Pawlenty on sex criminal daycare pardon: "I am very troubled"

Maybe if Governor Tim Pawlenty doesn't talk about Jeremy Giefer it will all just go away. But we doubt it.

Maybe if Governor Tim Pawlenty doesn't talk about Jeremy Giefer it will all just go away. But we doubt it.

Tim Pawlenty is in full ostrich mode.

Tuesday we learned that Jeremy Giefer, the sex offender Pawlenty voted to pardon in 2008, has been allegedly raping his own daughter for the past nine years.

Today we learned that Giefer told the Board of Pardons he wanted his record wiped to clear the way for a childcare facility in his home.

So what does the governor have to say about it? Not much.

[jump] Today Pawlenty sent a letter to the Blue Earth and Ramsey County attorneys expressing his shock that Giefer might have lied when he told the Board of Pardon's he'd been good, and asking them to look into charging Giefer with perjury.

"I am very troubled by the prospect that a pardon applicant may have been committing serious crimes while representing to the Board of Pardons that he was law-abiding," Pawlenty wrote.

The governor's right: people shouldn't lie. But if the Board of Pardons is counting on the good faith and honesty of convicted felons, something is seriously wrong, and we need to have a conversation about it.

Unfortunately, the governor isn't interested in talking.  When we asked for comment, his spokesman, Bruce Gordon, sent us a terse email: "You have our statement."

So Pawlenty is leaving it at the two-sentence statement released Monday, in which he justified pardoning a man who statutory raped a 14-year-old girl, because of the fact that he married her after getting her pregnant--even though he's now accused of molesting his daughter. Pawlenty has nothing additional to say about the revelation that Giefer sought and received the governor's blessing to open a daycare center in his home.

"The Governor has consistently opposed pardons for sex offenders and believes sex offenses are heinous. However, the Board made an exception in this case and voted unanimously to pardon this 1994 conviction because it involved sexual conduct between two people who became husband and wife, maintained a long-term marriage, had a family together, and because the defendant completed his sentence many years before seeking the pardon which his wife and others supported."
The old statement isn't very satisfying, and not only because it doesn't address why Giefer's desire to open a childcare center in his home didn't raise some red flags or why anyone would take his word as his own character witness.

For one thing, the fact that Giefer waited many years before seeking his pardon isn't an argument in his favor. By law, Giefer had to wait at least ten years before he could ask for a pardon extraordinary.

The other explanations offered raise more questions than they answer: Are sex offenders who impregnate their victims really viewed more favorably? And if they put a ring on their victim are they more likely to get their records cleared?

Pawlenty's always been a social conservative, but these arguments take family values to a whole new level. This is family values, Pawlenty-style, and it remains to be seen if the rest of the nation will co-sign.

There's also the decidedly girlish handwriting of the letter Giefer wrote asking for a pardon, something pointed out by commenters on our last piece. Some are questioning if Giefer's wife--the woman he statutory raped--wrote the letter on his behalf, in order to clear the way for her daycare business. (Susan Giefer declined our request for comment on her childcare center.)

Should this have raised red flags for Pawlenty and the rest of the pardon board?

Pawlenty's PardonGate