I saw a good documentary on July 26th, on the Sundance Channel. It is called “The Cucumber Incident” and tells the story behind a true event that involved 3 women from Delaware, Ohio and one of the women’s estranged husband who was born and raised in McComb (about 10 miles west of Findlay). It happened in July 1997.
It seems that the husband, Randy, who had been convicted of child molestation of his young step daughter, was accused of further abuse of the girl shortly after getting out of prison. The main accusation was that he had french kissed the child.
The 3 women included Randy’s wife, Jewel, her mother Mary, and Mary’s sister-in-law Vicky. They decided that Randy needed to be taught a lesson. They attacked him, tied him up, shaved all the body hair off his body, stripped him naked, and stuffed a cucumber up his anal cavity. After that they decided he need to go home to McComb so they rolled him up in a blanket and drove him the 150 miles. Then they dumped him out on the street behind a pizza shop.
Jewel and Mary, who had dumped Randy in McComb, were arrested just outside of Findlay on their way back to Delaware after Randy freed himself and called the police. Vicky was arrested a day or two later in Delaware. The women agreed to a plea bargain to reduce the charges from kidnapping and rape. Each served several months in prison and each had to register as a sex offender. They also had to get treatment that is required of convicted sex offenders.
I liked the film for the main reason that the filmmakers didn’t do any voice overs. They let the participants tell their story. In some cases one person would tell a part of the story and then another would tell their version of the same part. Sometimes those parts were the same but most of the time you could see the contrasts.
The film didn’t judge the women or make them heroes and they didn’t make Randy out to be the monster he probably is.
There was also the side story of Jewel’s children being removed to foster care after her arrest. The county refused to give them back saying that the women were a danger to the children. Mary went on and on about how Christian she is and that the foster family were also good Christians. Her main complaint was the foster family didn’t celebrate Christmas and refused to let the family to give the children gifts. (“The foster family just bakes a birthday cake for Jesus.”). The foster family also had all their kids names start with the letter ‘B’ so they just changed the two girls names to conform.
My view of the whole event was the women, no matter what the motive, crossed the line by exacting revenge. The fact that Jewel didn’t boot Randy while he was in prison just astounds me. She just let him back into the home almost as if nothing had happened. Mary blamed the county for not keeping Randy away from the home and her daughter when it is clear Jewel had that choice.
Of course the whole family has issues of one kind or another (I am very familiar with some of those issues in my own family).
I also learned that French kissing children, while repulsive, is not sexual abuse as defined in the Ohio Revised Code. Mary complained that she told the police when the child reported the kissing and they did nothing. Children Services even had the child examined at Children’s Hospital in Columbus and they found no signs of abuse.
I got a perverse chuckle seeing the women, who acted to “defend” the child, being forced to register as sex offenders and attend sex offender treatment AND the child was removed from the home anyway.
Of course the other side of me feels bad that they weren’t allowed to introduce their motivation for the act which could have helped them in a trial. Since they were prevented from doing that they plead guilty to reduced charges.
It also showed how bad the sex offender laws are in Ohio. When you create inflexible criminal laws you get unintended consequences. Registering also punishes you for the crime for the rest of your life even after you do your time and the other punishment you get from the community (loss of job, family, friends, etc…). Being labeled a sex offender doesn’t protect the children, it only helps the community know who to fire bomb or beat up should another child report abuse even if the person is guilty or not. The women probably will never commit another sexual offense yet they will be sex offenders for many years to come.
If you get a chance to see the film see it or rent it (if it comes out in video). They had some good shots of McComb and Findlay.
THE CUCUMBER INCIDENT
directed by Melodie Calvert and Bonita Makuch
67 MINS, Color
Originally published on the blog “Hancock County Politics Unfiltered”