A Cycling & bikes forum. CycleBanter.com

Go Back   Home » CycleBanter.com forum » rec.bicycles » General
Site Map Home Register Authors List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Web Partners

The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer



 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old March 21st 09, 05:06 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Ablang
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 128
Default The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer

The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer
Does the best thing you do in your life make up for the worst thing
you've ever done? This cycling hero--and convicted felon--might get
closer to an answer than any of us.

By Steve Friedman

http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6...8493-1,00.html

The child molester prays before every meal. He offers thanks for his
friends, and the food he is about to eat, and the wonderful day ahead.
When he wakes at 6:30 he brews himself a cup of tea and answers e-mail
and he walks his dog, a 12-year-old rottweiler named Cody, three
blocks to the beach next to the Pacific Ocean, where they walk some
more, and where the child molester thinks about his purpose in life,
imagines ways he might help others.

He rides his bicycle an hour and a half a day, longer on weekends,
and, afterward, he takes a sauna beneath ceramic infrared heaters. He
drinks water that is alkalized with cathodes and cleansed of microbes
by ultraviolet light. He sleeps on an electromagnetic pulsating pad.
He doesn't smoke, or eat processed foods, or drink alcohol. He has
been drunk twice in his life, both times when he was 14 years old.
Once was from drinking champagne, the other, whiskey. He doesn't eat
candy. "And I don't do Halloween." He doesn't watch television, or
listen to the radio, or read the newspaper. He lives "in a media
void." The books he reads are "biblical, or historical, or
nutritional." He says he avoids fiction because, "I have so little
time and I don't want to waste it." That said, he has a weakness for
Jack London and has read every Sherlock Holmes novel, as well as Crime
and Punishment. One of his favorite movies is Gladiator. He is
slightly cold-blooded, with a temperature that runs from 95.8 to 96.5.
He comes from money on his mother's side; his family owns a summer
estate in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and a ranch in Wyoming. He has a
pilot's license. He doesn't care for eggplant. He loves olive oil, but
hates olives. He sells bicycle parts and nutritional supplements from
a shop on a lightly used municipal airstrip. Many of his clients are
middle-aged and they want better lives. "Being able to help them," he
says, "is incredibly fulfilling." He thinks fluoridated water is bad
for people, and that it was foisted upon the nation as part of a
government conspiracy to cover up poisonous by-products created by
atomic weapons. Saturday mornings he attends services at a Seventh-Day
Adventist Church and in the summertime, he travels to Moab, Utah,
where he joins other men as they sit around campfires in the high
desert and talk about finding meaning in the world. He says things
like, "Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another," and,
"Regardless of my mistakes, [God] will take them and make them
blessings." He is 53 and he lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California,
with his mother, in the house in which he grew up, and on the rare
occasion when he eats at a restaurant in his hometown, people look at
him funny and ask how he's been, if he's okay. One of his closest
friends is the chief mechanic at a local hotel. Another is a man who
has been divorced five times and who lives on a hilltop nearby, behind
an electronic gate, at the end of a driveway in which sits a black
Porsche 911, in a house filled with centuries-old wooden carvings
imported from Afghanistan, with a pet macaw named Lorenzo and the hide
of a snow lion on the floor of one room and the hide of a mountain
lion on the floor of another room. The mountain lion had eaten
Lorenzo's cousin, Harpo, and tried to eat Lorenzo, and the child
molester's friend had shot it.

The child molester and I spend four days together in late spring 2007.
It's terrible and perhaps unfair to refer to him as "child molester,"
because he accomplished things as an athlete that few others have, and
over the past few years he has, by almost any measure, lived the life
of a world-class do-gooder. But "child molester" is exactly how a lot
of people who know a little bit about him, especially those who have
never met him, think of him even if they don't refer to him that way.

We share meals, before which we always pray, and he makes me a salad
at his mother's house, and we walk on the beach and he suggests some
foods I might try to lose weight and improve my health. We have dinner
at the house on the hilltop, where I admire Lorenzo and the hides on
the floor. We talk a lot about cycling and how the child molester came
to be the first American to race in the Tour de France and why
European racers seemed to accept him more than his countrymen did. We
talk about amphetamine-aided descents and the transience of athletic
glory and how society can corrupt a man and how we all have choices,
that we all need help.

We talk about his improbable triumph, as a middle-aged man just three
years out of jail, in the 2006 Race Across America (RAAM), a 3,000-
mile coast-to-coast bicycle race. We talk about his participation in
Project Rwanda, a nonprofit organization working to improve the lives
of the impoverished citizens of that country. We talk about religion
and television, organic food and how, as a child, he dreamt of being a
veterinarian in a game park in Africa. The subject he wishes didn't
have to come up, but that he knows must, comes up on our third day
together. We're up to 1997, when the cyclist was newly and, as it
turns out, unhappily married, stagnant in his professional life. We
both know what happens next. Silence. The longest silence in the time
I have spent with him.

"Now," he says, "starts the whole different chapter in my life."

Of course, a lot of people don't care about the different chapters in
the child molester's life. One chapter will do. That one chapter--the
one titled "child molester"--is enough for them. The child molester
prays? Good for him. Let him pray. He wants to help poor Africans?
Keep him supervised and far from minors. He was a great athlete and he
wants to be a good man? The first doesn't matter, and he gave up his
rights to the second. That's what happens to child molesters. That's
their fate. That's how a lot of people think. That's how I thought
when I flew out to California to meet Jonathan Boyer. And then we
prayed together.

He was so chubby as a toddler that people called him "Fatso." That's a
fact. Here's another: His father was a dreamer and a drifter, a man
who, after a bar-stool conversation in the desert with a stranger
about hidden treasure, would leave his wife and three children and
disappear into Mexico for weeks at a time. "A man who had a natural
lobotomy for responsibility," his wife, Josephine Swift Boyer, told
her oldest son, Winston. The family lived in Moab, Utah, until 1961,
when Josephine packed up her three children--eight-year-old Liza, six-
year-old Winston, and the baby, five-year-old Jonathan, whom everyone
called Jock (after a friend of Josephine's)--and took them to her
parents, the Swifts, in Pebble Beach, California. Moab was so remote
in those days that Winston Boyer, senior, had to flag down the
California Zephyr at the Crescent Junction station to get it to stop.
As the train pulled away, the elder Boyer drove alongside for 20 miles
in his red Ford station wagon. ("The cheapest one made, with two
doors," Liza remembers.) He waved at his departing family, and the
family waved back, at their father and husband, and at their dog, a
black, tan and white sheepdog named Timbo. "The saddest day of all of
our lives," Liza says. Jock says, "It was like yesterday. Indeed, the
saddest day of my life."

Liza says that Jock "went from being the happiest, hugging-est, most
generous and least shy, quickest to make friends, of all of us, to a
child who was worried and sad. It took him a while to bounce back."

