Video: Missing Idaho girl found

updated 7/3/2005 9:43:49 AM ET 2005-07-03T13:43:49

The man arrested with a missing 8-year-old girl from Idaho is a dean’s list student and the author of a Web site that called for lighter sentencing of sex offenders, officials said.

Joseph Edward Duncan III is a registered sex offender with a record that stretches back to 1980, when he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint in Washington state.

He was charged Saturday with kidnapping Shasta Groene, who disappeared with her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, six weeks ago from a home where family members were bludgeoned to death. Officials said Dylan was feared dead.

Duncan was being held without bond. His first court appearance was not expected until after the weekend.

At age 17, Duncan pleaded guilty in adult court to first-degree rape and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was released on parole in 1994 but violated it and was sent back in 1997.

He was released in 2000 and moved to Fargo, N.D., where he began studying computer science at North Dakota State University and made the dean’s list.

But last July, he was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct and attempted criminal sexual conduct — accused of molesting a 6-year-old boy at a school playground in Minnesota.

In that case, he was accused of approaching two young boys with a video camera at a playground, and pulling down the shorts of one of the boys and touching him.

He was released by Becker County, Minn., authorities in April on $15,000 bond and ordered to stay in touch with a probation agent. In May, authorities said they were seeking Duncan on a warrant after he failed to do so.

Operated Web site
Kootenai County Sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger said Duncan was the author of a Web site called, which was down Saturday but could be seen in archived Web pages.

The name was derived from a myth involving a fifth nail that was crafted for Christ’s execution but that was not used after gypsies hid it from Roman soldiers. “The Fifth Nail is the nail that was meant to peirce the Heart of Christ and end his suffering,” the site said.

In one posting, he said he knew his 1980 sex offense was wrong, “but I can honestly say that I had no clue of the impact my actions would have on my victim, or society, or myself. ... I was abused, even raped, so often and by so many different people growing up that I thought it was like smoking pot, everyone did it, but nobody openly admitted it.”

In another, he said as a teen he was sentenced to a group sex offender program “where half the men in my ’treatment group’ sat and fantasized about me.” He said forcing sex offenders to register was discriminatory.

Kerstin Haugen, who lives in an apartment building next door to Duncan’s, said she had not seen him for several months. Police had stopped by looking for him, she said.

“He seemed normal,” Haugen said.

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