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|Gay-left activists didn't just promote Shepard and ignore Dirkhising. They have urged their followers to shut this "insensitive" story down in the press. In 1999, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation advised action against Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby's Shepard-Dirkhising comparison: "Jacoby uses his voice at the Globe to inappropriately contrast them and manufacture a notion of media bias. Please tell the Globe that this type of insensitivity does not belong in a newspaper that has a record of treating lesbian and gay issues in a fair and accurate way."
February 11, 2002
The Amherst high school is in chaos since it was revealed that its principal, Stephen Myers, is a man who loves to have sex with boys.
A high school student, Colin Jones, reports: "The Amherst Regional High School is in a state of anarchy. Fights and senseless acts of violence are being committed left and right."
A mother echoes these concerns: "At least when Myers was there, he was in the cafeteria and looked out for my daughter. My kids are not safer with him gone - actually the opposite."
Many residents question, as they watch this tabloid-style drama, whether the town will learn from this experience and grow up. Even after it became public knowledge that Myers had sex with children, the chair of the school committee, Dr. Barbara Love, refused to cast a single stone.
"As a black woman, I am leery of jumping to conclusions and condemning and convicting an individual on the basis of circumstantial evidence," she opined.
The many families who have already fled the public schools -- being fed-up with the bullying episodes, dumbed-down academics, decaying facilities, and amoral climate – now feel validated by their choice. Indeed, crises like these only serve to bolster the alternative education movement.
But the liberals, who dominate the town, are too embarrassed to embrace a traditional code of values. They have a rigid and unwavering faith in the ability of the State to educate and care for their children.
Therefore, they are reduced to complaining about "the process" and locating a scapegoat to blame, be it the superintendent or the school committee chairwoman.
An unnamed, former Amherst principal doesn't have much faith in townspeople's ability to become introspective. "I don't believe that Amherst leftists will reconsider their biases in the light of this sorry episode. They have too much invested. They have too much reason to rationalize and divert others’ attention away from the core issues."
There have been seven principals in fourteen years. Superintendent Gus Sayer had heart by-pass surgery last summer and Ron Bell, his long-time number two man, recently had a stroke.
Had this scandal happened in a politically conservative community like Provo, Utah, there would have been the predictable soapboxing about, “This is what comes of allowing the National Education Association to get in bed with the gay rights lobby.”
Sordid Details Shocked Town
In January, the front page of the hometown newspaper announced, “Principal Stephen Myers intends to resign his post, following allegations that he asked a male student to expose a nipple and invited him to his house.”
Sympathy for the beleaguered principal and the superintendent and school committee, who had attempted to keep the entire affair quiet, bottomed-out after the local newspapers published details released by a lawyer who represented the mother of the boy who was molested by Principal Stephen Myers.
The details, from an almost 100-page report, produced by investigators in Santa Cruz, California (where Myers had worked as an educator), included the principal's confession to being attracted to 14- to 16-year-old-males, and his admission to having had sexual relations with boys.
According to the same report, the foster mother of the four-year-old Romanian boy that Myers was hoping to adopt kept a journal. The Union-News noted what this woman had written about her foster child's time with Myers. She said the pair "watched 'silly movies' in bed of naked boys," and they engaged in “sexually suggestive' play, like the 'bouncing game.'”
The lawyer’s one-page statement closed with a self-serving, but perhaps deserved, pat on the back: "[I]t is apparent that the public disclosure of Myers' improper activities at Amherst Regional High School, although never authorized by the family and however awkwardly made, has served the public interest of protecting our client and other boys in the community from Mr. Myers. We hope that the community will come to recognize the courage it took for the family to raise and pursue these difficult issues given the failure of the School Department to deal with them adequately."
Defenders Stunned Into Silence
While Myers has never been charged with any crime, his defenders have been stunned into silence. In fact, the Amherst police became concerned for his safety and stepped up patrols around his home.
In addition to the cover-up that he conducted, Supt. Sayer also faces the unhappy task of trying to defend the extensive background check that he says was conducted on Myers, which included a Criminal Offender Record Information report.
