Archive for Saturday, August 27, 2005

Convicted sex offender says he’s not a monster

While acknowledging mistakes, resident says system failed him at several turns

August 27, 2005


From a young age, John T. Whitehead had problems controlling his impulses.

His elementary-school teachers had to restrain him during temper tantrums and fits of rage. From ages 11 to 17, he lived in state mental-health hospitals.

In 1997, he found what seemed to be a stable home at a west-side Lawrence apartment complex populated largely by low-income residents and people with special needs.

"I felt safe there," he said.

But in January, everything changed for Whitehead and his neighbors at Westgate Apartments when police got a tip from someone who reported hearing Whitehead say he had sexual fantasies about children. During a four-month investigation, police got Whitehead to admit he played on the playground and roughhoused with children - sometimes as parents stood by - as a way to sexually arouse himself before masturbating.

Today, Whitehead, 30, is a registered sexual offender and is on probation with a conviction for aggravated indecent solicitation of a child.

He said he knew he had made mistakes.

But he and his father, Fred Whitehead Jr., spoke out about the case this week, saying they think John's mental-health issues have been overlooked in the uproar about his case. Despite his sex-crime conviction, they say, John Whitehead is not a monster.

John Whitehead, right, and his father, Fred Whitehead Jr., say John should not have been convicted of a sex crime. He recently entered a plea to one count of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child, but he says he never would hurt a child and that his own troubled background and failures in the mental health system played a major role in the events that led to his conviction.

John Whitehead, right, and his father, Fred Whitehead Jr., say John should not have been convicted of a sex crime. He recently entered a plea to one count of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child, but he says he never would hurt a child and that his own troubled background and failures in the mental health system played a major role in the events that led to his conviction.

"I would never go out and hurt a child," John Whitehead said Thursday as he sat at his parents' kitchen table. "I think there was a lot of immaturity. I think I have a lot of immature behaviors that need to be cured, and this happened to be one of them."

Differing views

In the eyes of police, prosecutors and some neighbors, Whitehead is a public-safety menace who sought contact with children for his pleasure.

"Thank God we escaped," one of the children's' parents said at Whitehead's sentencing.

To Whitehead's supporters, including his father and former Westgate neighbor Jan Pool, he's a child in a man's body who needed better mental-health treatment than he was getting.

Both versions can be true, said Dennis Detweiler, a certified sex therapist in Lawrence.

"It's not an either-or," Detweiler said. "This is a man who had multiple strikes against him in terms of being able to curb his sexual impulses. ... Still, the community has to protect itself from people like Mr. Whitehead."

Detweiler said developmentally delayed people such as Whitehead could be more likely to be "sexually troubled."

"Whenever someone is underdeveloped sexually, one of the outcomes is that they might find younger persons not only easy to relate to but also as viable sex partners," he said.

Troubled background

Growing up, John Whitehead said, he dealt with depression, a learning disability and obsessive-compulsive disorder that manifested itself in a desire to collect things such as office supplies.

He went to live at Topeka State Hospital when he was 11 years old. His father said he sought to remove John from the hospital after a doctor gave him an overdose of a medication.

The young Whitehead was then moved to the state hospital in Parsons for about a year and a half. John Whitehead said that during his time in the program, he was sexually abused by other boys who touched him where he "didn't want to be touched."

After getting out of Parsons at age 17, he came back to Lawrence and eventually received his high school diploma.

Around that same time, he told police, was when he began cutting out pictures of children from magazines and catalogs.

According to police reports, Whitehead clipped photos of clothed children and added word-balloon captions with phrases such as "does it tickle?" and references to passing gas. He often used a disposable camera to photograph children around the apartment complex - often in poses that have no overt sexual overtones.

Whitehead has had a case manager for about the past four years at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center. According to police reports, he told his case worker in 2003 about his attraction to children.

But Whitehead told a judge at his sentencing that, as he worked on all his other mental-health issues, his sexually related issues got put on the "back burner."

A Bert Nash spokesman could not be reached for comment Friday.

Risk of escalation?

Prosecutors said Whitehead's actions never escalated to actually touching children's genitals with his hands or having them touch his. Instead, he would give them piggy-back rides, have them sit on his lap or ride down the slide with them, until the arousal became too much to handle - at which point he would go back to his apartment.

John Whitehead said that, had he remained in the apartment complex, he wouldn't have been at risk of escalating his behavior. Before that would have happened, he said, he would have told his case worker about his urges and sought more intensive help.

But Dennis Dailey, a clinician and Kansas University professor who studies human sexuality, said it was impossible to predict how or whether sex-offenders' behavior would escalate.

He also said people shouldn't assume that one kind of sex crime caused less harm than another.

"Some very innocent behaviors can be extraordinarily traumatic to children," he said. "If there is even the remotest kind of coercion involved, it can be very troublesome."

Assistant Dist. Atty. David Melton acknowledged that, in this case, the children listed as victims may not have actually been harmed. Still, he said he believed it was important to remove Whitehead from the apartment complex and gain a means of controlling him.

Alleged 'hysteria'

Whitehead's supporters say it's telling that some of the key pieces of evidence against Whitehead were his own voluntary statements to police, in which he admitted being aroused by contact with children and pictures of children.

They say his willingness to admit his actions to police showed that he has a good heart and a respect for authority.

Whitehead's father said he believed his son was caught up in what he called a national "hysteria" involving sex offenders.

"Sex offenders are a huge problem, there's no question, but I think he got nailed unjustly," Fred Whitehead said. "This was a clinical problem, and it should have been dealt with that way. ... In this particular case, I think a lot less force and heat would have produced better results."

John Whitehead said he entered a plea because he knew there was a chance he could be convicted and go to prison if he went to trial.

KU professor Dailey said he thought the system was working they way it should.

"The police department is not a mental-health agency, and they responded to a complaint," he said. "My guess is that the police did exactly what they should have done, and the county attorney did exactly what he should have done. The issue now is what would be the most humane and civilized way to resolve this issue."

What now?

While the investigation was pending, John began getting sex-related treatment at Heartland Clinical Consultants, which he said has helped.

He said he remains in touch with his case worker and members of his church and is continuing his volunteer work as a janitor at a medical clinic. He's gone back to live with his parents in the Prairie Park neighborhood.

But he said at times he struggled with depression, mood swings and thoughts of suicide.

"Being in this kind of situation and having this going on, medication does not work," he said. "It's kind of like I just want to leave people behind and forget about it."

One condition of his probation is that Whitehead not have unsupervised contact with children or physical contact with children.

"We don't want him playing with the kids like he was doing before," Assistant Dist. Atty. Melton said. "You have to use common sense. We're not going to try to (revoke his probation) for just going to Wal-Mart."


topflight 12 years, 7 months ago

Yeah Eric. Send your kids over to this sex offender's house. I bet you wouldn't. I am so tired of these dirty nasty pedophliles making excuses. It is not his dad fault or like he wanted to say, "THE SYSTYEMS FAULT". You are just a sick man who likes to touch kids. Look at the sudden rash of sexual abuse cases and kidnappings. How could the LJ and Eric Weslander try to make this guy seem ok. He deserves to rot in hell with all child sexual predators.

compmd 12 years, 7 months ago

I find John's life, this article, and the comments posted all very interesting. With respect to the content of the article and comments made though, I am surprised that a large point has been missed. The article makes it sound a little as if this man, who will now be forever labeled a criminal, committed no crime. Sure, John has problems, that's certain. But is he a criminal?

According to the article, prosecutors admit he never once inappropriately touched a child. He gave piggyback rides and had them sit in his lap. If he had not willingly discussed his mental problems and fantasies with police, do you think he would have been charged as a sex offender? If so, then we'd better start rounding up preschool teachers and daycare workers. If we find any that let a child sit in their lap while having a story read to them, we need to label them as criminals, just as we've done with John.

