the jump)

1 Citizen Circle: A mentoring model for rehabilitating ex-felons in Darke County Ohio March 9,2009 pp 132-133

2 Note that although the parolee sex offender states that drugs are the trigger for his problems, the report makes no comment about drug usage or treatment during the mentorship.

3 Citizen Circles: A Road Map to successful community involvement. Ohio DRC 2004 http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/Citizen/CitizenCircleManual.pdf


  1. Thanks again Mr. and Mrs. Reier,I hope this opens up alot of blindness around here!

  2. If the offender has completed the prison term, they have paid their debt to society. The next step is to rehabilitate. (The Department of Correction and Rehabilitation needs to change their name because they offer NO rehabilitation.) Has anyone pushing for the change stopped to think that anyone, ANYONE, can get to a school no matter how far away the barrier is placed, even by walking 5 miles. Doesn't that make it more logical to be compassionate and help to change the offender's life rather than treat them like a leper???!! If you really want to protect children in this county and town, clean up the drugs. There are college students, male and female, who are among the most active drug pushers around. If someone is living way above their means, don't you wonder how and where they got their funds?? I firmly believe the chance for children in this town to be lead down the drug abuse path is far greater than their chance of being sexually accosted outside of a school. And "pot" is no longer the big threat; drugs available in Darke County are heroin, cocaine, crack, meth, you name it. Educate yourself before passing judgement. And don't for a minute believe that I don't know what I am talking about, because I do. I was raised in a very dysfunctional family and yes, I was sexually abused. It is called forgiveness......


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