Two years later, the brood moved to Carmel. Their next-door neighbors
in Carmel rode bicycles, so Winston and his little brother would tag
along. Jock wouldn't see his father for six years. Other men in
Carmel, though, took the boys under their wings. Sam Hopkins, another
neighbor and a local cycling icon who had started racing competitively
at age 50, encouraged the Boyer boys to enter some events. Jock loved
it from the beginning.

A local restaurateur, Remo d'Agliano, who had raced in Europe, coached
the Boyers and though there was no cycling culture to speak of--this
was the early '70s--the Boyers finished at the top of almost every
race they entered, along with another local boy named Tom Ritchey.
Jonathan rode a black 10-speed Raleigh Competition, which was stolen
from school after two weeks. Hopkins sold him a blue LeJeune for $180,
which happened to be exactly the amount the insurance had paid for the
Raleigh.

Winston drifted away from the sport because competition made him
nervous. Ritchey liked long rides in the hills, and didn't enjoy the
criteriums, with their short, narrow courses with tight corners, so he
stopped road racing, too. That left Jock.

Partly because of d'Agliano's urging, partly because of competitive
zeal and adolescent restlessness, he decided he wanted to race in
Europe. The summer before his senior year (at Monterey's York School),
he enrolled in an intensive course in French at the nearby Monterey
Institute of Foreign Studies, where for nine weeks, seven hours a day,
he studied the language. He also rode and waited tables at d'Agliano's
restaurant. When he graduated high school, he had been accepted at the
University of Colorado. He had also qualified to ride in the junior
world championships in Munich. He asked the university if he could
delay his freshman year. Then he took the $350 he had saved from
waiting tables and bought a plane ticket to Paris. From 1973 until
early 1977, he raced as an amateur for little-known teams such as UVSE
Saint Eloy les Mines and ACBB Paris. Like almost all new racers at
that level, he traveled between hotels where, he says, "the water
smelled liked urine, the beds sagged and the sheets were made of that
stuff that doesn't even feel like fabric." In one of the hotels, he
got fleas. In another, crabs. Always strong in the mountains, he grew
stronger, fashioned himself into an elite climber. He learned, and he
won, and he learned and he won some more.

In May 1977, a professional team, LeJeune BP, invited him to join.
That's when he realized how little he knew. "It was incredibly hard,"
he says. "There were more riders, better bike handlers; people were
smoother in the pack. And the fitness levels were hard to believe. As
an amateur, when you thought you were tired, that was nothing compared
with the pro level. What I learned was that as an amateur, you don't
know what being really tired is. Think of being completely exhausted,
then train and ride as much as when you're fresh. That's what it means
to ride as a professional."

His first professional contract was 3,000 francs, or four hundred
dollars a month, which was about 500 francs more than most newly
minted professionals. That's because Boyer was an American, a novelty.
His citizenship wasn't the only thing that set him apart. By 1980,
Boyer was showing up to races lugging suitcases packed with 20 pounds
of fruits and nuts, and a blender to mix them. He was also reading the
Bible regularly. Later, reporters would say that other riders
perceived him as an oddball. (If true, it would be impressive; cycling
counts as its recent champions a marble-shooting, pigeon-hunting,
disco-hopping Italian who died of a cocaine overdose; an ecstasy-
ingesting German who most experts--and riders--believe might have
beaten Lance Armstrong had he been able to stop overeating during the
off-season; and an American whose lawyers said a never-born twin might
have been the cause of the positive blood test that got him banned for
two years from cycling.) The fruit-and-nut eater won the 1980 Coors
Classic, where overexcited and underinformed television announcers
referred to him as "Jacques BoyAY," instead of "Jock BOYer." The same
year, he finished fifth in the world championships, then accepted an
offer from another team, Renault-Gitane, that wanted him to help
Bernard Hinault in the mountains of the 1981 Tour de France. (Hinault,
The Badger, had already won the Tour in 1978 and 1979, would win in
1981, then go on to win the race in 1982 and 1985.) No American had
ever raced in the Tour before, much less finished, much less helped a
teammate win. Boyer did all three.

Like winning a Pulitzer Prize, or discovering a distant comet, the
distinction of being the first American to race the Tour de France
might have furnished a first sentence for future obituary writers when
they considered the life of this quiet, wiry vegetarian. His 32nd-
place finish paved the way for Greg LeMond, who became the first
American to win the Tour, in 1986, as well as the 7-Eleven team, which
with sprinter Davis Phinney and mountain climber Andy Hampsten was the
first American squad to successfully race in Europe, serving as a
model and an inspiration for modern-day stars such as Lance Armstrong.
Boyer was 26, and though he might not have known it, his fame was
already receding. Infamy was decades away.

He has long eyelashes, graying hair, hazel eyes and the kind of looks
that in another era might have been called matinee idol. He is 5-
feet-101*2 inches tall, and his weight ranges from 145 to 150, as it
has since he was a teenager. He looks about 15 years younger than his
age. He credits this to clean living, which I presume includes the
electromagnetic pulsating pad and the infrared sauna and the
ultraviolet-treated water, and not just exercising a lot and eating
vegetables. He favors black jeans and pullover sweaters, athletic
sandals with socks. On Saturdays, when he attends church and
celebrates the Sabbath, he wears a button-down shirt and polished
black boots. He walks slightly duck-toed. The first time we meet, at a
restaurant in Carmel, he says he likes snakes, especially pythons and
boa constrictors, and loves roasted potatoes. Before we eat, he says a
prayer. His voice is nasal, slightly high-pitched, absent any strong
regional accent. He is something of a flirt, and when the waitress
comes to take our order, he asks her how to say "poached" in Spanish
and is rewarded with a big smile.

I ask how he'd like to be remembered, and he says, "I don't know. It's
not something I think of. Perhaps as someone who made a positive
impact on people." I ask if he has any regrets and he says, "I could
have raced a little less," which he believes would have prolonged his
career. He tells me that he knows himself better than he ever has. He
says he realizes now that there was a lot of anger in his life, that
"I have always had difficulty dealing with emotional issues."

He admits that he avoids television as much from weakness as strength.
"If there's a program on, I'll get sucked into it, and then before you
know it, two hours are gone. I'm a very emotional person. I get very
affected by things."

He says that people are capable of great good and great evil. "I think
we need to realize any one of us, given the right or wrong situation,
we will do anything. . . Iraqis are no different than Americans.
Muslims have the same makeup as Christians. We're all from the same
stock. We can't point fingers and say 'I would never do that' and
'Those people are monsters.' We're part of the same race."

For three days, he doesn't mention his crime and I don't ask about it.
We don't discuss how it has changed his life, how it has altered the
way people relate to him, how it has changed how he moves through the
world. He talks about God a lot and forgiveness and meaning, and I
imagine it must be exhausting, not talking about something but talking
about it all the time. I imagine it's what his life is like every day.

