Convicted rapist Kenneth Pike of Auburn, N.Y., has reportedly turned down a lifesaving heart transplant that would have cost New York taxpayers up to $800,000.Pike's sister, Sharon Cardinal of Auburn, said Pike changed his mind about the transplant after news reports sparked controversy about inmates receiving big-ticket health services arguably at the expense of others, according to The Associated Press.
Pike, 55, is serving an 18- to 40-year sentence for raping a 12-year-old female relative in 1996.
Another relative said Pike recently underwent a triple bypass and would likely die without a transplant, according to The Associated Press.
The issue has been the talk of the small suburban New York town: Should taxpayers shell out for convicted criminals to receive services that some payers could probably never afford themselves?
"We do think that prisoners are treated much better than those on the outside," said Carol Speach, a media sales professional in Auburn, who also suggested that Pike and his family should foot a larger portion of the bill.
"Everyone else is expected to pay for some of their health care," she said.
And the question of whether prisoners should receive equal, if not better, health care than everyone else has been the heart of a decades-long debate among medical ethicists.
Transplant centers have the right to turn patients away, but physicians are required to care for every patient they see, according to Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics and the Sydney D. Caplan professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.NYS Department of Correctional ServicesPike is serving an 18-to-40-year sentence for... View Full SizeNYS Department of Correctional ServicesPike is serving an 18-to-40-year sentence for sexually assaulting a teenage relative in Auburn, New York.The List: America's Organ Donor System Watch VideoNFL Star's Baby Survives Risky Surgery Watch VideoHeart Recipient Meets Donor Family Decade Later Watch Video
In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prisoners were entitled to the same medical and dental treatment as everyone else in their communitities. Prisons that withhold necessary care from inmates can be held liable for violating constitutional bans against cruel and unusual punishment.
Prison facilities often pay a negotiated reduced fee with contracted hospitals across the state, according to Peter Cutler, spokesman for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. But Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where Pike is reported to have been transferred, is not one of them.
"We are constitutionally obligated to provide health care services to any inmate," said Cutler, citing the Eighth Amendment of the Constutition. "We're a state agency doing our job."
Many transplant centers undergo what Caplan called a "wallet biopsy" as one of their first steps to add a patient on the transplant list.
"Before you're even put on the list, you need to show a way that you can pay," Caplan said.
That may put some prisoners, whose medical bills are covered by the state, at a competitive advantage, he said. But other factors, such as medical necessity and geographic location, also play a role.
But many transplant centers offer ways to help patients pay for transplants, said Dr. Andrew Cameron, surgical director of liver transplantation at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Medical necessity is the overwhelming factor that knocks a patient off the list, he said.
"The triage is made only on medical grounds and is not based on other values," he said.
Critics argue that efforts to ensure prisoner rights have compromised the lives of law-abiding taxpayers who are paying inmates' medical bills.
"Constitutionally, you didn't sentence a guy to death, you just sentenced him to prison," Caplan said. "If the public is so turned off by prisoners to get transplants, their goal should be to legislate to change the standard of care."
Prisoner health care has posed less of a dilemma for physicians who are ethically bound to help all patients.
"No part of your punishment for a crime is forfeiting the standard of medical care," said Cameron. "It's not a contraindication to transplant."
While transplant lists do not outline a patient's criminal history, or whether the recipient is currently in prison, Caplan said there haven't been too many cases of prisoners approved for organ donations.
"In general, the ethics of medicine is not to sort out sinners and saints," he said.
15-year-old raped in court: Rapist gets probation, teen gets 12 months + In 2005, 15-year-old Ashley was facing trial in Manhattan Family Court for lying to police after she told officers she didn’t know who had assaulted her on the way to school.
As she waited in the court’s holding area for her court appearance, juvenile counselor Tony “Tyson” Simmons came up to the handcuffed girl, took her in an elevator to the building’s basement, and raped her.
