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Predators should be removed forever

If I had to write a summary regarding those who sexually molest a child it would be this: The betrayal of the innocence of a child is beyond crime. It is an atrocity, an act that requires a punishment beyond the norm — a permanent removal of the perpetrator from the society upon which he preyed. Anything else is but a second betrayal.

And sadly, the headlines in this paper show there is reason to believe that betrayal is on the rise:

FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2016: “Former member of Diamond board charged with rape.”

FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2016: “Child sexual predator draws 7 life terms.”

FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2016: “Man nabbed in child-sex sting is every parent’s ‘nightmare.’”

APRIL 27, 2016: “3 Franciscan friars ordered to stand trial in sex abuse case.”

APRIL 27, 2016: “Former speaker Hastert sentenced to more than year in prison.”

The lede to that last story read: “Dennis Hastert, the Republican who for eight years presided over the House, was sentenced Wednesday to more than a year in prison in a hush-money case that revealed accusations he sexually abused teenagers while coaching high school wrestling.”

In sentencing Hastert, U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin noted: “Nothing is more stunning than to have the words ‘serial child molester’ and ‘speaker of the House’ in the same sentence,” and then he gave Hastert 15 months instead of the prosecution’s recommended six months.

But as sick as it is that Hastert will not end his days behind bars, I discovered a turn of events that even the famous Mr. Ripley would question. Believe it or not, 41 letters were submitted to the court in support of Hastert.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Republican from Texas opined: “He is a good man that loves the Lord. ... He doesn’t deserve what he is going through.”

Former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner pleaded: “I urge the court to permit him to live the rest of his life in freedom with his family and friends and all those who love and admire him,” And CIA director Porter Goss wrote: “Perhaps, the speaker’s greatest gift to the House was trust. ... My belief is that members found him very approachable and took him at his word.”

The depth of moral relativism in which Hastert’s supporters had to immerse themselves to write their letters is beyond comprehension to me. He was second in line to the presidency of the United States for crying out loud.

America is better than that. I mean, we are, aren’t we? Please, tell me we are.

Hastert and ilk do not deserve support, they do not deserve “understanding,” they deserve punishment, swift and severe. To me, personally, the death penalty is not out of the realm.

And for those who think death too severe? Think about the victims. Think about the trauma of night after night of nightmarish memories. Think about the lives forever ruined.

And then tell me why anyone who commits such heinous acts deserves anything less than being permanently removed from society.

GEOFF CALDWELL lives in Joplin. He can be reached at gc@caldwells



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