Sayer reiterated to the local media that "Amherst officials checked Myers' professional history for the past 20 years, including his time in the Santa Cruz, Calif., school system."
Dean Tong, author of Elusive Innocence and a consultant in the Elian Gonzalez case, notes that unless schools required every incoming principal to submit to psychosexual testing and a polygraph, it would be difficult and expensive to spot a criminal. "It would cost (a school district) over $3000/case for testing of the suspected pedophile," says Tong. Given that Myers' starting salary was $85,000 annually, perhaps Amherst taxpayers would not blanch at paying less than four percent of that to detect a child molester.
But insiders say hubris, not a flawed process or lack of funds, is responsible for this crisis. The former Amherst principal quoted earlier writes: "From the smoke of this latest battle of the Amherst school wars, emerges the stench of the arrogant pietism of those who would prefer the school leadership of persons who fit well the profile of the politically correct."
He continues, "It is that pietism, that romantic insistence on the personal characteristics that signal hard leftist politics, multi-cultural banalities, and a fatuous attitude toward rigorous curriculum, that lies at the heart of the process that chose Mr. Myers as principal."
Anatomy of Nipplegate
In Amherst, education takes precedence over politics and fiscal prudence. The town proudly spends well above the state average to fund the high school.
But it's no secret that the gatekeepers of the Amherst school system have long been susceptible to political fads.
From exhibiting Love Makes a Family (a gay, photo display) in the elementary schools to canceling a production of West Side Story to avoid offending Puerto Rican students, progressive values take precedence over rigorous scholarship for the town's educational elite.
Still, it’s hardly a worker’s paradise. The previous high school principal with impeccable left-wing credentials, Scott Goldman, supported a police presence in the school. He left his post after only four years complaining about overly permissive parents.
And teachers risk being branded as "racists" if they grumble about the administration's obsession with diversity and multiculturalism.
With this scandal, however, even the tolerance crowd met its Waterloo.
It began on the evening of January 15, when a group of self-described activists crashed a routine school committee meeting and unleashed a firestorm during the public comment period. The group had widely-circulated copies of a letter that Supt. Sayer had written to the parent of the 15-year-old male student regarding Myers’ peculiar actions.
Sayer had written to the parents: "Mr. Myers did request to see [student's name omitted] nipple and [omitted] consented. Mr. Myers did invite [omitted] to his home and tell him that he had a hot tub there. These actions were improper, as was his invitation to take [omitted] to a movie, in my judgment."
Sayer had little to say at the meeting in response except to complain that his “private” correspondence had been made public.
The 56-year-old Myers, who is single, did not attend and denied any wrongdoing. But during the meeting, his attorney left and returned with a terse, unsigned statement from his client for the school committee. Myers stated that the truth would not be given a fair hearing “in a climate of rumor and innuendo" and that he planned to step down as principal. Myers was a recent import from a charter school in Colorado and was only halfway through his first year at Amherst.
Townspeople are Polarized
After the meeting, town residents became polarized into two camps. Most thought a decent man had been denied due process, while others were outraged that public officials had protected a pervert.
"Witchhunt" became the original battle cry from the larger camp which rallied around Myers. About fifty parents and concerned students had attended the January 15 meeting to complain about him. A week later, 200 parents, teachers and concerned taxpayers mobbed the meeting in support of him.
Chair Dr. Love could seem to do no right. At the first meeting, she allowed an hour-long, unscheduled public discussion of the sexual complaint. Most experts agree it should have been limited to the privacy of an executive session (allowed by the Open Meeting Law).
A week later, wearing her trademark African tribal garb, Love squelched comments from the defenders of the beleaguered principal, saying her leniency of the week before "could have easily have been a mistake, but it's in the past. Tonight I will interrupt."
After the second unsatisfactory meeting, tempers were short and questions went unanswered. Of concern:
Since Superintendent Sayer took the charges seriously enough to hire a lawyer and undertake an investigation of his own, he was duty bound to file a report with the Department of Social Services (G.L.c.119, 51A). The School Committee, or any other public official aware of the charges, also had a lawful duty to report it. Why didn't any of them file the 51A?
