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Jewish World Review Feb. 12, 2001 /19 Shevat, 5761

Bob Greene

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Consumer Reports

Child torturer grad is walking free -- and using an alias -- PLYMOUTH, Ind. | Joseph Grad, sent to prison in 1998 for the systematic torture of his 6-year-old son, has been freed and is back in this rural part of north-central Indiana.

Law-enforcement officials say that Grad is using a different name.

The boy he tortured -- the child Grad locked repeatedly in a dark, tiny bathroom closet for 24 hours at a time, caged in tightly wrapped wire, chained so he could not sit down to rest, urinated and rubbed feces upon -- is living in this same part of Indiana, although in a different county.

Grad's conditions of release mandate that he have no contact with the boy. But -- as Marshall County Judge Robert O. Bowen told us when Grad was first about to be released last year -- "There are no guarantees." In crimes such as this, Judge Bowen said, "The victim harbors fears, feels in need of protection."

As a condition of release, Grad must remain in Starke County -- directly west of Marshall County, where the torture of the boy occurred -- and may not leave the county without permission from law authorities. The location where the child now lives has not been publicly announced, but it is evident that he is not in Starke County, because of the provision confining Grad to Starke.

According to Starke County Prosecuting Atty. Kim Hall, Grad is working in a factory within the county, and is using the name Joseph Clemons.

"Our main concern is the protection of the boy [for whose torture Grad was sent to prison], and other children," Hall told us.

Hall said that, while in an Indiana state prison in Westville, Grad was divorced from his wife Carmen, who also was in prison for her part in the torture. Hall said while in prison Grad married a woman named Angela M. Clemons. Hall said he is uncertain whether the two remain married -- but that Grad has been calling himself Joseph Clemons since being released.

In Marshall County, Sheriff Bob Ruff told us: "We've been notified that he is Joseph Clemons now. He's not supposed to come into this county without us being told."

In September of 1998, Judge Bowen sentenced Grad to 4 1/2 years in prison for the torture of the boy. During sentencing, the judge said: "My only reservation concerning this sentence is that the law does not allow me to impose anything more." Marshall County Prosecuting Atty. Curtis D. Palmer told us: "It's unfortunate that he's ever getting out."

Still, 4 1/2 years was 4 1/2 years. But -- as we reported last year -- Grad was granted early release by the Indiana Department of Correction. He was released more than three years early because of policies giving inmates a day of credit for each day served; another six months were knocked off because Grad completed some school courses in prison.

On the day of his early release -- March 11, 2000 -- Grad was rearrested on new charges concerning a crime allegedly committed against a different victim. He was transported from the state prison to the Starke County Jail to await trial. In July of last year he entered a plea agreement with the state, and in August was released.

Prosecutor Hall said that Grad/Clemons is supposed to wear an electronic monitoring device, and to remain at his Starke County residence when not at work.

"If he violates any of the terms of his probation, he can be sent right back to prison," Hall said. "He is under other parole conditions from his earlier sentence -- and if he violates any of them, he can be sent back."

The primary concern of law-enforcement officials, Hall said, is that the boy be allowed to live safely and without fear, even though Grad is in the area. Before leaving prison, Grad, according to his attorney, said that he wanted to resume contact with the boy. The Marshall County Division of Family and Children, the agency in charge of protecting the boy, never took steps to terminate Grad's parental rights, even after Grad was imprisoned for the torture.

Carmen Grad -- whose role in the torture of the child was as central as Joseph Grad's -- is currently living in a halfway house in Ft. Wayne, Ind. She, too, has expressed a desire to resume a relationship with the boy; she is scheduled to be released by the fall. She, too, according to law-enforcement authorities, is using a new name: Carmen Quaife.

And how is the boy doing, with Joseph Grad/Joseph Clemons free, and Carmen Grad/Carmen Quaife on her way to being free? We will report tomorrow.

JWR contributor Bob Greene is a novelist and columnist. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


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