Released Rapists Rape Again
Updated: Jul 18
An accused NYC rapist who was released from Rikers Island 10 days prior because of #Coronavirus concerns, is back in jail after attacking and sexually assaulting another woman.
According to this story from the New York Post about the sexual assault, Robert Pondexter, was walking across the street when he grabbed a woman by the collar and pulled her into a school parking lot. The attacker and the 58-year-old victim were strangers.
The woman said Pondexter choked her and forced her to perform oral sex before demanding she take off her pants — but she was able to kick him away.
The woman he allegedly attacked on Saturday was taken to a hospital and Pondexter was arrested at the scene. He faces charges of attempted rape and sexual assault, among others, sources said.
Important items to note regarding this attack:
The attacker grabbed the woman by the collar and pulled her into a parking lot. Typical attacks by strangers will take or move the defender into an area which is more private to effect the sexual assault. This points out the need for you to have a solution to a lapel grab and a solution to keep you from being taken to another place. This is the basic tenet of our "Stay with People" strategy.
Having a rapist force you to your knees to orally rape you is also a common attack. Yet it's also not addressed very often in the typical women's self-defense class. You should learn a solution to how to defend against this situation.
Finally, the story says she was able to kick him away. This is a vital point in women's self-defense that we teach regarding using your strongest weapons against his weakest targets.
Besides these valuable reminders (above) of what happens in real-life sexual assault cases, this story illustrates the recidivism problem when it comes to sexual predators. It's generally accepted that a percentage of sexual predators recommit rapes and attacks repeatedly. The problem is we don't really know the scope of the problem -- except that it's way bigger than we "know" from studies.
According to the Office of Justice, criminals released from prison are re-arrested 30 to 45 times more than normal citizens.
But research about sexual predator recidivism is "difficult" to measure because of the fact that:
very few sexual assaults are actually reported
very few of those sexual assaults are actually prosecuted
very few of those sexual assaults are prosecuted as rape or sexual assaults without being plead down to other non-sexual crimes like aggravated assault
Let's take a look at some key points from the Sex Offender Management Assessment and Planning Initiative linked to above:
Official records underestimate recidivism. Studies of sexual assault victims and studies of sex offenders in treatment demonstrate that actual offending rates are poorly reflected by official records. Simons, Heil and English (2004) found that only 5 percent of rapes and child sexual assaults self-reported during prison treatment were identified in official records; Tjaden and Thonnes (2006) found that only 17 percent of victim reports resulted in the perpetrator's conviction. While the magnitude of the difference between observed and actual reoffending needs to be better understood, there is universal agreement in the scientific community that the observed recidivism rates of sex offenders are underestimates of actual reoffending.
The observed sexual recidivism rates of sex offenders range from about 5 percent after three years to about 24 percent after 15 years. Relatively low rates of recidivism ― particularly sexual recidivism — are reported in studies using follow-up periods shorter than five years. Langan, Schmitt and Durose (2003), for example, found a sexual recidivism rate of 5.3 percent using a three-year follow-up period for a large sample of sex offenders released from prison in 1994. Sample and Bray (2003) reported a sexual recidivism rate of 4.8 percent for a large sample of sex offenders in Illinois based on a three-year follow-up period. Studies employing longer follow-up periods consistently report higher rates of recidivism. Harris and Hanson (2004), for example, reported sexual recidivism rates of 20 percent and 24 percent for a sample of sex offenders based on a 10- and 15-year follow-up period, respectively. While observed recidivism rates will naturally increase as the length of the follow-up period increases, it is important to recognize that recidivism rates derived from follow-up periods of five years or less may mislabel a considerable proportion of repeat offenders as nonrecidivists, resulting in a significant underestimation of the absolute risk to public safety that sex offenders pose.
Sex offenders—regardless of type—have higher rates of general recidivism than sexual recidivism. Although this basic reoffending pattern would naturally be expected to occur, the magnitude of the difference found in research is somewhat striking. It suggests that sex offenders are far more likely to reoffend for a nonsexual crime than a sexual crime and, as Hanson and Morton-Bourgon (2004, p. 4) have aptly stated, "policies aimed at public protection should also be concerned with the likelihood of any form of serious recidivism, not just sexual recidivism." It is important to keep in mind, however, that nonsexual offenses are more likely than sexual offenses to be reported to law enforcement, and that some crimes legally labeled as nonsexual in the criminal histories of sex offenders may indeed be sexual in their underlying behavior.
Sex offenders have lower rates of general recidivism but higher rates of sexual recidivism than non-sex offenders. Research comparing the recidivism rates of sex offenders with non-sex offenders consistently finds that sex offenders have lower overall recidivism rates than non-sex offenders. Child molesters, rapists and sex offenders overall, however, are far more likely than non-sex offenders to recidivate sexually. Langan, Schmitt and Durose (2003), for example, found sexual recidivism rates that are four times higher for sex offenders compared to non-sex offenders in their study of about two-thirds of all sex offenders released from state prisons in 1994.
Mark Twain has a famous quote disparaging the way statistics can be used. In our world, it's great to have access to statistics to give us a sense of what the problems are and how significant they may be. But the real bottom line is that any one of us can be a victim in the right circumstances. The very nature of being a female puts us in the sights of predators. We must learn and train to defeat the rapist.