Had the background check on Stephen Myers been thorough?
Why did Supt. Sayer tell Myers that if this incident became public his job would be “untenable?" Did Sayer sense something amiss with Myers who later changed his story by claiming he never invited the student to his home for a dip in the hot tub?
Shortly after that meeting, a 51A was filed on behalf of the student, and the case is now being investigated by the Northwest district attorney’s office.
Strange as it may appear, support for Myers peaked when the Department of Social Services (DSS) snatched his adopted eight-year-old son and placed him in foster care. A spokesperson for DSS was succinct: "Whenever we petition for custody of a child we do so out of concern for the child's immediate safety."
But supporters thought it was merely a routine response to the original allegations, which had yet to be proved. The 16-person committee that selected Myers only five months earlier after a nationwide search, had reason to hope he would exonerated.
‘Only in Amherst’
"Only in Amherst." It’s a refrain that drives the long-time locals crazy.
However, unlike the previous refrains, this one could be very damaging to the reputation of its schools and the sale of homes in the town.
The previous refrains showed only the strangeness of the inhabitants. But this episode is much more serious as it makes one wonder about the safety of the young people in the schools – particularly with the attempt at a cover up.
Previous publicity occurred when the Town Meeting unanimously voted, on the eve of the Gulf War, to "continue negotiations with Iraq." Or, in 1988, when voters snubbed Michael Dukakis in favor of Jesse Jackson. And how 'bout that United Nations flag that flies over the Town Common?
The students and staff of Amherst Regional High School have also made waves and headlines.
In October, the school was shut down for two days due to an anthrax hoax.
In November, school officials debated whether to disregard the state mandate that will require high school students to pass the MCAS test to graduate, and freshman Brad Bell was featured in Sports Illustrated for his participation on the girls' field hockey team.
But this mid-winter's bombshell is more shocking.
Many in this small town are wondering what’s it going to take . . . a Columbine?.
© 2002 WorldNetDaily.com
While one of the convicted killers of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising appeals his guilty verdict in the case all the way to the Arkansas Supreme Court and another has withdrawn his guilty plea, three years later there are few voices speaking out for the victim.
No local memorials have been held since his brutal death at the hands of two homosexual predators who confessed to using the boy as a sex toy while torturing him to death.
And even though the case received a flurry of publicity after first being brought to the attention of the nation in WorldNetDaily, the number of articles written pale in comparison to those written about the murder of Matthew Shepherd – an adult homosexual brutally murdered in Wyoming by heterosexuals. In fact, a Nexis search shows a disparity in story counts of 18-1.
Dirkhising suffocated to death during the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 1999, after being bound, drugged, gagged and brutally sodomized by Davis Don Carpenter, then 38, and Joshua Macabe Brown, then 22, at the men's apartment in Rogers, Ark.
Earlier that summer, Jesse – with the permission of his mother and stepfather, Tina and Miles Yates – had begun spending weekends with the homosexual couple.
Carpenter, who had known Miles Yates for several years and was considered a "family friend," made a 60-mile round trip on weekends to pick up Jesse at his trailer park home in Prairie Grove and take him back to Rogers, where he earned $45 helping to sweep the Regis Hairstylists beauty salon that Carpenter managed. Dirkhising planned to use the money to fix up a truck.
During the five-hour assault that began around midnight in the couple's bedroom, Brown, acting on written instructions from Carpenter, bound the seventh-grader with nylon rope, placed a T-shirt blindfold over his head, and gagged his mouth with a pair of dirty underwear secured by a bandana and duct tape.
After propping pillows beneath Dirkhising's abdomen, Brown sodomized him with three fingers, his penis, a frozen banana, and a urine enema laced with the sedative drug amitryptiline while Carpenter watched, masturbating, in the bedroom doorway.
Midway through the assault, Carpenter went to an all-night grocery store to purchase additional rape implements. A receipt later found by police, time-stamped 3:07 a.m., showed "Eckrich" sausage, cucumbers, "tape" and "deli" sandwiches.