He generally shuns interviews, but he has agreed to meet because he is
proud of his work for Project Rwanda, and he believes the publicity
for it will be a good thing. He has been to Rwanda recently, will be
piling a group of Rwandans into a 1972 Bluebird bus and driving them
to race bicycles in the Utah desert the week after we meet, then will
be returning to Rwanda a month after that. He doesn't take
antimalarial medications before his trips, because he says he doesn't
need them. On his most recent trip to Africa, he says, "I ate enzymes,
herbs and mushrooms. I was incredibly healthy the whole time. I made
it so my body was impossible for any parasite to live in." He says he
is working on developing a wafer that will help mitigate the effects
of giardia, "that will prevent against microbes and viruses and
parasites you catch in foreign countries." I dutifully take notes and
wonder which is more delusional, Boyer's efforts to develop a cracker
that will save the planet, or his belief that his good works will make
anyone forget--or forgive--what he did.

He finished 10th in the world championships in 1982. In 1983, he
finished 12th in the Tour. Boyer thought he would be in the top five
in 1984, but he fell to 31st because of two crashes, dehydration
during a stage he thought he could win and the vagaries of athletic
chance. In 1985, the American who started it all did something odd.
Instead of racing in the Tour de France, he entered RAAM. The year
before, he had been discussing, with a television producer, a feud in
American cycling. A group of ultracyclists, who specialized in riding
hundreds of miles at a time, were touting the cross-country race as
the ultimate test of cycling prowess, and then there were racers like
Boyer. "The ultracyclists wanted to be recognized as serious
athletes," he says. "We just thought they were good at staying awake."

On the day after Thanksgiving in 1984, Boyer told the producer, "I
could beat those guys," and the producer said, "If you really mean
that and are really serious about that, you owe it to the racing
cycling community to do it."

He enlisted a van and a crew. He invested in a motor home, a
motorbike, a pickup truck and a rented sedan. The first day, he rode
445 miles. The second day he made it 400 miles, then another 400 miles
after that. He was going so much faster than anyone else (he averaged
14.3 miles per hour, including rest breaks), that he could sleep more
than his competitors. He rode into Atlantic City more than four hours
ahead of his closest competitor.

"I won $5,000," he remembers. "And I spent $25,000 to do it."

In 1986, still recovering from the physical stress of his costly
victory, he skipped the Tour. In 1987, living in Italy and racing with
the 7-Eleven team alongside Eric Heiden and Bob Roll and Andy
Hampsten, he finished 99th, his worst finish ever. It was his last
year as a pro and his highest-paid. He made $50,000 and retired. With
LeMond's victory in the world championships and the Tour de France,
and Hampsten and Phinney's stage wins in the Giro d'Italia and the
Tour, everyone was talking about American cycling. People were already
starting to forget the man who had helped start it. "As I look back,"
he says, "I should have gone straight into mountain bike racing. When
you stop racing, I think every athlete goes through the same thing,
you go through a real serious depression. . . you're completely lost,
nothing grounding you. . . .I just remember it as being a really hard
period."

He started a new career importing bicycle parts into the United
States, in partnership with a Dutchman he knew. He traveled to 26
countries a year, worked with 80 customers. He lived in Holland, would
drive 500 miles to the French office, near Lyon, in the afternoon, and
back the next morning. He rode a motorcycle, drove 150 miles per hour
on the Autobahn.

"I had a house," he says, "but no home. I was fried." In 1992, he
moved back to the Carmel Valley, and after his Dutch partner severed
business relations (". . . a disaster. Basically I was kicked out
without any shares. . . "), he imported and sold bicycle parts and
supplies on his own. In 1992, he was baptized at the Seventh-Day
Adventist Church in Pacific Grove, 6 miles from Carmel. Two years
later, he met a woman at the church, who lived in Seaside. They
started dating, and in 1997 they married.

Seaside, California, police officers arrested Boyer on May 16, 2002,
after a 17-year-old girl told them the cyclist had molested her from
1997 to 2000. She was barely 12 when it started. On September 12,
2002, he pled guilty to seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon
a child, and three counts of penetration by a foreign object or
genital penetration on a person younger than 16. He said he was
remorseful. On November 19, he was sentenced to 20 years in state
prison, a sentence that was immediately stayed, then he was put on
probation for five years, and sent to the Monterey County jail for a
year. At the sentencing, state superior court judge Gary E. Meyer
noted that Boyer posed little threat to the girl or to others and that
he was a good candidate for rehabilitation. Those are the facts. He
slept in a dorm with 60 other men. Breakfast was served at 4 a.m. He
read 50 books, including the complete works of Christian evangelist
Philip Yancey. He was released on July 7, 2003, after serving eight
months. In 2006, at age 51, he won the solo enduro division of the
Race Across America. His probation ended November 7, 2007. Those are
facts, too.

In some states, a 16-year-old who fondles his 14-year-old girlfriend
is guilty of a crime, just as guilty in strict legal terms as someone
who stalks playgrounds, snatching and raping children. If you can
accept that when it comes to sex offenses, even child molesting, there
is a moral spectrum of heinousness, then should we try to put Boyer's
crime--and Boyer--in some sort of context? Boyer thinks we should.
"It's too bad all those [criminal] charges get put in the same box,"
he says. "The fact is they're so varied, the charges. . . they go from
one end to the other. . . .you do have predators out there, the
perverts, you do have people who are bent on molesting countless kids
and who have issues with children. Then you have others who have
overstepped certain boundaries and get put in the same. . . uh. . .
same sort of description."

What exactly did Boyer do? According to court records, he twice "puts
[his] hand inside of Jane Doe's pants and touches Jane Doe's vagina,"
and "digitally penetrates Jane Doe's vagina" a total of eight times.
Once, during the act, he spoke French.

Boyer refuses to discuss the specifics of the crimes. His friends say
his public silence is to protect the girl, now a young woman.

Lars Frazer is a photographer based in Austin, Texas. He has known
Boyer for 20 years, and says the cyclist "became best friends with a
13-year-old girl who fell deeply in love with him. She had a high
level of maturity and he showed poor judgment. When Jock said, 'This
is not appropriate, it's not appropriate for us to have this level of
friendship,' she lashed out," and the police were notified.

"Knowing what I know," says Frazer, "he shouldn't have spent a day in
jail. He's not a predator. I have two daughters, six and three-and-a-
half, and there's no question I would let them spend time alone with
Jock. They know who he is, and they love him."

David Frost, a friend of Boyer's for 30 years, who works as a deputy
district attorney in Monterey County, says, "I purposefully didn't
read the files and I don't want to. I'm sure it'll never happen again.
It's not something anyone will have to worry about. He's got a very
strong character."

