Cover Story: Some Sex Offenders Get the Light Touch

Dinkel case shows complexity of abuse

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A married, 51-year-old, well-to-do, blonde white woman doesn't fit the stereotype of a sex offender who lurks behind the bushes at a bus stop waiting to snatch unsuspecting children to rape and murder.

This Hollywood makeup artist, mother of two and wife of a former pro football player, used text messaging, cell phone calls and parties at her home to entice and seduce a friend of her son.

More than local proof that all sex crimes and all sex offenders are not alike, Jeni Lee Dinkel is living proof that most victims know their attackers. This month in a Kenton County court Dinkel pleaded guilty to third-degree rape after the 15-year-old boy came forward and described their sexual encounters in Dinkel's home in Villa Hills.

Her sentence includes serving only two months in jail, with the rest of her five-year prison term suspended; five years on probation; registering as a sex offender for 20 years; psychological counseling; substance abuse treatment; a $2,500 fine; and 200 hours of community service for a nonprofit organization for the underprivileged. She's also barred from selling her story or profiting from the case.

Dinkel will report Oct. 5 to the Kenton County Jail despite pleas for her to be allowed to forego jail time in order to be with her son during his cancer treatments.

Coverage of the sensational story includes questions about whether or not a double standard is playing out in her plea deal and sentencing because she's a woman with a famous husband and expensive lawyers — in addition to challenges to the victim's credibility because he waited approximately five months to come forward.

What's missing is information about the emotional abuse and manipulation that adults use to control their victims and gain their silence.

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