Upon Carpenter's return from the store, Brown continued sodomizing Jesse with the sausage and cucumber, using Vaseline. He then left the room to eat a sandwich. When he returned, the boy was no longer breathing. Frantic, he woke Carpenter who by that time had fallen asleep on the living room sofa.
After the men attempted unsuccessfully to administer CPR, Carpenter called 911. When police arrived at the apartment, they found Dirkhising naked and near death on the bedroom floor. His face was blue, there was blood in his mouth, and his body was smeared with feces.
Patrolman Ian Smith later testified, "The smell was unbearable. It was horrible. I couldn't explain it to you." Another detective testified that Brown had fecal matter in the web of his fingers when he was arrested.
Jesse was pronounced dead after being rushed to nearby St. Mary's Hospital. Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Erickson later testified that the boy died as a result of "suffocation, positional asphyxiation and acute amitryptiline intoxication."
In a post-conviction interview, Robert C. Balfe, Benton County, Ark., lead prosecutor, said, "The evidence shows the last thing that occurred to Jesse when he was alive was that he was being anally raped with the cucumber by Brown. Carpenter was so concerned over the aggressiveness of the rape, that he wrote a note to Brown telling him to back the cucumber out to 3 inches because it could cause 'serious damage.' They then duct taped the cucumber in Jesse's anus and went to eat their sandwiches. I believe that this last violent act was more than Jesse could endure and he gave up and died."
One of the most difficult aspects of trying the case, said Balfe, was proving that Jesse had struggled against his killers given the lack of evidence of anal trauma.
"Dr. Erickson actually removed [Jesse's] anus during the autopsy and we were able to view detailed photographs of it ... It was normal sized, not enlarged as would normally be the case during an anal rape. There were no abrasions or bruises."
Among the reasons why there was no trauma, said Balfe, were that "Jesse was heavily sedated. This made his rectum more elastic and less susceptible to bruising." Also, "the defendants used Vaseline on themselves and the objects before inserting them."
Balfe said that because the rectum returns to normal size after penetration, many times trauma will not be found in cases of anal penetration. "Even when medical experts testify why this is likely, as Dr. Erickson did in this case, the average juror still can't seem to understand why this would not occur and often believes this indicates consent."
Under questioning by Detective Martha Armstrong, Carpenter denied any participation in Jesse's assault. However, a grocery clerk at the Price Cutter store where Carpenter bought the food items later testified that he "was wide awake when he came into the store" and that he was "pretty happy" about finding the duct tape on a low shelf, according to Northwest Arkansas News.
Carpenter admitted to police he had used several drugs in the hours leading up to the assault, including methamphetamine.
After his arrest, Carpenter told Benton County jail inmates that he participated in Jesse's sodomy by "shoving pain pills" down the boy's throat, according to a police affidavit.
In the taped interview, Carpenter also said he had "counseled" Jesse about his sexuality and drug use: "If he wanted to bring in a 28-year-old woman and screw her in the back room, I wouldn't care. As long as he was there and he told me about it and was honest about everything I asked him about the thing he was doing.
"Just like I told him if you want to smoke pot that's fine. You can smoke it in my house but don't you go out there with the rest of these damn crazy kids because they're not good people."
"Jesse's confused," continued Carpenter. "Jesse is attracted to guys and ... hates him, that part of himself." He said that Jesse's mother, Tina Yates, had mentioned Jesse's homosexuality to him.
Carpenter admitted on tape that he left home at age 15 because of his own homosexuality: "My dad didn't, my whole family didn't think fags deserved to live."
However, his father later accepted him. In an April 2001 interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Davis Carpenter Sr. said that his son "came home one day and proceeded to tell me he was gay. We sat up and talked for a long time that night. I saw that I couldn't change his mind. So I accepted it."
Carpenter denied that he and Brown practiced any bondage in their sexual relationship. However, he told Armstrong that Brown and Dirkhising's "play" included "mummy type stuff" where "they've taped each other like a mummy."
In his police confession, Brown said he and Jesse "were just playing around." He said they often hog-tied each other and that the teenager was a willing participant in their "games."