I think that in general, society does not understand the law. Many people confuse morality and the law and believe that that if something is immoral, it must be illegal. This is false. Morality in Kansas is mostly tied to religion. Now, I'm not looking for a religious argument here, I just need to touch on this to connect the dots. How many fundamentalist Christians do you think you'd find at a strip club? Probably not many, if any; it would be considered immoral behavior, right? But going to a strip club isn't illegal. Fantasizing about children I think we can all agree is immoral. But it is NOT illegal. Any of you who think it is need to snap out of your Orwellian mindset and come to your senses. You can think, "Gosh, I hate my neighbor, I want to chop his head off." That is perfectly acceptable. Just don't take those fantasies and proceed to realize them and violate the statutes set forth in this state and nation.

There are no laws in this state that prohibit what you can think. Anyone can think whatever they want all day long, even if it is the sick idea of fantasizing about children. It is NOT criminal behavior until they DO something criminal as specified by the law. If you don't believe me, crack open the KSA, because you've got some reading to do.

All this makes me wonder what kind of attorney John had. Then I think, would it have mattered? Based on some of the comments here, I bet any jury here would have strung John up outside the courthouse if they had the option, regardless of the validity of his charges. Instead they would have probably returned a guilty verdict. Imagine if you were on that jury. You're supposed to be impartial, only deciding a man's fate based on his actions as described by the prosecution (how he violated the law), the flaws in the prosecutions argument as presented by the defense, and the law itself. Might you want to lock him up for being sick? Sure. But as a juror performing your civic duty, your responsibility is to the defendant and the judicial system, not your personal agenda.

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

Hooray for the LJWorld for WANTING to do investigative reporting, instead of just getting headlines! Eric, this article took guts. I have an opinion on this case, and others will have different ones, but neither would exist had you not put it out there.

evilevan 12 years, 7 months ago

"Well considered belief," Marion? So, you're suggesting that you spent considerable time going through reports of sexual abuse cases, considered all aspects of them, assessed the circumstances involved, evaluated the situations of both perpetrator and victim, and came to the conclusion that ALL sexual predators should be judged more harshly than a person who commits a murder in a fit of passion? Sorry, but I'd rather save a life-withoug-parole cell for someone who might murder my (or your) spouse or child, not a man who has consistently sought help and readily confessed to police. Unfortunately, and I hate to be the one to break this to you, the world is not black and white, nor is it safe - never has been, never will be, despite all of our best efforts and platitudinous rhetoric. And since we can't lock up everyone that poses a threat (that goes against the Enlightenment principles upon which this country was founded and is impossible in the current fiscal reality of state and federal budgets), we (society) face difficult decisions. In this case, I think I'll side with the scholar who has devoted his entire career to studying human sexuality, and who says that the system has worked. If you had it your way, my friend's brother, who at the age of 19 had a consensual sexual relationship with a 16 year old (he even lived with her at her parents house - and, yes, they shared one bedroom), but was charged with statutory rape when the relationship went south and is now a registered sex offender, would have spent time in jail, maybe even the rest of his life. In my opinion, the parents who knowingly allowed, and fostered the circumstances for, their underage daughter to participate in an illegal relationship are just as culpable.

Personally, I find the irrational frenzy exhibited on this message board to be just as disturbing as the crimes themselves. This is because, by indulging in the hysteria that is exacerbated by the media, which sensationalizes the "sudden rash of sexual abuse cases and kidnappings" (according to topflight, above), you become blind to the fact that the vast majority of abuse is perpetrated by someone that the victim knows, usually a family relation. The implication of this is that the greatest threat to our children is not the John Whiteheads of the world, but the American family - and this is something that nobody in middle America wants to talk about.

(By the way, judging by the degree of emotion I detected in the posts above, it seems that a few of you may have personal experience with this issue, and for that I have great sympathy. While I personally have not had any such experience, a number of people quite close to me have, and in each case the victimizer was a relative or family friend who has gone unpunished. I consider that to be one of the saddest legacies of our misguided ennoblement of "family" in contemporary America.)

whosaid 12 years, 7 months ago

There has to be a line drawn somewhere. There are adults out there that have the mental capacity of a 6 year old and that needs to be taken into consideration. I don't know how much the developmental disability plays a role in this case, but it is something to think about. If someone is medically considered mentally retarded, are they responsible for their crimes? Can we always assume that they know right from wrong? If you have someone with the mentality of a six year old for instance and you put them through puberty, then you have one messed up person that doesn't understand or know how to control their feelings. Most people have a hard time going through puberty at 12 with the onslaught of hormones and body changes. Imagine if a six year old or under had to go through that. All I know is that states like Texas love to impose the death penalty upon mentally retarded individuals without even thinking twice. I think this is wrong. Could a young child commit a crime so heinous that they should be sentenced to death? It is the same thing for some of these adults with severe disabilities.

hk45 12 years, 7 months ago

I think it appears John knows what is right and wrong based on the three articles written about his case. He knew he had a problem 2003!!!!! And yet he kept putting himself in the situation with these kids??? Since 1997 it appears John has lived by himself and made his own daily lifestyle decisions. I think it is clear he was not disabled to the point where he needed to be watched and cared for every second of the day at a group home. If he was in that situation then I would agree with many of the posters about these stories that John should have been taken care of by the mental health system, but he is not one of those. John is a person who admits to be attracted to children, his disabilty did not make that happen. John appears to have taken advantage of the situation at the apartment complex to get near children day after day and was coddled by his system of friends for years. Now, the justice system has worked to protect society.

sd123 12 years, 7 months ago

My children told me that John took pics of them and then made alterations to the pictures on his computer. Hmmm, even sicker! While he may not have physically fondled or touched any of the children, it was the thought behind the process. He then acted on his thoughts. These complaints were repeatedly reported to the property manager! Over and over and over again. Managements response was "Oh, John is harmless" or the reporting tenants (and there have been many of them) were then subsequently evicted from the apartment complex based on Lease violation reports given to management by John Whitehead! Is that harmless? I think not. Not only was it harmful, it was well thought out, retalitory, and brutal! The manager should have been convicted of harboring a criminal!!!!!

Ragingbear 12 years, 7 months ago

He's not a monster, war is good, and AIDS is not a global epidemic. Yeah, he may have had a cruddy life, and he may have even been predisposed towards impulses of a violent and sexual nature. But there is a line. I have impulses every day of knocking some idiots teeth out, or keying a car, or doing something rather horrid to somebody because of some situation or other. But not ONCE have I ever acted upon those impulses.

He won't get any sympathy from me.

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

I read this article, and the other two, to a friend. We have agreed to disagree in some areas, particularily the role the mental health help system played.

BUT, she said she thought this article brought closure, and that parents now have a more definitive sense of who their neighbor is. Comments?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

I thank the Journal-World for their insightful article regarding myson's recent situation. I am distressed at the opinions expressed in this forum, by some, and would remind them that before passing judgement, you need to walk a few miles in the other person's shoes. And to SD123, you need to get your facts straight. My son does not own a computer, he does not know how to use one and you are spreading gossip and rumor. I hope the people in your neighborhood association do not elect you gaulieter.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Evilvan, your thoughts are very good. You have highlighted the hysteria that I have been quoted as mentioning. I would relate similar instances in history as the Salem witch trials where neighbors could make false statements against someone they did not like and have them killed. After Pearl Harbor in 1941, hysteria against the ethnic Japanese- American citizens caused the shameful reaction of the U.S. Government by interning these people and depriving them of their property. And of course there was our favorite idol, Michael Jackson. who had enough money to by some good lawyers. And lastly, there are our good friends at the media who delight in the nightly news of putting headlines about a guaranteed sales booster on the evening news reports in flashing red headlines and having the volume controls at the station boosted a tad so no one misses the message "SEX ITEM----GO BALLISTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!"

sd123 12 years, 7 months ago

So Mr. Whitehead, now you are calling our children liars? How rich! No matter how insightful the article is to the facts of your son's behavior/s, it doesn't exclude the fact that he needs help. And so do you! Denial gets you nowhere fast! As for my neighborhood association, don't worry about it. I can assure you it is much different than the one at Westgate! It is completely independent of management and it is completely resident operated. That way, when problems do arise, they are dealt with immediately and appropriately. As for your son, I hope he can finally get the help he needs. Get real.... making more excuses for your son continues to thwart his perception of reality and only causes more grief.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

What I think the article does reveal is that this is a very complicated issue. Like the therapist said, "this is not an either/or situation". It is not contradictory to say that society could have done more to help him while also saying that only he can/should take responsibility for his actions. He needed more help than he got. He also needs to take full responsibility for his actions.

