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Jewish World Review April 5, 2001 / 12 Nissan, 5761

Bob Greene

Bob Greene
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Two torturers of children back in prison -- TWO women from two Midwestern states -- two women who were convicted of torturing helpless children in ways so unconscionable and cruel that veteran police officers wept when describing the crimes. ...

Two women from two Midwestern states -- two women who, as we have reported, were able to all but laugh at the courts system as they received trivial punishments for what they did to the children. ...

Two women from two Midwestern states -- two women back in prison this morning, after judges in those two states finally appeared to get the message: The public is sick of this, and will stand for it no longer.

Two women:

- Angeline Rogers, convicted of repeatedly locking her 7-year-old daughter overnight in a small dog cage in a dark, unheated basement in Brillion, Wis., and depriving the girl of food and water.

- Carmen Grad -- who now calls herself Carmen Quaife -- convicted for her role in locking her husband's 6-year-old son in a lightless, tiny bathroom broomcloset in Marshall County, Ind., for 24 hours at a time, in caging the boy in tightly wrapped wire, in chaining him under his arms so that he could not sit down to rest, in rubbing the boy's feces into his face as punishment for losing control of his bowels in the closet.

First, to Mrs. Rogers:

Last week, in Fond du Lac, Wis., she appeared before Judge Steven Weinke and asked that he shorten or eliminate her prison sentence. Weinke is the judge who gave Rogers and her husband, Michael, no state prison time at all, even though they had entered guilty pleas to crimes that could have put them away for 40 years. When Mrs. Rogers escaped from the county jail where Judge Weinke allowed her to live for a year (and to leave for up to 60 hours a week), and was recaptured 11 days later in Texas, the judge still did not give her additional time.

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections was not so forgiving; it revoked her probation on a 10-year prison sentence that Weinke had originally stayed. Another judge sentenced her to four additional years for the escape itself. But Mrs. Rogers wrote a letter from prison to Judge Weinke, asking for another chance. He agreed to hear her last week.

She told him that she is undergoing counseling, and that she is doing well as a cook in prison.

(If she is preparing nutritious meals for fellow inmates, that is more than she did for her own daughter, who was kept hungry down in the basement cage. When the girl's brothers would try to sneak food to her, and Angeline Rogers caught them, she would beat them with wooden rods for trying to feed the girl.)

Judge Weinke said last week that she was out of chances: "Unfortunately, you failed, and now you'd like me to reverse the clock. As far as I'm concerned, this is the end."

She is back in prison this morning, serving her 14-year term. Calumet County, Wis., prosecutor Ken Kratz said: "I hope that now the children, with their new families, feel secure that they can go on with their lives."

Now, Carmen Grad, who is going by the name Carmen Quaife:

The State of Indiana was allowing her to live in a halfway house instead of a prison.

While a resident of the halfway house, she was working at a Holiday Inn. She told the people responsible for her at the halfway house that she had injured her leg, and received their permission to sleep at the Holiday Inn instead of the halfway house.

(Any families made a little queasy by the idea that the person in the next room at the Holiday Inn might be a convicted child torturer whom the courts had sent to prison should direct their questions to officials at the top levels of Indiana government -- it was under the supervision of the State of Indiana that this was allowed to happen.)

But when a probation officer, informed that she was not at the halfway house, went to the Holiday Inn to check on her, she wasn't there, either. She later said that she had gone out to a birthday party with some friends.

She tortured a child -- she was supposed to be a state prisoner. Holiday Inns, birthday parties out on the town ... this is the punishment she was receiving.

In Starke County, Ind., Judge David Matsey told her that she had violated the conditions of her sentence, and that he was sending her back to an Indiana women's prison. She is there this morning.

If only the children whom Angeline Rogers and Carmen Grad hurt and caged while those children pleaded for mercy had been given as many chances as their tormentors. Holiday Inns, birthday parties -- those would have seemed like dreams to those children locked in the dark.

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


04/03/01: Welcome home -- especially if you didn't go
03/29/01: 'Why wouldn't she believe she can get out?'
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03/21/01: "I'm not proud to say that I witnessed this"
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02/12/01: Child torturer grad is walking free -- and using an alias
02/09/01: They didn't even know how to find the children
02/08/01: 'The little boy's face had been burned with cigarettes'
02/07/01: Child-protection chief in grad case ousted
01/30/01: There is something wrong when we begin to assume that all death penalty cases are flawed
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