George Conger at Get Religion draws attention to a riveting story from Belgium. The wife of the notorious pedophile murderer Marc Dutroux has been released early from prison, and has been taken in by the Poor Clare nuns. Excerpt from the AP account:
The ex-wife of a notorious pedophile who aided her husband’s horrific abuse and murder of young girls – and who let two children starve to death while her husband was in jail – was approved Tuesday for early release from prison, infuriating the victims’ parents and reopening a dark chapter in Belgian history.
Michelle Martin, who is now 52, received a 30-year prison term in 2004 for not freeing girls her then-husband Marc Dutroux held captive behind a secret door in their decrepit, dirty basement in Marcinelle, 40 miles south of Brussels.
Dutroux, 55, is serving a life term for kidnapping, torturing and abusing six girls in 1995 and 1996, and murdering four of them.
During those years, Dutroux also spent four months in jail for theft, leaving it to his wife to feed Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, a pair of friends imprisoned in the basement. Martin let the girls starve to death. They were 8 years old.
I am stunned and disgusted by this. Counting the time she was in jail before her trial, Martin has spent 16 years in prison — this, for helping her husband kidnap little girls he sexually tortured, and herself starving two kidnapped children to death.
If the nuns took her in after she served her full sentence, I would personally find that distasteful, but a profoundly Christian act. Yet this woman has not served her sentence. She killed two children by starving them to death, and yet, she will go free after only 16 years behind bars — apparently because the nuns agreed to receive her.
Those nuns disgust me. Where is their compassion for the dead girls? Where is their compassion for the families of those children who were imprisoned and sexually tortured in Dutroux and Martin’s dungeon? It is an outrage. If you ask me, this woman Martin should spend the rest of her life in prison for what she did. The Belgian system, aided by these nuns, is content to let her spend only 16 years for her homicidal sadism. Let the nuns go visit her in prison, pray with her, visit her, help her repentance. But receive her into the relative freedom of a convent instead of a prison? How is this right? How on earth?
Shame on those nuns. Shame. And shame of the Belgian legal system. Sixteen years for child murder, and then off to a convent. What a perversion of justice! I don’t understand this at all. I’m not at all saying that Martin is beyond redemption. I am only saying that she is a sadist and a child murderer who belongs in jail, not a convent.
Am I missing something here? Or what?
UPDATE: In the comments, several of you are missing my point. I don’t object at all to the nuns receiving a despicable person like Michelle Martin. I know perfectly well, from a theological point of view, why they would do so. I don’t have a problem with that. What I object to is that their willingness to receive her apparently allowed her to be released after serving only 16 years of a 30 year sentence (which was way too light, but whatever) for torturing two children to death.
If they wanted to receive her after she had paid her debt, I wouldn’t have any problem with that. If they wanted to receive her because she was to be released anyway, and had nowhere to go, I wouldn’t have had any problem with that either. It’s the (apparent) fact that they said they were willing to receive her, and that it was that willingness that got her sprung early, that appalls.
UPDATE.2: AFP’s reporting indicates that the Belgian justice system granted the parole because the nuns agreed to take Martin in. Once again, a misplaced sense of religiously motivated compassion for a sexual torturer perverts justice. I’m so tired of this.