If he is truly a man in a child's body, then the system should have kept better tabs on him. But, of course, that would mean raising all our taxes to pay for those mental health services, and we already can't afford to fund our schools even though we are one of the most heavily taxed states in the country..., etc.

Sometimes we need to face the facts: simple, easy answers don't always work in every situation. If he needs to be put away for life for being the way he is... well, I can only imagine how many people we would have to warehouse in "facilities" and jails if we really did that. Who's names would we put on that list? Many of YOUR relatives (or maybe even some of us posting here today) would be labled as "unpredictable" and sent away for life to some place resembling a dungeon. Where do we draw the line? It's not that easy to just say "put them all away".

Also, if we can't afford to provide mental health services for people like him, how do you think we'd all pay to feed him for life in a facility? No easy answers.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

I nearly forgot! I'm sure some of you were probably waiting for this, since it's what you are used to getting from me: Jesus is the answer. The bible says "the fruit of the Spirit is self-control" and I think this young man could use some of that.

Let's see if the "Rip-him-a-new-one-for-expressing-his-faith" contingent comes out of the woodwork. :)

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

For SD123.....I called no one a liar, see my post. I stated a fact, see my post. You are a gossip. See my post. Good day sir/ma'm.

lovely1 12 years, 7 months ago

He gets to stay home and collect disability...and also only gets 2 years probation.
And these are fetishes of his (kids, I mean)...good luck getting him to break his habits. You know, he does live 1 BLOCK away from a park!!! STAY AWAY FROM THE KIDS! PERVERT

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Thanks, Ols Enuf. Jesus also said "Judge not that you also be judged." And while I am not a prolific Bible scholar, I remember something about casting the beam out of your own eye before passing judgement on others.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Bless you, compmd. This is the position I have been advocating since the cops raided his apartment in February looking for "media depicting child pornograpy" "childern in erotic poses and nude childern" They found none of this, but they fished anyway and carried off family photos, his safe with his grandfather's coin collection, his briefcase, and other utterly non-relevant articles. This is a clear violation of the 4th amendment of the Constitution. "The DA Thought" has been a recurring theme of this case. My father and his brothers fought in World War 2 to rid the world of the Gestapo and assure American freedoms and rights. I will comment no further on this matter

lovely1 12 years, 7 months ago

who cuts pix out of nwsprs and keeps them, then has time to put bubble phrases outside of their mouths? perverts. It is not ok to take pictures of kids and keep them for your own satisfaction. This could have led to something more serious such as one day actually touching a child. this is a serious problem. IF DOUGLAS COUNTY HAD A MENTAL INSTITUTION, he'd be there. Since they don't-he gets to go back into society. SICK BASTARD

pwhitecloud 12 years, 7 months ago

I have a foster child in my home right now that must have visits with her bio donor. The visit were to be monitored, however she had about 7-8 visit that was not. She came home to me and started saying that __ hurt my privates. I have advocated for this 2 1/2 yr old girl. I didn't understand why the visit had to be monitored at first which they weren't. He was apparently molesting her this whole time I kept telling everyone about what she was saying and the gestures she made at my home and even at Pre School. The SW. did nothing but take her to her visit anyway I finally got the visits monitor only by going to family court and telling the judge what was going on. I was ask to leave the court room for being unprofessional I live with this little girl I could tell something wasn't right with her going to see her father. I thought this would bring people running to help this little girl. They did nothing. So I went to the web site to check his name and sure enough there was his fat face on the national sex offenders list. I was so emotional I felt so bad for her. So I once again told the state of Kansas what I had seen on line. They said he still has rights to this little girl because he is her father. I said what about the unmonitored visit and her acting out making gestures and saying things when she came back from her visits. Get This, The State said this was just an oversight! Now that she is three she is still saying things that lead me to believe that she was being molested. The last court went to I had to promise to set quietly or I would be ask to leave the court room again. It was hard but I didn't, Guess What the stupid SOB asked for. " I would like to have unmonitored visits with my daughter again. Over my dead body you SOB this is how people like you get hurt. It true she's not my child and maybe I am unprofessional in court I will protect her from you or anybody that wants you to have her You got that dumb ass. Sorry, I just can't believe it that I can't get anyone to help us. If the State Of Kansas won't acknowledge us. I'm not sure who to ask for help. I am sure their is a lot of children that also needs to get help, I advocate for the kids. He needs not to be in society and even take a chance that he will ever come in contact even accidentally with our children. Can anybody hear me. It's going on right now and their fighting me for not acting right in court. While he set's in court with no emotion on his face saying he's cured now. Huh! and the law protecting his dumb ass. What's up with that "True Story" Not with my kids. God I hope not.

John Spencer 12 years, 7 months ago

I just noticed that if you add just one space to therapist you get the rapist.....Hmm

bill_priff 12 years, 7 months ago


I think you can take the scare quotes off of 'hysteria.' Some of the comments here should be all the proof you need that there is in fact hysteria over this issue.

wonderfullymade 12 years, 7 months ago

Who on this board can say they have never sinned? For those who do not hold Christian morals in high regard ... who can say they have never had "thoughts" or acted on a "thought" that someone else might consider "sick", "wrong", or "unlawful"?

I agree that what John did is morally wrong. However, I think that John just has some personal issues that he needs to deal with.

Should he stay away from children? YES! Thank goodness John was honest enough to admit to the police about his problem and in doing so he has gotten the help he needs to ensure that he does not continue in this inappropriate behavior. Sometimes people need a little more than "common sense" to make themselves follow the rules. I'm sure this could be true for most if not all of us.

Please pray for the healing of the families who had children that were in direct contact with John AND please pray for John & his family as they struggle with trying to learn from the mistakes that were made.

Most importantly, please remember that we all are quilty of some kind of immoral/wrong thoughts and actions. Some of them would be considered worse than what we feel John's actions were. At least John was able to get help before his habits progressed to something that actually was against the law. At least he is getting the help he needs.

Thanks for remembering that we all have our own unique personal issues. And that John is no different than the rest of us in that regard.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

kitkat, first off, John's mother has not contributed to this forum, she does not have a computer.

Your iillusion that somehow we , his parents, had something to do with his disability is laughable.

Your knee jerk reactions are representative of a non-thinking idiot (your word) and your assement of the situation is in lieu of any concrete knowledge of the facts.

We are bountifully lucky that our system does not hinge it's jurisprudence on the likes of you.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago


I was unaware that I had judged anyone in my post(s). I'm a little confused by what you stated to me. If you go back and read prior posts for other stories on this site, you'll see that expressing faith on this site is not something for those who's feelings are easily hurt. It's dangerous to be a conservative in this town. In Lawrence, "conservative" rymes with igorant, narrow-minded & bigot all at the same time. I guess you think I'm being judgemental for making an accusation regarding that fact, but since it is a fact, I don't see how your statement applies to me or why I should feel as if I've earned a reprimand.

