Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why Does a Child Molester Get to Benefit from the System He Disgraced?

by Robin Sax

The last two years of 12-year-old Becca McEvoy's short life were spent living with sexual abuse by her stepfather, Bob Inge (pictured left). It’s not all that unusual, unfortunately, to hear of horrendous sex abuse stories where step-dads are molesting, raping, and running their step-daughters through the Penal Code. But this case is heinous on so many more levels that even the truest believers out there should be motivated to see that certain laws need amending—fast!

So what makes this case so wrong?

1. The defendant is Corporal Bob Inge, once a police officer with the Chickasaw Police Department;

2. The defendant is now out of custody and is living with young children as he awaits the court’s ruling;

3. The defendant was arrested in 2006, and Becca died in March 2008, in an unforeseen car accident; and

4. The Supreme Court decision from Crawford v Washington will probably let this pedophile walk.

As a result of the Crawford decision, the validity of firmly rooted hearsay exceptions has been called into question. Performing the “indicia of reliability” or “trustworthiness” test for hearsay statements has been abolished because Crawford overruled the decision in Ohio v Roberts, 448 U.S. 56, back in 1980.

So how does Crawford work? When deciding whether a hearsay statement will be admissible at trial without the declarant testifying, courts apply the following formula:

Step 1. Is the hearsay statement testimonial? Was the statement made to a government agent? Did a government agent question the declarant? Would the declarant reasonably expect that the statement would later be used at trial?

a. If the answer is no, then utilize your state’s Rules of Evidence to determine whether the hearsay statement falls into a recognized exception which may negate the need for the declarant to testify.

b. If the answer is yes, then proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Have the declarant testify and be subject to cross-examination.

a. If the declarant is unavailable, but testified at a prior proceeding and was subject to cross-examination, the transcript of the prior testimony will be admissible and other admissible hearsay statements will also be allowed (such as statements made during a forensic interview).

b. If the witness/victim is unavailable and has never testified in any proceeding in the case, then all hearsay statements will be inadmissible.

What you may notice in this formula’s short checklist is that there is no Step 3. That means if a witness is no longer available (and death certainly qualifies) and (i) there is no other exception to the hearsay rule that would apply or (ii) there hasn’t been any testimony subject to cross-examination, we are basically left with 2 choices.

One, we can hope that there are other ways to make the case (DNA, other victims, defendant’s admissions, etc.) or, two, the case can get dismissed.

While it seems convenient to say, “Well, let’s try to prove the case by some other means,” that is problematic, especially when your perp is a cop. I mean, do you really think a cop is going to confess or admit to his wrongdoings? And do you think he left any evidence around?

Think about, it. Sex crimes happen in the most secretive of ways in the most covert places. If this guy is even a third-rate cop, don’t you think he covered his tracks? And it’s not as if sex crime perps leave a ton of evidence, even in the best investigations. We all know that the defendant isn’t at all concerned about leaving his evidence in the victim’s heart and mind: permanent scars of abuse.

I am all about defendants having rights. But what about the victim’s rights, and victims before her? Why does Bill Inge get a pass? Why does a child molester get to walk free as we all sit back and wait for him to do it again?

So, what’s the answer? The answer is to carve out an exception.

How about a specific child sexual assault exception where grand jury testimony could be admitted in a trial? (Becca testified at TWO prior grand jury hearings.) How about hearsay statements made to a police officer coupled with grand jury testimony to ensure reliability and consistency? How about testimony where a child has said same thing to a number of civilians as corroboration to police testimony and grand jury testimony? The point is there should be alternative exceptions. There are ways to ensure reliability and trustworthiness and therefore, there should be a way to get Becca’s voice heard and not let the men who disgraced his position as stepdad and cop go free.


Note: This post and all other posts by Robin Sax represent Robin's personal opinion and NOT the opinion of the LOS ANGELES COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY nor the LOS ANGELES COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE.

16 comments:

Leah said...

This is almost a comedy of errors. And then she dies? How tragic.

Robin Sax said...

Beyond tragic...

Vanessa Leggett said...

Very disturbing. What can people do to help, Robin?

cherry6905 said...

