Victim, raped several times by her uncle at 14 years old, afraid of the coming parliament 29 years later
California’s state Parole Board will release a serial child rapist with 140 years left on his sentence using a program that allows older inmates to be released early, despite protests from his victim and perpetrators his accusation.
Cody Woodsen Klemp, now 67, was previously convicted of rape and attempted rape before his daughter was placed in custody in 1990, according to a report by FOX 11.
Four years later, he was convicted of 40 offenses in connection with his repeated rape of the then 14-year-old, including 20 counts of committing a lewd act and battery on a child, 10 counts of rape and 10 counts of forced oral sex. on a child.
Jurors heard evidence that Klemp made several threats to kill his victims for reporting the abuse, according to The Press Enterprise – but the child managed to escape and reveal the abuse to her therapist.
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On Nov. 8, just 29 years into Klemp’s 170-year prison sentence, the state parole board announced his release sometime before or on March 15, 2024.
The group, made up of 21 commissioners appointed by the Governor and approved by the state assembly, justified their decision with the “low risk of violence,” his advanced age and his “marketing skills”.
When it was implemented in 2018, the Senior Parole Program allowed parole review for inmates over 60 who have already served 25 years of their sentence. Revisions in 2021 changed the program, making inmates over 50 eligible for parole hearings if they served 20 consecutive years or more of their sentences, according to a report by The Press Enterprise.
Riverside District Attorney Mike Hestrin, whose office prosecuted Klemp, expressed shock at the board’s decision:
“This is a devastating blow to victims, and our office will continue to fight on their behalf,” Hestrin wrote in a statement Friday. “While this practice of early release is far from unusual in these days, considering a particularly violent criminal history, and access to the parole board itself, it is surprising that such a release would be considered.”
Before his release was announced at a Nov. 8 parole hearing, his victim testified about the lasting psychological impact of her uncle’s abuse.
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“That’s why I learned to cut. That’s why I hate myself,” victim Klemp, now 48, told the board. “It was for him that the only prayer I had was a prayer not to wake up. I always believed that I had done something to deserve it.”
“Unlike Cody, for me, for his victims, there is no parole board,” she continued. “We don’t get to ask or demand release from our mental prisons.”
Klemp’s victim was born to a mother with a developmental disability who had at least a dozen children, all of whom were adopted into foster homes or families, according to a statement by the Orange County Register.
The abuse started with a token game, she told the outlet. That game escalated into rape and mental abuse. When she threatened to kill herself, the victim said, Klemp gave her a gun and threatened to follow her.
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“The only reason the abuse stopped was because I had the mindset to run away,” she told the outlet. “I had no money, no place to go, and “However, whatever I faced on the streets would have been better than what I faced at home.”
After Klemp’s conviction, his niece sued child welfare agencies in Riverside and Los Angeles alleging they failed to do enough background checks before placing her with her uncle. Klemp’s victim told The Press Enterprise that she lost on a technicality.
A year after her placement, an administrator from the Los Angeles County Department of Children Services told The Press Enterprise, mandatory background checks and home visits were ordered for placements through the agency.
In an interview with Southern California News Group, the victim said she was “scared [Klemp is] going to kill [her].”
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“It’s a lifelong crime,” she told the group. “He’ll do it. It is dangerous. I have been a mess. I have had nightmares all night. This is just the sorrow to come. It’s like being raped over and over again.”
In addition to her own safety, his victim said, she feared for other victims:
“I am afraid – but I can only die once,” she said. “Those who suffer against him will die many more times.”
She decided to publish the story in hopes that the board would reconsider its decision, saying she “wants[s] this in every newspaper.”
The Riverside District Attorney’s Office wrote in its press release Friday that anyone who objects to Klemp’s release or the Elderly Parole Program’s minimum eligibility requirements can contact Gov. Gavin Newsom at 1021 O Street, Suite 9000, Sacramento, CA 95814 or by calling (916) 445 -2841.