Week of February 7, 2001

No Consequences
Looking for one witness with a conscience: I live on the South Side, only about 2 miles from where my brother, Jason, was killed [Wm. Stage, "Death Trip," RFT, Jan. 31]. I have been checking with police once a week since this has happened, and still no leads. This has been very frustrating for my family and me. Hopefully your article will open some eyes and mouths. I know that someone who was there that night wants to come forward but that they are probably scared. From what I understand, when Matt and Jason got out of the car and ran after the kid with the money, they came to an alley where there were about 12 guys with beer bottles. No one can tell me that out of all 12 guys, there is not one person who doesn't have a conscience.

It's a shame that the world that we live in is so cruel. My son was very close to his Uncle Jason. Jordan is 8. Now he doesn't have an uncle anymore, and I will never know what it feels like to be an aunt. I have lost the only sibling that I had. Hopefully your article will bring some justice to the one who decided that he could take Jason away from us with no consequences.
Sherry LaBoube
St. Louis

His Dishonor
The judge gave the victim a harsher sentence than the criminal: As a survivor of rape, I read your article [Jeannette Batz, "Getting Off Easy," RFT, Jan. 24] in utter disgust. It not only demonstrates but confirms why so many women opt not to report such a crime. The rapist inevitably gets a light reprimand, while the victim receives a lifetime sentence, having to live her life with the memory of this man violating her in the most intimate fashion possible.

Truly the judge's remark -- "If anybody is listening, this is why you don't go to bars" -- is enraging. This "she-asked-for-it" mentality is exactly what perpetuates the increasing incidence of rape.
Cami Jeliti
St. Louis

If justice can't be found in a court, then it should be found elsewhere: I just finished reading your cover story, and I'm sick to my stomach. How can any man resort to drugging a woman in order to conquer her sexually? And how can any judge let such a man off without punishing him with incarceration? I have sisters, a mother, friends who are women -- and this makes me afraid for them. Can't I trust that society will help to protect my family and loved ones?

Judge Schaeperkoetter is sorely mistaken when he says this is what happens when you go to bars. I go to bars often. I meet women. I flirt with them. Sometimes I try to get them to go home with me. However, I would never -- not for a second -- consider using a drug to assure my success. This is criminal. Schaeperkoetter implies in his comment that Anne got what she deserved. She was violated against her will -- kidnapped, in my opinion -- and forced to engage in acts that she would not have otherwise participated in. How is this "what you get"?

I don't know if I am more disturbed by Wasiak's behavior or the judge's attitude toward it. If this is what happens to sexual predators in St. Louis, then it is not safe to be a woman there. And if justice can't be found in a court, then it should be found elsewhere.
Name withheld by request
via the Internet

Schaeperkoetter is a disgrace: I have three things to say. The first is to the victim: Anne, you have been badly victimized -- not once but twice. You should, and have the total right, to pursue this to the highest possible body. Nobody should be allowed to get away with such cowardly and reprehensible behavior, and I am not talking about the perpetrator, I am talking about [Franklin County Presiding Judge Jeff] Schaeperkoetter.

To the judge, you are a total disgrace to your profession. Judges are put on the bench to dispense justice and punishment in accordance with the law -- not in accordance to their backwoods, simple, "I-know-everything," jury-ignoring mentality.

To the perpetrator, I have nothing more to say than has been said over and over in the media. Taking advantage of people who become defenseless when subjected to drugs is way below even common standards of human life.
Mark Lawrence

Words fail me: I read "Getting Off Easy," and I must say that it made sick. I cannot believe the decision and the remarks that were made by that judge. After reading that article, I realize that my decision not to report what happened to me was right. I'm so angry I can't put my feeling into words.
Nicole Johnson
Madison, Ill.

So many men think it's OK to take advantage of women: When I read your article, it struck me as strange. Recently I was with someone I have known for a year. He was going to move to Texas three days later. We talked and drank for a few hours. We went to Denny's to eat. I only had a few drinks, but I felt like I was very drunk. I ate a full meal, and it almost made me feel worse. I was very lightheaded; I felt sick and dizzy, and I was very off-balance. He brought me home. One of my neighbors came by my house when we got there. We talked for a while; then my neighbor left and this man went to the bathroom. I was dizzy and sick, so I laid my head on the couch. That's all I remember. I woke up in my bedroom and knew this man I trusted had raped me. I waited too long to go to the hospital and then had no proof he did anything. He has now left the state, and I can't do anything.

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