Bob Ingle has gotten away with molesting children for 20 yrs. There are 20+ victims which have been interviewed. Some giving graphic testimony, later recanted. His brother's are listed sex offenders.
Thank God Becca had the courage and tried to stop this monster.
Jessica's Law is not enough! We need to start protecting the victims of these crimes not the criminals!

Levi said...

Hi everyone, I would advise emailing some national news shows who might cover the case, and maybe some of his victims will then come forward.

There is also a petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/justice4her/

Anonymous said...

Your article failed to mention whether this guy has been convicted by someone other than you – a jury perhaps? It was long on comments about step-fathers “raping, and running their step-daughters through the Penal Code,” but short on details that led you to believe that Inge is guilty of sexually abusing his step-daughter. Could be, I don’t know, because your article provided insufficient details to persuade the reader that your conclusions are true.

As to Crawford. Carwford is not that complicated. It simply states that our legal system is premised, in part, on the concept that face-to-face cross examination is be most effective means of getting to the truth; that confrontation means cross examination. You should know that every child who claims sexual abuse is not always telling the truth and a jury who has the benefit of hearing a witness’s testimony on direct and cross should decide guilt – not a prosecutor or a defense lawyer.

As to your claim that “certain laws need amending – fast,” please explain why offenses involving the sexual abuse of a child deserves to be an exception to the Crawford rule. Is the sexual abuse of a child a more heinous crime than the murder of a child, or capital murder?

Additionally, how do you propose to amend “certain laws” that “need amending – fast?” Crawford interpreted the Sixth Amendment right to confrontation, do you propose amending the Constitution? Complaining about a problem without offering a solution is like eating butter to lose weight and amounts to self-righteous whining sans a solution.

And your idea of admitting grand jury testimony at trial is beyond the pale. Have you heard of Thomas Wolfe’s often repeated comment on grand juries, that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich? And you want the testimony of a witness who appears before a panel where the only lawyer present is a prosecutor to be admissible at trial? I think not.

Everything you concluded about Inge could be true but your argument that the law should be changed is paper thin and ignores such legal principles as the presumption of innocence and the importance of a trial by jury and not a trial by the prosecution.

cherry6905 said...

I wonder, why is it that our justice system all over this country can follow one part of the law, the presumption of innocence of the accused, but ignore the most important people of all in the criminal justice process - the victims? Why are they not at least afforded the same rights as the accused?
Especially children?

A. said...

You know anon, your post really irritates me.

Clearly, Robin's not writing the be all end all summary of the case, just a simple commentary, with the
inclusion of enough facts to make her point.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be speaking as a pedophile sympmathist.
For you to even suggest a quantitive comparison on the degree of evil between child rape and child murder illustrates a callous heart to say the least.

I agree with Robin's point of view.

You might stretch your interest and do a bit of research on the effect of child rape (for the victim). Perhaps you will see what a devastating crime this is. How imbalanced the confrontation process truly is, between a child and the adult who has held such a wounding and brutal power.

Robin Sax said...

I am thrilled that my post has gotten someone fired up. That is someone too cowardly not to identified. Let me be clear here. I am not convicting anyone, nor am I suggesting that grand jury testimony be substituted for a jury trial. What I am suggesting is that, in the spirit of the 100's of years of hearsay exceptions, is to allow testimony in that has indicia of reliability. In Inge's case, where I have done my research and clearly anon had not, there are reliability factors that would warrant this admissibility at least to the trier of fact the jury. Like, how about the consistency of the victim's statements from grand jury testimony to grand jury testimony, to police reports, to medical records? How about the other victims who also came forward? How about objective behavior changes? Or, what about what we do with tons of other testimony that is allowed in to go towards the weight not admissibility? The defendants rights are an invaluable part of our system. No one is saying for a defendant to be deprived of his day in court. But, why can't the victims voice be heard too?

I have tons of suggestions for law changes; but, you will just have to read more of posts to read them.

rhonda said...

