Rehabilitation?

Can the worst criminals ever get rehabilitated?  That question arises from a New York Post scoop about the man serving as the senior director for court services at a community organization in the Big Apple.  Max Lindeman works in an office that focuses on the plight of women and helps the Democrats select judicial candidates, but he’s also a Level 3 sex offender for a brutal 1981 rape and beating of a nun in Harlem (via Stuck on Stupid):

While Lindeman oversees programs for men, women and teens, his desk is in a Manhattan office that serves only women.

This is the same man who pleaded guilty to the 1981 attack on a nun who was beaten and raped inside a Harlem church. Twenty-seven crosses were carved into her flesh with a nail file.

He was released in 1995 after more than 13 years in jail and remains a registered Level 3 sex offender, the highest-risk category.

Lindeman’s presence in the office “makes a mockery of a sanctuary for women,” said a person familiar with the situation.

His bio on the center’s Web site also says he has served on the New York County Democratic Nomination Committee, which selects who runs for state Supreme Court judgeships.

CCA officials argue that his story is one of redemption. And Lindeman says he is simply trying to help others avoid his mistakes.

The CCA says Lindeman told him about his history when they hired him three years ago.  He spent the eleven previous years building an exemplary record as an employee of The Fortune Society, which helps transition ex-convicts into society.  Lindeman has not re-offended, and the CCA says that he is a success story of rehabilitation.   They want him to remain in his position.

This raises tough questions.  We expect ex-cons to re-enter society on their release and to obey the law.  However, that means that we have to allow them to make a living somewhere, and trust them to some extent to live properly.  Chasing ex-cons out of their jobs makes it very difficult for them to remain law-abiding and negates the whole notion of rehabilitation as well as getting credit for paying their debt to society.

In this case, though, the CCA pushes this to the limit, and past it.  Lindeman’s crime was especially heinous (it was, I believe, the inspiration for the underlying crime in the movie Bad Lieutenant).  Placing him in an office where victimized women seek counseling puts them at risk, and at the least insults them with the presence of a Level 3 sex offender.  I’m glad that Lindeman has not reoffended, but he’s still a risk, and the CCA doesn’t have to put him in such close proximity to women seeking assistance.

I’d also like to hear the Democratic Party explain why they sought Lindeman’s input on judicial candidates.  What expertise did they seek in this case?  I could think of millions of people who should have had their input on that process ahead of any sex offender.