A 23-year-old convicted of raping or molesting as many as 15 children may walk free after serving under five years behind bars—simply because he’s making a gender transition.
The Iowa attorney general is reportedly no longer seeking to imprison Joseph Matthew Smith, who now goes by “Josie,” because he identifies as a female and has been taking estrogen medication over the past two years.
Many are outraged by the decision to release Smith, who has been convicted of raping and molesting babies as young as one, and children up to 13 years old.
This is terrifying…
Man convicted of sex crimes (whose victims range from ages 1 to 13) , is no longer deemed threat because of gender change. https://t.co/IWgKNBWNgX
— Obianuju Ekeocha (@obianuju) January 30, 2020
The backing behind Smith’s early release is due to the fact that the hormone replacement therapy will take away his “male sex drive,” according to the Cherokee Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders. It is allegedly much more difficult for the state to prove an individual is at risk to repeat offenses once their testosterone levels are lowered.
A spokesperson for the attorney general, Lynn Hicks, stated that because Smith has been taking hormone therapy since 2017, the state of Iowa does not have “evidence sufficient to prove Josie Smith has a significant chance of reoffending.”
Hicks said Smith “will be subject to strict sex-offender reporting and supervision” for the remainder of his life, though that offers little consolation given the severity of his sex crimes.
Even the state’s medical expert on the matter sees reason for concern. Dr. Jeffrey Davis says that there is statistically a 20% chance Smith will have a repeat offense within the next five years.
“Mr. Smith has not had an intimate relationship,” Dr. Davis’ report stated. “His sexual encounters appear to have primarily involved molestation, including his own molestation by multiple perpetrators, or his victimization of others.”
Davis had recommended that Smith be indefinitely committed to the Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders, but in order to do so, the state of Iowa would need to prove he has over a 50% chance of committing a repeat offense.
That probability becomes “becomes harder to prove when an offender significantly lowers his testosterone levels, which has a significantly higher impact on sex drive than estrogen,” The Des Moines Register reported.
As of now, the date for Smith’s release has not been determined.