I AM REBECCA'S COUSIN RHONDA WHEELUS!THERES 2 MUCH EVIDENCE IN THIS CASE 4 THIS 2 B SWEPT UNDER THE RUG & SAT UPON A SHELF 4 ANOTHER DAY!!CRAWFORD VS WASHINGTON WAS SAT ON A SHELF AS 2 DECIDE WHAT TESTIMONIAL & NON TESTIMONIAL WOULD BE!!! NOW OUR FAMILY IS PAYING THE PRICE 4 THIS!!WE HAVE BEEN THRU 2 MUCH NOW WE MUST B REVICTIMIZED AGAIN BY THE SYSTEM??
WE HAVE SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE IN THIS CASE!
POLICE REPORTS
MED EXAMS
TESTIMONY ON VIDEO
TESTIMONY 2 COUNSELLORS
2 GRAND JURY TESTIMONIES
A PAPER WHERE SHE WROTE WHAT HE DONE 2 HER ON
4 FRIENDS SHE TOLD OF THE CRIME
FURNITURE & A MATTRESS FROM SCENE OF CRIME

WHAT MORE DO THESE PEOPLE WANT???WE NEED JUSTICE!THATS WHAT BECCA WAS FIGHTIN 4~SHE A 10 YR OLD WAS THE ONLY 1 WITH THE GUTS 2 COME FORTH & NOW HE THINKS HES GONNA BENEFIT FROM HER DEATH?HASNT HE BENEFITTED ENOUGH FROM HER NOW HES GONNA VICTIMIZE HER MEMORY 2?WE AS PARENTS CANT ALLOW THIS IF HE'S ALLOWED 2 WALK THERE WILL B OTHERS!!BECCAS NOT THE 1ST BY A LONG SHOT & SHE SURE WONT B THE LAST IF HE WALKS!!THE MESSAGE THAT WILL B SENT 2 HIM IS U CAN GET AWAY WITH IT UR ABOVE THE LAW & WE'LL JUST EMPOWER THE PEDOPHILE & STRIP THE RIGHTS OF EVERY UPSTANDING HUMAN BEING BY PUTTING THEM & THEIR CHILDREN IN HARMS WAY BY ALLOWING THIS MONSTER THAT SWORE 2 PROTECT & SERVE (HE PROTECTED & SERVED NO1 BUT HIMSELF)2 B FREE 2 ROAM & SEEK OUT HIS PREY ONCE MORE!
PLEASE HELP US GET JUSTICE4BECCA!!

rhonda said...

by the way anonymous why dont u be a man or woman & reveal your identity for all we know you could be Bob Ingle or some other ped. lookin for an easy out!!
if youd do your homework & look up all stories on this case you'd know the whole story but sense your 2 lazy 2 do that i'll tell you just a little being this is my little cousin im having 2 sit here & defend 2 people who dont have the common sense resources 2 do their homework b4 they comment!
this man has been doing this 4 at least 20 yrs!how do i know that?1 of my other cousin's use 2 b married 2 him about that long ago & his 2 daughters came 2 her & told her their dad was molesting 2 them;she told their mom & she got the heck away from this perv.!my aunt was warned b4 she married him she was told & knew what he had been accused of but if she had a brain she'd take it out & play with it so she married this sicko ne way because she believed him over her family!
i received a call a few weeks ago from 1 of his victims thats his niece which told me she 2 was a victim!thats just a start!!
theres med exam that proves BECCA wasnt lying she had multiple severe laserations inside of her from this monster that subjected her 2 this 4 a year repeatedly!!
think what u want i know the truth & so does bob ingle!!mayb if he walks you can move next door 2 him that would be great it sounds like u 2 would hit it off just great!!!

cherry6905 said...

For updates go to Rhonda's Blog it has all story info & links:
http://my.opera.com/rhondawheelus/blog/

rhonda said...

here's a link to website for Becca

http://my.opera.com/rhondawheelus/blog/

cherry6905 said...

To help Becca's Family - What about the print and radio coverage?

I thought of Neal Boortz you can email him at his URL http://boortz.com/index.html

I also did a google search on right to confront accuser and you won't beleive the number of cases that came up! Newspaper coverage.

We need to contact the print media as well. HELP!! Get this story out!! Email a short summary and the link to Becca's web http://www.my.opera.com/rhondawheelus/blog

It's got to get out in all areas of media communication, internet, newspaper, radio, TV. Any other suggestions or help in this is greatly appreciated. It's a short time to May 20th!

The family is also planning a community prayer vigil stay tuned for more information!

Anonymous said...

[URL=http://www.wkrg.com/crime/article/child_rape_trial_delayed/18347/]WKRG STORY[/URL] The defense is asking the case be THROWN OUT!

Anonymous said...

the bitch deserve to die