If you are saying that I tend to "rip new ones" for those who express opposing views, I think you'll see that my prior posts on this site simply make strong arguements about faith that do not attack, but rather challenge bad thinking. [We all have different definitions of "attack", so maybe my words could have been interpreted that way at times.] I make statements of faith, and say "prove my position to be wrong", and when no one has what it takes to prove "faith" wrong, the cowardly attacks come instead, and I get blamed for Jim & Tammy-Faye Baker and Jimmy Swaggert (as if I was even IN the hotel room(s) with them!).

Maybe I shouldn't bait people like that, but keep in mind, I did use a " :) " in my post. That should have suggested to you that I expected the reader to take my words with a grain of salt. But, since I mentioned faith, I guess there was NO SALT FOR ME. Now that I think about it... you helped me prove my point by demonstrating how easy it is to get a rise from someone just by bringing up the subject of faith. Thanks.

lovely1 12 years, 7 months ago


Confrontation 12 years, 7 months ago

I think this guy should be drugged and locked up in a mental hospital for the rest of his life. Like the other predators, his life provides no benefit to our society. At some point we have to value the lives of children and protect them from sick perverts like this. At some point these pics and brief encounters with children will no longer satisfy his needs, and that's when a child will be abducted, raped, and murdered. Get rid of this idiot!

kslady1950 12 years, 7 months ago

I think it is very unfair to put the blame on John's parents. Having known the familyduring the past 20 + years, I know how supportive both his father and his mother have been of him and how they gave up a lot in order to get him the mental health treatment he so desperately needed. I know of many instances where they sacrificed their own needs in order to help John. And from what I remember, it was not always easy on them or John's 2 brothers. His parents took the recommendations of various mental health "experts" and tried to apply them to his every day life.

lovely1 12 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

OldEnuff: If I made the impression I was chastising you for pre-judgement, I heartlily apologise. I was merely making some comment for a few of the respondants to this forum who have demonstrated their ability to provide instant comment in the style of Limbaugh and O"Reilly, who's radio talk shows seem to be the limit of a few persons' intellect. I highly value the lessons of religion and respect your views and did not mean to offend you in any way. Karl Marx once said that "Religion is the opiate of the masses" and the fact that communism rejects religion and indeed persecuted those who held religious views gives some illumination to the mind of those who hold religious values in low esteem. I am not a "Bible beater", not am I a fundamentalist, but I do believe that the lessons and truths presented in the HolY Bible are relavant for us as a society. There are those who seek to force their religious beliefs on others and we see enough evidence of that. There are those who seek to have others proscecuted for failing to adhere to the "correct" religious philosophy. We see enough of that in the current attention focused on Islamic fundamentalists (and a few "Christian" fundamentalists who would have a religious state in America) I did not mean to cast aspersions at your comments, and I do hope you will understand that, but I do advocate that even if one is not particualrly "religious", the lessons of Christianity (or whatever religion you choose to embrace) are essential to a fair and just society, to a meaningful relationship with our Creator, and with our relationships with each other, in whom the image of our Creator exists.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

Benny Oates is right, people: some of this is pretty harsh. We called him "creep", "idiot", "crazy", "sick bastard" [which is interesting, since he DOES have a father], and more.

Be offended. Be scared. Expect him to take responsibility. But, do not forget that he's human! We look like we're just a dozen torches and pitchforks away from a scene from "Frankenstein".

If someone would just post "He's a witch! He turned me into a newt!", we'd be complete.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Lovely 1, I used to have a band director who was a real scum-bag, and was soon replaced in the school system. I used to like to complain about him to a school councillor about his behavior. Being a student, the school councillor had to be careful about how he dealt with this situation, but I do remember one thing he said and it applies to YOU. "Everyone in our society serves a good purpose, even if it is nothing other than a BAD EXAMPLE"

lovely1 12 years, 7 months ago

U hit it like a hammer to a nail, "BAD EXAMPLE"...stop and think for yourself mr. w, were you ever a bad example to your children? yeah. only u and ur family know the answer to that. THE END

Buggie 12 years, 7 months ago

I will say that sd123 is incorrect or her children are incorrect in stating that John has a computer he does not BUT now that he is at his fathers Im sure he does since his father is posting on here. Also the westgate community is NOT ran by the tenants. Yes they have an association but everything they do is approved by management.
By stating that sd123 is incorrect is not a statement of defending John its defending what is right and what is not. If you have facts then put them on here. If not then keep it to yourself. John does need help but as I stated before "ever heard of a recovering or a reformed pedofile" and yes I said pedofile, if he is turned on by children that is what he is. My children (well my oldest) feels that is what he is as well and has spent time with John before we knew.
As for disaggreeing with the management Mayris and Ed I believe they are good people but agree that if they knew something then whether they think he "harmless" or not its not up to them to make our parental choices for us. we should have been notified regardless. I have 3 children to protect and it should have been myself and my husbands decision not thiers. John cannot blame the system. Everyone needs to quit coddling him and have him own up to his responsiblities. they say oh its all right you have a mental issue. thats not the way it should be. He lived by himself PLAYED the system to get money from them ( I dont believe tax payers should pay for his jollies) and knew exactly what he was doing every time he went to that playground. Then he would go home "take a nap" as he would say then 30 minutes later be right back out on the playground. This is a sick person indeed. However, this is not one you can state is the system not panning out for him. He was and still is very independent. His parents both knew of his problems and needed to get more help for him if he needed (not that it would have helped you cant get rid of sexual feelings) And is this the same parents I also heard from Johns own mouth that hated each other and cut him down and calls him names? He wouldnt want to go to family dinners because of the mental abuse that he would endure? I dont think they can holler mental health issues when they need help themselves.

whosaid 12 years, 7 months ago

Blaming a parent for their child's mental illness is just ridiculous. Although, it does prove just how many igonorant people are out there.

frwent--do you have other children?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

Who Said:

While I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm applying this statement to frwent's situation, I don't think your statement about mental health is completely correct. Mental health is just like bodily health in that you can be born with predispositions, and you can "get" something from your environment. Serious trauma, like rape or PTSD from war can push someone over the edge. There is a strong link between spiritual health, emotional health and mental health; and it's quite POSSIBLE that a parent can play a role in that.

I'm not saying that was HIS problem, but environment can be a factor, regardless of how healthy the rest of his family was.

Consider this: his disorder involves sex with children. Did anyone have sex with him as a child? This (while not necessarily the fault of his family!) could be what has happened to him and what led him into this behavior. Not that I'm making excuses.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Buggie, you seem to have some familiarity with our family, (whosaid: John has two brothers, one older, one younger) Then you should know something about John's disability, and do not need explanation of some of his explosive ourbursts. He has the usual differences of opinion with his brothers, but sometimes likes to make a dramatic presentation of it and you should know that. Your comments about our family dinners is unappreciated. One of the most recent ones for Memorial day was to be also for his birthday, but the cops arrested him the Friday before this holiday, and his 30th birthday which we had intended to celebrate was spent in jail. You must like to persecute others, we have had some very heart-wrencing times recently, but a lot of you people seem to feel that your exaggerated expressions of viciousness and hatred will somehow make things better. I cannot, in any good show of faith, understand such people, but sincerely hope that you do not find yourselves in such a similar position at some future time. Soneone in YOUR future may well place you in such a position, and I will bewatching you make excuses for some unfortunate event in your lives.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

I think everyone should look very seriously at Marion's comments and consider them well. She has some very good indications of what are undeniably the very heart and soul of this matter.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

Actually, Marion, while recidivism is very high among child molesters, there is one thing to keep in mind: he has never gone to the point of actual sex with a child. He has urges that he has not fully acted upon. It may be that he could get better.

I'm not saying he's not dangerous, I'm just saying that because he has shown SOME restraint, he's not as likely to be one of those lost causes, one of those guys who can never get better. Maybe he is one of those guys, but maybe not.

That doesn't mean I want him next door to me...

