good news, bad news

Yesterday I was on the phone almost all day digging into the facts that have not been revealed in the media or in court testimony about the truth of why and how 12-year-old Paul Henry Gingerich became involved in Colt Lundy’s plan to murder Lundy’s stepfather on April 20th.

I have learned that a police detective lied on the stand about material facts in the case and misrepresented Paul Henry’s participation in an alleged “plan” to murder Colt Lundy’s stepfather. The playground planning engaged in by the boys was only about running away from home, not to commit murder. The murder was a last-minute change of plan pressed on the younger boys by the older Lundy less than ten minutes before the incident.

Important evidence that would have gone a long way to explaining the social dynamics of Lundy’s posse—and Paul Henry’s role and lack of culpability in events—was never introduced in court.

The more I dig and learn, the more convinced I am that a terrible miscarriage of justice has been perpetrated by the prosecutors and judges in Kosciusko County, Indiana, and that this injustice is about to be compounded by the state by sending this tender young boy to the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility northeast of Indianapolis where, according to a US Department of Justice study released slightly more than a year ago, 36.2% of inmates report having been sexually abused by staff members and other inmates. This study concluded that Pendleton’s rate of youth-reported sexual abuse was the second-highest of 195 youth prisons studied by the federal authorities.

Contrary to what I reported in my January 13th post, I’ve learned the population at Pendleton has fewer than five inmates as young as Paul Henry. Most of the prison’s 300 inmates are much older—up to age 22—they are habitual repeat offenders, gang members and, most troubling, 50% are sex offenders. As is true with most other prisons in the US, approximately 75% have serious mental health conditions.

None of these characteristics match Paul Henry’s profile.

Paul Henry is a normal kid who has never been in serious trouble before. He is not a violent person, he has no mental illness, he is an impressionable “follower” who was bullied and manipulated by Colt Lundy into participating in a tragic incident and, in fact, had tried to talk Lundy out of carrying out his violent intention up until the last moment when Lundy’s stepfather appeared in the doorway and Lundy fired the fatal shots. Paul Henry got caught up in circumstances for which he was unprepared and developmentally ill-equipped to handle.

Here is a 2008 MSNBC program which reveals the frightening conditions within Pendleton that will greet Paul Henry in just a few days:

NOTE: This video has been removed from YouTube because of copyright infringement claims by the producer, who is a friend of ours. I am trying to get permission to post it here if their legal mavens will agree. Try again later. Maybe we’ll luck out!

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4ycTqEEK5M&feature=related

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg_w3sYzD0w&feature=related

Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3Py1692CLg&feature=related

Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AUDVEgALSU&feature=related

The good news is that while the conditions at Pendleton are better than those at Wabash Valley Correctional Institution, the bad news is that they are likely not survivable for a child as young and naïve as Paul Henry.

The youthful offenders shown in this video are not suitable influences for this small boy who could be successfully rehabilitated were he placed in the South Bend Juvenile Correctional Facility, a medium/very-high security detention center with a smaller, younger, less violent, and less predatory inmate population.

It appears that IDOC’s decision to place Paul Henry in the “crime academy” at Pendleton is a compromise intended to placate the prosecutors and judges of Kosciusko County and avoid the public appearance of being “too soft” on a kid who became involved in a bully’s heinous crime.

But how will their decision play in the media when this small, attractive, and vulnerable boy becomes the victim of a violent sexual predator at Pendleton? If the federal report does accurately reflect Pendleton’s culture, there is an almost 40% certainty that it will happen.

When the full facts of this case become known, it will be shown that Paul Henry chose to enter Lundy’s house in order to protect his friend Chase Williams, whom Lundy had previously threatened with death if Chase did not follow Lundy’s orders. Chase was afraid of Lundy, but Paul Henry was not. He entered the house in Chase’s stead, with no intention of following through on Lundy’s orders.

But things went horribly wrong. Paul Henry was out of his depth that night, just as he will similarly be no match for the terror that awaits him in the jungle at Pendleton.

The eyes of the world will be on Paul Henry and the fate that will be inflicted upon him there. If Paul Henry is hurt in any way, there will be no way for the prison authorities to keep it a secret. There will be no way for them to avoid the severe political consequences of destroying this child.

The state’s focus should be on Paul Henry’s redemption, not retribution. The state of Indiana is embarked on a course that can only make a bad situation worse.

It is not too late for the Indiana Department of Corrections to do better than this. But they must act now before it is too late.


Groove of the Day

Listen to James Blunt performing “Too Late”


13 Responses to “good news, bad news”

  1. 1 Jeanne
    January 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I had to stop the video because it was so upsetting. I am going to re-visit it later.
    I am not even sure how the 15 year-old will survive, let alone a 12 year-old.

    I am without words right now.

