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  • I have worked with kids for over 16 years now and I have met many an asshole; however, at the end of the day, I have to say that working with kids has shown me that people are born good. Sure, some chew gum; sure, some talk back; sure, some get caught licking the chalkboard. When all is said and done, the kid usually comes around, shapes up and chooses the right thing to do. Yet, in these years of teaching, I have met two young men that I would tag as born evil. One was a 14-year-old boy freshly released from juvenile hall in Moreno Valley CA. I can’t say exactly what it was but when I walked into the classroom with him the first time, I knew that this kid needed to leave, that this kid was something of which I had never met…a kid born bad. It wasn’t anything he did; it wasn’t anything he said; it was simply the completely empty look in his eye and that look made my being say,

    “This kid can’t stay; this kid must leave.”

    And for the next 45 minutes, I bothered him; I grabbed his potato chips; I told him to get to work; I told him again and after about 30 minutes, the kid blew up, pushed me against the door, jumped the fence and I never saw him again. Later in that day, I would sit down with my principal to discuss the matter and after she looked at the files that had been provided by juvenile hall, she said,

    “Actually, it is a good thing that he did that today; that kid was not good; that kid actually had the darkest record I have ever seen.”

    Kid born evil…it happens sometimes. I would run across another kid a few years and the story isn’t important but what I can say is the kid was also born evil…nothing behind the eyes…a complete lack of anything one could be described as human…a person sent from the devil.

    Yet, that is it…2 kids in 16 years of working with thousands of youth…so evil doesn’t happen most of the time and so I move through life expecting the good in most even it takes them some time.

    That was before I met JE Montenegro also known as Jose Enrique Montenegro. I met Jose Enrique Montenegro. I met JE on my walk home from the plaza of Samaipata, a sleepy Bolivian town known to be a safe haven from the ever-increasing violent streets of Santa Cruz Bolivia. His footsteps were the first thing I would notice about him. I would hear them as he made his rapid approach. By the time, I heard them it was too late. I would turn to see where these footsteps were coming from and when I did, I would see a stranger with a hoodie zipped up past the face with the strings of the hoodie pulled tight so the only thing I could see was the eyes. And when I looked into those eyes, I would notice that the eyes looked familiar… nothing behind the eyes…a complete lack of anything one could be described as human…a person sent from the devil.

    I tried to run and I got a few feet. However, this boy was big; he worked out; in fact, he worked at the local gym, so needless to say, I was no match and before I knew it, JE Montenegro would knock me to the ground.

    When I found myself on the ground, I looked up and saw three men standing above me. Young men...maybe 18, maybe 20…and this is when they began attacking me. One man took me by the braids and held me down while a younger man hopped on top of me and for the next hour approximately…the men would proceed to beat me, tell me to shut up in English, take my purse, rip my clothes and abuse me in ways that only men can abuse women…a complete show of dominance, of power, of strength. As I lay there, I would take pictures with my mind. JE Montenegro was instructing the younger one how to do things…every once in awhile he would jump in…hit me, take his sweatshirt over my face and try to strangle the life out of me…I thought I was dead…I lay there and prayed as I thought I would be meeting God at any given second.

    Then, the car lights appeared. The men backed up, looked at the lights and began to run. I jumped up and ran for my life towards the house where I was staying…I jumped the fence and began banging on the door. Everyone was asleep; I knew this; I began to scream,

    “Open the fuck up…I…I..”

    I would stop for a moment. I couldn’t believe what I was about to say…

    “Open the fuck up…I have been brutally raped.”

    And what I said was true. I stood at the door stunned, still beating away.

    One of the men staying in my house would answer the door and see me with wild hair, a beaten face and half clothed. I would run inside; he would run outside. He would see the men coming back up the street where they thought I still lay…to finish me off…I suppose. When they saw my friend, they began to run up the street…

    I passed out on the couch and slept for a couple hours. My first thought in the morning was,

    “I just want a normal day.”

    And I got up as such…however, the trauma that had been done to my body overcame me and my body shook itself to the ground…I couldn’t move; I cried out and the first day of a very long week began.

    Soon, more than 6 of my friends were at the house…asking questions, taking care of me, giving me food. Some friends went to the police to find out what to do; others went to talk to anybody that had teenage boys; some just sat with me and provided me with the strength I would need for the rest of the week.

    Soon, the friends who had gone to the police reported back to the house. We would have to go to the hospital before we made a report. Ten, the friends who had asked the locals for possible suspects reported back. They had a stack of 5 FB profile pictures…

    “Was this kid one of them?”

    No…the hair was wrong…

    “Was this kid one of them?”

