Friday, March 13, 2009

Guilty; or Beloved Children of God, Behaving Appallingly

What a great, and tragic, way to start the morning.  John Sickels and James Christensen, respectively the former assistant police chief and the police chief of Creston, Iowa, were both found guilty of sexual abuse in the rape of a country club employee in 2008.

It's a great way to start the day because these small-town cops obviously thought they could get away with rape, and they didn't.  When first confronted by DCI, they said there was absolutely no sexual contact whatsoever.  Then Sickels said he put his hand down the victim's pants.  Then he said it was consensual sex.  Apparently, Christensen stroked the victim's hair and tried to shush her during the attack, though he now maintains that he never touched her.

Now, my legal experience (apart from my minor in political science) basically comes from crime dramas on television, but I know that once you tell a story to police investigators, you should stick to it, because otherwise you look guilty as sin.  If you say there was no sexual contact, stick to it.  Oh or better yet! - Tell the truth the first time.  You people are cops, don't you know the rules of interrogation?  My God, I'm a freakin' pacifist and I know this!  (Of course, my father also trains interrogators for the military, so that may also be why I know this....)  If you had sex with her, just admit it.  

If the two cops had led with the story of consensual sex when they were first interrogated, I doubt they would have been convicted yesterday.  Which would have been a pity, because I have been pretty sure they were guilty from the first time I heard this story, mostly because the victim has always been consistent in her story, and the cops have done nothing but lied and changed their stories.  I know, I know, innocent until proven guilty, right to a fair trial and all that....which I do believe and which I am sure they did in fact receive.  And they are GUILTY!  

It's also a tragic way to start a morning because a young woman was raped, for God's sake, and by those who are charged with protecting citizens and upholding the law.  Rape is not something one just "gets over," like a car accident or something else.  It is an assault on our bodies, the precious gift God has given to be bearers of holy light and to contain our souls, abusing the sacred gift of sex as a weapon of violence and pain.

It's also tragic because these men, no matter how heinous and stupidly they've behaved, are also men with families, and beloved children of God, and they all are going to be in a lot of pain for a long time to come.  The difference, of course, is that the victim did not choose the pain she's experiencing, but these men could have chosen not to cause themselves, their families, or their victim, this sort of pain.  Beloved children of God - behaving absolutely wretchedly.

Pray that the victim can continue her process of healing, and that these men acknowledge the wrong they have done, and that God gives them all a new path forward in life and hope.

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