Denise Krepp is the advisory neighborhood commissioner for District 6B10.
An effort is underway, led by D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), to hasten the release of convicted murderers and rapists, including child sex offenders.
The Post reported that 583 offenders — 85 percent of whom were convicted of murder, manslaughter or sex crimes — would be eligible for early release under Allen’s bill simply because they were under 25 at the time of their crimes. Current law already allows for sentence reductions for offenders who were under 18 at the time of their crimes. Now, the D.C. Council wants older violent offenders and sex offenders back on the street.
Allen is so dead-set on this program that in July he chastised Judge Michael O’Keefe for denying a resentencing to Rodney C. Williams, who was convicted in 1983 of multiple burglaries and sexual assaults.
Both incensed and curious, I requested the full text of Allen’s letter to the judge and the full scope of Williams’s crimes from the Justice Department. The contents sickened me. In the letter, Allen chastised the judge for “rely[ing] heavily on the circumstances surrounding the original offenses, rather than evidence of his rehabilitation and conduct while incarcerated.”
Williams’s underlying offenses are relevant. Williams, along with other armed men, participated in four brutal home invasions. They raped women. On Sept. 8, 1982, they raped a mother and her 9-year-old daughter. The little girl screamed that “it hurt,” so they stopped raping her. Williams watched the little girl get raped and did nothing to help her.
The judge was right to rely heavily on the underlying crimes when reviewing Williams’s early-release petition. Williams may have been only 17 years old when he raped women, but he destroyed their lives. Williams and all 24-year-old violent, sexual offenders should serve their full sentences. We owe that to victims.
While the D.C. Council is spending taxpayers’ time and money aiding rapists, I sued the Justice Department, the criminal system for the District, for information on sex-offense prosecutions, and the department finally released it. It clearly shows that the majority of rapes aren’t being prosecuted. When I gave the D.C. Council the data and begged it for help, I was ignored. The council is too busy, it seems, to get rape victims justice.
In December 2017, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment at D.C. government agencies. Good, but I wanted to know what was happening, so I requested information on sexual harassment settlement agreements. How many have been entered into and for how much? Again, I asked the D.C. Council for help and, again, it declined.
To his credit, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine was the only agency director to voluntarily share information. He shared that the city spent $955,000 on a sexual harassment settlement agreement involving the Department of Corrections. An additional $250,000 was spent on a settlement agreement with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.
I contacted Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt and asked if he knew how much money the city was paying for the sexual harassment settlement agreements. He responded: “No.”
Bewildered, I shared DeWitt’s response with D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson and the D.C. Council. Again, the D.C. Council stayed quiet. Patterson didn’t. She initiated an audit of all D.C. agencies, asking for information on sexual harassment settlement agreements.
As an unpaid advisory neighborhood commissioner, I have spent hundreds of hours trying to get our paid and powerful government officials to hold abusers to account.
But releasing violent rapists and murderers, chastising judges, paying out millions in secret settlements and stonewalling the public and elected community leaders are things the D.C. Council is willing to do.
It is well past time that the District lives up to its motto “Justitia Omnibus”: “Justice to All.”