The article was headlined “Recording played in court in alleged sex assault case”; it should have read: “State fails both victim and perpetrator.”

Reading Betty Adams’ article (April 21) was painful. With each sentence it became clear to any adult, educated person, parent, social worker or mental health professional that here was the failure of our social and mental health networks. The defendant’s alleged behavior did not begin with the assault of a young girl. It is obvious that he has a myriad of physical, mental and social problems beginning at a very young age, if not at birth.

Through the article you can see a picture of a young man with compulsive, perhaps hormonal, chemical, mental health and obsessive problems, coupled with severe learning disabilities. He clearly cannot advocate for himself nor defend himself. The officer who tape-recorded him surely must have noticed his mental deficiencies, and the AG proposes 20 years in prison.

I prefer to believe they are not heartless, arrogant professionals, but rather public servants who are stifled by a system that does not provide funds or appropriate housing and social services for citizens with complicated medical, social and educational needs. Rather than more cuts to our system that find young people like the suspect disposable, perhaps we should fund programs that begin benefiting them at a young age and serve to keep them safe throughout their lifetime.

Bethany Angle

Cape Elizabeth