    No…the height was wrong…

    “Was this kid one of them?”

    And this is when I saw those eyes again…before I could even say yes…my entire body began to shake…my body knew this man well...he had spent the last night beating me within an inch of my life and had he been anymore time…he would have gladly done it…the name on the profile:

    JE Montenegro

    This is how we formally met.

    With a positive identification, we then went to the Samaipata hospital where we were greeted…if you could call it that….by the most unhealthy doctor I had ever seen…100 pounds overweight with liver spots all over his face…he looked me up and down but did little else…he wrote a little report that I had some cuts on my face and then he wrote me a prescription for anxiety pills…he thought I needed to relax…he then sent me on my way…Now normally, I would have been of my right mind and demand an exam to prove a rape but I was out of it and the doctor never made the offer, so off I went…to the police station to make the report…called a Denuncia in Bolivia. The report started off slow…the police computer barely worked…they barely had enough paper to print the report...but after a few hours, the Denuncia was complete…I signed it and was told that I could pick it up the next day in the afternoon. We also gave the police a copy of JE Montenegro’s FB profile and the police would not be surprised…And that is how the second day ended.

    On the third day, I would wake up in my friend’s house where I underwent bodywork treatments that directly addressed my trauma. At the end of one of the treatments, we got the call. The police had Montenegro and wanted me to come down to the station to make the ID. My friend and I got ready and just as we were leaving, we also got a call from a local woman in the town…apparently, there had been a rape problem in this town for years and no one had stepped forward…Bolivian girls are to shy too talk about sex…they are also shamed for it and often after a rape, the perpetrator’s family goes to the other family, slips them some money and all is forgotten…at least with the family…but what about the girl? The local woman on the phone said it was time to change; it was time to join forces; it was time to put this silence to end. My friend and I agreed, hung up the phone and began walking into town.

    I would walk up the street to the police station and as I looked cautiously around the doorframe…there he would be again:

    JE Montenegro

    And there they would be again:

    Those eyes…the eyes of the devil.

    My body began to shake; I would shake as I slid down the outside wall of the police station; I would shake as I slid to the ground; I would shake until the tears came out of my eyes.

    “Positive ID, ma’am?”

    “Si, si, si, si.” Was all I could manage to say.

    After a few minutes, the police captain would come out of the office and have my translator ask me,

    “The parents want to talk to you.”

    JE Montenegro’s parents want to talk to me? What for? To slip me a few hundred Bolivianos for the beating I received on Friday night…I think not.

    I told the translator that I had nothing to say to them. Te police officer went back in side and I waited the rest of the day as I was supposed to get the Denuncia at 4 so I could go to Santa Cruz to begin working with the Rape Special Unit…I needed a forensics report.

    In the middle of this, my friends scrambled to find a lawyer…Carlos Jimenez...where is Carlos Jimenez…cell phones were used, internet was used and in the middle of all this, a man in a red t-shirt pulls up on a motorbike and I hear,

    “This is your lawyer.”

    He is?

    What’s his name?

    “Eric.”

    Okay…not sure where he came from but okay…I am not in control right now…okay…

    Eric looked over the paperwork that had been done so far and he noticed the medical report.

    “This is all he gave you?” Eric asked.

    “Si.”

    “No, we need to go back and get a report that refers you to forensics.”

    And so we did. Again, the unhealthiest doctor I had ever seen met us and he did the necessary exams to get me the reference. At some point, I heard him ask the lawyer,

    “How much?”

    How much would I pay for the reference?

    The lawyer’s response was “Not today.”

    But that’s how it works down here…it is all about what you can pay.

    We headed back to the police station ad were told that the Denuncia would be impossible to get today. They needed the Fiscal to do something with it…it was Sunday and he would be on Monday…however, I had to get to forensics report within 72 hours to prove anything…why wouldn’t they give us the Denuncia? Guess why…as I said before… that’s how it works down here…it is all about what you can pay and the Montenegros, we think, slid a couple extra Bolivianos across the desk to hold up the process. A crowd of angry locals and expats began to gather outside the police station screaming things like,

    “Corruption…it’s who you pay…fucking Bolivian police.”

    And I will stop here for a moment to continue my tale and make a note about the police down here…they make an average of 1500 Boliviano a month…for most of us, this means less than $300 dollars a month...a salary that barely feed their families.a salary that encourages taking a bribe here and there…furthermore, by the end of the tale, you will see that these policemen exceeded their duties and did a job well done. But now back to the story…

    Once the crowd dispersed, I sat in the local bar trying to figure out what I could do next…everyone had a thought…everyone ad an opinion…I listened and at some point, I looked up and again, I found myself looking into those eyes again, the eyes of the devil…

    JE Montenegro had been released and he was strolling down the street pushing his 15-year-old wife and his baby’s cart…this man had already reproduced…our eyes met and JE Montenegro gave me a look like,

    “I am going to kill you, you mouthy bitch.”