Buggie 12 years, 7 months ago

If you will look I said nothing of Johns siblings I stated that of which JOHN said of his parents and if its unappreciated talk to john for he advertised here at the complex his family problems and the blame was on them. if you want to talk about unappreciated, my husband and i dont appreciate John taking pictures of OUR children no matter what the reason without our permission. Even the school and our church asks for permission first. I would have never given him permission to do so had I knew his problem and he knows it thats why he never said anything. I knew nothing of the pics till I was contacted by the LPD.
So if you want to talk about what you appreciate and what you dont there you go. goes both ways. the statements I made were not heresay they were from John. The reason John probably doesnt know who this is is because he told everyone about his problems and only a FEW did he tell about the sexual feelings he has and of course they had no children of an early age. You should question John about his comments before questioning me.

whosaid 12 years, 7 months ago

oldenuf-I do realize there is a whole nature vs. nurture debate on mental illness. The thing is, without all the facts, to blatantly blame a parent for their childs mental illness is wrong. I had a child that started exhibiting signs of mental illness at 15 months old. We have 3 other children that have no mental health issues. We do not know of environmental reasons that he should have been acting the way he did, especially at that age. What we do know is that there is a history of mental illness in my family. Am I to be blamed because my mother, her sisters, her father, and her grandfather were all mentally ill. My son was self abusive at 15 months you know how many doctors told us that his actions were normal? We tried to get help for him and they acted like there was nothing wrong. Although his mental health issues are not severe, like in this case, it has been a struggle. There are several days that his behavior (he is still a young child) can change the whole dynamic of the household. He has never been abused that we are aware of, he is cared for by his parents more than life itself, he is an intelligent charming boy and yet we still have to deal with these issues on almost a daily basis. My husband and I did nothing wrong to cause this.

In this case, we aren't talking about a guy that was taken from his parents because of emotional, physical or sexual abuse. He was never taken away because he was neglected. As far as I know, he was never removed from their care for any reason. From what I can tell, a point came where the parents felt like they couldn't handle the care he needed and was placed into an institution.

So, again I will say, just to go and blame the parents when someone is mentally ill is wrong. There are too many factors that make the equation. Even if a parent were to do everything "right" (whatever that means), they could still have a child with a mental illness.

whosaid 12 years, 7 months ago

oldenuf...sorry, let me add that I agree with you although it may not have came across that way. It just makes me mad when people thinks there is an easy answer to this and it always seems to be to blame the parents.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

I'll give you this one, frwent: you are a fighter. You've been responding to post after post, attack after attack, since noon today. Most of these posts have been reactionary and just plain mean, but you keep coming back for more! No one here knows if you've made mistakes with your son, but at least you haven't given up, which means a lot.

Buggie: maybe you should consider something. John said things about his family, but John is mentally ill. You KNOW he's mentally ill, yet you use his words to attack his family. I think I know what you are. You are one of those people who can only feel good about yourself if you can feel that you are better than someone else. You kick people when they are down. That makes you just as much a victimizer as John is, except that you are "sane". John's comments about his family are unreliable, but you use those comments as if they are gospel so that you can "win" and so that you can hurt others.

Who here is REALLY sick? He does what he does because he's ill. Why are you the way you are? I said I don't want John living next door to me. I don't want you next door, either.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Whosaid: I have been watching and making an occasional post here today, as the person being praised and pilloried is my second son. And normally, this is really none of anyone's damned business, but since you raised the issue and it is a valid one, I will illuminate you.

John was born as a normal child, but at age 2 or so, he started to show signs of some slow development. He was slow to walk, slow to talk and had to repeat first grade. We started to take him to various clinics for what we though might be some problem. His older brother (and later younger brother) was perfectly normal, so we had some benchmarks to make judgements over. He was taken to many treatment centers at an early age, Bert Nash, a number of clinics at KU, and was evaluated by many professionals. When he came of school age, things became difficult. Many, many fine people in the Lawrence School system contributed to these evaluations including Russell Brooks, who, as some of your older folks may remember, was very fine principal at the then India/Kaw Valley School.I have sat at many tables with these fine and dedicated school people discussing John's education, his behavior, and his life. But the time finally came when the school system could no longer deal with the serious behavior problems and we were consulted about having him sent to Topeka State Hospital. We were told that if we did not take some action, the school system had the option of declaring him a "child in need of care" and taking action on their own. We followed the recommendations and he was taken, at age 12 to Topeka State. How many of you would like to take your 12 year old to an institution and leave them there for 7 years? We spent many days wondering if this were the coorrect decision, and the divergence of opinion among some of his treatment providers and dpctors did not make decisions much easier. He came home at age 17, graduated from Lawrence high, and has been making remarkable progress at being able to live independently.

It seems a number of people on this forum have the cut and dried solution to his problems, if you are so very smart, why don't you go to work for an institution that is dedicated to solving the problems of the mentally-ill? In other words, if you are so smart, if you have good solutions, why don't you work professionally with people such as my son who have developmental disabilities? If your opinion is so great and worthy of public exhibition, why don't you do something other than criticize and attack my son? I thought not

Carmenilla 12 years, 7 months ago

The anonymous poster feels great power and will express their ignorance and hatred without a second thought. I think this topic has proven that.

My heartfelt support goes out to your family, frwent. The malice and contempt shown by some of the posters on here is not surprising. What is surprising is that you continue to respond in a thoughtful (if not a little frustrated) manner.

I have worked with all kinds of mentally ill and developmentally disabled folks. Not one has EVER fit into any stereotypical box because as humans we are all different. Its too bad that the posters on here that are so filled with venomous uninformed hatred will never understand that simple fact.

redjayj 12 years, 7 months ago

I think this young man is mentally ill. However, this does not make me feel safer about my kids possibly running into him at the playground. We need to fund mental hospitals again and send him there.

Buggie 12 years, 7 months ago

Think again I do work with medical professionals and do care for a child with issues and who is on medication himself. as you do not want to be judged do not do so yourself. The statements I made were from John himself. Its sad that he is getting along with his family now that they are getting attention in the public eye whether it is negative or not.

hk45 12 years, 7 months ago

Mr Whitehead,

I admire your courage to keep watching this forum. But, I am disappointed with the fact all we seem to hear from you are excuses and asking for sympanthy for you and your son, yet you never seem to accept the fact your son has an admitted sexual attraction to children. Is that not wrong? Did he not do something wrong by placing himself with these children day after day? You must realize your son has some responsiblity for his actions and not blame his childhood and mental illness.

What about the kids this happened to? Think about what they have gone through and what they will go through because of John.

Carmenilla 12 years, 7 months ago

Please go back to RiverCitySquack with all your little troll minions, Marion.

Your lack of tact is appalling. John Whitehead has not been convicted of raping ANYONE. Did any of these children admit to being raped or fondled....NO!

I'm not saying he isnt accountable but you really push the envelope of insinuating untruths.

Not that I'm surprised.....

conserv26 12 years, 7 months ago

Despite what our liberal society may want you to believe, this man is a potentially dangerous pedophile in training. Maybe he didn't touch anyone "inappropriately" but he was violating the trust of the children he befriended and the parents who trusted him. This man was caught before he did something that would have ruined the life of a child. During the past year our country has received a wake up call about how many of these sociopaths are in our neighborhoods and what they are capable of. I have worked as a mental health case manager and I do not believe that mental illness is an excuse for this behavior. People generally know right from wrong despite how bad their upbringing was, it is a typical liberal response to say that the system failed him or that he is this way because of his disabililty or upbringing. THESE PEOPLE SHOULD BE INSTITUTIONALIZED IF THEY CANNOT FUNCTION APPROPRIATELY IN SOCIETY. If they commit a horrible crime against a child they should be thrown away in prison for the rest of their life so Bubba in prison can violate the pedophile as they have done themselves. Maybe we are all lucky that they caught this one before he did some real damage but he does not belong in regular society; he should be in a group home where his behavior can be monitored. He is now in my neighborhood and that does not make me feel very secure.

Carmenilla 12 years, 7 months ago

Its Carmenilla...get it right.