Moments later, Ashley — who’s withholding her last name for fear of reprisal — was in the courtroom being sentenced to 12 months in prison for filing a false police report. This week, Simmons was sentenced to 10 years’ probation for the sexual assault on Ashley and two other teens.
The verdict was “a travesty gross enough to make a blind statue cry,” argues an editorial at the New York Daily News.
Ashley’s ordeal was described in detail in Sunday’s :[Ashley] expected Tyson, as Simmons was called, to bring her up to the courtroom where she was scheduled to be sentenced for filing a false police report.
Instead, the elevator descended to the basement. The 42-year-old counselor pulled down her pants and raped her with calm, practiced precision that made him all the more terrifying.
When he was done, Simmons pulled her pants back up and the elevator ascended to the courtroom. He raised an extended index finger to his lips in a mute command for her to say nothing.
Just moments after being violated, Ashley was seated next to her mother and before the judge. She was too shocked and terrified to report the attack.
“I got 12 months for a falsified police report and he got probation for raping me and the others,” said the now 20-year-old Ashley. “It’s just ridiculous.”
Manhattan’s district attorney feels the same way.
“This was an egregious breach of the public’s trust,” Cy Vance Jr. said, as quoted at DNAInfo. He called Simmons’ sentence — the lightest possible under New York law — “outrageously lenient.”
Tony Simmons was a juvenile counselor with New York City’s Department of Juvenile Justice for 16 years before he was brought up on multiple sex assault charges in 2008. He pleaded guilty to raping Ashley, as well as raping a 16-year-old in a pantry, and assaulting a 15-year-old in a waiting area. Simmons will be on probation for 10 years and is required to register as a sex offender.
“Investigators believe the assaults go back a decade to the rape of a 13-year-old in the holding area,” the Daily News reported. It’s not clear whether any charges were ever brought in the case of the 13-year-old.
On Wednesday, the Daily News that prosecutors “never objected to a no-jail plea deal” for Simmons.Prosecutors had demanded jail time for Simmons, a veteran employee of the city Juvenile Justice Department who worked with troubled teens.
But according to a transcript of Monday’s hearing, the assistant district attorney in charge of the case offered no objection to the plea deal.
“Your Honor, it’s my understanding that the defendant … is willing to plead guilty in exchange for a promised sentence of probation,” Amir Vonsover told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen.
An anonymous source told the Daily News that assistant DA Vonsover did object to the lenient sentence, but only in an off-the-record conversation in front of the judge’s bench.
London cabbie may have raped 100 women A London taxi driver who was jailed for drugging 19 women and sexually assaulting 12 may have actually raped as many as 102 over five years, the BBC reported on Tuesday. Nineteen women have come forward since John Worboys' conviction in April 2009, the BBC reported. At the time, when police connected him to 83 crimes.
"There is a high possibility there are more victims out there," the BBC and Guardian quote a police spokesman as saying. "The difficulty is that a large number of the women do not know whether they were raped or not."
Worboys attacked his female victims at night, offering them champagne laced with sedatives and sleeping pills, according to The Guardian. He fooled young professionals into having the drinks by saying he had just won the lottery.
An investigation found that Worboys was able to avoid conviction for so long because police did not take his victims seriously, and tended to doubt that a driver of one of London's iconic black sedan taxis would be capable of such attacks, The Guardian reported.
"The victim cannot remember anything past getting in the cab," one detective wrote in his report dealing with a 2007 victim. "It would seem unlikely that a cab driver would have alcohol in his vehicle, let alone drug substances."
Worboys will serve a minimum of 8 years in prison.
Police believe that a London taxi driver convicted of a string of attacks on female passengers is linked to more than 100 cases of sexual assault.Scotland Yard said Tuesday that a total of 102 women have said they were victimized by 53-year-old John Worboys, who was convicted of assaulting 12 of his passengers in a highly publicized trial last year.
