Justice at Lakota: Lessons from Judges 19

Whenever I hear the name Kristy, it has forever changed my thoughts. Of course, Kristy is the ex-wife of Matt Miller, the much-discussed superintendent of Lakota schools who had a messy divorce. Information about the reasons for that divorce has leaked into the public mainly through Miller’s own actions of activism against a current Lakota school board member, Darbi Boddy. When all this started, I knew little about either person, Matt Miller, or his ex-wife. I reported on the case based on the facts as they were known. But as the evidence has mounted and personalities have become more defined, I have come to think of Kristy as a victim of much more severe problems that the couple obviously tried to work out before the divorce. But the stories, without breaching privacy standards, remind me a lot of the incident told in the Bible, specifically Judges 19, which occurred in Saul’s hometown, Gibeah of Benjamin. A Levite and his concubine stop for the night in Gibeah and are graciously taken in by an older man. Later in the night, a group of men from the town beat on the older man’s door, demanding that the Levite be made available to them for homosexual rape, as implied by the text. To satisfy the men, the concubine is pushed out onto the street and gang-raped until morning. In the morning, the Levite finds her broken body in a heap at the house’s entrance. She dies on the journey to the Levite’s house if she is not already dead.  Upon arriving home, the Levite “took a knife, and grasping his concubine, he cut her into twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout the territory of Israel.” The people respond immediately: “Never has such a thing happened or been seen from the day the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt to this day!” (Judges 19:29–30). And by this means, Israel is united to defend her honor and do justice to the vile inflictors of desecration and villainy. Developing by default a relationship with Kristy and her new fiancé, this story keeps coming to my mind. Only I don’t want to see her cut into pieces and distributed around the country only to unite people around misconduct that should have been handled at the outset before the concubine was thrown into the street to protect the Levite from being raped himself.   

To those who are insulted by the actions of Lakota around this case and the media reaction to it, we have the same essential behavior that allowed that concubine to be molested without anybody standing by to protect her, and it took her complete destruction to get people’s attention. During this process, I have witnessed a couple of people attempt to have a decent life and do something good from the wreckage. I know Kristy has a lot of supporters who care about her very much, and this has been very obvious, especially looking at the situation from the outside in. I know all the characters in this story very well, so it’s been easy to see how things have evolved among people and which corners they have taken to defend their positions. For me, I was brought into all this by Lynda O’Conner, the president of the school board. Without her, I would have just protested higher taxes. She wanted my help to build a better school board. So, I helped out where I could, and we did win a majority as we set out to do. And I met many of the characters in this story through Lynda, Kristi Ertel, Venessa Wells, Darbi Boddy, and many others. And recently, it was Vanessa’s husband Justin who had put out quite a letter answering many of the questions that have been brewing regarding Matt Miller’s case and the side of his ex-wife Kristi, and how she has been essentially abused in the process. Whatever happened to the “Me Too” movement? Because it was a good letter, I show some of it below, edited for brevity, of some of the highlights.    

“Lakota has made a statement that the information was 2nd and 3rd hand information. This is a LIE. They said there was no “eyewitness,” this is a LIE. The POLICE interviewed the EYEWITNESS. The allegations were relayed by a 3rd party to the police ORIGINALLY, but the “story” was corroborated by BOTH parties ON Record. There were two sides to this story. Both sides placed the blame on the other side to differing degrees…but the IRREFUTABLE FACT…is Matt and his ex-wife had conversation and “role play fantasies” about DRUGGING and Molesting 3 LITTLE BOYS who are LAKOTA STUDENTS at a MINIMUM. That’s GIVING Matt the complete “benefit of the doubt. “If you think that’s okay? I swear to God, hell was designed specifically with you in mind.   

Lynda O’Conner… I’m calling you out.   

Also, in THEIR bullshit “InVestiGatioN,” it was LAKOTA that chose to NOT interview the Ex-wife. I’ve SEEN the correspondence. THEY refused her terms which were quite reasonable. She wanted a lawyer present and equal representation. They were not interested in doing ANY investigation. Of course, they also expect the public to think giving MM 2 months to “clean house” is not gross incompetence. The reality is this was all settled before it began. I still have a VERY accurate “game plan,” which will be quite damning to certain people should we be on the receiving end of any legal bullshit.   

Now the ex-wife said it was a REQUEST, NOT a “role play fantasy,” an action he WANTED her to take! I believe her. Her actions validate the claim. She left him. He did not leave her. She did tell people…and people did what people do, which is exactly why people are hesitant to come forward.   

Yet, the police concluded it was “consensual.” Based upon what? If someone says they were raped…and a rapist says, “it was consensual,” do they simply take the word of the accused? No…and there are a number of really suspect things about this police “investigation.” I think we need to turn our focus on the relationship between Lynda O’Connor and Sheriff Jones.”   

After Matt Miller had his attorney put out threat letters for legal action, all that has done is increase the anger toward his position. At best, those letters are intimidation of witnesses and a blatant disregard for First Amendment rights that are the essential checks and balances of managing public employees, which is clear in this case. But the point here is to let everyone who cares know that this story has been removed from Lakota’s control and the Sheriff’s department. Of course, the people involved in this story will not turn away from blatant trouble, and like the story from Judges, the best thing to do is to punish the perpetrators, not to throw the concubine out into the street to save the Levite. It shouldn’t come to that ever in civil society, and that won’t be the case here. A lot is going on behind the scenes, things that we can’t discuss now. But for those looking for justice, I think you’ll find that the right things tend to find their way through the cracks and find the light of day. And as bad as all this has been, I see good people doing good things for all the right reasons. It doesn’t take the destruction of a person to unite people to do what’s right; at least, it shouldn’t. And by the time all this is said and done, I think people will find that justice is still at the core of our civilization, and they will be satisfied with the result.

Rich Hoffman

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