March 4, 2010

More on the Becker hearing ...

Following Wednesday's sentencing hearing for former Mayor Gary Becker, Judge Stephen Simanek said to a nearly empty court room he was surprised by his own ruling.

"If you would have told me on Monday this would happen, I wouldn't have believed you," he said shortly after sending Becker to prison for three years for crimes related to an Internet sex sting in January 2008.

Interestingly, the action that sent Becker to prison wasn't illegal. Simanek said Becker's decision to go shopping at Boston Store for women's underwear convinced him the former mayor needed to go to prison for further treatment.

Much was made about the size of the underwear and whether it was for young girls or a 46-year-old woman who Becker was apparently dating. Simanek said he didn't care who it was for, it was stupid for Becker to be shopping for women's underwear 15 days before his sentencing hearing.
DA Mike Nieskes with display
of lingerie like that Becker bought;
Asst. DA Robert Repischak in foreground

No doubt that's true. But Becker really didn't break a law in shopping for women's underwear. His parole bond didn't have a condition to avoid lingerie departments or refrain from giving bras and panties as gifts. Even sex offenders can buy underwear.

Becker's crime was not playing the game. Simanek said Becker's attorney, Pat Cafferty, worked the system perfectly. Monday, Becker was set to receive probation and no prison time for his actions. He could go on rebuilding houses and living a somewhat normal life in the city he once oversaw as mayor. Wednesday, he was in prison.

Just as a fateful trip to a mall started his legal troubles, it was a fateful trip to a mall that ended Becker's legal troubles behind bars.

It was interesting to watch Judge Simanek's vitriol at Becker during the hearing. I noted on the live-blog of yesterday's hearing it was almost like Simanek was saying, "Gary, you idiot. You were off the hook, but now I have to send you away."

But Becker's action backed the judge into a corner. When the District Attorney pulled out a display board with a hot pink bra with a butterfly on it for the TV cameras, Simanek's own reputation was on the line. It was already going to be unpopular to let the former mayor walk. After the Boston Store purchases, Simanek decided it was impossible.

As an observer untrained in sex crimes and legal proceedings, it seems hard to say if Becker is a danger to society. He obviously had some dark, disturbing thoughts about sex and young girls. But for all those chats, he never (or at least was never able) to follow through on those impulses. According to court records, one expert said Becker wasn't a threat, and another said he was. Probably best to err on the side of yes, while acknowledging how close the court was to saying no.

What's easy to say is Becker failed to play the game. The system was wired for him to walk away from all this, and he screwed it up. Simanek called it arrogance and a sense of invincibility. Others may call it an addiction or a sickness. No matter the label, Becker has a few years at Dodge Correctional Facility to, hopefully for his own sake, sort out a confused life and return a better man.

* Credit Assistant District Attorney Robert Repischak with the line of the day from Wednesday's dramatic, at times bizarre, hearing. Repischak said of Becker: "He was following a deviant rainbow hoping at the end he'll find a pot of gold that's a 14-year-old girl."

* Following the hearing, I asked Cafferty if he'd be willing to talk about the case. He declined, saying he had to talk with Becker about an appeal.

Atty. Pat Cafferty and Gary Becker during the sentencing hearing


  1. Was it "invisibility" or "invincibility?"

  2. I thought Steve said invincibility.

  3. "But for all those chats, he [Becker] never (or at least was never able) to follow through on those impulses."

    How dare you say that? Do you know that for a fact? What the hell are you talking about?

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  5. It's amazing that Pat Cafferty said "he never acted on his impulses". What the hell do you call driving to a mall after arranging a meeting with a 14 year old to buy underwear and go to a hotel? Christ!

  6. Lawyers are paid liars. I'd rather be a cancerous tumor than a lawyer.

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  8. "But for all those chats, he never (or at least was never able) to follow through on those impulses."

    Who wrote this opinion? Dustin? Really? I mean, really? Read what you wrote. If you truly believe this, you have lost me. Your site is done.

  9. Dustin - You must have heard from someone's lawyer.

  10. The Judge's decision is strange as hell. The difference between giving jail time or probation was based on Becker buying underwear. That's nuts. Throw him in jail for his actual offenses, but for buying panties? I bet that, based upon the judge actually making these dumb remarks, Becker will successfully appeal.

  11. Even in prison, the prisoners have a code and standard and a pedophile is the lowest of the low. I hope Becker meets a good friend while he is in prison and mark my words, when he is released, he will screw up his probation...pedophiles are never cured and never rehabilitated. NEVER. Judge Simanek and his leniency is a slap in the face to Racine citizens.

  12. When he had affairs in City Hall he acted on his impulses.

    When he hung out in the community centers in Racine to watch youth sports he was acting on his impulses.

    When Gary was running around town to his favorite bars hustling girls he was acting on his impulses. Even when the bar or room was filled with other government officials he was always on the prowl.

    The minute Gary got in his car to drive to Brookfield he acted on his impulse.

    When he tried to get everyone who answered their phone to get him gas, when he ran out on the way to Brookfield, he acted on his impulse.

    When he walked into the mall he acted on his impulse

    When he when he walked into the Victoria Secret store he acted on his impulse.

    When he walked into Boston Store two weeks ago he acted on his impulses.

    Anyone who thinks because there was a Cop at the Victoria Secret instead of a 14 year old that means he didn't act on his impulses doesn't get the picture. There is trend here people that goes years back.

    Let's hope for everyone's sake when he gets out in a few years he finally learns not to act on his impulses.

  13. I agree that saying he didn't act on his impulses is the epitome of stupidly. That's all this guy has ever done. The question is, during his travels to other cities as mayor, how many other liaisons did he have? I, for one, do not believe this it the first incident. I think he was just clever enough not to do it right in in own back yard.

  14. Too bad that Dickert is still good friends with Becker.

  15. I am not following the line of reasoning in this sentencing. Becker went to a mall with the full intention of having sex with a 14-year old girl. He was also in possession of child pornography. And he was going to get probation! But a shopping trip for a consensual relationship doomed him. I am glad he was sentenced to prison but isn't it time to take pedophilia seriously?

  16. I'm going out on a limb here but bear with me. Becker was convicted and will go to prison for four years. Some think it's too much, most think it's too little. Personally I would rather go to prison for 25 years for murder than 1 year for pedophilia. If the other prisoners don't kill him with daily beatings he has to live the rest of his life as a registered SEX offender. HE WILL NEVER STOP PAYING FOR THIS CRIME. May God have mercy on his soul.

  17. Everyone who knew how Becker behaved and didn't alert the citizens of Racine about Becker are guilty too. It's high time people stand up to these kind of predatory men.

  18. ". But for all those chats, he never (or at least was never able) to follow through on those impulses."

    whoever wrote that should be declared legally retarded.

    of course he acted on those impulses every chance he got, and i'm sure he was successful on occasion.

    you go for anything that walks, you get what you're looking for sometimes.

    this online rag is still in becker's corner

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