The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Friday, October 19, 2007


I don't know about you, but somehow I'm lacking sympathy for poor Burt and his family. It seems that while the 16 year old spent a year in juvi, he spent his days talking to his family about twice a day, everyday. Now the family is stuck with a $6,000 phone bill, and want pity or something.

"It was something that I needed, to be able to talk to my family, to be able to get through my day-to-day life there," Burt said. (1)

Yes, jail is difficult- it's an entire society that most of us know nothing about, and juvenile jail is not much easier than "big people" jail. And, of course, Burt's story pulls on the strings of any parent who may have a way ward parent.

Burt Sharpe had been in the Scioto prison in Delaware County about a month when a boy he shared a cell with shoved him into a wall and punched him in the chin.

That was the first attack in a series: A boy socked him after losing a chess game. Another boy cuffed him after a one-on-one basketball game, cutting his lip, bruising his eye and chipping a tooth.

At the Cuyahoga Hills prison in Cuyahoga County, another inmate pummeled Sharpe, then 16, in a stairwell, tearing a retina and sending him to the hospital.

Sharpe is a scrawny 5 feet, 6 inches. He has a speech impediment and sometimes pauses between syllables as he tries to enunciate. (3)

I know, sort of heart breaking isn't it? But before you get all choked up over the needs of a 16 and his family- let's look at just what Burt (AKA Bert) was spending his days in jail because of.

Police say a 16-year-old boy who was visiting a friend tried to rape the friend’s 4-year-old sister.

Police arrested Bert R. Sharpe, 16, of 9747 Cleveland Ave. NW in Lake Township on Tuesday night on charges of gross sexual imposition and attempted rape. Police said he had sexual contact with the girl at about 9:15 p.m. June 29 at a home on Valley Drive NW.

Police Lt. Stanley Strausser said the mother reported the incident after finding the boy on top of the girl at their home. The parents had left the girl home with her teenage brother. (2)

This is not saying that he deserves the sort of treatment that he has received, but let's be frank-- had he NOT molested a 4 year old child, he wouldn't be in kiddie prison to begin with. And, whatever pain has been inflicted upon him, he's not completely innocent in his behaviors himself.

And, now that his short year is done- the past is behind him and he can move on. Of course, it's a little different for his victim, and her family. She'll be dealing with this for a long time, and her family will be stuck with worries that the sexual offender who violated her is running free. They also get the privilege of knowing that despite his actions against their child- as far as the State is concerned, Burt isn't enough of a danger to actually be put on the sexual offender registration list. After all, he's just a minor.

A year, and pretty much a clean slate- that is what Ohio decided a little girls innocence was worth.

(1) (2) (3)