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'No Longer a Danger': Convicted Child Molester Set Free After Transitioning to Female

Joseph Matthew Smith (Photo: Buena Vista County Jail)

Joseph Matthew Smith was convicted of abusing a student at Midwest Christian Services in 2014. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is letting him go now because he is on hormones in preparation for a “sex change” operation and the state no longer deems him a threat.

The state dismissed the application to continue to hold him in prison on January 9 while a spokesperson for Attorney General Lynn Hicks would only say “an offender’s hormone levels are an important part of substantiating an offender’s likelihood of recidivism,” according to the Des Moines Register. 

In November, the Storm Lake Times reported that Smith was “undergoing medical treatment that is needed prior to (Smith) potentially undergoing gender reassignment surgery.” Unbelievably, Smith received “treatment” for his transition while incarcerated at the Newton Correctional Facility, paid for by taxpayers. Smith now demands to be known as Josie in court records and the state is complying. “We don’t believe we have evidence sufficient to prove Josie Smith has a significant chance of reoffending,” Hicks said.

A report by Dr. Jeffrey Davis, the state’s expert, said Smith molested up to fifteen victims ranging in age from 1 to 13. He was sentenced for his crimes and sent to prison in December 2015.

A spokesman for the  Iowa Department of Corrections said Smith was transferred on Saturday to the Sioux City Residential Treatment Facility for transitional release. There is no information on when that release will happen.

The Attorney General’s office wants to assure the public that Smith is not a threat because they claim they will monitor him for the rest of his life on the sex-offender registry and he will have regular meetings with a probation officer. Hicks said, “Josie Smith will be subject to strict sex-offender reporting required of those who commit the crimes she [sic] did,” Hicks said. “She’ll [sic] be subject to supervision for the rest of her [sic] life.”

According to Iowa law, the state must prove that an offender has a chance of reoffending greater than 51% for the rest of his life in order to keep him incarcerated.

Medical Daily reported on some studies done on hormone therapy for sex offenders that seem to show that chemical castration is effective as long as it is used. Discontinuation of hormones leads to an upsurge in sexual urges. Smith’s hormone treatment is voluntary and not court-ordered, which means he could stop taking it ant any time. It is also not clear if the hormones Smith is taking are the same as the hormone therapy that sex offenders are given to reduce sexual urges.

Overall, hormonal treatments appear to be effective for some offenders and other people who suffer from unwanted urges. In a 1991 Johns Hopkins study, less than 10 percent of 626 “chemically castrated” patients had committed sexual offenses five years after treatment. A Korean study of 38 chemical castration patients discovered reductions in frequency and intensity of sexual drive, frequency of masturbation and sexual fantasies, yet, during the first two months after cessation of treatment, the patients experienced an unexpected upsurge of testosterone levels and intense sexual drive and fantasy. Another Korean study found chemical castration reduced the frequency and intensity of sexual thoughts in the majority though not all patients.

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Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo,” and host of The Fringe podcast. Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter