Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Evidence That Judge Did Not Call Kent Hovind's Crimes Worse Than Rape

This post was originally published on Forbes Jul 31, 2015

Eight people have signed affidavits that they  heard Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers say that Kent Hovind's crimes were worse than rape when she sentenced him on his 58 count conviction for interfering with the administration of the internal revenue code, failing to file payroll returns for Creation Science Evangelism and structuring.  The "worse than rape" comment does not appear in the official transcript.  Hovind's sentencing was in 2007, so you might wonder why there is still controversy about this.  Here's the story.

The Hovindicators

When the federal government prosecuted Young Earth Creationist Kent Hovind for actions he took while in prison to affect the title to property seized by the government as the result of his first conviction a vigorous social media campaign emerged in his defense.  It's flagship website is #FreeKent and the primary youtube channel is Rudy Davis's LoneStar1776. Kent Hovind's defenders constructed a narrative of a godly man who had not broken any laws being persecuted by altogether wicked people -judge, prosecutors and IRS agents- because he was so successful in exposing the lie of evolution, one of the key components of the Satanic plan to impose a New World Order.

One of the key elements in the narrative was the "worse than rape" statement which was taken as one of the proofs that Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers is altogether wicked.

Remember Paul Hansen

Hovind was convicted this March of contempt of court, with the jury not reaching a verdict on more serious mail fraud and conspiracy charges.  Retrial was scheduled in May, but the federal prosecutors withdrew the remaining charges without prejudice.  To the surprise of many and the delight of the Hovindicators, Judge Rodgers then voided Kent Hovind's conviction for contempt.  So you might think that the Hovindicators would have softened a bit in their view of Judge Rodgers.  Apparently not.

They are still worried about the fate of Hovind's codefendant Paul Hansen, whose contempt citation was not reversed.  He faces sentencing by Judge Rodgers on August 21.  So Rudy Davis is pushing the "worse than rape" piece of the narrative with renewed vigor.

Another Witness Heard From

As I often lament I'm just a tax blogger, not an investigative reporter.  I never knew what to make of the "worse than rape" part of the narrative.  The affidavits were gathered in 2008 in conjunction with Hovind's appeal.  The Eleventh Circuit upheld his conviction and his sentence.  Most significant in my mind was that the sentence was within the guidelines.
Jonathan Schwartz is an investigative reporter, who through Interlock Media has made some hard-hitting documentaries on prison issues including Faith In The Big House.  Jonathan covered Kent's trial in March.  In an interview released today he spoke with Jen Fishburne, who covered Kent's first trial on her blog Jen's Gems.

Jen, who is quite sympathetic to Kent Hovind and has fond memories of visiting Dinosaur Adventureland with her home schooled kids relates that at the sentencing she was the only one taking notes and that there was no statement of the judge comparing Kent's crimes to rape.

The discussion begins around 7:30.  Jen's account of what the judge said begins around 12:00.

What About The Affidavits?

As Jen relates and is reflected in the transcript Eric Hovind, in a statement in support of leniency for his mother, said that his father was being treated more harshly than a rapist. According to Jen, Eric recently confirmed her account.  In her account ,Jen indicates that she understood the affidavits to have been many years after the event.  They were actually signed not quite 15 months afterward.

From Another Hovindologist

I asked Dee Holmes for her thoughts on the whole matter.  She gave me the excerpt from Eric''s testimony that may be the source of the confusion.
I'm looking into your face and I realize you gave my dad ten years in prison and that's okay. I realize that this Court considered my dad and what he did worse than a rapist and that's okay. I also understand that the heart of the king, as Daniel 4 says, is in God's hand. If the heart of king is in God's hand, then can I assure you the heart of judges and the heart of everybody else in here is in God's hand and God's will is going to be done.
She went on:
Rudy can blather all he wants, but the fact of the matter is that contemporaneous reports of Kent’s sentencing do not mention “worse than a rapist.” Jen Fishburne doesn’t mention “worse than a rapist” in her blog post. It only comes up in this transcript of Jo’s sentencing. 
Moreover, there are real problems with the affidavits collected by Greg Dixon and sent to Lindsey Springer (who himself is locked up until 2023 on tax-related charges). Two of the affidavits are by family members (Jo and Kent Jr.). The other three affidavits are likely by people close to the family or employed at DAL or CSE. All of the extant affidavits were entered 15 months after Kent’s sentencing (that is, April 2008) and, just as importantly, after Jo’s sentencing in June 2007. 
Sure, talk about Rudy’s crazy all you want, but to be very clear—Rudy is also the same guy who is a birther and believes in geocentrism. These are two provably wrong things. I think he’s provably wrong on this as well.
I remain somewhat skeptical of the relevance of this part of the narrative to the fate of Paul Hansen, but since the Hovindicators place so much stock in it and there has been some trouble taken to question their claims, I thought it worth discussing.


Rudy Davis has done a response to the Jen Fishburne interview.  I haven't been able to listen to all of it.

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