    It was, then, I whispered,

    “There he is.”

    My friends looked up and saw the same…hell broke loose again.

    The crowd yelled things at him…

    “Rapist…rapist…rapist…”

    He calmly pushed his baby cart down the street without so much as a care in the world…he was free; he was walking the streets.
    I, then, caught a ride with a friend to Santa Cruz. I arrived at 1am in the night. The next day would be Monday…I needed to go to work to show my boss what had been done and to ask for the week off. She nearly cried when she saw me…she supported me 100%. She even called her lawyer husband whose first advice was,

    “Go to the Special Unit of Rape…they can give you a Denuncia.”

    One problem…I don’t really speak good Spanish. Second problem, no one in Bolivia speaks good English…so I needed some help. I stood in the local grocery store with my luggage, yoga mat and computer bag, dazed and confused…who? Who could help me? Who could have the time?

    This is when I remember Lena…my dear German friend who works at the local German school…they had just gotten out for break. She already knew what happened and had offered her help. I made the call and she agreed. We met downtown; she showered and put on a pretty dress and we headed to the Special Rape Unit in Santa Cruz Bolivia.

    We entered the Special Rape Unit on the End Violence Against Women Day. The man sitting behind the desk wore a shirt that said “Basta Violencia!” Good, we had found help. Lena began to translate my tale…I had been raped by three men, beaten and robbed and the police were withholding my Denuncia. The man’s first question,

    “Que?”

    Lena looked stunned; she stammered,

    “He wants to know why you were raped.”

    Why? I felt like saying,

    “Well, officer, that is a damn good question. That is the first question I asked myself when I was smashed to the ground by JE Montenegro, so actually I am going to turn that question around on you and ask WHY THE FUCK WAS I RAPED? I was only trying to walk home.”

    He, then, led us to another lady who wouldn’t even listen to our tale. She said they couldn’t do the Denuncia and we would have to go back to Samaipata, a three-hour cab ride, and demand they give it to me. After many minutes, Lena and I gave up and went back to her house. We tried to call the American Embassy…closed…we went back to the Special Unit with Lena’s roommates’ step father who was a lawyer...he walked in; he walk out. No luck.

    It was then I remember my other dear friend, Valeria. Valeria is a take no shit Chapaca (meaning she was raised in Tarija where everyone is 3 feet high) and she is living proof that dynamite comes in small packages. I knew she volunteered at a place called Casa de Mujer. Maybe she could help. I made the call and she agreed to meet us at Casa de Mujer. We, then, had to drive to the taxi station and get the 2nd medical report and this report recognized that something had occurred and recommended a forensics report…it was the paper we needed. We picked it up and then went to Casa de Mujer. Things were looking bad and I was feeling the defeat that is until we walked up the stairs and met...Marian. Marian was a tiny older Bolivian woman that exuded power with her every breath. She nodded calmly as she listened to our tale. She, then, calmly picked up the phone and called the Rape Special Unit and in Spanish, she very calmly informed them that my treatment earlier at the unit was inconceivable and if they didn’t get their shit together, she would sue the man, the women, their family, their dog’s family, their cat’s family, their future children’s families if they didn’t’ get me up to forensics the minute I arrived there and I would be there with a Casa de Mujer lawyer in 15 minutes.

    Off we went again. We were greeted by the Rape Special Unit again and this time, we went right upstairs and I underwent a forensics exam that revealed that a rape had occurred. Then, the Rape Special Unit called the Fiscal (equivalent to a general attorney…I think) in Samaipata and told him that everyone in Santa Cruz was aware of this crime and that all eyes were on him and we would be back in Samaipata the next morning to get the ball rolling for JE Montenegro’s arrest. I called my other dear friend, Jules, and told him the plan, he liked it but he added,

    “Before you come up, get a Tigo report.” Tigo is the name of my phone report. Ugh, I thought…just one more thing…I don’t think will do that because someone would have to be an idiot to use my phone after what they did to me…so…I didn’t plan on going.

    However, in the morning, when I went to get my stuff, I realized that the Tigo office was within blocks of my house…my mind changed…couldn’t hurt to go in and get the report. It took five minutes and the clerk did a very common Bolivian thing…she confused us…first she said there was history of activity on 11/23/2013 and then she said there wasn’t and then she said there was…Lena and I both couldn’t understand, so we gathered up the report she gave us and we headed back to the house. I decided to take a picture of the report with my iPad and send it to my friends’ in Samaipata who were also working on the case. It was, then, I noticed a date…11/23/2013…my number and another number and the time of 4:19am (minutes after the rape)

    “Lena, what does this say?”