Worboys drove one of London's iconic black cabs, the distinctive sedans that ferry busy Londoners across the city. Worboys' case attracted a lot of attention in part because the cabs are advertised as one of the capital's safest forms of transport, particularly for women. Black cab drivers undergo rigorous testing and are subject to criminal checks, and they're often touted as a trustworthy alternative to the unregulated cab drivers who try to poach customers by undercutting official rates.
Prosecutors accused Worboys of picking his victims up at trendy west London nightspots, telling them he'd won money in the lottery, and inviting them to partake in a celebratory glass of champagne. Secreted inside the drinks were powerful sedatives, and those who joined him in a drink often remembered little of what happened next.
One victim said that what should have been a 40-minute trip home took three hours. Others were left with semen stains on their clothes, and items or DNA from some victims was found by police at Worboys' home.
Worboys denied the charges, but in March of last year he was found guilty of assaulting 12 women. Police say he may have attacked at least 90 more victims, but the nature of his crimes meant that few women could be sure what had happened to them.
Man dies while raping elderly South Texas woman Investigators say a man has died while in the act of raping an elderly South Texas woman.The Refugio (reh-FYOO'-ree-yoh) County Sheriff's Office identifies the man as 53-year-old Isabel Chavelo Gutierrez. Sheriff's Sgt. Gary Wright says the incident happened June 2 after he rode two miles by bicycle from his home to that of his 77-year-old victim in the tiny coastal community of Tivoli.
He says the man, weighing between 230 and 250 pounds, sneaked into the woman's house and raped her at knifepoint. During the attack, he said he wasn't feeling well, rolled over and died. His body was sent to the Nueces County medical examiner in Corpus Christi for autopsy.
Gutierrez was a registered sexual offender on parole from a sentence for aggravated sexual assault and indecency with a child.
22 years on, rape victim fears attacker's release She's been many things during her long and colorful life: charm school teacher, makeup artist, civil rights advocate — to name just a few.But at age 84, the one identity she wants to forget still haunts her daily: rape victim.
Instead of enjoying her retirement and tending the rosebushes in her immaculate garden, the elderly widow has spent recent years preoccupied with a single, looming day.
On Saturday, the man who raped her in her Los Angeles home 22 years ago is set for release.
"I am leaving," the woman told The Associated Press on Thursday as she fielded return calls from landlords with vacant homes. "I have no choice but to run and flee."
The AP does not typically name victims of sex crimes.
Los Angeles police Det. Lauren Rauch, who works for the valley's sex offender unit, said she could understand why the woman was still so afraid.
"She technically still lives in the crime scene," she said. "The fact he is getting out definitely raises some concerns. ... In retrospect, maybe he didn't get as much time as he deserved."
Her attacker, Lloyd Anthony Roy, pleaded guilty in 1989 to raping three women and assaulting another. Even though he was initially charged with felony counts involving attacks on several other women too, prosecutors made a deal with Roy and dropped some of the charges. He was sentenced to 44 years in prison.
"No walk in the park," Robert Nishinaka, the prosecutor, said at the time.
But criminals sentenced back then were often eligible for a day's credit for each day they behaved well in prison. Roy, who said he heard voices in his head before and after his attacks, is set for release after serving half his original sentence.
The law was changed in 1994 to mandate that violent sex offenders must serve at least 85 percent of their sentenced time, though that did not apply to crimes committed before then, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Luis Patino said.
Roy will not be allowed to live within 35 miles of his victims and will be released to the state's parole region that spans the Inland Empire and runs down to San Diego and the Mexican border.
The woman, her cheeks flushed with makeup and her lips coated in pink gloss, has had a busy life filled with community action and local politics. A Democrat, she ran unsuccessfully for Congress in what was once a Republican stronghold. She helped organize consumer boycotts, including one in 1973 protesting the high price of meat.
A framed letter from Jimmy Carter sits on a bookshelf, thanking her and her husband for their support during his campaign ahead of his successful 1976 presidential election.
