"I Am Not a Monster" — Really, Ariel Castro?
Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who abducted, tortured, and sexually assaulted three women for a period of 10 years, was sentenced Thursday in Ohio after pleading guilty to 937 counts last week. He addressed the three victims with a long, drawn-out apology citing his own personal history of sexual abuse and sex addiction as the reasoning behind all of this, and stated, "I am not a monster. I am just sick. I have an addiction, just like an alcoholic has an addiction." Actually, Ariel Castro, yes, you are a monster. You're a monster for having taken away the youth of three young women, committed heinous crimes against them, exposed your young daughter to this type of lifestyle, and not seeking treatment for this so-called addiction.
Michael Russo, the judge overseeing the trial, pointed out to Castro that if he really were "sick" and had a sexual addiction there were many resources available to him, such as counseling, that he could have taken advantage of. In addition, if he had an issue, it was hard to tell because prior to kidnapping these women and essentially holding them as his sex slaves, he held a normal relationship with his then-girlfriend and was clearly able to distinguish between which women to victimize and not.
Castro, in a delusional state, kept saying his household was a harmonious one, and that these women consented to sex, he never abused them, and that he just didn't want them to leave. Adding insult to injury, he made a comment that he pleaded guilty to the murder charge only to alleviate psychological trauma for the victims, but stated Thursday that in fact he was not guilty. Additionally he blamed the FBI, claiming it was their fault for not finding him when they neglected to question him in 2003.
Come sentencing time, Russo carefully took into consideration the safety of the community. Given that Castro clearly was very strategic about who his victims were and never released them back into society, there is a possibility he would do it again. For this, Russo granted him life in prison without parole, and an additional 1000 years, mainly in back-to-back 10-year sentences.
One thing Ariel Castro did not do was own up to his crimes. Instead he hid behind excuses and blamed his actions on his childhood and addiction. The judge even called him out, saying there had been many people in a similar position who didn't resort to this. Thankfully the criminal justice system recognizes he would still be a threat to society, overlooked his attempt to play the victim, and punished him accordingly.
Castro said that he has been praying for forgiveness and that God will be the one there on judgement day. Michelle Knight, one of the victims who was held in captivity the longest, addressed Castro in a very restrained manner saying, "I spent 11 years in hell; now your hell is just beginning." For now, Castro's judgment day has come in Ohio and this monster is rightfully being locked up and will never experience life outside of the prison walls.