Arrested Development

A Denver therapist wants to lock up sexual predators -- forever. But patients say the treatment is just making them bitter.

T.H.E. clients worry that if a huge facility opens, even more people will be subjected to a program they consider cruel and unusual. "They can't even protect people in SLAs," Rosberg says, referring to the resident he claims assaulted him. "How do they expect to do so on a campus?"

If such a campus ever opens, Rosberg says, people who weren't sentenced to prison for their crimes will be living as though they're behind bars. "There's no therapeutic value to clustering a bunch of criminals together; if you quarantine a bunch of people, they'll just get angry, and that, to me, increases their potential to reoffend. What they're proposing is a prison outside the prison system."

At least in prison, inmates have the hope of someday getting out, Rosberg adds. Psychologist Selkin worries about the ethics and legality of placing offenders in a private facility for the rest of their lives. "I think there are some sex offenders who merit life sentences, but that's the business of the State of Colorado, not Greig Veeder," he says.

Anthony Camera
Psychologist James Selkin says T.H.E. is overkill for most patients.
Anthony Camera
Psychologist James Selkin says T.H.E. is overkill for most patients.

If Rosberg had to choose between going to prison and going to the sex-offender facility, he'd choose the former.

"I want to what they call 'normalize,'" adds Tom. "I want to get back in the real world, but I'm afraid I'll never be able to if Greig creates this Veederville."

Rosberg probably doesn't have to worry about being sent to that campus. What he does have to worry about is whether he'll ever get to see his family again.

He wants to move back to Texas, but the conditions of his probation won't allow it; he can't even travel where he wants within Colorado. Under the state's sex-offender guidelines, convicted perpetrators -- regardless of whether they've assaulted a young boy or an old woman -- can't have any contact with children under the age of eighteen unless they get written permission from their probation officer.

Rosberg is currently on a ninety-day probation period at AMH; when that ends in January, his therapist will determine whether he's treatable and can remain in the program or whether he should return to jail. Rosberg feels he's making progress at AMH and wants to stay. But someday, he wants to move back to Texas and enter a treatment program there.

If the court ever allows him to transfer to Texas, he may ask a judge there to modify the terms of his probation so that he can see his five nephews. Rosberg has three sisters but is closest to Julie Molina, who has two sons, ages six and eight.

"To separate families is awful," says Molina, who lives in Houston. "Two years ago on Thanksgiving was the last time my sons saw Robert. I remember how much fun they had with him then. My eight-year-old thinks his uncle is the coolest person in the world."

Rosberg was close to Molina's sons before his last conviction; he frequently called them, never forgetting a birthday.

Now Molina has to find ways to explain to her boys why they can't talk to or see their uncle. "I've told them that Robert works nights and sleeps all day and that that's why they can't talk to him. When Robert calls me, he calls late at night and lets it ring twice so I know it's him, and then I call him back," she says. "We tell the kids they can't answer the phone because we get sales calls and to let Mommy and Daddy get it. One time the phone rang and it said 'Robert Rosberg' on the caller ID and my older son picked it up. Well, Robert couldn't just hang up on him, so he had to document the call and report it to his probation officer."

Molina says she'll tell her sons the truth when they're older, but she won't provide details. "I'll just tell them that Robert did something to get in trouble."

Rosberg's trouble has actually brought him and his sister closer together. They had drifted apart for a while, but since Rosberg's latest arrest and subsequent admission into T.H.E., the only thing that's separated them is the distance between Denver and Houston. Molina talks to him almost every night, and when Rosberg grew depressed after the alleged assault in the SLA and hopeless over the thought of never getting out of T.H.E., she flew to Denver and stayed with him for eight days. "I was so scared over his mental health," she says. "He cried all the time. The things they made him do in therapy were so awful."

Rosberg's other sister, Sarah Robinson, agrees. "I don't think the punishment fit the crime," she says. "He was being treated like a pedophile. I know Robert has always liked younger men, but I don't think he's a pedophile."

Robinson doesn't talk about her brother anymore with her two sons, ages six and three, because she says it's too painful for her older boy, who wondered on his fifth birthday why his uncle hadn't sent him a present.

Robinson and Molina want Rosberg back in Texas because he's all they have. Their father was murdered in 1985 during a robbery at an Arlington coin store he owned, and their mother died in 1993. "We don't have a mom and a dad, and not being able to see Robert is killing me," Molina says. "I'm very ill with a heart condition; I can die at any moment, and we can't spend this time together."

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