And please people until there IS adequate funding for mental health institutions don't pick up any torches or tie any ropes around big tree limbs.

You can keep your children safe by knowing where they are at all times. Thats how I do it...

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

For HK45. Your comment is well-taken, I do not believe that I have solicited any sympathy from any of you, everyone has a mind and the capacity to use it. You said he has an admitted attraction to children, and I have not denied that. You asked "is that not wrong?" Is it? IS it wrong to have feelings? Do you get charged with a crime for revealing your feelings? Can they do this to you?

I have all the police reports of interviews with the persons, adult and childern, in this case. John's mother and I have gone over them repeatedly. NO ONE has accused my son of anything other than giving them piggyback rides, riding down the slide with them or other such events. NO CHILD accused him of inappropriate touching, or fondling, as he was originally charged, even when the cops showed the child a drawing of a nude male and female child. NO ADULT witnessed any such behavior. All the evidence was from his statements to police, who he has always had a deep respect for. He had no idea what a vicious force he was dealing with. He was allowed to incriminate himself. As to the photographs, parents approved of this, it is in the police reports. Parents observed John playing and wrestling with them in the parent's apartments on their couch. It is in the reports. Parents asked John to babysit. One report stated he was observed at Dillon's with three boys, holding the hand of the 6 year old. If anyone was babysitting your 6 year old child and taking him to the store, would you not want that person to keep tight hold on a small child in a busy parking lot? Is this proof of a sex-offender?

Many, many people who I have discussed this with long before my family and my son became a public display, indicated that this whole affair was a frame-up, one discribed it as an "obscenity". The real victim here has been my son.

End of post 1

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Post 2 (sorry, they limit posts to 3000 characters)

No, I do not make excuses for any abberant behavior, there are serious issues with this child abuse topic, but I have not seen proof yet that any child was harmed by my son, that any action occurred, as some of you have indicated, that would "damage or harm" a child's personality. Most of this case was concocted from his own statements after asking for a lawyer and being told they did not have one. That is in the reports.Other good people, Ed and Mayris Reed, his former landlords are the very finest people I have met, have been dinigrated and attacked, and this is disgustingly shameful. This had been a nightmare of gigantic proportions (yeah, I know, some of you will thing I am fishing for sympathy, to hell with you, too) added to years of dealing with a mentally-ill and developmentally disabled child. But I will state that I am very proud of my son, how he has responded to the vicious and hateful comments made about him and how he has managed to control his emotions over this issue. He has truly managed the flames of the firey trials that his recent pathway has trod. To those of you who have expressed compassion for this person, I thank you. To those who have condemned us, you will have an accounting with the Almighty for your attitudes at the last Trumpet


Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Marion, you seem to have a deep clinical understanding of this subject. Watch out for that knock on YOUR door.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Marion seems to have a lot of knowledge about the nuts and bolts of child abuse that the pplice might want to have more information about, hence the "knock on her door"

warcraft1975 has indicated I should be shot. Isn't this a mature discussion?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

kit-kat. Learn how to use your computer, it is printing strange messages I don't think you understand.

thisiknow 12 years, 7 months ago

Marion-the graphic descriptions are warranted--people need to know. I know of a family that had something like this happen and there was no sexual freedoms took--but-- the kids are grown and remember like it was yesterday. The predator is still loose in Lawrence, much like John, and could live next door to you! The predator is not on a list and since he served his "diversion" his life went on. It was some time ago but the fact remains that this person was NEVER CURED so we could all be reliving this same discussion again.

conserv26 12 years, 7 months ago

Has there been any thought to placing this guy in a Bert Nash group home where he can be monitored 24-7 rather than the Prairie Park neighborhood? He would also have monitored activities at a day treatment program where he could be watched during the day as well as get additional treatment.

Confrontation 12 years, 7 months ago

Maybe his father shouldn't be on the computer all day. Shouldn't he be keeping an eye on his son? I don't understand why anyone feels sorry for this pedophile! Disgusting! If he's that mentally messed up that he is masturbating after touching children, then he shouldn't be free to roam!

conserv26 12 years, 7 months ago

Agreed, however, our great state chose to eliminate long-term hospitalizations at the state hospitals several years ago. This was a horrible decision and as a result there are more potentially dangerous and disturbed individuals living amongst us. The longest state hospital stays are now limited to 30 days in most cases. For some, the community mental health centers are the only way to keep tabs on them. This is why I suggested the group home idea. Make no mistake, I believe in long-term psych. hospitalizatoins but for some reason, probably due to cutting the budget, this has been eliminated in Kansas.

conserv26 12 years, 7 months ago

I don't know what his father does for a living but it is doubtful that they could afford the treatment he needs in a private institution. I'm not defending anyone and it sucks that we have to pay for these people as taxpayers. However, I would rather have my tax dollars paying to have these people monitored and/or locked away for life rather than having them roaming the streets!

compmd 12 years, 7 months ago

"Hey Bob, I got a conviction for speeding 55 in a 35 today." "Man, that sucks. I bet your insurance will go up or something."

Doesn't sound so bad compared to what a conviction means to John. According to the article, John's conviction is "aggravated indecent solicitation of a child." According to KSA 25-3111, this is a felony. Looks like John is losing a little more than you might think. Anyone who is seriously interested in this needs to read the law. I don't want to take up space and reproduce the statutes verbatim in this public forum. Read the aforementioned statute as well as 25-3101 for a definition of an "unlawful sexual act," which is the pertinent definition here. You might also want to read the definition of "indecent liberties with a child." Now, after reading this article, and the statutes, do you think you can come up with a logical argument as to why this guy is a criminal who faced prison time and not a mentally ill individual who should be hospitalized?

As far as possessing photographs of kids goes, there isn't anything on the books that says you can't have simple pictures. If there was, we'd have some serious problems. Imagine you're out by a lake late in the afternoon, and you see a pair of young children running down the beach flying a kite. A beautiful, calming sight; makes you wish you were young again. So, to capture the moment, you pull out your camera and snap a picture. Unfortunately for you, someone else on the beach sees what you're doing. "Oh God!" he thinks. "That man must be a pedophile taking pictures of children for his own twisted pleasure like that John guy!" It goes downhill from there. There are laws against having lewd or explicit photos though. Those are bad things to have. According to the article and a comment by his father, John didn't have any of those, he just made his own, which isn't explicitly defined as illegal. Interesting.

I'm not advocating any commenter's position here, I'm not taking sides. I'm not going to say John is a good man or a bad man. I don't know John, I don't know anything about his case other than what is on this page right here. I'm not a lawyer either. What I am is someone whose eyes are open and happens to have some background in criminal justice. I'm also someone who is just trying to expose facts as I see them. What I see is a man who needs help. If he gets it, maybe he'll get better, maybe he won't. An ADA even mentioned that "the children listed as victims may not have actually been harmed." So why the criminalization?

Those of you who believe this man is sick and needs to be in a hospital are right in my opinion. Others here clearly have different beliefs, and it is evident in their illogical statements, false facts, predictions of the future, supposed mind reading, and exaggerations.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

The threat by Warcraft 1875 at 6:16 pm has been reported to authorities.

evilevan 12 years, 7 months ago

kitkat wrote: why should the state pay the bill? [sic]

So, I guess you think that the families of rapists, thieves, murderers, etc, should pay to have their relatives incarcerated? Wow, that would make us really safe, wouldn't it?

The whole point of the state paying for these things is that it "promotes the general welfare" (to quote the Constitution) of its citizens. Thus, if someone is a criminal threat (as many mentally disabled people are), they should be supported, sometimes for the rest of their days, in a government-funded institution. Them's the breaks. And lest we fall victim to our short memories, I'll remind you that our revered President Ronald Reagan dismantled our publicly-supported mental health care facilities in the 1980s.

