*The below report includes a description of child abuse and sexual assault, and may be triggering to some readers.
A Kentucky community responded in collective outrage after a man was deemed unable to stand trial after he raped and fractured the skull of an 8-year-old child with a shovel in 2019.
The identify and race of the child remains unknown because of their age, but the incident occurred in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Louisville. Social media users claim that the child is Black.
On March 11, Louisville Judge Annie O’Connell ruled that Cane Madden was mentally incompetent and unlikely to regain competency, dismissing the case under a state law which says that people can only be held or hospitalized against their will if treatment will benefit them, WDRB reports.
Community supporters rallied around the child and launched a Change.org petition early last year advocating that Madden remain imprisoned.
“Why was his right to walk the streets ‘again’ ever considered more important than the community’s constitutional right to have safe and healthy neighborhoods?” a statement on the Change.org petition reads. “Children should be safe in their own back yards! Instead we have a severely abused child who will never be the same. The community now demands that Cane Madden not be released!”
Prior to the rape case, Madden was found mentally incompetent and released after he sexually assaulted a woman and bit off part of her face in 2017. Judge O’Connell also presided over that case.
Madden was hospitalized after but was released under the Kentucky statute . Months later he was arrested again for breaking into a business. A judge released him to a hospital, but less than 24 hours after he was discharged, Madden assaulted the young child after finding her playing outside of her home.
He was charged with first-degree rape, assault and robbery after he stole the girl’s iPad.
A psychiatrist who evaluated Madden claims he suffers from “profound” mental issues including, social incompetence, intermittent explosive disorder, brief psychotic disorder, learning disorder and PTSD as a result of being abused as a child. Madden also once smeared feces on the wall of a hospital and voiced he wanted to rape women and harm animals and children, according to WDRB.
Community members however, feel their mental health and wellness is at stake without some form of action being taken, in spite of the statute.
“He has a revolving door when he goes to court,” said Yolanda Walker, with the California Neighborhood Leadership Council. “Whatever he does next, I just feel like (the judge has) blood on her hands.”