Others aren't quite as sympathetic.

In a precise and careful e-mail, Monterey chief assistant district
attorney Terry Spitz said, after reviewing the file, "We are
prohibited by the state bar ethics code from charging a crime based on
a hunch or suspicion. We must have probable cause to believe the
defendant actually engaged in the conduct charged. Of course, Boyer
admitted to...engaging in such conduct."

Facts matter. Even a man as heavily invested in intention as Boyer
knows that. He also knows that while facts might be immutable, faith
is redemptive. "We can't go through life without tragedies," Boyer
says. "It's what we do with the tragedies that define us. It
strengthens our ability to help. One thing I've learned is that all of
us are hurting. Each day we're given opportunities to help people. My
purpose is to take those opportunities. Each day people cross our path
who need some sort of help. Not necessarily something that's life-
threatening. I think it's important, as a Christian, to help. You get
lifted up when that happens, you get encouraged, you get hope, your
trust grows. With every opportunity taken, you're given a bigger,
better opportunity later."

I ask Boyer about the girl. Does he worry about her? I don't know how
she feels, because I haven't been able to track her down. (The fact
that I tried angers some colleagues, who tell me that I would be
victimizing her all over again if I contacted her. The fact that I
fail distresses others, who argue that a story containing even a
measure of sympathy for Boyer, without his victim's perspective, is an
outrage.) Absent her thoughts, I ask Boyer how he thinks she's doing.
I ask how he thinks what happened affected her.

"It depends on which direction she chooses," he says. "If you let
something destroy you, whose fault is that? God doesn't want you to be
destroyed. We all have an opportunity to choose a path that will make
us stronger. I just hope she's making the right choices in her life
despite the past. We all are responsible for our choices. I was
responsible for my choices and I take full responsibility."

Then he tells me the story of Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch Christian
woman who hid and saved Jews during World War II, and was imprisoned
in a concentration camp for her efforts. He recounts the story of how,
after the war, a concentration camp guard from Ravensbrück, where she
had been imprisoned, approached her.

"He said to her," Boyer tells me, "'I know that God forgives me, but
my question is, do you?'"

("For a long moment we grasped each other's hands," ten Boom wrote in
her book, Tramp for the Lord, which I looked through after I left
Boyer. "The former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known
God's love so intensely as I did then.")

"We can't look at the pain we've caused," Boyer says. "We have to look
at the good we can do, and though it can't erase the past, it
certainly can eclipse some of the damage. Our choices are today."

Does Boyer see that the tale's power comes because it's the victim who
is the narrator, the victim who is extolling the virtues of
forgiveness? Does he understand that he's not the best person in the
world to be suggesting that the child he molested would be better off
if she would simply forgive and move on? Then again, what's the
difference what he says? Or what anyone says? Don't a man's actions
matter more than his words?

In January 2008 I receive a telephone call from Dan Cooper,

a stock trader in Chicago. Cooper, one of the central supporters of
Project Rwanda, is devoted to financing it and getting others to
finance it. He has heard about the time Boyer and I spent together,
and he is worried. "This is going to have a direct impact on my
ability to keep the team sustainable," he tells me. "Project Rwanda
has become the good-news story of cycling. bicycling magazine comes
out with a story about Jonathan Boyer being a child molester, that
good-news story could very easily evaporate."

The next day, Cooper would fly in a private jet with the president of
Rwanda to meet the president of Starbucks, who was hosting a dinner at
the behest of the president of Costco. Cooper was hoping to raise a
lot of money. "We got to know Jonathan before we invited him to be
part of the Rwanda team," Cooper says. "We know the background and the
drama that unfolded there. . . .Externally, it's a little bit of a
wild card when it comes to public perception."

Cooper and I talk for almost 30 minutes. He says Boyer would resign
from the program "in a heartbeat" if he thought his presence would
hurt the project. He says that only two people know exactly what
happened between Boyer and the child. He says Boyer "is as close to a
walking angel as I've met. I've never seen a guy who's been more self-
sacrificing of himself than Jonathan. . . .being around Jonathan makes
me better. There are very few people I can say that about."

Cooper is more reflective than insistent, as interested in talking
about pain and redemption as he is about corporate sponsorship. It's
easy to understand his success at fund-raising.

"This guy is wearing this huge, horrible scarlet letter," he says.
"And at the end of the day, a guy can't keep paying for his crimes
over and over and over again, especially someone doing so much good
and spreading so much love, as Jonathan."

Getting arrested and serving time for child molesting--no matter the
circumstances or mitigating factors--tends to winnow the number of a
man's friends. Tonight, Boyer is having dinner with three who stuck by
him. There is Ricky Gonzalez, chief mechanic for the past 26 years at
the nearby Bay Park Hotel, a regular customer at Boyer's shop and the
crew chief on the latest RAAM victory, who Boyer says "is like an
older brother to me." Winston Boyer, Jock's real older brother, who is
as impish and bawdy as Jock is pious and tightly wound, is there, too.
The host for the evening is Peterson Conway, owner of Peterson Conway
Imports in Carmel, speaker of six languages, ex-husband of five wives,
world traveler since he joined the Peace Corps 38 years ago at age 17
and landed in Afghanistan, where James Michener hired him as his
translator; he is also the owner of the Porsche and the mountain lion
rug and Lorenzo the macaw, as well as the 8,500-square-foot house on
the 17 acres sprawled near the top of Jack's Peak, the highest spot on
the Monterey Peninsula, where we are all gathered. "What Sean Connery
is to cinema, he is in my life," Boyer had told me earlier. Maybe it's
because I had already been overloaded with sentiments about men
sharpening men, and Nazi criminals seeking forgiveness and the dangers
of fluoride, but at the time, the statement didn't seem as weird to me
as it does now.

We sit at a counter made of Italian marble, beneath ceilings that once
covered a maharaja's harem quarters, behind a door built in the 18th
century, shipped here from India. Winston Boyer and Conway drink wine
and Jock and I and Garcia have water as we talk about cycling and love
and Lorenzo's dead cousin, Harpo, whose sad fate had led Conway to
climb the tree outside his house with a shotgun and spend a night
waiting for the animal that is now a rug. We swap stories. Conway
remembers a moonlit night in Katmandu, and bowls of hash, and the
strange sensation of cold cobblestones and hot liquid on his bare
feet, and the stoned realization that it was the blood of oxen whose
throats had just been slit, in an adolescent rite of passage, by
teenaged Ghurka soldiers. Winston Boyer recounts the time he was
scheduled to show a collection of masks he had photographed at a
famous New York City art gallery, until, he says, the gallery owner
ran into some financial and legal difficulty and got caught up in a
murder investigation that involved sadomasochism. The man with the
most notorious stories of all doesn't mention them. Conway flambes a
flan with a miniature blowtorch and we all sample the best cheese I
have ever tasted and then Winston's phone rings and he looks at it
while we all look at him.