That should stick in the craw of conserv26, and others who vote Republican in Kansas, want the state to provide expensive (but all too necessary) services like lifetime mental lockups, but don't think it's worthy of their tax dollars.

evilevan 12 years, 7 months ago

I forgot to mention: it is postings like kitkat's and others of that ilk that are reducing what should be an important discussion to inconsequential name-calling and petty bickering.

And to refer again to our founding fathers, I'll remind those adherents of the "take-em-out-back-and-shoot-em" mentality (and by extension, the "lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key"mentality) that this country was founded upon Enlightenment ideals, and that is why our Consititution is worded the way it is - to obviate the reappearance of that kind of arbitrary tyranny. If you don't like it, I would enthusiastically encourage you to move to Saudi Arabia, where such "solutions" are readily carried out on a day-to-day basis. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

sd123 12 years, 7 months ago

One thing I find interesting; perptrators (sp?) either say "I am sorry for what I have done" (denial statement!) or they don't appologize at all. Instead, they find other people, society, or entities to blame.

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

to pwhitecloud--Nobody seems to have addressed your cry for help. Get a video recorder. The tricky part is any conversion you tape with this child, the questions from you cannot appear coericed.(sp?) When they are that young, it takes some work to ask questions that are not coaxing, but that is the only way you can make it stick. Also there are kid counselors. If not for the situation discussed in this forum, I would have said Bert Nash, but........ there are other counselors. Also, keep the pre school teachers alert to your concerns and ask them to document anything they see. Oh, and keep a journal of visitations and remarks made afterwards by the child. All this bookkeeping keeps you sane in a courtroom, sort of, but it helps. Also, maybe a visit with a member of CPS will either help you know how to make the video, or, help initiate a visit with the child and one of their staff. And above all, pray. Pray for your strentgh and courage to perservere, and pray that your love for this child will free her. I don't understand how a listed offender gets unsupervised visits with his child. Keep going! A child's life is at stake.

Benjamin 12 years, 7 months ago

I would not wish that on anyone. Trust me on that.

costello 12 years, 7 months ago

Several people posting here seem not to have even read the article. It isn't long. Why not read it before posting? The subtitle is "While acknowledging mistakes, resident says system failed him at several turns." He acknowledges his mistakes. Now maybe we can learn something from him that will help others suffering from mental illness.

He says he was sexually molested while in the state hospital. And his father has posted here that he was virtually forced to put his son there. Is no one else concerned about a system that tells a parent he has to commit his son or have a CINC case filed against him? Is no one else concerned about a system that forces a parent to put his child into a situation where his parents can't protect him from predators? Apparently, John Whitehead was the victim of sexual assault himself. Maybe his sexual attraction to children stems from those incidents - I don't know I'm not a psychologist.

The screamers here have generated more heat than light. If we can't calm down and talk rationally, we'll never figure out how to better help those suffering from mental illness and their families. And if we can't help them, we may continue to be victimized by some of them.

costello 12 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Whitehead:

If you're still there- I'm sorry for your pain, and I'm sorry that ignorant people here have added to it by making unfounded accusations and hurling insults. It sounds like you tried - and are still trying - to get your son the help he needs.

My prayers are with you and your family.

evilevan 12 years, 7 months ago

marion - I'm not debating these things with you, I'm just telling it like it is. I never claimed that we shouldn't lock dangerous people up (in fact, I said that that's a social obligation). I just responded to kitkat's ridiculous suggestion that the families of violators pay to keep them away from society. And when I referred to the "throw-away-the-key" mentality, I was explaining that, because this country was founded on Enlightenment principles (by the way, that's Enlightenment, the European intellectual movement that has basically shaped the modern world and has nothing whatsoever to do with "accepting reality", not enlightenment, as in learning), there is a fundamental belief that everyone deserves to be treated with human dignity. kitkat claimed s/he was making a distinction between prisons (tax-supported) and psych wards (privately funded). The problem is, if you believe (as our founding fathers did) that everyone deserves humane treatment, then you can't lock up dangerously mental ill people with some poor schmo that did something stupid and has to serve 6 months in prison, or a non-threatenting (but still criminal) mental patient with potentially dangerous criminals. That's what would be considered inhumane. Thus the need for funding to support the mentally ill - that's how to keep dangerous people off of the street AND maintain the essential humanity of both victims and criminals. The thrust of Enlightenment thinking (regarding things like this) is that people CAN be changed (I'm not disputing your claim about molesters, just explaining why we as a society believe certain things), and that prisons, or workhouses, or whatever, can improve society by reforming criminals. Now, there are clearly unreformable types, but the sorry thing about "reality," the sad, ugly truth of the world, is that you can't know who's unreformable until they've done something heinous. This goes back to Enlightenment ideals, which say that you can't try, convict, imprison, execute someone because they MIGHT do something, even if the possibility is quite strong that they will. In this case, that is what happened to Mr. Whitehead - he never technically broke any laws, and in our system, there's not much you can do about that. A comprehensive, publicly-funded mental health system, though, at least provides us (society) with more options - not a solution, but something.

Again, I'm not debating, just clarifying (I didn't know this would be a lesson in Western Civilization). The upshot of all of this is that the modern world, especially in America, is very confused about how to deal with things that it thought it could "cure" two to three centuries ago.

Oh, and it doesn't help your argument to just list, in graphic detail, all of the horrible consequences of sexual abuse. That's a fallacy of argumentation, and it weakens what you are trying to express

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

I am apalled at how far off the subject this forum has become. "Let's all lynch the dad!"

Back to basics here, John was voluntarily(sp?) institutionalized by his parents, plural, after years of trying to handle him themselves. John has admitted to being abused while institutionalized. John asked for help in 2003, if not before. The request was "put on the back burner" by his therapist, as she has admitted such, as has John. John did not harm a child yet. (OK naysayers, have fun with that.) John initiated getting help and is now receiving more. John has taken pictures of children without parental permission, and with it in other cases, but none of them were lewd in nature. John admitted to the police his problem, without counsel. John IS on the sexual predator's list, it just updates every first of the month, and it isn't the first yet. John is no longer allowed to be in the presence of a child without supervision, nor may he touch a minor. He must continue to accept treatment. If anyone is redeemable, I say this man has a chance.

And, there is no better protection of a child than his parent. We accept that we must be two working parent families, and send our kids to strangers for care. There is a bigger picture here and more thought should be taken as to the direction this path will take us.

Do I believe the current state of affairs with the mental health system is appropriate, no. Do I think every child offender should be locked up, maybe, but only if all other tactical approaches have failed. And I don't mean to wait for a repeated offense, but those working with the offender's should obviously know when most of their clients will repeat and stop it before it should happen. That is their job, and they should be held accountable.

Do I think property managers should do criminal checks before allowing someone to live on their grounds? It is my understanding some do. Do I believe property managers should be held accountable for their tenants actions, absolutely not. Good grief every hole in the wall.. but now I am off topic.

Marion, whoever you are, you are justifying your hate with stats. So what. I was abused, and I have hate. But I also have an open mind.

Hysteria is a good description of what has been going on here today. I am a mandated reporter, and I have serious concerns about the integrity of some of the writers here. I also have some concerns about John's behavior. But, I see John's behavior being addressed. Can every writer here attest to that fact for themselves?

evilevan 12 years, 7 months ago

Here, here, poolside. Just curious - what is a "mandated reporter"?

As far as the integrity of some of the writers, I have already wondered if some might be "trolls."

