Sandy-Jo Battista was born David Megarry Jr in Massachusetts in 1962. He had a rough childhood. He had a rare hormonal imbalance, 21-hyperplasia Syndrome, which led to rejection by his mother. He also witnessed his father kill his mother. He was taken in by a female relative who abused him. At the age of 21 he apparently raped a 10-year-old girl. However I cannot find anything online that describes this in any detail. Was it real forcible rape? Was it statutory but consensual? Was it mainly a misunderstanding? The various mentions online say nothing between these options. Nor do they say anything that would imply that Megarry was a predatory pedophile.
Megarry was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He completed the 18 years back at the beginning of this decade. But just because you have completed your sentence does not mean that you are released. He was transferred to the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the sexually dangerous in Bridgewater for an indefinite civil commitment.
While in prison he started to transition, and is now known as Sandy-Jo Battista. She has requested castration and has offered to pay for her own sex change. How, after 24 years in prison, she could afford to pay - is something else not explained in the media. But surely this is a reasonable offer. As a post-op woman, she would be unable to repeat her crime. There is much evidence that post-ops fit better into society and are less likely to commit crimes. Surely any penologist interested in reducing recidivism would go for the offer.
One is of course amazed at the incredible antagonism in the US to prisoners having a sex change. In the case of Michelle Kosilek (born 1949, also Massachusetts, in for wife murder) the Corrections Department paid over $52,000 for so-called expert testimony that she does not need a sex change. So much for the argument that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections cannot afford to pay for such operations.
A few hundred kilometres north, in Canada, the Human Rights Tribunal ruled in 2000 that Corrections Canada was discriminatory in placing transwomen among a male population and that the absolute ban on sex changes was unwarranted. This decision was upheld in Federal Court, and the plaintiff, Synthia Kavanagh (born 1962, in for killing her lover, a fellow transy-hooker) was operated on later that year, and then transferred to a women's prison.
A naughty thought occurs. I will follow this through as a thought experiment. Is Sandy-Jo a "real" transsexual? Usually "real" is an inauthentic distinction. A "real" transsexual is one who goes through with it, through all the hassles, the job losses, the cost, and the lowered status. One proves one is real by doing it. However incarceration changes the game. For Sandy-Jo, although not for Michelle Kosilek or for Synthia Kavanagh, it is a way to get out of prison. I am not being critical. She has has served a complete sentence and more. Good luck to her if it works. The famous example of a prisoner faking a disease to get out was Ernest Schleyer, the crooked CEO of Guinness PLC, who was sentenced to 5 years, who developed symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and was released after 10 months, and, lo and behold, recovered completely from the symptoms, and went on to a successful career as a business consultant. However Sandy-Jo cannot be playing this game for, as she certainly knows, the sex-change operation is irreversible. It is possible that she is a mild transgender, a person who - if not in prison - would explore drag, but would never commit to a sex-change. Given a stark choice: incarceration for life, or live as a woman, which would you choose? I put the question to my husband, who is no way transgender, and he had no difficulty in choosing the sex change.
Between 2005 and 2011 Battista applied to the courts as a pro se litigant in response to the Massachusetts Department of Correction's decision to block her prescription for GID treatment. That treatment, which included hormone medication, had been unanimously approved by the DOC’s own contracted medical providers. In May 2011 the US Court of Appeals ruled in her favor.
"McDermott Scores Major Win in Landmark Transgender Rights Case". www.mwe.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/media.prdetail/object_id/d9fd68f6-de65-40be-9b6f-c9ed5759ab58.cfm.
Shortly afterwards, a blogger using the moniker GallusMag wrote a libelous article accusing this author of saying that the victim was 'asking for it'. As a feminist and a human being, I never defend child or adult rape. Nor did I even suggest that Megarry should not have served a prison sentence. However I still do not know the facts in the Megarry case. GallusMag's account is very different from those that were appended here as comments, some of which were from persons who say that they knew Megarry. However let us assume that GallusMag does have the facts right. 28 years so far for a single rape is totally out of proportion. Serial killers have been released after serving shorter terms than that.
However the most intriguing aspect is that GallusMag is is so emphatic that a convicted rapist must--at whatever cost, be it a large multiple of the cost of a sex change operation--that the rapist must be prevented from giving up the testosterone and the penis that are required for rape. Is GallusMag totally mad?