He smiles a tight smile. "Mom," he says, and he and Jock look at each
other and we all chuckle.

Jock leads us in prayer before dinner, thanking God for the food, and
his wonderful friends and the blessed day. I hear Conway mutter
something I think is Farsi before he serves chicken in herbs that
taste better than any herbs I have ever tasted, and the best tea I
have ever tasted. "Don't bother asking him for the recipe," Jock says.

Over dinner we discuss Boyer's latest RAAM victory. There was a bad
crash in Kansas, a potentially lethal hot-rodder in Arkansas and dead-
of-the-night-searches for fresh fruit in East St. Louis, Illinois.
There were terrible digestive problems and a racing heart rate and
chafing so severe it required massive applications of lidocaine, which
made it necessary for Boyer to drop to all fours in order to urinate.
There were sleep-deprivation-induced hallucinations from coast to
coast.

"I relate to pain," Boyer says. "Even now, for some odd reason, I'm at
home in pain. It seems to be some old friend of mine.

"One of the things that draws me are natural disasters. . . adverse
atmospheric conditions really draw me and I have no idea why. I'm
attracted to natural upheavals. . . if there's this huge
thundershower, lighting, huge windows, blizzards, I just want to be
part of it."

"I attribute all this," Winston Boyer says, "to Jock not taking
drugs."

Boyer and his wife separated in 2000, divorced in 2003. He hasn't
dated since he was released from prison, he says, but now he's ready.
He would like to meet someone, fall in love, settle down and start a
family. His friends talk about fixing him up, joke that he wants a
younger woman, and I make sure I don't obviously cringe. (A few
minutes later, one says that 32 would be the ideal age.) Does Boyer
know how what under most circumstances is merely manly joshing takes
on a sinister, sickly cast, because of his history? If so, he doesn't
show it. There is something reserved about him, guarded, which makes
sense, because he's a smart man, he learned French in a summer, taught
himself about nutrition and fitness, trained himself to be one of the
best cyclists in the world. He forged a magnificent athletic career
from--among other things--being cagey and hiding weakness.

Dinner is over, and the flan is delicious, and there is some more talk
of past races, adventures and misadventures. Soon, Boyer will drive
down the mountain and to his mother's house, where he will sleep on
his electromagnetic pulsing pad, then wake in the morning, to his tea,
and his walk on the beach with Cody, and his professions of gratitude
to God, and to his best efforts to get on with his life.

Thirty-five years ago, when Boyer was first winning cycling races and
dominating the sport in California, one of his chief competitors was
Tom Ritchey. When Boyer went to France and opened the era that would
lead to American dominance in the Tour de France, Ritchey turned his
hand to building bikes and, with a handful of other men, created and
rode the first mountain bikes. He launched Ritchey Design and was
elected into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1988, and today heads
up his eponymous company that is one of the sport's leading
manufacturers of high-quality bicycle components.

I meet Ritchey after four days with Boyer, on my way from Carmel to
the San Francisco airport. Ritchey has ridden his bicycle from his
home in the lush and green Woodside hills, where it sits among those
of Internet millionaires and venture capitalists. We meet at Bucks of
Woodside, a breakfast joint famous for flapjacks and Internet startup
deals. People are dressed in jeans and casual-looking, high-
performance, expensive athletic gear. Ritchey is tall and lean and
fit, wearing cycling shorts and a bicycling jersey. He orders oatmeal.

He tells me that a few years earlier, he realized his life was empty:
Money and status and a home among venture capitalists and Internet
millionaires hadn't brought him real happiness; his business had
gotten away from him; he was in his mid-40s, and while he had most
everything he had ever wanted, he wanted more, and he didn't know how
to get it.

When an acquaintance invited him to Rwanda, to take part in a project
designed to help the citizens of that country, he was skeptical. "I'm
not a giving person," he says. "I had never done anything like it. And
I went there with prejudices, strong opinions." In Africa, everything
changed. That's where Ritchey became involved with Project Rwanda. He
designed a bicycle to help coffee farmers more efficiently transport
their crop, and asked Boyer to be project director and coach of the
Team Rwanda racing team, to help with publicity and awareness for
Project Rwanda. "To me," he says, "Rwanda represents new beginnings.
Goodness, mercy, hope. Rwanda is me. . . .It's anyone having to work
through serious disappointments in life."

It takes Ritchey about 15 minutes to get from his adolescent race
victories, through his middle-aged despair, to rebirth in Africa, and
his oatmeal sits, cooling. He weeps while he talks, unapologetically
and sloppily. He weeps when he speaks of his midlife crisis, and of
the joy he discovered in Rwanda, and of the men's retreats he attends
in Moab once a year, where, "We have a campfire every night, talk
about our lives, share each other's burdens. We're honest about what's
going on. We've got to take out the sword and put each other at point
all the time. . . .It's a deeper way of relating, of connecting."
Ritchey tells me I should think about attending one year. He gives me
a Project Rwanda T-shirt and some Project Rwanda coffee.

Everything about the breakfast meeting--Ritchey's existential crisis,
the men's groups in the desert, the sloppy tears, certainly the T-
shirt and coffee--is slightly but not entirely surprising. Boyer and I
had talked a lot about despair and new beginnings. When I had asked
him for names of people who knew him, who might be able to share their
perceptions of him, maybe he picked someone he thought might be in
tune with the theme of his life as he had discussed it with me. Maybe
he thought I was sympathetic. Or maybe he wanted someone who he
thought knew him well. Certainly he wanted someone who could talk
about his good works in Africa. In any case, while Ritchey is eloquent
on the subject of men and meaning, and the economic calculus of
African coffee production (Rwanda grows an enormous amount of coffee;
the problem is inadequate systems to transport the product, which is
where the bicycle comes in), his knowledge of Boyer is incomplete.
Though they raced together when they were young ("We were more
competitors than friends," Ritchey says), and they ride together now
("Very few people ride at the pace I do. . . He's someone I enjoy
spending hours and hours and hours with in the saddle") there loom
three decades between adolescence and middle age. So, granted, Boyer
has been wonderful at spotting talent in Rwanda and conscientious
about training young Rwandans to be elite cyclists. And yes, Boyer has
been giving and honest and warm during their time in Africa and in the
Utah desert. And sure, pain can help heal, and the point of the sword
and all that stuff.

But what about the girl? What would the young woman she's become say?
How much weight would she give Boyer's good works?

Ritchey had told me earlier during our breakfast that even during his
greatest financial success, "I didn't know who I was." Now, he says,
through pain and self-reflection, he has found the answer. "I am who
my friends are," Ritchey says. "The people who are in my life are who
I am. I had a realization: The people in my life right now are the
reasons I am here. People like Jock."