Brown called Jesse his "on-the-side lover" and said that the boy had performed unsolicited oral sex on him during his first weekend visit. However, Brown insisted he had never penetrated Jesse anally until the night of the assault.
That night, Brown said, he placed candles about the bedroom of the apartment "to make a nice romantic mood" and that he had "made sensual love" to Jesse before beginning to sodomize him with the other items.
Brown said he didn't know that the "game" would kill Jesse. In his taped confession, Brown hit the table several times with his fist in apparent remorse and said, "I just don't believe I [expletive deleted] killed him."
Brown also told police that "Davis gots a whole slew of videos" that are "mostly guy on guy," but he was not sure if they had arrived yet from the couple's previous residence in St. Petersburg, Fla.
When asked by Detective Jarod Mason if Carpenter ever fantasized about "little kids," Brown answered, "Sometimes, yeah," but denied that Carpenter would ever act on them.
Carpenter also "had fantasies about dogs" and would draw pictures of bondage acts, said Brown.
Later, Brown told Mason that "Jesse ... really didn't have nothing to offer except maybe sex every now and then."
Joshua Brown was tried and convicted on charges of capital murder and rape in March 2001 and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
During the trial, prosecutors called nearly 25 witnesses and presented more than 100 items of evidence, including nylon rope, petroleum jelly jars, a douche bottle, crumpled duct tape, feces- and vomit-covered shirts and underwear, prescription pill bottles, and photos of items that were used to sodomize the child, according to news reports.
Police also confiscated several notes that Carpenter wrote describing how to sedate and sodomize children.
One three-page note, addressed to "Baby," Carpenter's pet name for Brown, contained a graphic sexual assault fantasy about a little neighbor girl: "I saw your 10-year-old blonde whore this morning ... Her bus comes by at 7:20 or 7:30."
"Keep an eye on her to catch the first opportunity to talk to her – In the back window & whammo! Oh yeah!"
Benton County Circuit Court Judge David Clinger, who presided over Brown's trial, called the written accounts of bondage, drugging, gagging and blindfolding "a blueprint for child rape."
"Tina Yates, to our shock and dismay, testified on cross-examination that she was well aware that Carpenter and Brown were homosexuals and had no issue with them or homosexuality in general," Balfe told C&F Report. "If Jesse wanted to be a homosexual, that was fine with her. In fact, a homosexual minister had married her and Jesse's stepfather, Miles Yates. Tina considered Carpenter and Brown 'family' and they all spent considerable time together at each other's residences."
Miles Yates reiterated his wife's testimony that he was aware that Carpenter and Brown were homosexuals and drug users but said those facts didn't bother him "so long as it was not around the family," and stated that he was not averse to Dirkhising using drugs "at home with me or someone you're comfortable with."
He also testified that he had met Carpenter about seven years prior to his stepson's death via his own friendship with a homosexual lover of Carpenter's and that he would allow only "a decent person – an upstanding citizen" to watch Jesse or his siblings overnight.
"This testimony was so out-of-step with any reasonable person's views on family that it alienated [Tina], and by default, Jesse, from the jury," said Balfe.
A 14-year-old female friend of Jesse's also testified that Dirkhising had been seen the week prior to his death being injected with methamphetamine by a 43-year-old female neighbor of Brown's and Carpenter's, unsupervised by either of the men.
One family member who was not comfortable with Jesse's friendship with the two homosexuals was his step-grandmother, Betty Yates.
In a 1999 interview with CNSNews.com, Yates said, "The parents put him in a situation he shouldn't have been in. They knowingly let him spend weekends with the two guys knowing they were gay. Jesse was a typical 13-year-old good kid. You do not put a 13-year-old child into a situation like that. It had been going on for about two months and he had told them he did not want to go back."
Betty Yates told CNSNews.com that some months prior to Jesse's death, Tina Yates said she was excited that the gay couple had taken an interest in her son.
"I said, 'Do they not have kids?' And she said, 'Well, they're two guys, they're gay.' When they left, I said to my husband, 'Do you know what they're doing?' But he's real big on minding your own business. Now I'm sorry I didn't pursue it. We shouldn't have minded our own business that time. It was a horrible death that could have been prevented."
