Rude Boy

The Making of a Schoolyard Sex Offender

J.J.'s nursery crimes had turned into felonious assaults. Maybe they were momentary lapses in the life of a boy interrupted—crimes he committed when he was not thinking like his hero Martin Luther King. Make no excuses for what J.J. did to little Keisha and little Dee Dee. But he is not to be blamed. The real culprits are the smut peddlers who robbed him of his innocence and force-fed him sex and violence. While the manchild pined for his deadbeat dad and big brother, he escaped into the virtual worlds of James Bond and other aggressive Nintendo action figures. To this day, his mother insists that school officials and child minders railroaded her son. Should his teachers, psychologists, and social workers have done a better job of ascertaining why J.J. often went berserk? Could the medication, which his apprehensive mother refused to give him, have controlled his outbursts? Who'll answer for making a mess out of little J.J.'s life?

illustration by Limbert Fabian

Research assistance: Skye McFarlane. The names of the children in this article have been changed.

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