The couple raised three boys in their 1950s-era ranch home in the sunny San Fernando Valley. Her husband died in 1984.
The woman remains spry but needs help getting up from a couch, from where she tells of the night in early 1989 when she was attacked.
She says she was half asleep when the attacker climbed through the window of her grown son's former bedroom. She heard a sound then saw a flicker of light in the hall. In her tired state, she thought there must be a thunder-and-lightning storm.
As she tried to open her son's door, she felt a weight behind it, then a man yanked it open.
"He turned me around and put a bandanna on me, but I saw a tattoo on his clavicle," she says. "He said, `Stop crying, or I will kill you.'"
At knifepoint, he took her to another room and repeatedly raped her over several hours. She says she only survived by staying silent when he asked if he could return to do some handy work in the house or yard.
After fetching himself a glass of water and smoking cigarettes, the attacker left after putting the screen back on the window he'd climbed through.
"He said, `You are lucky that I am allowing you to live, because I usually smother them,'" the woman said. "The way he said it was the way you would order a cup of coffee, it was like nothing."
Roy hasn't been charged in any killing.
The widow still reels at the way police handled the investigation. They were sloppy with evidence, she said, leaving it to her to bring an ashtray, the bandanna and other items to the station. She even ended up paying her own rape-kit examination fee and said police officials have been reluctant to run Roy's DNA through a state database to look for other potential victims.
The woman still fumes over what she says was a missed opportunity to catch Roy before he claimed another victim. She said he called her sometime after the rape and threatened to kill her unless she immediately went to meet him at a phone booth.
But when she called police, she was told that only detectives could arrest someone for a major crime and, since it was a Saturday, none were working. He raped another woman the next day in Burbank.
Over the past few years, she has spent much of her time reliving her trauma as she contacts any politician, police official or prison worker she can think of in an attempt to keep Roy behind bars.
The state's Department of Mental Health screened Roy but determined he did not meet the criteria of a sexually violent predator, Patino said. He will wear a GPS tracker and must register as a sex offender and won't be allowed near any of his victims' homes as part of a condition of his parole.
Such measures provide scant reassurance for the woman, who feels her right to be safe in her home has been shattered.
"There's a possibility of rehabilitation for robbers, people on drugs and others," she says. "But when it comes to crimes with something to do with something wrong with the brain, I don't think we can release these people back into society until we know how to fix it."
Attorney Robin Sax, who formerly worked in the sex crimes division of the Los Angeles district attorney's office and is familiar with the woman's case, said she thought she would be safe from Roy.
"I don't think he would risk going after her," Sax said.
Judge: Son's DNA can be used at father's trial DNA taken from the young son of a man accused of killing a college student and raping two other women can be used as evidence in his upcoming trial to try to link the suspect to the crimes, a judge ruled.Washoe District Judge Robert Perry on Monday denied a motion by defense lawyers for James Biela to suppress the evidence.
Investigators said Biela declined to provide a voluntary DNA sample, so officers received permission from his girlfriend to test the couple's son.
From that, forensic experts determined the child's biological father could not be ruled out as the source of DNA evidence gathered from crime scenes.
"The defendant cites absolutely no authority for the proposition that the child's mother could not consent to the taking of the boy's DNA or that defendant has standing to object," Perry wrote in his decision.
Biela, a Sparks construction worker, is charged with the murder of 19-year-old Brianna Denison, who vanished while sleeping on a friend's couch in January 2008 near the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Her body was found about three weeks later.
He's also charged with raping two other women near the university. Biela has pleaded not guilty. He could face the death penalty if convicted. His trial is scheduled to begin in May.
The judge delayed ruling on a motion by Maizie Pusich, chief deputy public defender, on whether evidence netted from police searches of Biela's home computers should be heard by a jury.
Prosecutors alleged Biela's computers showed thousands of Internet search hits for key words such as Brianna Denison, abduction, strangle, rapist and stalking.
Perry told lawyers another hearing on that matter would be held before the trial begins.
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