John Ackerman, 49, was serving a prison term in Plymouth County for raping another teen when investigators linked him through DNA evidence to the long-unsolved 1988 rape in Rowley. His victim was a 17-year-old Lawrence girl who had escaped the killing fields of Cambodia just a few years earlier. Yesterday, she recalled how she was born "into a living hell" under the Khmer Rouge, survived imprisonment in a concentration camp and torture with hot coals, and somehow made it to the United States, where she believed Americans were the "kindest and gentlest people."I hoped when I read the details of this crime that this man would never be eligible for parole. Unfortunately, my hope was a futile one.
The only reason this case was solved was because a similar crime in Florida triggered a request to look for DNA evidence. While the DNA evidence didn't match that case, it did result in a match. He was charged just one day before the statute of limitations on the case would have expired.
This case highlights not only the need to prosecute rapists like this, it highlights the need to examine cold cases well before they reach the statute of limitations. If more of these serial rapists have their multiple crimes linked to them and if we have sentences which match the true severity of these crimes, we will have less need for alternate systems to prevent obviously dangerous sex offenders from being released from prison. From what I read, it sounds like he will be eligible for parole in about 14 years.
This also blows me away:
Ackerman tearfully admitted yesterday that he simply wanted to reciprocate on other people the abuse he had suffered as a child.And some people continue to say domestic abuse is a family matter that doesn't impact the rest of us. Whether that is a true reason or a rationalization, we may never know. But it was reported by his lawyer that as a child he was the victim of physical, verbal and sexual abuse. He began a pattern of striking out at random strangers at the age of 15.
It sounds like the man's intensive sex offender therapy has helped him understand his motives, but understanding doesn't equal making a different choice if he were set free and saw the opportunity to kidnap another woman.
Rage like that has deep and stubborn roots and it wouldn't take much stimulus to act as fertilizer on those dormant roots.
Technorati tags: rape crime politics sexual violence sexual assault feminism