Friday, October 17, 2008

The Failed Chemical Castration . . . . 286 Victims Later

by Susan Murphy-Milano

Each morning from her home in Richmond, Virgina, Polly Franks begins her day by answering calls and personally responding to the dozens of emails she receives from strangers asking for advice and information on serial sexual predators.

In 1983, "ski-mask rapist"
Joseph Frank Smith was convicted twice of raping a woman in San Antonio,Texas.Instead of being sent to prison, a judge released Smith on probation. Smith's attorney convinced the court that he was a candidate for a new procedure called "chemical castration" with the stipulation that he take the drug Depo-Provera and attend weekly counseling sessions for the next ten years. His lawyer argued if his client received regular injections that it would reduce his testosterone level and he would no longer have a desire to rape women and children.

Following his 30 days' in-patient treatment at John Hopkins Hospital, Smith was free to move to Richmond, Virginia to start his new life.

Three years into his
castration injections, he met, and fell in love with his treatment nurse, Barbara. The couple married and began a family.

Somehow, with six years left of his court-ordered treatment, Smith was dismissed from the program and instructed to report to the Texas courts by mail until the end of his parole. Frank and Barbara appeared to be your average couple. Smith was an over-the-road truck driver and Barbara a registered nurse.

When Polly Franks and her family moved next-door to the couple she was thrilled. The families spent time together at each other homes. Their children became best friends.

In the early 1990s police received reports from 83 pre-teen-aged girls who had either been raped or molested by a man who would break into home while the children were sleeping. Police were left scratching their heads. This person was not in their database and matched no one currently in their system.

In 1995, while Polly's girls, ages 8 and 9, were at a sleep-over, Barbara Smith caught her husband, naked and masturbating in front of their eight-year-old daughter and the neighbors' kids. Police were contacted. They ran Smith's DNA through a state-wide database. It came back positive for the rape of a five-year girl. Smith was arrested.

When Frank Joseph Smith only received a suspended sentence, Polly Franks was furious. She decided to keep an eye on him, following him each time he moved into a new neighborhood. Undeterred by a childhood disease that had left her dependent on a wheelchair and crutches for mobility, Polly Franks moved with the ease and art of a veteran twenty-year law enforcement officer.

In 1997, Polly Franks got her private investigator license with the sole purpose of bringing Smith to justice. And it was also a way to legally follow Smith. She was determined to learn within the law how to get him off the streets. In 1998, Smith was finally sentenced to 40 years in prison. In 1999, he was sentenced to life plus 20 years after pleading guilty to the rape of a five-year-old and the confession to 83 other
sexual assaults with children.

Polly Franks has testified before Congress and
lobbied on Capital Hill for tougher sex offender laws.

In 2006, she created the
Franks Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting kids from sexual predators. And she provides a rather unique service to young victims of sexual abuse who are treated at hospitals called "Operation Fuzzy." The kits provide a tremendous comfort to the children after a trauma.

"Smith did not get to my children or anyone else's because of parental neglect. Smith's crime spree was a smashing success because repeatedly he was put back onto the streets, 286 victims (that we know of) later."

By his own admission, he was a sex offender from the age of eleven.

He did not go to prison until he was forty-six
years of age.

When a child is violated, we are all

Polly Franks will also be a guest on
Justice Interrupted radio, Tuesday, October 21, 2008.


Jurorthirteen said...

I can't wait to listen to your show on the 21st, Susan.

I've been dealing with an idiot on my site whose brother was just arrested for molestation and rape. She blames the 14-year-old.... Geeeeze!

I'm so thankful for people like you and Polly Franks!!!

My2Cents said...

Polly Franks is a wonderful role model. She used her experience and provided a voice in a confusing and complicated area of our criminal justice system.

I look foward to hearing her on your show next week.

Delilah said...

Polly is such a hero to so many women and children for the work she has done. It's good to know that we have people who are willing to stand in the gap for these children, legally put these offenders away, and carry the burden for so many.

I am so pleased you are having her on Justice Interrupted Tuesday night and look forward to it.

FleaStiff said...

>a sex offender from eleven.
>no prison until forty-six.

I'm sure there is a great deal of variance. Some drunk drivers get caught the very first time, most drive drunk hundreds of times before their very first police encounter.

I surely wonder why the nurse/wife was in any way surprized. Did she really think the Depro Provera shots had been effective in the past? An alternative experimental program is always better for the defendant than a prison sentence but that doesn't make the program effective or efficient.

Anonymous said...

I know of a case of a 26 yr old internet predator who was convicted on a reduced sentence with a 13 yr old. His mother openly blamed the minor for everything during the entire court battle. After serving less than a year, he was free to begin again, breaking his parole to gain immedite access to the internet through a cell phone. This world is just not safe and we as mothers need to be sober and vigilant and know there are predators. I commend Polly for everything she has done and is doing to make this world a better place!

Anonymous said...

Polly is truly amazing. She is a role model for many. I've been told she's one of the most dynamic speaker's ever. Her operation fuzzy is an easy way one can make a change in the life of an abused child. Please take a moment and help support it.

I also want to say how proud I am of all the women on this site. You are all wonderful role models and I admire each one of you.

You've helped me to reach out and help others.

Thank you for your service. As a mother of a victim I now truly appreciate what you do and keep you all in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I met Polly when we were both guests on the John Walsh show. I admired her then and have come to more and more appreciate her kindness and involvement with victims. She is a powerful force for good in this world.
Ann Pace
mother of murder victim Murray Pace

Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins said...

Polly Franks is beloved the nation over by many of us who are victims turned activist, in my case with homicide victims. Polly is always there for us, and works tirelessly and positively with concrete and life-changing results. God Bless you!

Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins

Levi said...

Thank god for people like Polly Franks who do not let injustice get in their way.

Castration doesn't work, it is not about SEX to pedophiles, it is about the power and control they get from harming children.

One of the worst decisions the Supreme Court made, was not allowing child rapists to be executed.

The problem with our justice system is idiotic, bleeding heart judges who do not PUNISH the criminals.

Anonymous said...

I met Polly a couple years ago at a NOVA conference. She is an amazing woman; working tirelessly to not only help children victimized by sexual predators, but to also help educate parents and the public on ways to help reduce the risk of children becoming victims.

I am very proud of the accomplishments she has made with the Franks Foundation and thrilled with the success of Operation Fuzzy.

I look forward to hearing her on your show!

Christine Ward

Regan said...

I'm one of those emails Polly answered. She was such a huge help to me and put me in touch with just the right people who could help me with my victim rights.

She's a real God Sent!

Thank you Polly from the bottom of my heart!

Keep up the good fight!!

Anonymous said...

The story described in the article is beyond belief.

286 KNOWN victims before he was sent to prison. Convicted of raping children and only put on probation.

God save us all. What horror. Why don't we read articles like this in our newspapers?

Leah said...

Isn't Depo Prevara [sp] a birth control?? I wonder if the old fashioned way of castration would work as well on men as it does on dogs and cats.

Polly is an awesome person!

TxMichelle said...

Castration makes no difference. They don't do these crimes for sexual gratification, it is purely a power trip. They get off on the control over their victems.

Anonymous said...

I just wish I had the fortitude of this lady. This guy Smith had no chance once she drew a bead on him. May he rot in Hell.

Anonymous said...

What a woman!

Anonymous said...

How can I support the Franks foundations Operation Fuzzy?

Narelle Bitunjac said...

What an amazing story. Go Polly!!