  2. 2 Gloria
    January 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Appalling, and I thought they had the best Paul’s intereses at heart when they decided to put him in juvenile I guess I was wrong. Shameful



    New Justice Department Report Minimizes Rampant Sexual Abuse of Detained Youth


  3. January 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    This is a disturbing story for many reasons. I am especially angered by the judge’s reasoning for an adult trial in this case. We know that long prison sentences for kids do nothing to “rehabilitate” them. Every study of children tried as adults shows that all we’re doing when we impose adult sentences is turning kids into criminals.

    Prosecutors, as politicians, love to sell themselves as “tough on crime.” But they’re often reluctant to tell taxpayers how much being “tough on kids” costs us as a society. In Colorado, 50% of the prison population will return to lock up over the next 3 years. That, by itself, will cost the state approximately $86 million.

    We have “corrections” systems for a reason. They’re supposed to make sure people don’t go back. Unfortunately “corrections” has become synonymous with a revolving door.

    It’s time we got smart on crime. I hope you can help support our work at the PendulumFoundation.com


  4. January 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Not a big shocker to me that a cop would lie on the stand. Here is an ex-prosecutor who is a lawyer that currently is facing charges in Kosciusko County. This comes from the local paper,

    When told the woman wanted to file charges and that a copy of the incident report would be sent to the prosecutor’s office, [b]Smith is alleged to have said that the prosecutor knows who he is and nothing would be done about it.[/b]

  5. 5 Kathy
    January 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    There was a time I would have thought this was terrible, but I am no longer sure. The more we give people chances and excuse their behavior as being “uncharacteristic” or not indicative of how they really are, the more violent crime we experience in society. I don’t know all the details of this boy’s case but, if he did indeed participate in the murder and was rightfully convicted, I see no reason to go easy on him because of his age. A child this young who can commit murder is definitely going to be a problem adult. Very rarely do I see people truly rehabilitated, and I believe jail should be punitive, not rehabilitative. Why should these people get the second chance they denied their victims?

    • January 19, 2011 at 11:03 pm

      The reason we must give them another chance is because there is 100% nothing we can do for a victim that is already dead. People need to stop fighting for the dead and start realizing they need to fight for those left behind still alive.

      An apology, statement or any other gesture will ever make up for the loss of life. What is done is done and we must fight for the living. As for the victims, we can support and pray for their families.

      The problem with punitive rather than rehabilitative is the fact that Judge Rex Reed ruled without a doubt, question or a psychiatric exam that Paul Henry was an adult. He based this purely on law rather than take the time to examine the young Paul Henry.

      Paul Henry stepped up to save another 12 year old child named Chase Williams who was threatened to either shoot or be shot. Paul Henry, a hero in my eyes told the 15 year he would do it in order to protect Chase. No matter the crime, mitigating circumstances must be realized of why a person committed the crime. People do not just kill for fun in my opinion there is always reason behind any murder. I said it before and I will say it again, God took this man’s life that day when these boys fired the shots. I pray the victim made peace with God in that short time before leaving this earth.

    • 7 Rhea
      January 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      Kathy, no where in the article did I read that this boy actually killed anyone, he was just an eyewitness to his friend doing the shooting of his stepfather!!

    • 8 Linda
      January 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      I agree with you Kathy 100%. But I don’t think they should be put in jail with older kids over 18.

  6. January 20, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Liberalism, blame-casting beyond the actual perpetrator, juvenile offenders… This deformatory should be shut down. All negatives.

  7. 10 Vivien Green
    January 20, 2011 at 3:31 am

    I am shocked to learn that a twelve year old child should be sentto the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility where, according to a US Department of Justice study released slightly more than a year ago, 36.2% of inmates report having been sexually abused by staff members and other inmates.

  8. 11 Isabel
    January 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Sex abuse is bad in any age.
    I cannot believe that with so many cameras that any prision/institutions can have, that sex abuse is still a problem.
    What about the staff abusing prisioners, they are the ones who should be locked up.
    Why are they colleagues covering for them! Don’t these people get vetted? And supervisioned themselves?

    It is 2011, why are some humans behaving worst than wild animals? I do not wish to offend the animals as even wild animals do not mistreat their own like that!!!

    • 12 mike stevens
      February 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      One of the main reasons – if not the primary and/or only reason that Kosciusko County is notoriously infamous for being the most corrupt county in the state of Indiana – is the dishonorable REX L. REED. He is a bigger criminal than anyone unlucky enough to be forced to stand before him. Are we learning yet America? When is enough – enough? How long will this rogue criminal be allowed to continue destroying lives with his cronyism, incompetence, stupidity, and most importantly, his illegal corrupt activities? Should we wait until all of our children are being brutalized in some prison before we decide to fire up some torches and surround the courthouse in that stinking corrupt town of Warsaw, Indiana?

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