Balfe told C&F Report, "It was extremely important to me that the jury stay focused on the real issue of the trial – the rape and murder of Jesse – and not be distracted by any side issues, such as whether this case was the subject of a conspiracy by the national media to hide homosexual hate crimes.
"Jesse was not attacked because he was heterosexual, he was attacked because he was a child. The defendants were pedophiles and had an unnatural desire to engage in the violent rape of children."
Balfe stated, "I have my personal opinions on whether homosexuality is a sexual deviance that makes other types of sexual deviance such as pedophilia more likely to occur among homosexuals, but that is separate and apart from my prosecution of this crime."
Balfe said that the defendants' homosexual conduct was "self-evident" and added, "I didn't stay away from the homosexual angle in this case to be politically correct."
Family breakdown contributed to troubles
Teen pregnancy, divorce, fatherlessness and childhood abuse all played a part in the Dirkhising tragedy.
Both Jesse Dirkhising's and Joshua Brown's mothers were 17 when they gave birth to their sons. "Both mothers had their children too young, and both failed to nurture and protect," said public defender Louis Lim. Carpenter's parents were also divorced.
Brown's mother, Judith Wasson of Memphis, Tenn., testified that Brown's father had abandoned the family when Joshua was two years old.
She said that her son had been in and out of foster homes in California and Tennessee between the ages of 9 and 11 because of physical abuse and neglect at her own hands. She also stated that her brother, who had moved into their home as a "male figure" for the family, had physically abused Joshua and sexually abused his younger sister, Jessica.
When he was 20, Wasson said, her son met Carpenter in Memphis, Tenn., while on the rebound after breaking up with a girlfriend. "I did not know Josh had any homosexual tendencies until after he was arrested," she said.
Under questioning by Detective Jarod Mason, Brown admitted he was bisexual: "I'm gay and I have a tendency to ling [perform oral sex on women]."
Defense attorney Lim said Brown was a troubled, insecure teen with drug addictions when Carpenter walked into his life in 1997.
"A successful hairstylist, Carpenter was a keynote speaker at Brown's sister's graduation from modeling school in Mississippi. Carpenter befriended Brown and offered him a job," reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
When Carpenter saw Brown for the first time, "he said he [Brown] was so pretty he needed someone to lift him up," Lim told jurors.
Within two months of knowing Brown, Carpenter convinced Brown to move away from his friends and family to Florida. Carpenter later manipulated Brown into a homosexual relationship by stating that four characters in the Bible (David and Jonathan, and Ruth and Naomi) were homosexual.
As he did with Brown, Carpenter worked to isolate Jesse Dirkhising from his family, Lim said.
Co-workers from the Regis hair salon characterized Carpenter as the stronger of the two personalities in the relationship with Brown and said he tended to be domineering, condescending and sure of himself.
They generally described Brown as more like a teen-ager than a mature 22-year-old. One witness noted that Brown would generally stare at the ground in front of himself rather than looking people in the eyes, a trait evident in police transcripts and trial photographs.
Carpenter wrote housekeeping instructions to Brown and, in one note, described their relationship as "a beautiful marriage!"
In closing arguments, Prosecutor Balfe said that making a late-night run for more duct tape, picking up only two sandwiches instead of three, and leaving the child unattended all proved the Carpenter and Brown weren't concerned about Jesse's welfare.
Balfe also described to C&F Report the difficulty of convincing the court that Jesse's rape was non-consensual: "I repeatedly kept telling the jury that there is no way a 13-year-old boy is going to agree to being bound, gagged with dirty underwear, and raped with numerous different objects over five hours," he said.
"The defense's response was essentially: 'Well, I know it's hard to understand, but you never know what these homosexuals are going to do.'" Balfe said that a similar comment was made in the jury room.
"If this was a 13-year-old girl, there would be absolutely no issue that it was not consensual. Yet since Jesse was a boy, this was somehow understandable. It must have been 'kinky sex.'"
