February 1, 2007

How do you know your child's 12-year-old friend isn't a 29-year-old sex offender?

Clearly, it's happened once:
[Neil H. Rodreick II] is also a 29-year-old convicted sex offender who kept a youthful appearance with the aid of razors and makeup.

And the men known as his uncle, grandfather and cousin, who until recently shared a three-bedroom house with him here, were not family at all, but a web of convicted sex offenders and predators, law enforcement officials say, preying in part on one another....

Though many parents have publicly praised the Surprise school’s handling of the deception, Mr. Rodreick’s enrollment has raised questions about admissions procedures, which officials at Imagine, one of the state’s largest charter schools, said they were reviewing....

While looking for Mr. Rodreick, Lieutenant Gillock stumbled upon his new life. He learned he had been posing as a 12-year-old named Casey and befriending families at a local church. He had spent the night with at least one boy, the lieutenant said, and traveled to the Grand Canyon, with Mr. Nellis in tow as his uncle, with another boy....

“He absolutely looked age-appropriate,” said Rhonda Cagle, a spokeswoman for Imagine Charter School, of Mr. Rodreick, who is listed on the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Web site as 5 feet 8 inches tall and 120 pounds. “We have several seventh-grade students who are taller and of a larger build than this individual.”
Strange that the town was called "Surprise" and the school "Imagine." Imagine no age limits/I wonder if you can... You may say I'm a dreamer/But I'm not the only one/I hope someday you'll join us... Uh... or maybe not. Imagine all the people/Sharing all the... No, no, I think imagination is not always such a good thing. Maybe we'll call the new charter school "Convention."

Anyway...

Why wouldn't this sort of thing happen a lot and go undiscovered? And now that this story is in the news, why wouldn't it give a few people some new ideas? Haven't there been several movies about adults who go back to school and pose as kids? I can only think of one: "Peggy Sue Got Married." If you think about it, Kathleen Turner plays a sex predator of sorts.



She's a grown woman, fully sexually experienced, and she goes back and interacts in sexually aggressive ways with a couple of teenage boys. Well, she's a woman, so it doesn't quite register as threatening, does it? I think there are some movies where the adult posing as a child is a male, but I'm sure -- if these are mainstream movies -- the adult male never does anything remotely sexual with a child. But the idea that an adult could pose as a child is definitely out there, and how can it not be enticing to pedophiles? Not everyone has the appearance or the skill to use this strategy, but at least one did. Why would there be only one?

13 comments:

mikeski said...

Ann,

That's not Kathleen Turner, it's Catherine Hicks, who plays one of Peggy Sue's friends.

She's pretty convincing in her longing look at Jim Carrey, which only goes to prove what a talented actress she is, I suppose.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, that screws up my point! I was wondering if that was Turner! So I guess that straw flirting is okay. I didn't realize that goofball (who looks overage anyway) was Jim Carrey.

DBrooks said...

You make an interesting point about the male/female dichotomy when it comes to sexual scenes in such movies. I liked the movie Big, with Tom Hanks, but imagine the reaction to that movie if his character had been an innocent little girl who enters the adult world, and has sex with an adult male. Somehow, it doesn't seem as innocent and charming.

MadisonMan said...

The best scene in Peggy Sue Got Married is when Peggy picks up the phone and it's her long dead grandmother. Kathleen Turner does such a great job in that scene. Lump in the throat everytime I see it.

My last grandparent died 30+ years ago. Would love to play canasta with her again.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Drew Barrymore did a similar thing without time travel in Never Been Kissed, but even there, she was somewhat of an innocent.

Hey! I know just who could play the girl-child-sexual-beyond-her-years...Dakota Fanning.

Never mind. I guess it's been done.

DBrooks said...

You are right, madisonman. That scene gets me every time, too. I would dearly love to talk, or sit, with any of my grandparents or great-grandparents again.

Jason said...

Please, someone give me a reason, any reason, to send my kid to a public school.

By the way, best part of this story, the two other pedophiles who were upset about being duped by this guy. That is classic. Throw away the key. Why are these guys serving sentences of around 3 years for sexual molestation of a minor? All of these guys are repeat offenders. Do we learn anything? Didn't think so. My daughter will know some form of martial art by the age of 6. It is the only way.

Pogo said...

Re: "It is the only way. "

1. Firearms
2. Castration
3. Death penalty

Otherwise man, I'm 100% with you.

Eli Blake said...

Jason:

You sound like an ignoramus.

A charter school is a private school. Frankly public schools have much more regulation, including (when I enrolled my oldest daughter in a public school after moving to Arizona) we had to provide her birth certificate, immunization records and have forwarded her previous school record.

The lack of regulation is probably why this character PICKED a charter school.

Mike S. said...

Cameron Crowe's book Fast Times at Ridgemont High (on which the movie was based) described his experiences as a twenty-something journalist attending high school undercover as a student. As I recall-- I got the book via interlibrary loan; it's hard to find and expensive-- he didn't recount any romantic involvement with students himself. He does appear to have gotten enough of their confidence to describe their entanglements with other students and with adults. (For example, the incident in the movie involving Jennifer Jason Leigh's not-yet-14 character and a twenty-something man is from the book.)

As one might expect, Crowe was not terribly popular among the students at the school from that era after the book came out, still less the movie.

West Coast Independent said...

OK, I'll admit that I'm dense. How is this topic related to the beatles?

howzerdo said...

Charter schools are not private schools. They are nonsectarian public schools that may be exempt from some regulations that apply to regular public schools. In some cases, charter schools are nearly autonomous and are exempt from many state and district education rules. In other cases, the schools operate much like traditional public schools and must apply for certain exemptions, which may or may not be granted. Funding for charter schools varies widely, ranging from direct state funding to funding through the local school district.

Eli Blake said...

howzerdo:

Charter schools are only loosely associated with public schools at best. Most of them self-fund, via charging tuition as well as fundraising in the community. And they don't have to be nonsectarian-- for example, there is a Seventh Day Adventist Indian school in Holbrook that is technically classified as a charter school.

I live in Arizona and we looked into a charter school when we first moved here. I'm glad we didn't.

Our legislature when they first went into charter schools decided in their infinite wisdom (since they had a pre-conceived notion that charter schools were supposed to outperform public schools) decided to be very lax in terms of regulation. One regulation they waived was an exhaustive background check on teachers, which they changed after a lot of bad press when two female students at a Mesa charter school were molested by a teacher who was a convicted sex offender and would never have come close to passing the background check for the public schools. But obviously the standards they use in the public schools in terms of student admissions, were not the case with this charter.