revealnewsCh. 12: Personality disorder alleged: #badpleadeals by @antoinegoldet
. “Although (Rodney Roberts) was not convicted of a sex offense in 1996, and denies he committed the offense, I do not believe him. He did plead guilty to kidnapping which suggests he accepted culpability,” wrote Dr. Donald “Rusty” Reeves, a psychiatrist who examined Roberts in 2004.
Reeves concluded that Roberts was suffering “from a mental abnormality … or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined to a secure facility for control, care and treatment.”
To Reeves, the evidence was strong: Roberts had been convicted of sexual assault at 19. He maintained that he had served only as a lookout. But Reeves said that in the second conviction, he “progressed from group rape to raping by himself – indicating increased dangerousness.”
Roberts waited more than two years for his first civil commitment hearing, until 2005.
When he finally was brought into a makeshift courtroom in the special treatment unit, Deputy Attorney General Mark Singer was in the midst of a speech, advocating that a vicious criminal be isolated from the public.
. “He’s talking about you,” Roberts’ new lawyer, John Douard, told him.
. “Object to this!” Roberts said. .
Invoking New Jersey’s Sexually Violent Predator Act, Judge Serena Perretti followed the attorney general’s recommendation, keeping Roberts committed.
At the Avenel treatment facility, psychologists provided on-site treatment to those who admitted to perverse behavior and thoughts. The American Psychiatric Association has denounced this “inherently paternalistic” model as a travesty.
Roberts would not acknowledge being a sex offender. As a result, he lived in a segregated section of the facility for treatment refusers. He felt further away from society than ever.
. “You’re off the radar – you’re missing from the face of the earth,” he says. “When you look up the facility on your GPS, it comes up as a parking lot.”
Amid the despair came something tangible: New evidence in his case had been unearthed by an investigator from the Office of the Public Advocate named Ronald Price.
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