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

A mandated reporter is a person in a job position that must report suspected offenses, such as a school teacher, or someone in childcare. But there are jobs that reqire mandated reporting of adult situations too, such as a nursing home employee. And while I am not well versed, I am sure there are many other examples.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Marion, your rhetoric betrays your intentions. I am not going into any long-winded exposition about people like you, all educated and intelligent people know about the individuals whose own short-comings influances them to stupid and outlandish statements. Fortunately, your rants do not deserve consideration, you have no ability to convey significant and supportable thesis. You like to toss around succulent words and phrases that are caculated to offend and create hate and discontent. Ranting is what Rush Limbaugh does, and from the data that seems to make this later-day Nazi a popular figure, a lot of folks lack the intellect to discern real discourse from ranting. Too bad. I would imagine your concern for childern does not extend to helping in a church nursury or joining some organization that encourages childern's reading or their participation in physical education or athletic events. But childhood obesity is another topic. I think all you like to do is toss bombs out on the public ear and then feign self-righteousness. Sorry, fellow (?), but no one is buying it. Give Bill O'Reilly a call, he finds individuals like you usefull to spread his baloney.

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

Marion, maybe the word hate is wrong. Then it must be fear. There is a song in South Pacific about being taught to hate and fear. That is what your stats mean to me.

I don't tell people where or how I was bruised, or what I still harbor that makes my life unhappy, unless it is a therapist. I wouldn't ever want to be one of your stats so you could sling my story around.

If you feel you are advocating, then help pwhitecloud.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

Costello, I appreciate your kind words. No one who has never had a disfunctional child can be aware of the problems that this causes. As I have previously said, I am not seeking sympathy, and I am very proud of my son, in fact all three of them, they are all different in their interests and talents. One of John's talents was working with the childern in the church child-care and until this, he was well-respected and well-liked. He went with a minister friend a while back and read books to some school childern at Langston Hughes Elementary School, and received cards from each child thanking him for reading to them. The damned cops took those cards as "evidence" in this case. That is how hysterical and dysfunctional this whole case has become. But I am very happy for all the fine folks who have called expressing support for me and my family, and I do appreciate those expressions of support.

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

For those who are searching the sexual offender's list, try looking at the top of this page. John willingly had his picture taken.

evilevan 12 years, 7 months ago

marion - You apparently didn't read my post very well, because what I was suggesting was that the Enlightenment IS confusing and contradictory, and indeed fails to accept certain truisms about the world.

And I never said that we don't lock people up and throw away the key - that would be naive and insipid. Obviously such things have happened and still do, and they are done, often, for the benefit of society. All I was pointing out was the reason for the confusion and discord in our current discourse about these things, some of which stems from specific political decisions made in the last 25 years that have adversely affected mental health treatment. And I'm sorry, but you're never going to get someone thrown in prison forever for giving piggy-back rides and taking pictures. I'll grant your slippery-slope argument that this behavior could lead to worse, but until the worse happens, what are you going to do? Even if YOU served on a jury for that kid, you'd never get 11 other people to agree to send him away forever, when there was never any direct physical contact (that is what I meant by technically - who cares that he plead guilty - pleas happen all of the time, and people plea to crimes they didn't commit every day; in this case, even the police admit that none of the children or their parents provided evidence that he did anything illegal).

And how am I being touchy-feely - I never implied I thought we could "cure" anything - in fact, I strongly feel otherwise. But we live in a world that has been historically conditioned in a specific way. You keep trying to put words in my mouth, but all I'm trying to point out is why we are in this situation in the first place. Regardless of whether or not I think John is "curable," the fact is, he can't be thrown into prison forever for a crime he didn't commit (you can't deny that he never molested the children, even if you think that he eventually will).

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

After rereading some of these blogs, did someone write that the police showed nude male and female pictures to the children? Since John didn't, by all accounts, when were the children most abused? And who was the offender, Officer?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 7 months ago

That would be me, poolside, I have the copies of the police reports and was a bit taken aback to fine the officers had used graphic drawings of a gradeschool age nude female and male child with notations (balloons??) indicating which areas of the body the child had been queried about. NOW who is keeping the porn and exposing the child to it, eh???????

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 7 months ago

on one hand, i would say lock him up. but on the other i would say look at what happened to him in the hospital, why did'nt he get help?with what happened to him. did some one pay for what they did to him? i have a child with special needs and she feel pray to a sick man. he went to jail for 4 yrs for touching her breast threw her shirt.and is on the sex affenders list. he used her cereval palsey to his advantage.saying thinks like oh she had a leg cramp. that made me keep a close eye out. maybe there is hope for john in the long run, just maybe he is acting out what was done to him. lets keep him on a short lease,and see what the state can do to help fix this big problem.

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

scary huh? I suggest removal, what do you think 90's gal?

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

see where it says under our name removal? That is a request to those at the JW to Watch this person's comments and decide to remove them. Wendt needs removal.

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 7 months ago

yes i think so. that was a wrong think to post .

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

done. and 90's gal, I'm sorry about your daughter, but glad you followed thru.

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 7 months ago

she is now 15 and still has trouble at times but we have gotten her help and thanksshe is truly special

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

I think our lives have crossed paths, and I remember that she has a mother willing to go to the ends of the earth for her and her brothers.

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

well this will remain anonymous for both our sakes, but all the best to you. Good Night.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Deb Engstrom 12 years, 7 months ago

I have known John for many years, in fact I worked with him when he was a student at LHS. He had some issues with controlling his behavior when he was frustrated, but when he worked with students with more severe disabilities, he was wonderful with them. John always was willing and able to discuss his disability openly, particularly some of his obsessions like hoarding office supplies, fear of storms, etc. I think what was missing in John's life in the past few years was someone to talk to about issues that he was dealing with -- a friend, not a therapist or parent--and someone to supervise the constructive use of his skills such as reading the books to kids at Langston Hughes mentioned in a previous post. Hopefully now that his situation is out in the open, even though the circumstances are not the best, this can happen for John and others in his situation. Once folks like John become adults it can be a lonely and frightening existence.

Janis Pool 12 years, 7 months ago

Kit Kat- Can you tell the difference between unbiased reporting and slander? Clearly you can't.

A death wish on anybody makes you a perpetrator, if we go by the standard that John was convicted for his thoughts. But you have "crossed the line" and told someone your thoughts. So now you, too, should be convicted.

I know I will be working to defend my children from you.

inDUHvidual 12 years, 6 months ago

Eric, thank you for taking the time to look a little further into this situation. Poolside - thanks for the rational re-direction.

What upsets me more than anything about all of this is the ignorance in statements such as (paraphrasing), "We thought he was nice and trustworthy. We thought he devoted himself to spearheading the neighborhood watch out of the kindness of his heart and now we know he is a monster."

John IS all of those things. Nothing about John changed overnight. And one aspect of him doesn't change everything else you knew about him.

I understand why this scares people so much - and I think there is good reason behind that fear. And I am not in any way going to minimize the feelings parents must have or why this happened. I don't have any answers for anyone. There were obviously oversights or actions in poor judgement and many tragedies made along the way in this case.

But the hate, rage, and ignorance in statements such as "lock him behind bars forever - hope you rot" is terrifying.

14Lawrence 12 years, 6 months ago

I am very dissapointed that Mr. Went feels that his son has done nothing wrong. In addition you feel it is ok to have him in a family neighborhood surrounded by children. Talk about temptation, there are children around him and around his house on a regular basis. Now that he is on the sex registry he has just degraded the vaules of the homes in his neighborhood. Is he prepared to handle the lawsuits for home degreadation when his neighbors can't sell their homes. He is ordered to have no contact with children. Funny because he can't go 50 feet without being next to one.

kidmystic 12 years, 6 months ago

ERIC!!!!! thanks you for actually reporting and showing that a story could have gray areas, not just black and white. as you can see with the first comment, this is sometimes too much for some people to grasp (one has to think a little, god forbid). keep it up...please.

whatdoyouthink 12 years, 6 months ago

frwent: Do you not think anything is wrong with your son wanting to play with children to arrouse himself? Because that is what he was doing.

Here is a circumstance: There is a man named Joe that comes to your door. You have seen him around your neighborhood and he plays with a lot of children from there. He states he wants to play with your child so he may get arroused.

What do you do???

Same situation, the only thing that is difference is he is being upfront with his adgenda.

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