A Sweet Kid

In the LA Times, a despondent father (who also happens to be a Orange County Sheriff) laments that his teenage kid, arrested for raping an unconscious woman and penetrating her with a bottle, a pool cue, and a cigarette, is just…

“The most kind, caring, sweet kid you’d ever meet in your life.” He says he believes his son is guilty of nothing more than acting thoughtlessly.

“They’re all basically good kids who got themselves into a stupid, terrible situation,” Haidl said.

Did I mention these good kids also video taped their rape?

The defense has argued that the sex depicted on the video was consensual and that in the days before the gathering the girl had willingly engaged in sexual activities with all three.

I find it amazing that Sheriff Haidl can be so blind about his own son. I wonder if he is as sympathetic to the other rapists his deputies have arrested.

Does he really expect ANYBODY to feel sorry for his “sweet caring son” and his sicko buddies?

UPDATE (MAY 4): More news from the LA Times. Now the sweet kid and his lawyers are alleging the under-age girl was only pretending to be unconscious and wanted to be gang raped… and violated with pool cues, lit cigarettes, and a Snapple bottle. It’s not a new strategy to blame the victim for her own rape…but this is reprehensible.

In opening statements, the defense portrayed the girl as a sex fiend whose life had spun out of control, and the prosecutor told jurors that the videotape will reveal the youths as arrogant, selfish assailants. But both sides characterized the incident, in Haidl’s Corona del Mar home two years ago, as the culmination of a series of bad choices by the girl.

Both sides agree that on the day before the party, the girl went to Haidl’s house, where she smoked marijuana, drank heavily and had sex with at least two young men. The next day, she returned alone.

Each juror was handed a binder with 48 color photos from the videotape. The photos show the defendants — Gregory Scott Haidl, 18; Kyle Joseph Nachreiner, 19; and Keith James Spann, 19 — alternately having sex with the girl and sodomizing her with a Snapple bottle, an empty fruit can and a lighted cigarette.

In the video, after the boys have sex with the apparently unconscious girl on a couch, they are shown moving her to a pool table. Spann affirms with a gesture that the girl has blacked out — and the sexual antics continue, the prosecutor told jurors. Later, the boys mug for the camera, giggle and dance to the blaring rap music. Haidl slaps the girl’s stomach in time to the beat.

In the final photo, the girl — still appearing unconscious — is pictured after urinating on the pool table. Lawyers for the three suspects conceded that the events occurred. She pretended to be unconscious, the defense argued, because she knew that if the video were discovered, people would think poorly of her for allowing boys to treat her in such humiliating fashion.

Attorney John Barnett, representing Nachreiner, said jurors must view the tape in context with what he called the girl’s sexually free-form lifestyle

Apology

A reminder — Because of my two broken arms, I’m still dictating these entries on my blog, so please forgive the typos and awkward sentences.

Westerns

An article in Variety about westerns got me thinking about this sadly overlooked genre.

Let’s face it westerns are basicly dead. They don’t command anywhere near the audience they used to at the box office, in bookstores or on television. I’ve only recently come to enjoy and appreciate westerns. It was Larry Mcmurtry’s “lonesome dove” that got me hooked — then I discovered Elmer kelton, Frederick Manfred, AB Guthrie, Edwin Shrake, Tom Eidson, Robert Randisi, Loren Estelman and fell in love with the genre. I even joined the Western Writers of America to learn more about it and discover more authors. I thought “the missing” an “open range” were terrific, and was sad to see them tank at the box office. During my recovery in the hospital, TNT or some other network reran a couple of Tom Selleck’s TV westerns — and I thought they were well-made, well-written. well-acted, and very entertaining (or maybe I was just high on painkillers). Selleck is very convincing as a western hero, and clearly loves the genre. I guess he’s the TV equivalent of Kevin Costner in that regard. I’ve even come to appreciate Gunsmoke — I never realized what an intelligent and adult series it was. Of course, it also had a period when it was awful – in the late 60s — but I’m enjoyimg rediscovering the show. It’s actually possible now, if you have tivo, to watch the black-and-white half-hour episodes on the Hallmark channel from the fifties, the the black-and-white hourlong episodes from the sixties on the Western channel, and the hourlong color episodes from the late sixties occur seventies on TV. I’ve even come to enjoy some classic radio westerns on my morning and evening commutes — particularly James Stewart as the six shooter. Westerns deserve a comeback — in the same way cop shows and mysteries are today. Perhaps hbo’s deadwood will reignite interest in the genre.

Lee will be off-line for a while

Hi, this is Valerie Goldberg. Lee has broken both his arms and won’t be able to answer e-mails for awhile. He’ll be fine. One of the cast is coming off in three weeks. The other arm will require surgery. The D.M. book was half way done and Lee hopes to be resuming work on it (and his scripts) next week using dictating software.