I ask about what he says to people who want to know about Jock's
crime. I ask what I can say to people who, when I'm telling them about
Boyer's good works, and his athletic accomplishments, berate me when I
get to the words "child molester." The people who tell me I'm doing
harm by writing with anything other than indignation when I write
about this particular crime. This particular criminal.

"You either believe people can change or you don't," Ritchey says.
"It's that simple. You either experience that grace, that forgiveness,
that ability to be merciful, or you don't."

Here are the facts of Jonathan Boyer's life: He won 87 races as an
amateur, 44 as a professional. He was a member of the United States
national team 15 times. He competed in nine world championships.

Here are the facts: He lives with 24-hour guards, behind walls, in a
four-bedroom house in Musanzi, Rwanda. He has been here since autumn
2007. He travels the country looking for promising cyclists, testing
them, training them, encouraging them to join Team Rwanda. He has
tested 50 riders, and from them formed a team of 11. The team has
raced in Algeria and Namibia and South Africa and Morocco and Cameroon
and the United States. At the 2008 Continental Championships, in
Morocco, Team Rwanda placed 10th out of 14. Next year, Boyer hopes to
test about 300 to 400 more riders. Virtually every one of the Rwandan
cyclists comes from a place with no electricity or running water, and
not enough food. "They're definitely used to hard times," Boyer says.
"They have an emotional stability beyond my comprehension." Boyer and
I talk in November 2008. He has just returned from a race with his
team in Morocco, and the next day will be departing for Lethoso. He
wants to make sure I write about his recent work; that people learn
about the impact the cyclists are making in their communities, in the
country, in all of Africa. "People see Team Rwanda, and their first
thought is, 'genocide.' They see these guys riding, and they witness
miracles happening. It blows people away." He tells me that in four to
six years, he plans for Team Rwanda to be racing in the Tour de
France.

Here are the facts: Jonathan Boyer closed his business, moved out of
his mother's house, left the United States to make a new life in a
country where hundreds of thousands of people were murdered 15 years
ago. Here are the facts: He is 53 years old, divorced, single, a
convicted child molester living in Africa, helping people. He returns
to Carmel, California, every October, for his birthday, so he can
register as a sex offender, then goes back to Africa. Since he's been
in Musanzi, two Rwandans he knows--a cyclist and a cook--have become
fathers. The proud parents named their boys Jonathan.

You pray before every meal. You give thanks for the food you are about
to eat, and for the friends who believe in you, and for the wonderful
day ahead. You wake at 6:30, and you drink two cups of coffee before
you walk your dog. You ride your bike, and that helps. You keep busy,
and you eat right, and that helps, too. But there are quiet, still
moments that must feel like lifetimes when you wonder if you will ever
be forgiven.

You cheated your business partner. You lied on your income taxes. You
betrayed a confidence. You gossiped about your best friend. You
neglected your child. You hit your wife. You cheated on your husband.
Maybe you did worse. Maybe you did much worse. You were cowardly. You
acted out of lust, or wounded pride, or anger. You hurt people.

You're not a world-class athlete, and you were never convicted of a
crime. You don't have to endure reporters' questions or public
censure. You have to confront only yourself. You only have to make it
through your own still, quiet moments. Do you apologize to those you
hurt? Would it change anything? Do you give your clothes to the
Salvation Army? Do you volunteer at a soup kitchen? Do you move and
start your life over? Do you do good works to forget your sins or to
atone for them? Does it matter? Does it change anything? Does it
change what you did? Does it change who you are? And who are you? Who
are you?

Steve Friedman's memoir, Looking for Mrs. Friedman and Other Really
Bad Ideas, will be published by Arcade in August.
Ads
  #2  
Old March 21st 09, 06:30 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Tom Sherman[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,890
Default The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer

Ablang ? wrote:
The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer
Does the best thing you do in your life make up for the worst thing
you've ever done? This cycling hero--and convicted felon--might get
closer to an answer than any of us.

By Steve Friedman

http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6...8493-1,00.html
[...]

Seaside, California, police officers arrested Boyer on May 16, 2002,
after a 17-year-old girl told them the cyclist had molested her from
1997 to 2000. She was barely 12 when it started. On September 12,
2002, he pled guilty to seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon
a child, and three counts of penetration by a foreign object or
genital penetration on a person younger than 16. He said he was
remorseful. On November 19, he was sentenced to 20 years in state
prison, a sentence that was immediately stayed, then he was put on
probation for five years, and sent to the Monterey County jail for a
year. At the sentencing, state superior court judge Gary E. Meyer
noted that Boyer posed little threat to the girl or to others and that
he was a good candidate for rehabilitation. Those are the facts. He
slept in a dorm with 60 other men. Breakfast was served at 4 a.m. He
read 50 books, including the complete works of Christian evangelist
Philip Yancey. He was released on July 7, 2003, after serving eight
months. In 2006, at age 51, he won the solo enduro division of the
Race Across America. His probation ended November 7, 2007. Those are
facts, too.

In some states, a 16-year-old who fondles his 14-year-old girlfriend
is guilty of a crime, just as guilty in strict legal terms as someone
who stalks playgrounds, snatching and raping children. If you can
accept that when it comes to sex offenses, even child molesting, there
is a moral spectrum of heinousness, then should we try to put Boyer's
crime--and Boyer--in some sort of context? Boyer thinks we should.
"It's too bad all those [criminal] charges get put in the same box,"
he says. "The fact is they're so varied, the charges. . . they go from
one end to the other. . . .you do have predators out there, the
perverts, you do have people who are bent on molesting countless kids
and who have issues with children. Then you have others who have
overstepped certain boundaries and get put in the same. . . uh. . .
same sort of description."

What exactly did Boyer do? According to court records, he twice "puts
[his] hand inside of Jane Doe's pants and touches Jane Doe's vagina,"
and "digitally penetrates Jane Doe's vagina" a total of eight times.
Once, during the act, he spoke French.

Boyer refuses to discuss the specifics of the crimes. His friends say
his public silence is to protect the girl, now a young woman.[...]


The girl was a post-pubescent adolescent, not a child. Having seen the
way teenage girls chase after older men, it was likely 50-50 that she
initiated the sexual behavior, and almost certain she was a willing
participant. Furthermore, she was spiteful and vengeful to only go to
the police after feeling jilted. Granted, Boyer was a stupid idiot for
getting involved with her, but that is hardly the same thing as
molesting an infant or pre-pubescent child.

Feel free to flame away.

--
Tom Sherman - 42.435731,-83.985007
LOCAL CACTUS EATS CYCLIST - datakoll
  #3  
Old March 21st 09, 08:58 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Bill Sornson[_5_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,541
Default The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer

Ablang wrote:
The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer
Does the best thing you do in your life make up for the worst thing
you've ever done? This cycling hero--and convicted felon--might get
closer to an answer than any of us.

