Child abusers are unwelcome

Moscow-Pullman Daily News | June 30, 2007

Child abusers are unwelcome

Child abusers are unwelcome

Serial child molester Steven Sitler was sentenced to life imprisonment several months ago. He served no hard time. He spent most of his incarceration in the local jail.

His plea agreement says: “the volume and extent of acts by the defendant are greater than the investigator’s documentation” and “similar acts occurred in connection with minors now residing in other states.” Note the plurals.

A letter in the court file says: “When she was only two years old, Steven offered to take her downstairs and watch her while the adults were talking upstairs. At that time he forced her to perform (omitted: graphic description of an oral sex act).”

Yet after a few months of soft jail time, Sitler was on allowed probation in our community. He has now been re-arrested for violation of that probation.

Recidivism for pedophiles is very high. What is the likelihood of re-offending when the previous offenses are numerous, over a long period of time, over wide areas, and where the offender kept an alleged photographic trophy Web site of some of his victims?

Given the very risky nature of predicting whether re-offenses will occur, the error of assessing risk should be strongly on the side of protecting children and the community — and strongly on the side of promoting general deterrence.

What were Prosecutor Thompson and Judge Stegner thinking? What message does this irresponsible judgment send to the offender’s victims and other victims of pedophilia deciding whether to report their defilement or not?

Sitler is a former student at New Saint Andrews College. Jamin Wight, a former ministerial student at the sister Christ Church institution Greyfriars Hall was also recently convicted of a felony injury to a child, following an original charge of sexual abuse of a child.

Both Sitler and Wight committed their offenses against members of the Christ Church families with whom they were boarding.

I hope that Latah County voters will clean house in the next election.

I also hope that NSA and Greyfriars Hall will carefully review and consider amending their boarding policy and their pre-enrollment screening and enrollment policies. The children of our community deserve nothing less.

Wayne A. Fox