Letters to the Editor

From the week of December 26, 2002

I want to feel safe in my community. T.H.E. and other similar "treatment" plans do not give me that feeling. With compassion and understanding, victims and perpetrators can move forward and learn to live healthy and happy lives. I know. I do. (Please withhold my last name, as others are not as at ease with my openness.)


Suffer the children: As a former newspaper reporter and survivor of chronic incest, I liked that Julie Jargon's "Arrested Development" let convicted child raper Robert Rosberg tell how he procures boys, breaks his probation by phoning children, threatens his victims into silence, grooms his sisters to prepare for destroying their children, and finds the path of least resistance.

I must disagree with Selkin's misrepresentation that sex offenders are not dangerous because they have a low "recidivism" rate. Recidivism used to mean "commits the same crime again," but the state redefined it as "return to conviction" -- and usually within three years of a rapist's first conviction. Surveys of adults have shown about 85 percent of child sexual abuse goes unreported. Of that reported, about 5 percent results in criminal prosecution, of which a fraction results in convictions. Of those convicted, 68 percent do not spend one day in a Colorado prison. Therefore, it is a well-crafted lie to equate a low re-conviction rate of sex offenders within a short time with a low danger of destroying children's lives.

Recidivism does not mean that only 25 percent of sex offenders are porking children -- which, if you do the math on how many innocent victims this produces, is still horribly inhumane. Recidivism means victims don't readily report these crimes because our system does little to stop the abuse or penalize the perpetrators. It means traumatized children don't make good witnesses in our court system. It means our DAs have very low conviction success. It means juries aren't willing to convict on the word of one child. It means incest reporters learn to shut up and take it.

I must also challenge the unsupported theory that mental-health therapy does any good for convicted sex offenders. They are not "sick," which implies they can be healed. They are criminals: intelligent, calculating con artists, disease transmitters, destroyers of families, oppressors, bloodsuckers and deluded torturers.

Sex offenders are causing a huge health-care crisis that we are now paying for in many ways. Sex offenders spread mental illness like a plague and should be quarantined. We should stop cursing future generations, whose futures we also depend on. Preventing this curse on our beloved children is truly paramount. That is humane.

Paula Hook
via the Internet

Onward, Christian Students

There goes the neighborhood: Unlike some recent letter writers, I found the Westword articles dealing with Christianity -- some positive, some negative -- very interesting. David Holthouse's "Houses of God," in the November 28 issue, really raised my interests. Had it been a non-Christian school moving in on that neighborhood, I'm sure that Lakewood officials would have taken action much sooner.

Joe Stein

Coming clean: Two questions for Mr. McCormick, CCU's vice president of student development, regarding his statements in "Houses of God":

1) Regarding your statement that "where we have a house full of nine women, well, you can just imagine what the heating and water bill is like." Sir, are you implying that the other "theme houses" where male students live are not as clean as the women's house because the male residents are not practicing good hygiene? That the male housing is dirty, as are the residents, because they keep neither clean in an effort to keep their water bill down? And that the men order out more than the "little women" do so they don't have to wash dishes and use more water? Don't think I'd want a bunch of Christian slobs living next to me, either!

2) "Theme houses are not dormitories...they still operate as a family-like unit because of this theme that keeps them all pointed in the same direction." Last I heard, dorms try to keep students pointed in the same direction: graduation.

P. Copeland

Shelter from the dorm: Although David Holthouse's "Houses of God" was truly stirring, I feel it necessary to add a few details. I live next to Colorado Christian University in Meadowlark. Meadowlark is mostly Christian. Our issue is not with the religious foundation upon which Colorado Christian University has been established; our issue is the more than nine million dollars Mr. VanEssen has spent this past year buying properties solely for the use of CCU, with all, barring a few, located in my residential neighborhood. They can get away with this because former President Bill Clinton in 2000 signed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act that gives CCU -- a religious institution -- free expression, allowing them to circumvent zoning restrictions. As outrageous as it seems, federal policy sanctions the virtual takeover of my neighborhood. We are mad. We are dedicated, too. Who will be next when a church or a college or university decides the residents around them must go?

Readers should be aware that there are two other such instances afoot in Colorado. Foxfield and Greenwood Village are under siege as well. Thomas Jefferson wrote that "a multitude of gods neither breaks my legs nor picks my pockets." Public morality is an extra-legal check on the avarice within all of humanity. I hope that someday our nation will again tolerate myriad faiths as we head today with lightning speed toward theocracy. It's safe, but is it right?

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