Balfe said in one interview Jesse's disadvantaged background fueled jurors' beliefs that the teen-ager had consented to the assault: "The defense certainly devalued the victim along [socio-economic] lines. If the 13-year-old had been the son of a Wal-Mart executive (Wal-Mart is headquartered here in Bentonville), then I believe we would have had a different outcome.
"That's why pedophiles target children from disadvantaged homes. First, they're more likely to be successful in luring these children because the parents aren't as vigilant. Second, juries then punish the victim because the parents are unsympathetic."
During the penalty phase of Brown's trial, members of Jesse's family made statements to the court telling how much the boy had meant to them and arguing for the maximum punishment for Joshua Brown.
According to local news reports, Jesse's maternal grandmother, Paula McVey, fought back tears as she told jurors how much she and her remaining grandchildren missed Jesse.
McVey testified that Jesse's little brother and sister, Chad and Renea Kidd, had been very close to their older brother. She said that Chad, then 9 years old, frequently cried out, "I want my brother!" and that Renea, 8, had become extremely dependent upon her remaining brother and broke into tears when separated from him for any length of time.
Chad wrote a statement to the court saying that he missed drawing and playing football, baseball, soccer and basketball with Jesse.
"I'm mad," wrote Chad. "I want to hurt someone. I feel like there is a very big hole in me." Chad added that he hoped Brown and Carpenter would get the death penalty.
Tina Yates wrote that Jesse loved to read and play football for his school's team and that he liked camping, fishing and hunting with his siblings and going to movies with his grandmother. She said her son's dream was to finish school, get his mechanic's certification and make a living working on automobiles.
Brown's mother, Judith Wasson, told the court tearfully, "We are profoundly sorry for the loss that the Yates family is having. I know in my heart that Joshua could not have intentionally killed anyone."
Jesse's classmates at Lincoln Middle School placed flowers on his school bus seat and memorialized his locker after his death.
Judge David Clinger rejected the contention that Brown tried to save Jesse by cutting away duct tape and trying to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Trial testimony showed that Carpenter and Brown contemplated cleaning Jesse in the shower or dumping his body somewhere else before Carpenter called 911.
"I absolutely don't find a single shred of evidence that Mr. Carpenter ever forced you to do anything that you didn't want to do," Clinger said.
"You and Davis Carpenter had quite a time inflicting this on this bound and helpless young man who was barely 13. Imagining Jesse's thought process during his slow and torturous death has sent shivers up my spine," Clinger told Brown.
Despite Clinger's contention that Brown willingly participated in Jesse's assault, juror Milton Davis said, "Very often, we felt we were trying the wrong man."
Carpenter's trial, originally scheduled for May 2001, was averted after he pleaded guilty on April 18, 2001, to one count each of capital murder and rape in exchange for serving life in prison without possibility of parole.
At his sentencing, Carpenter admitted his culpability in Dirkhising's death and apologized to Jesse's mother and stepfather: "I'd like to say to Miles and Tina that I'm sorry Jesse's gone. I tried to save him but couldn't. Every day I pray for them and I will continue to pray for the rest of my life that the Lord will heal the hole in their heart."
While acknowledging that Carpenter's crimes were terrible, Judge Clinger said he found no evidence that either Carpenter or Brown intended to kill Jesse, convincing him to accept the plea bargain.
Carpenter's father later told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that his son accepted partial blame for Jesse's murder. "He knew the boy's family didn't have much money and gave him a job at the salon. But he has admitted that he probably shouldn't have ever had the boy in that apartment."
Brown's case has been appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court, according to reports from Northwest Arkansas News. However, the appeal is currently languishing due to personnel and workload issues within the Benton County Public Defender's Office.
As for Carpenter, two months after his murder conviction he filed a handwritten motion to withdraw his guilty plea. On July 11, 2001, Carpenter filed another petition for post-conviction relief, claiming that his attorneys were ineffective. Exactly one year later, on July 11, 2002, Judge Clinger refused Carpenter's requests, saying that neither request was signed and notarized as required by law.
