Rapist uses Beacon Journal to lure victim
This wasn't supposed to happen.
Time and again, when told that publishing lists of gun owners (CHL-holders) would provide criminals lists of homes from which to steal guns, the media responded by saying that criminals just weren't smart enough to utilize the newspaper to premeditate their crimes or select their targets.
The Akron Beacon Journal has called it a "flimsy presumption", and Gannett News Columbus Bureau Chief Jim Siegel said warnings about the dangers of publishing the list of CHL-holders "elevate these criminals to a level of sophistication they very likely do not possess..." Even Attorney General Jim Petro called such a scenario "a stretch".
Last month, criminals used the Cleveland Plain Dealer to pre-plan an armed robbery. This time, a man used the Akron Beacon Journal to pre-plan a rape.
On Saturday, the Beacon Journal reported that a convicted Portage County sex offender allegedly raped a woman who authorities say was lured there through a newspaper advertisement.
The bait, Sheriff Duane W. Kaley told the newspaper, was an advertisement placed before Christmas, seeking a server/dancer.
Kaley told reporters the victim, a 21-year-old Windham woman, called the phone number in the advertisement and arranged to meet the man early Thursday night at his residence, the former Hilltop Tavern, 3101 Tallmadge Rd., in Rootstown Township.
The suspect, Kaley was quoted as saying, "wanted her to come over. She did, and once the victim was there, he locked the door and went on to rape her.''
Sheriff Kaley told the Beacon Journal the victim went to the man's residence seeking a job interview as a server, not as a dancer.
The advertisement was published in the Akron Beacon Journal's classified section under the category General Help Wanted on Dec. 21-23, according to the newspaper's computerized data.
The newspaper reports Swalcy pleaded guilty to sexual battery in June 1999 in connection with the alleged rape of a 21-year-old dancer at the Hilltop, a bar he owned featuring nude dancers.
So what does this have to do with Ohio's concealed carry law?
Several Ohio newspapers have published the names of thousands of concealed handgun license-holders who have broken no laws, violated no other persons' rights, and who simply wish to exercise their constitutional right to self-defense.
Before it was passed, Ohioans For Concealed Carry gave legislators plenty of reasons why Bob Taft's media access loophole was dangerous.
Chiefly, we told them that criminals ARE smart enough to use the newspaper or other records placed in the public domain to pre-plan their crimes.
We told them about actress Rebecca Shaefer, who was stalked and murdered in the early 90's by Robert John Bardo because driver's license information was easily obtained for a small fee. This prompted federal legislation making the dissemination of such information illegal.
We told them that instances of criminals targeting particular locations they know to contain specific valuables (such as firearms), and staking out or casing residences to make sure no one is home, are common and well documented.
There are many other reasons why abuse of the media access loophole will NEVER become a non-issue.
For example, Ohio gun-ban extremist Toby Hoover is on record encouraging employers to consider whether or not a potential new-hire is a CHL-holder before hiring.
Some persons who seek to bear arms for self-defense are trying desperately not to be found - such as battered wives hiding from their former husbands.
What if the violent stalker who was shot by this Indiana woman had known in advance that she was carrying? ''God's grace'' (and concealed firearm) saves Indiana woman's life.
What if this armed criminal had known in advance this Toledo CHL-holder had just received his concealed handgun license? Clerk says he shot to save his life in robbery.
Editors at the Cleveland Plain Dealer apparently care nothing for people like this in Ohio, much less about your opinion.
Rep. James Aslanides (R-Coshocton), the concealed carry bill's original sponsor, said in conference committee and during a short floor speech last January that he would lead an effort to roll back the media access if the "privilege" is abused.
"If they abuse the privilege, we can cause them to lose the privilege," he declared, pointing out that the Pennsylvania Legislature struck a similar provision after a newspaper published a list of permit holders.
- Aslanides can be reached at:
Telephone: (614) 644-6014
Fax: (614) 644-9494
Email Address: [email protected]
Sen. Steve Austria seconded this warning, adding that publishing the names of license-holders would be the exact kind of abuse they're referring to, since publishing these names would threaten the safety of the very men and women who have chosen to bear arms for self-defense.
- Austria can be reached at:
"I don't think we need to worry about journalists doing their job," state Sen. Marc Dann, a Youngstown area Democrat, told Mr. Aslanides.
- Dann can be reached at:
Rep. Aslanides has already expressed interest in modifying the law to correct this abuse. Sens. Austria and Dann have not, as far as we are aware, provided public comment in the wake of these newspapers' actions. All three men were reelected last month.
It is time, honorable legislators - it is past time.
Related Stories: So the criminals aren't smart enough to plot their crimes, right?