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Kevin* is a likable guy who lives with his wife in New Jersey. And he's on probation after serving time in a federal prison for committing a disturbing crime. Producer Pat Walters helps untangle a difficult story about accountability, and a troubling set of questions about identity and self-control. Kevin's doctor, neuroscientist Orrin Devinsky, claims that what happened to Kevin could happen to any of us under similar circumstances -- in a very real way, it wasn't entirely his fault. But prosecutor Lee Vartan explains why he believes Kevin is responsible just the same, and should have served the maximum sentence.

 

NOTE: We agreed not to reveal Kevin's real name in our reporting. If you know him or figure out his real name, please don't post it here -- in order to respect Kevin's privacy on our site, we'll remove any comments mentioning or linking to his real name.

Produced by:

Pat Walters

Comments [8]

Joe from New Jersey from New jersey

This is the first time I have spoken about this to strangers. It is not an easy subject to talk about. My story parallels Kevin's almost verbatim; I was arrested for the same crime. This crime only happened in my home, no where else. I don,t why I committed this crime but I knew what I was doing was wrong and yet I proceeded with my actions anyway. I blame myself entirely for my actions, no one else. This was 5 years ago; I am ashamed and still cannot forgive myself. I am on medication and have not repeated my crime. Listening to Kevin's story helped me realize that I am not alone in this and I am human and vulnerable to temptation. Than you for the show. This is a subject that needs to be explored further.

May. 04 2014 03:04 PM
Li

I believe that without Human Responsibility being as inherent as Human Rights, there is no protection between us and the Void. "Kevin" knew he was doing wrong, and CHOSE to ignore it. Ask yourself what you would do if your spouse or best friend or parent were into kiddie porn. If "nothing", you are an accomplice. There is a reason for all human behavior, this case is clear and to the extent that the judge followed sentencing guidelines, I agree with her. It is interesting to note that he WAS in counseling but kept his perversion secret from the one guy who could have and would have fixed him. I also note that his CLAIM to be "cured" is just a claim. He IS a pedophile at least virtually, what makes anyone believe he is actually on his meds? What makes people think, his weekend hobby isn't abduction and rape? After all, he can't "help" himself, its his brain's fault. What we know for sure is that he not only can't control his worst impulses, but won't seek help to control them. If prison /institutionalization is to protect the public, the question is, how do we protect ourselves from him? Who monitors him for the rest of his life?

Mar. 22 2014 02:00 AM
Jen Bailey

David, the disease referenced in this story was Kluver-Bucy syndrome.

Nov. 20 2013 01:40 AM
David Nielson from Salt Lake City, UT

I couldn't quite figure out how to spell or search for the name of the disorder mentioned in this story. Could you post it here please? Thanks.

Nov. 14 2013 08:17 PM
Anna

This was an interesting story because it made me think more about how pedophilia is a neurological/uncontrollable urge that many people suffer with and don't necessarily act on. There was a Dan Savage podcast voicemail from a man who was suicidal because he couldn't rid himself of thoughts, but didn't want to seek help for fear of being thrown in jail. This is a good article about the topic -
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/i-pedophile/278921/

Sep. 27 2013 03:44 AM
Dave P from SLC, Utah

This podcast was very difficult to listen to. Earlier this year my wife answered our door to find a group of detectives from the State Attorney Generals Crimes Against Children Task Force. Officers rushed in and searched our entire house. They went through all of our personal things searching for child pornography. I was not home at the time, but received a call from my neighbor telling me that police were at my home. I tried calling my wife but there was no answer (they had taken her phone). I rushed home thinking that my wife and 18 month old son had been murdered. I walk in and am met with a search warrant for child pornography. I look to my wife and can only guess what she is thinking. I am immediately taken away and questioned; awful questions. I claim innocence, but no one believes me. They search my home, find nothing and leave after 6 hours. I had the worst night of my life. I was unable to sleep and was nervous the entire next day for any sound; any closing door or any knock on the neighbor’s door. Are they back? Am I going to lose my life and my family for something that I did not do? Ultimately, it turns out that it was all a mistake and I should never have been targeted (they had the IP address wrong). This experience has changed my world view and has caused me to think about things that I never thought that I would have to think about before. I have great sympathy for those who are wrongly accused and find myself with less sympathy than I had before for those who are factually guilty of heinous crimes. Sentences are not just to punish the offender, but are also to keep society safe from the crimes that offenders may continue to commit if not incarcerated. While I don’t feel that “Kevin” is entirely to “blame,” for his crimes, I feel that the judge in this case did the right thing.

Sep. 20 2013 02:41 PM
Mallorie from Las Vegas

Listening to this my heart breaks for Kevin. I hope he reads this, and knows walking though this story with him, there is no way I could judge him.
I am so sorry anyone had to go though this.

Sep. 19 2013 12:05 PM
Roger from Queensland, Australia

Some relevant books:

"Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will" [Paperback]
Nancey Murphy (Author), Warren S. Brown (Author)

http://www.amazon.com/Neurons-Make-Philosophical-Neurobiological-Responsibility/dp/0199568235

"Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience" [Hardcover]
Sally Satel (Author), Scott O. Lilienfeld (Author)

http://www.amazon.com/Brainwashed-Seductive-Appeal-Mindless-Neuroscience/dp/0465018777

Sep. 17 2013 05:30 PM

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