    She looked closer,

    “Shit,” she said, “it looks like somebody took your phone credit and put it on their phone.”

    “At 4:19am?” I gasped.

    “Looks like it.”

    “You have got to be shitting me…you mean we have the rapist’s phone number?”

    “Looks like it.”

    We caught the next cab up to Samaipata where we met with over 7 people who had given up their normal activities to help me. We had a meeting; emotions were high; people yelled; people cried…we were people in the state of crisis…people in the raw. We, then, went down to La Boehme, the local bar, that had become a citizen police station. A man walked in and he was introduced as Carlos Jimenez, the lawyer that we had been looking for.

    “Where is Eric?”

    “He was a lawyer provided to you by the police.”

    I got it; we didn’t want him even though he hadn’t done anything wrong…in Bolivia, you always have to watch your back because, again, corruption runs high when someone makes less than $300 dollars to solve a crime.

    I began to talk to Mr. Jimenez. I pulled out the Tigo report while Lena explained. I pointed to the number…he pulled out the report that Montenegro filled out the day before…the report had his name, his birthdate, his address and his phone number and guess what? The number was the same as on my Tigo report. I jumped up and screamed,

    “We’ve won…we’ve won.”

    The lawyer then gathered the paperwork, went to the Fiscal and within 24 hours, the police, who had to ask me to pay for a cab to get the rest of the culprits because they are not provided a car, took the cab and gathered JE Montenegro 18, Luis Flores 23and Carlos Flores 16…the Flores were brothers and I couldn’t help but think…what an activity to do with one’s brother…I mean, even though my brother is a father…I like to think of my nephew like Jesus rather than think about my brother having sex much less watching it…blech…what the hell kind of town was this…a Mississippi town sent south?

    I saw all three as they were marched down the street. I was told the trial was about to begin and I would have to testify. I followed the men down the street and I made it a point to walk directly behind JE Montenegro so that he could hear my heels as I followed him down the street. While we waited for the trial to begin, Lena overheard the Fiscal talk to someone on the phone…Montenegro had a record…when he was 14, he allegedly led a group rape of 6 boys and one girl in the local animal refugio…Luis Flores allegedly had been trying to rape his half-sister when his mother stepped in to stop him, he poured gasoline and tried to light her on fire…etc…etc…this wasn’t the first time the court had seen these men, yet it would the first time they weren’t set free.

    We all went inside. The men put their faces down as if they were ashamed. The trial began...the Fiscal spoke, my lawyer spoke and then it was my turn to speak…I went right back to the crime and I started with the footsteps and then I told the judge a story that I don’t she will care to hear again…I told her every little detail, every little thing and I did it with the feeling I had on the night…with the feeling of a woman fighting for her life. When I looked up from my tale, I could see tears in her eyes and I would find out later that at some point in the story…they opened the door and got the kids out of the room…I was saying things a little kid should never hear…but it was time for the town to know exactly what these men do and so the court did.

    It was, then, time for the defense to speak…it was the first time while living in Bolivia that I was glad I didn’t speak good Spanish…I was happy to not hear his excuses…I was happy not to understand his lies…he went after the evidence…he said a woman of 42 has sex all the time with hr boyfriend (I wanted to scream that my boyfriend had died and I had come to this country for a bit of reprieve)…he, then, begged the court…these men have families here, they have jobs; they were part of the community…what part? The part where you send your daughter when she has been bad?
    The judge listened to the defense and let him end. She, then, began to speak…she also lived in this town; she had more than enough evidence and these three little motherfuckers (not exactly the words she used) were going to downtown, the cage, prison if you will…my side of the room clapped…the culprits’ families stood still…no emotion…none at all…

    We, then, went to the local café and sat down where our lawyer said that even after hearing my story and the judge’s verdict, they still wanted to make an arrangement…they wanted to give me a couple hundred Bolivianos to make this all go away…we laughed at this…I, then, gave the police gas money to take my perpetrators away…where they now what to be convicted for 15 years in some of the worst jails on this earth…

    And that, my friends, is the tale of how JE Montenegro had his day…JE Montenegro…the third evil person I have met on this Earth…the third person I have ever seen with eyes like that…eyes that looked familiar… nothing behind the eyes…a complete lack of anything one could be described as human…a person sent from the devil…I guess I was put on that corner that night to begin the work of sending him back.
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