Recently, a man convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor child under the age of 16 was released on parole after serving 20 months of a life sentence. He is a first-time offender. The average time in an Idaho prison for any sex offender is about 42 months. We believe the system is broken if it allows such short sentences.
Doug Wilson is no normal pastor. He is a biblical hard-liner, a man who in numerous books and speeches is quick to advocate the most draconian punishments of the Old Testament for all kinds of offenses, some quite minor. And that applies to the Sitler case directly, judging from what Wilson wrote in his 1999 book Fidelity: “When we are dealing with young children who are abused by adults (pederasty, child porn, etc.), the penalty for those guilty of the crime should be death.” Except . . .
Unnoticed and unremarked, Steven Sitler walked among us for 18 months. When Doug Wilson learned of Sitler’s crimes in April of 2005, he did not warn us; he did not inform us; and, to date, he has not seen fit to apologize for failing to alert the members of his church or the larger Moscow community to the presence of this predator in our midst.
For 18 months, a serial child molester named Steven James Sitler called Moscow home. He boarded with a Christ Church family. He attended Doug Wilson’s New St. Andrews College. How did the community and members of Christ Church learn of Steven Sitler’s crimes? On a local blog and, later, on an Internet community chat group. What’s wrong with this picture? Everything. . . .
IT IS ORDERED ADJUDGED AND DECREED, that STEVEN JAMES SITLER stands CONVICTED OF RECORD of the crime of LEWD CONDUCT WITH A MINOR UNDER SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE, in violation of Idaho Code Section Idaho Code 18-1508, and that defendant be committed to the custody of the Idaho State Board of Correction for a period of LIFE. . . .
The session now deems it necessary to further inform you, the members of the body of Christ at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, OPC, concerning the nature of the offenses Steven has committed. Ten days ago, in Latah County, Idaho, Steven entered a plea of ‘guilty’ to the charge of lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen years of age, which is a felony. . . .