So many horrific details have come out of the astonishing case of three women who were held captive as sex slaves in a home in Cleveland, Ohio for a decade. We just catch our breath from one hellish new bit of information only to hear about another. Now comes reports that a suicide note written nine years ago by Ariel Castro and reportedly found in his home makes it clear that Ariel was the culprit, that he knew that kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight was wrong, and that he himself said he was a sexual predator. He even had people to blame it on. And you can be sure none of them included himself.
Castro's note allegedy outlined what he did and how he did it. And even WHY. He reportedly talks about having a sex addiction, having family problems, and also having a poor childhood. In the letter, Ariel reportedly admits that he "is a sexual predator," and wonders why he took a third victim when he "already had two in my possession."
Unbelievably, he also has the nerve to cast some blame on the three victims -- saying they should have known better than to get into his car. He says they made a "mistake."
I don't think we should discount all of what he's saying. There are factors that predispose someone to commit crimes -- especially sexual crimes. It's quite possible that Ariel was abused physically or sexually or both when he was a child. Does this excuse what he did? Of course not. Most of us have family problems, and many of us grow up poor. We don't kidnap people and hold them as sex slaves. But it does give some insight into what formed his "character."
Since Ariel seemed to know what he was doing was wrong, it makes it worse. He definitely can't plead insanity -- saying that he didn't know what he did was wrong. He did know. He did it anyway. And he dragged it out for a decade. This wasn't someone who felt bad about what he was doing and then tried to make it right. He would have kept the women in his house until they died or he killed them after they outlived their usefulness.
Casting blame on the victims for getting into a car with him just shows you how self-involved this beast is. He doesn't seem to account for the fact that the victims were all young, all lived in the same neighborhood where they'd probably seen him around -- in fact, Gina DeJesus was best friends with Ariel's daughter -- and they had no reason not to trust a local.
He goes on to say that he wants to kill himself and "give all of [his] money" to his victims. Unfortunately he doesn't go through with this plan.
I wonder if we should have a "safe haven" law for sex criminals -- much like we do for women who want to leave their babies with firestations or police. What if someone like Ariel could walk into a police station or psychiatrist's office and say, "I have the desire to rape and kidnap. I need help." What if instead of shunning that person or arresting him, that person was immediately taken off the street and given medication, psychiatric help, even a monitor to keep track of him, but he was otherwise not punished? Would people like Ariel have the presence of mind to confess their desires rather than act on them if they knew they could get help? At the very least, predators like Ariel might be willing to register themselves in a voluntary database if they were guaranteed psychiatric help at no cost. If even only one or two predators agreed to do this, wouldn't it be worth it?
That said, the suicide note will certainly come in handy for the prosecution. Ariel will never be on the streets again, that's for sure.
Do you think Ariel's childhood can account for his behavior? Do you think predators like him can ever be helped? Here is Castro being arraigned. Bond was set at $8 million.
Image via Cleveland Plain Dealer