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Brent Brents: He Knows What He Is

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Accused Capitol Hill rapist Brent J. Brents was bound over for trial yesterday following a preliminary hearing . The evidence presented included extensive admissions he made to police. His lawyer, Public Defender Carrie Thompson, says she is considering a mental defense for him. The details of the multiple attacks are, as the Rocky Mountain News describes them, chilling. It seems even Brents is appalled by his conduct.

It’s not even sexual. It’s more like … animalistic.

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Brents served 15 years of a 20 year sentence for sexual offenses. He was offered, but refused, sex offender treatment in prison. Consider that a 2003 Colorado study foundthat sex offender treatment in prison results in a far lower risk of recidivism.

The report found three of every four sex offenders who received no therapy reoffended, compared with one in every six for those who completed the first phase of treatment. The rate improved to one in 10 for those who finished the second phase in a minimum-security facility for sex offenders. The study examined the records of 3,338 sex offenders.

Brents has no one but himself to blame for refusing to participate in treatment. Most likely, he will never be released from prison or a hospital, wherever he ends up. But there are two messages that can be gleaned from his horrific crime spree. The first is that treatment is effective for many offenders, and not all of them need to be locked up for life or stigmatized by being barred from living and working among us. The second is that as evem Brents recognized, his actions were animalistic, not sexual. Rape is a crime of violence. It is not about sex. If that message could get through to the general public, perhaps the stigma associated with it would end, and more victims would report their attacks.

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