While her aunt and grandmother were shopping in their local Dollar Store, a 2 year-old girl in California was sexually assaulted by Eugene Ramos, a registered sex offender, just an aisle away.
Having wandered off briefly, the girl encountered Ramos who, in less than one minute, removed her diaper and attempted to rape or sodomize her.
Right there, in the middle of the afternoon, in a crowded store full of shoppers.
Her grandmother found her and started screaming, and some other shoppers tackled Ramos and prevented him from leaving the store until police arrived.
Shocking. Horrifying. Unimaginable.
But almost as unforgivable is the fact that it could have been prevented.
Because this wasn't his first offense. In 2003, he molested a 7-year-old and only served four years for that.
There was a chance to keep him off the streets then, but he was released.
For this most recent act, Ramos has been charged with three counts: Forcible lewd act on a child under 14, assault with intent to commit a sex crime, and attempt to commit intercourse of sodomy on a child under 10.
He's scheduled to appear in court tomorrow and is expected to enter a plea deal. If convicted on all counts, he could face up to 21 years in prison.
Clearly he is sick -- in more than one sense of the word -- but that doesn't mean he should be treated any less harshly. The damage done to these children isn't lessened because he's mentally unstable.
Anyone who sexually assaults a child in such a predatory, vicious manner shouldn't be allowed to walk freely among children. Ever. I don't care about rehabilitation or reform or time off for good behavior or them being registered.
Castrate him. Send him to an island to live with all the other sex offenders. Something, anything.
I think of my sweet, trusting toddler daughter, and I shake with rage and fear that people like Ramos are walking around -- people who could have been stopped.
Our system isn't working, and cases like this make it clear that something has to change.
I hope when Ramos goes before the judge tomorrow, he gets a punishment that matches the magnitude of actions -- but it's not going to happen, because there's really nothing that would ever be enough.
What punishment do you think should be given to child sex predators?
Image via San Francisco Weekly