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Amish Killer Planned To Molest Girls

THE man who stormed an Amish school and killed five girls had confessed to his wife he molested two girls 20 years ago, and police said he may have planned to sexually abuse his 10 hostages.
Charles Carl Roberts, a 32-year-old dairy truck driver, was also haunted by the death of his daughter who died 20 minutes after her premature birth nine years ago, police said after examining suicide notes he left before the rampage.
Roberts dropped his older children off at a school bus stop, then armed himself with three guns, 600 rounds of ammunition and an array of tools and headed for the Amish school.
He had planned for a long siege by preparing to barricade himself and his hostages inside the one-room Georgetown School in rural Lancaster County, 100km west of Philadelphia.
Police say he chose the Georgetown School because it was an easy target rather than out of any grudge against the Amish.
He also had two tubes of sexual lubricant and a set of boards, wire, tape and bolts that could have been used to tie up and torment the girls, Commissioner Jeffrey Miller of the Pennsylvania State Police told a news conference.
Although there was no evidence of sexual assault, "it's very possible that... he intended to victimize these children in many ways prior to killing them and killing himself," Mr Miller said.
The third deadly US school shooting in a week shattered the calm of an Amish farm community where there is virtually no crime. The town is full of horse-drawn carriages, bearded men in straw hats and women in bonnets.
The Amish, descendants of Swiss-German settlers, are a traditionalist Christian denomination who place particular importance on the Gospel message of forgiveness. They believe in nonviolence, simple living and little contact with the modern world.
In Strasburg, Pennsylvania, 15km from the scene of the shooting, an estimated 350 non-Amish people gathered at a candle-light vigil to express their shock at the killings and to show support for the bereaved families.
"We are all Amish today," said pastor Mark Thiboldeaux of the Strasburg Assembly of God. "The lines between the English and the Amish are down because these are our children too."
Mary Jane Rutter, 73, from nearby Lancaster, said the Amish, who value their privacy, would not have attended such an event with the so-called English community, but she had come to show her solidarity.
"I'm here to show my support for the families," she said.
Roberts told his wife in a suicide note he had been dreaming about repeating his purported molestation of two younger female relatives 20 years ago events that police have not been able to confirm took place.
"This was a very deeply disturbed individual, but he wasn't disturbed in the sense that people could pick up on that at the surface... It was just a matter of time before he did something," Mr Miller said.
While Roberts meticulously planned the assault, he became distracted by the police who gathered outside, and he opened fire seconds after telling police to back off, shooting the bound schoolgirls in the back of the head. They were aged 6 to 13.
That triggered a charge by police who came upon the carnage after Roberts had already killed himself.
"But for the fact that the troopers were breaching the school, he would have fired more rounds and tried to finish off all his victims," Mr Miller said.
Five girls two aged seven, the others eight, 12 and 13 were killed, including two sisters, and five survivors one six, two eight, one 11 and 13 remain hospitalized, four of them in critical condition.

AAP (4-10-2006)
Jon Hurdle

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