Balfe summarized the case as follows: "I believe that this unfortunate 13-year-old boy, raised in a home with the [types of views that Miles and Tina Yates espoused], was left to be lured by these two pedophiles who could induce him with money and drugs. I believe they wanted Jesse to become addicted to drugs to make him more likely to follow their commands."
Cards and letters may be sent to Jesse Dirkhising's family at the following address:
c/o Benton County Prosecutor's Office
100 NE "A" Street
Bentonville, AR 72712
uspended (homosexual) doctor charged in rape of 15-year-old boy
By Raja Mishra, Globe Staff, Globe Correspondent, 9/11/2002
CAMBRIDGE - The Boston doctor under fire for abandoning an unconscious surgery patient to go to the bank was arrested yesterday and charged with the alleged rape of a 15-year-old youth he picked up in Central Square.
Police last night held Dr. David C. Arndt, 45, in the station lockup in lieu of $250,000 bail. He was scheduled for arraignment in Cambridge District Court today on three counts of child rape and one count of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14.
According to Middlesex County prosecutors, Arndt spotted the male youth on a street near Central Square on Sept. 5 and allegedly lured him into his car. The two had never met before, said prosecutors. Arndt then repeatedly raped the boy in the car, they allege.
The boy reported the alleged attack to police Monday morning. Police searched for Arndt's car throughout Cambridge yesterday, finally spotting him driving near Central Square, a police spokesman said. He was arrested without a struggle.
The boy last evening was at home with his parents.
''It wasn't like a kidnapping,'' said Cambridge police spokesman Frank Pasquarello. ''He wasn't forced into the car.''
Claudia A. Hunter, a lawyer representing Arndt in the suspension of his medical license, was reached last night but said she was unaware of the criminal case.
The arrest marks the most serious turn in the Harvard-trained orthopedic surgeon's recent troubles, which include tangles with the courts and medical disciplinary system. Most recently, Arndt's name was found on prescription slips at the scene of an alleged drug dealer's arrest last week.
On July 10, Arndt abandoned an anesthetized patient at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge six hours into back surgery in order to deposit a check in a nearby bank, according to the state medical board. He returned 35 minutes later and successfully completed the surgery, according to the medical board.
Arndt explained to colleagues that ''a financial crisis'' forced him to run to the bank, according to the board.
The medical board suspended Arndt's medical license on Aug. 7, calling him ''an immediate and serious threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the public.'' Arndt has vowed to fight the suspension, but has not disputed the allegations.
The case has prompted widespread outrage, and his patient has been interviewed on national television shows. The case opened the door into Arndt's seemingly troubled recent past.
On Sept. 4, a law enforcement official disclosed a possible connection between Arndt and a drug dealer arrested in June at a downtown Boston hotel. The official said prescription slips signed by Arndt were found at the arrest scene.
In October 2000, a Suffolk County judge ordered Arndt to turn over 9 percent of his income for the next 15 years to a former domestic partner who bankrolled Arndt's medical schooling in exchange for future financial support, according to court records. Arndt unsuccessfully protested the order, contending that his partner, a psychiatrist, emotionally manipulated him into signing the agreement.
In 1998, Arndt pleaded guilty to falsifying an immigration document in an attempt to illegally obtain a US passport for his Venezuelan boyfriend. Arndt called it ''the dumbest thing'' he ever did.
That same year, Arndt faced assault charges for allegedly breaking into a Provincetown house and attacking a man he found with his domestic partner. After he agreed to pretrial probation, the charges were dropped.
Arndt has specialized in certain back surgeries, practicing at several Boston area hospitals, though he is presently not authorized to work anywhere in the state. He has not renewed his practicing privileges at New England Baptist Hospital, where he occasionally performed surgeries from November 1999 to last April. His privileges at Brigham and Women's Hospital ended in June 2001, as they did at Harvard Vanguard in September 2001, both for unspecified reasons.
And at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, his privileges were suspended after the Mt. Auburn surgery incident.
Globe correspondent Jenny Jiang contributed to this report.
This story ran on page B1 of the Boston Globe on 9/11/2002.
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