Saturday, 7 March 2009

Quick hit: Fritzl expecting life imprisonment

Stuff today carries this report from Reuters:
Josef Fritzl, a 73-year-old Austrian who locked his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her, expects to spend the rest of his life in jail, his lawyer said.

Fritzl goes on trial in a provincial court on March 16 for the murder of a child who died shortly after being born in the cellar, as well as five other charges including incest.

"He is 73 years old. The (length of) the sentence is of no importance to him," Fritzl's lawyer Rudolf Mayer told Austrian state news agency APA, adding that his client expected to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Fritzl has not appealed the charges.

He will plead guilty to the charges of deprivation of liberty, rape, incest and coercion but will contest the murder charge, Mayer said.

Josef Fritzl is not a "Sex Monster," Mayer said, referring to media headlines, and "loved (Elisabeth) in his own way."

Click through for the whole article.

What bugs me about this case is how there has been so little about how and why it happened. Yes we can just dismiss Fritzl as a monster, put him in jail then turn away, but that doesn't actually help to stop more crimes of this type in the future.


Paul said...

His behaviour was so perverse that it is difficult to imagine any action which would prevent its repetition by someone else. The state can educate people about behaviours that are unnaceptable but widely practised, such as domestic violence, but how would one prevent something like this, which is both abhorrent and unique?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Paul. How can you prevent something like this? No sane rational person would expect this to happen to them or anyone they know. And they shouldn't have to. I'm disturbed by how his lawyer seems to be explaining away his actions and doesn't see his actions as those of a highly disturbed person.

anna c said...

I have to disagree, Paul - this is at the extreme end of the scale, and no-ones suggesting we give teenagers lessons in why locking one's daughter in the cellar and repeatedly raping her for twenty years is wrong, but there is a scale here. This is an extreme form, of course, but it follows the pattern of so much abuse and control - and I'd be very surprised if it didn't start off in a more common (but nevertheless horrific) form.

Paul said...

I suppose if we could escape the notion of a man's family being his property, we would make a start. That notion is outdated, although still strong amongst religious fundamentalists. I would like to think that most men do not think that way, and that most women are not prepared to accept submission as a consequence of marriage, but I may be wrong.

Anna said...

Interesting point, Paul. I don't know a great deal about religious communities, but I've been chatting to a Dutch mate who's described some of the exclusive Dutch Reform Church communities in his own homeland. I haven't followed the Fritzl case particularly - did he belong to a 'closed' community of any sort? It's quite hard to imagine how such a thing could have gone on, unnoticed, over such a long period of time, or why no one raised concerns. When someone's activities are as bizarre as Fritzl's, it's hard to imagine what sort of community response could prevent them, other than people simply keeping an eye on their neighbours.

Anonymous said...

if josef fritzl is not a sex monster than i hardly think forced sex (without consent) is ok for 20 years -- yes i would say he is more than a sex monster -- a sex animal -- he is the lowest form of depravity spiritually -- without regard for human life. to survive poor elizabeth had to have sex to save herself and her children. that is not love. that is depravity of the lowest level. there was no love there -- just animalistic lust with no consideration for human life. perhaps if mr. mayer would have a member of his family subjected to this kind of torture for 20 years he would realize that fritzl is indeed a sex monster as well as a deeply depraved animalistic human being who does not understand the meaning of love.