By Steve Friedman

http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6...8493-1,00.html


Thank you for posting that. Extraordinary, moving read.


  #4  
Old March 22nd 09, 03:27 AM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Peter Cole[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,572
Default The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer

Tom Sherman wrote:
Ablang ? wrote:
The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer
Does the best thing you do in your life make up for the worst thing
you've ever done? This cycling hero--and convicted felon--might get
closer to an answer than any of us.

By Steve Friedman

http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6...8493-1,00.html
[...]

Seaside, California, police officers arrested Boyer on May 16, 2002,
after a 17-year-old girl told them the cyclist had molested her from
1997 to 2000. She was barely 12 when it started. On September 12,
2002, he pled guilty to seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon
a child, and three counts of penetration by a foreign object or
genital penetration on a person younger than 16. He said he was
remorseful. On November 19, he was sentenced to 20 years in state
prison, a sentence that was immediately stayed, then he was put on
probation for five years, and sent to the Monterey County jail for a
year. At the sentencing, state superior court judge Gary E. Meyer
noted that Boyer posed little threat to the girl or to others and that
he was a good candidate for rehabilitation. Those are the facts. He
slept in a dorm with 60 other men. Breakfast was served at 4 a.m. He
read 50 books, including the complete works of Christian evangelist
Philip Yancey. He was released on July 7, 2003, after serving eight
months. In 2006, at age 51, he won the solo enduro division of the
Race Across America. His probation ended November 7, 2007. Those are
facts, too.

In some states, a 16-year-old who fondles his 14-year-old girlfriend
is guilty of a crime, just as guilty in strict legal terms as someone
who stalks playgrounds, snatching and raping children. If you can
accept that when it comes to sex offenses, even child molesting, there
is a moral spectrum of heinousness, then should we try to put Boyer's
crime--and Boyer--in some sort of context? Boyer thinks we should.
"It's too bad all those [criminal] charges get put in the same box,"
he says. "The fact is they're so varied, the charges. . . they go from
one end to the other. . . .you do have predators out there, the
perverts, you do have people who are bent on molesting countless kids
and who have issues with children. Then you have others who have
overstepped certain boundaries and get put in the same. . . uh. . .
same sort of description."

What exactly did Boyer do? According to court records, he twice "puts
[his] hand inside of Jane Doe's pants and touches Jane Doe's vagina,"
and "digitally penetrates Jane Doe's vagina" a total of eight times.
Once, during the act, he spoke French.

Boyer refuses to discuss the specifics of the crimes. His friends say
his public silence is to protect the girl, now a young woman.[...]


The girl was a post-pubescent adolescent, not a child. Having seen the
way teenage girls chase after older men, it was likely 50-50 that she
initiated the sexual behavior, and almost certain she was a willing
participant. Furthermore, she was spiteful and vengeful to only go to
the police after feeling jilted. Granted, Boyer was a stupid idiot for
getting involved with her, but that is hardly the same thing as
molesting an infant or pre-pubescent child.

Feel free to flame away.


Lots of issues, lots of denial. Sad. Creepy.
  #5  
Old March 22nd 09, 03:40 AM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Tom Sherman[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,890
Default The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer

Peter Cole wrote:
Tom Sherman wrote:
Ablang ? wrote:
The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer
Does the best thing you do in your life make up for the worst thing
you've ever done? This cycling hero--and convicted felon--might get
closer to an answer than any of us.

By Steve Friedman

http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6...8493-1,00.html
[...]

Seaside, California, police officers arrested Boyer on May 16, 2002,
after a 17-year-old girl told them the cyclist had molested her from
1997 to 2000. She was barely 12 when it started. On September 12,
2002, he pled guilty to seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon
a child, and three counts of penetration by a foreign object or
genital penetration on a person younger than 16. He said he was
remorseful. On November 19, he was sentenced to 20 years in state
prison, a sentence that was immediately stayed, then he was put on
probation for five years, and sent to the Monterey County jail for a
year. At the sentencing, state superior court judge Gary E. Meyer
noted that Boyer posed little threat to the girl or to others and that
he was a good candidate for rehabilitation. Those are the facts. He
slept in a dorm with 60 other men. Breakfast was served at 4 a.m. He
read 50 books, including the complete works of Christian evangelist
Philip Yancey. He was released on July 7, 2003, after serving eight
months. In 2006, at age 51, he won the solo enduro division of the
Race Across America. His probation ended November 7, 2007. Those are
facts, too.

In some states, a 16-year-old who fondles his 14-year-old girlfriend
is guilty of a crime, just as guilty in strict legal terms as someone
who stalks playgrounds, snatching and raping children. If you can
accept that when it comes to sex offenses, even child molesting, there
is a moral spectrum of heinousness, then should we try to put Boyer's
crime--and Boyer--in some sort of context? Boyer thinks we should.
"It's too bad all those [criminal] charges get put in the same box,"
he says. "The fact is they're so varied, the charges. . . they go from
one end to the other. . . .you do have predators out there, the
perverts, you do have people who are bent on molesting countless kids
and who have issues with children. Then you have others who have
overstepped certain boundaries and get put in the same. . . uh. . .
same sort of description."

What exactly did Boyer do? According to court records, he twice "puts
[his] hand inside of Jane Doe's pants and touches Jane Doe's vagina,"
and "digitally penetrates Jane Doe's vagina" a total of eight times.
Once, during the act, he spoke French.

Boyer refuses to discuss the specifics of the crimes. His friends say
his public silence is to protect the girl, now a young woman.[...]


The girl was a post-pubescent adolescent, not a child. Having seen the
way teenage girls chase after older men, it was likely 50-50 that she
initiated the sexual behavior, and almost certain she was a willing
participant. Furthermore, she was spiteful and vengeful to only go to
the police after feeling jilted. Granted, Boyer was a stupid idiot for
getting involved with her, but that is hardly the same thing as
molesting an infant or pre-pubescent child.

Feel free to flame away.


Lots of issues, lots of denial. Sad. Creepy.


Or maybe you are projecting the young woman as you would like to see
your daughter (if you have one)? Despite the role society tries to force
on them, teenage girls are hardly chaste by nature. Accept it.

When I was in college during a summer session, we had a bunch of JTPA
teenagers also staying in the dorm. Several 13 to 16 year old girls were
all over the male councilors, flirting like crazy, and these men were in
the mid 20's to early 40's. And the men were NOT encouraging the behavior.

--
Tom Sherman - 42.435731,-83.985007
LOCAL CACTUS EATS CYCLIST - datakoll
  #6  
Old March 22nd 09, 07:21 AM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Tom Sherman[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,890
Default The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer

aka Jobst Brandt wrote:
Tom Sherman wrote:

Lots of issues, lots of denial. Sad. Creepy.


Or maybe you are projecting the young woman as you would like to see
your daughter (if you have one)? Despite the role society tries to
force on them, teenage girls are hardly chaste by nature. Accept it.


When I was in college during a summer session, we had a bunch of
JTPA teenagers also staying in the dorm. Several 13 to 16 year old
girls were all over the male councilors, flirting like crazy, and
these men were in the mid 20's to early 40's. And the men were NOT
encouraging the behavior.


I recall when a mere fourth grader that the girls were the ones who
wanted to play doctor. Of course we were always sick at the same body
part.

Reading Dr. John Money et al about normal childhood sexual behavior and
the ills (i.e. deviancy) caused by repressing it was an eye opener. Too
bad his work remains obscure to the mainstream - of course it flies in
the face of puritan denial of normal behavior to create self-induced
suffering.

The various puritan groups are generally a miserable lot who want to
impose the same misery on others.

--
Tom Sherman - 42.435731,-83.985007
LOCAL CACTUS EATS CYCLIST - datakoll
  #7  
Old March 22nd 09, 05:17 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Tom Keats
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 3,193
Default The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer

In article ,
Tom Sherman writes:

The real issue is sex between a child (16) and an adult. That was the
crime that the subject of the article committed. It was an immoral and
illegal act. Rationalizing it on the basis of the minor's behavior is
offensive. It's classic blame the victim.

Peter misses my point. What Boyer did is far less offensive that an
adult buggering [1] a pre-pubescent child. Calling Boyer a criminal or
immoral is fine, categorizing him with the highly pejorative "child
molester" is too strong of a statement.

[1] Used in the legal sense.


Kids who get caught up one way or another in sexual
relations with adults seem to wind up all psychologically
messed up in their later years.

With casual hetero sex there's always a risk of
ensuing pregnancy. It takes an uncaring, unloving,
selfish lout to foist that risk upon a girl who's
simply not prepared for it. Even if it's the girl
who breaks down the man's resistance to temptation,
and does the seducing. Girls generally do not
demand sexual favours from adult men at gunpoint;
men are free to say "no," and do the right thing
(or not do the wrong thing.)

When one thinks about it, "immoral" is a stronger,
albeit less socially charged statement than "molester."

I dunno that making a show of being such an humanitarian
or riding a bicycle somehow negates one from being an
uncaring, unloving, selfish lout. I guess it can be
conscience-massaging.

If this Jonathan Boyer guy really wants to make amends,
he should become pregnant, and develop maternal instincts.


cheers,
Tom

--
Nothing is safe from me.
I'm really at:
tkeats curlicue vcn dot bc dot ca


  #8  
Old March 23rd 09, 12:25 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Peter Cole[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,572
Default The Impossible Redemption of Jonathan Boyer

Tom Sherman wrote:
Peter Cole wrote:


The real issue is sex between a child (16) and an adult. That was the
crime that the subject of the article committed. It was an immoral and
illegal act. Rationalizing it on the basis of the minor's behavior is
offensive. It's classic blame the victim.

Peter misses my point. What Boyer did is far less offensive that an
adult buggering [1] a pre-pubescent child. Calling Boyer a criminal or
immoral is fine, categorizing him with the highly pejorative "child
molester" is too strong of a statement.

[1] Used in the legal sense.


I didn't use the term. The term was used (as a device) by the article's
author, mostly to de-sensitize the reader and set up a defense of the
subject, in a rather blatant manipulation. A sample:

"The child molester and I spend four days together in late spring 2007.
It's terrible and perhaps unfair to refer to him as "child molester,"
because he accomplished things as an athlete that few others have, and
over the past few years he has, by almost any measure, lived the life
of a world-class do-gooder. But "child molester" is exactly how a lot
of people who know a little bit about him, especially those who have
never met him, think of him even if they don't refer to him that way."

After using the term repeatedly, the author then reveals the
"unfairness" of the term. He then follows with the rather weak argument
that you echo:

"In some states, a 16-year-old who fondles his 14-year-old girlfriend
is guilty of a crime, just as guilty in strict legal terms as someone
who stalks playgrounds, snatching and raping children. If you can
accept that when it comes to sex offenses, even child molesting, there
is a moral spectrum of heinousness, then should we try to put Boyer's
crime--and Boyer--in some sort of context? Boyer thinks we should.
"It's too bad all those [criminal] charges get put in the same box,"
he says. "The fact is they're so varied, the charges. . . they go from
one end to the other. . . .you do have predators out there, the
perverts, you do have people who are bent on molesting countless kids
and who have issues with children. Then you have others who have
overstepped certain boundaries and get put in the same. . . uh. . .
same sort of description.""

The facts are that the guy molested a 12 year old, repeatedly. Perhaps
what he did doesn't fit your idea of "molestation", but it fits mine
(and the DA's too, apparently). Perhaps you don't consider a 12 year old
a child. I do. His oblique "overstepped certain boundaries" doesn't give
me a strong sense of his remorse and acceptance of responsibility.

The author reveals the convicted man as devout, a characteristic they
apparently share, since there are references to praying together. The
criminal acts occurred some time after the convicted man's baptism into
the Seventh-Day Adventist church. The actual charge was: "lewd and
lascivious acts upon a child, and three counts of penetration by a
foreign object or genital penetration on a person younger than 16". The
convicted man spent a year in prison.

I don't think the California law is unreasonable, nor do I think there
are (or could be) any conditions that would make this a miscarriage of
justice. I'm not sure what your point (or the author's) is. If it's
merely that the term "child molester" should be reserved for sex crimes
against younger victims (12?), I can't say I agree, but that's the
author's straw man, since he's the only one using the term, and he's
doing it in a frankly manipulative manner.

The man committed a crime and was punished. The fact that some may lump
all sexual criminals together, regardless of the severity of the crime
and ongoing threat to society, may be unfortunate in his case. That
doesn't make him less of a criminal. You can not de-criminalize his acts
by blaming the victim, but that seems to be the agenda. The insinuation
is that the convicted was/is a devout and righteous man led down the
path of seduction by an adolescent Jezebel. That's shameful. I'm not buying.
 




Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Redemption Krusty Racing 3 December 18th 06 08:51 AM
Boyer B. Lafferty Racing 1 June 21st 06 10:22 PM
27 Jonathan Boyer (Time Factory Tm) 7.57 Casey Diaz Racing 95 June 8th 06 01:18 PM
I saw Boyer in Bisbee. Callistus Valerius Racing 17 May 6th 06 04:45 AM
How impossible is the impossible wheel? lleberg Unicycling 5 January 15th 05 09:33 AM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004-2022 CycleBanter.com.
The comments are property of their posters.