revealnewsCh. 18: Free at last from #badpleadeals? by @antoinegoldet
Rodney Roberts was freed from New Jersey’s Avenel Special Treatment Unit on March 14, 2014, 18 years after he pleaded guilty to a crime he did not commit. It had taken the prosecutor’s office months to sort through the related charges, including those that had landed him in the sexual treatment facility after his seven-year prison term.
The announcement of a release was unusual enough to stir up the treatment unit’s population. Fellow inmate Terry Newby remembers a spontaneous cortege of inmates escorted Roberts through the unit’s sunny courtyard, carrying his bags and cheering.
Roberts’ wife, Lynda – the high school friend he’d married inside the unit – was waiting for him outside the entrance. A guard told her she was standing too close to the door, so she went back to her car and parked alongside the train tracks that flank the unit to the south, her engine running.
. “We just wanted to put as much distance as possible as fast as we could between this place and us,” she recalls.
Roberts rushed out of the sex offender facility. He remembers seeing his wife, her arms wide open, her smile so big it really looked like it stretched ear to ear.
. “I did enough crying when he was locked up,” she says.
It was the first time the couple could hug without a time limit. Inside, they had been allowed only two kisses per two-hour visit.
They drove to a nearby Wal-Mart, where they bought underwear and pajamas for Roberts – the basics. When they got to Lynda Roberts’ apartment in Newark, they sat quietly for an hour without touching, as if an invisible prison glass partition still separated them.
Realization slowly seeped in: They were finally truly together; Rodney Roberts could literally embrace the freedom he had been craving for so many years.
- tanishascotthamThe First Amendment--right to marry! Such an enduring relationship. Human rights restored.
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