Week of January 31, 2001

Judicial Rape
The judge should be punished for obstruction of justice: I read this article [Jeannette Batz, "Getting Off Easy," RFT, Jan. 24] over an hour ago, and I am still seething with anger over this. I am a single woman, and I am outraged that this rapist got off the hook so easily and for the judge to imply that this was somehow Anne's fault for being there! This is not a Third World country where the men can have their way with women whenever they feel like it! For this judge to condone what he feels "happens all the time in bars" is absolutely outrageous! I think the judge should be punished for obstruction of justice.

My heart goes out to Anne, and I pray this never happens to me or anyone else, but if it does, I will pray even harder that it does not end in up in the hands of this incompetent judge!
Nicole Futrell
St. Louis

Victimized again: As a woman who was raped two times and did not report it, I applaud Anne for her courage in fighting Matthew Wasiak. Franklin County should disbar Judge Schaeperkoetter for his righteous, holier-than-thou attitude toward the law. It is a disgrace that women still are victims not only of rape but of the legal system as well. When will this system start to honor and respect women?
Elise Brion

Sex and Sensibility
Arousal should be an annual event: Usually, when I return from traveling, I'm made all the more aware of how conservative and sometimes backward St. Louis can be. Luckily for me, when I returned from Los Angeles last month, I practically stepped off the plane and into the Arousal show, which was one of the best times I've had in this city.

As far as the sentiment that St. Louisans should learn to "act grown-up about sex," I think it goes double for sex offenders like Matthew Wasiak and sexist judges like Jeff Schaeperkoetter ["Getting Off Easy"]. I guess it takes more than consenting adults' getting naked and pleasuring themselves in a downtown art gallery [Eddie Silva, "Muse," RFT, Jan. 17] to cause a scandal when we have men drugging and raping women in Ladue and getting slapped on the wrist. How could Schaeperkoetter make such puritanical statements about why women shouldn't go to bars and in the same breath go so easy on a man who admits to drugging a woman to take sexual advantage of her?

I've worn black thong underwear, and I've gone to bars and occasionally had too many drinks. Does this mean I'm asking to get raped, too? Wasiak should be in jail, Schaeperkoetter should be removed from the bench and the Arousal show should become and annual event and tourist attraction on the level of San Francisco's Exotic Erotic Ball.
David Dandridge
St. Louis

I wanted controversy, not scandal: Thanks so much for the article about perhaps the best group art show since Venus Envy and, before that, the days of the 6th Floor Gallery ["Muse," Jan. 17]. Although any press is good press and I totally understand the problems associated with getting facts straight, a secondhand quote can be misleading! You said that Linda Horsley said that I said I "wanted to cause scandal." If you would have come straight to the horse's mouth, what I did say was that I "wanted to see controversy"!

And I guess that is just what has happened in part, thanks to you. I even got a call from my brother telling me that I was scandalous! And he knows nothing about the St. Louis art scene! And that's not even to mention the problem I had when I took the film from the Arousal photo shoot to a photo lab I have used for eight or nine years. The lab people told me my work was "obscene" and they were considering turning me in to the authorities! But sometimes one gets what he wishes for! But thanks anyway -- I do appreciate your words! The next time, come to me, and I will tell you the straight scoop.

Oh, by the way, the girls mentioned were not all that big-breasted.
Michael Draga
St. Louis

Dust in the Wind
Illinois also would feel impact of kiln: Your recent cover story "Cementing a Deal" [C.D. Stelzer, RFT, Jan. 17] reveals that what is proposed to be the largest cement kiln in the world is a bad deal for the region.

Although Holnam's proposed kiln and quarry in Ste. Genevieve County would be located some 30 miles south of St. Louis, your article shows how devastating such a facility could be to the St. Louis region in health, economic and environmental impacts. These impacts would also affect Illinois, where Monroe, St. Clair and Madison counties are part of the St. Louis metropolitan area.

The region already fails to meet federal clean-air standards, and your story discloses that the staggering amount of emissions from Holnam's proposed kiln would push the area further out of compliance. This harms not only public health but the economic climate, requiring stricter regulation of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones. In addition, the proposed facility, right on the Mississippi River, would devastate 4,000 acres of beautiful, unfragmented forest.

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