Rapist/killer on the ANC? We owe Marion Barry an apology.

Think D.C. residents are silly for having a mayor who smoked crack?

Try having a Advisory Neighborhood Commission Chairman who could only attend meetings after getting a pass from the mental institution where he has been locked up since 1967 after he savagely raped and killed a Senate aide.

So I'm reading a story in this morning's Washington Post about a woman doing a documentary on the people confined to the city's mental hospital for the criminally insane. I was stunned by this sentence.

"[Lewis] Ecker, for instance, [institutionalized since 1967 after he raped and killed a Senate aide] was an elected neighborhood advisory commissioner in the 1990s in Ward 8, where St. Elizabeths is."

Yes, D.C. residents elected to the ANC a man who was confined to a mental institution for three decades after he brutally raped, sodomized and strangled a 24-year-old girl, leaving numerous bite marks on her body.

But that's all the article said. So I looked into it further.

Not only was he elected to the ANC, the ANC elected him chairman even though the hospital isn't sure whether he'll rape and kill again. Despite that, hospital officials let him out to attend ANC meetings.

Ecker lost his community privileges after "hospital officials found more than 20 sexually sadistic stories in his ANC office on the hospital grounds. He eventually admitted that he wrote the stories, casting himself as the protagonist who dominated and humiliated women. One of the female characters has the same first name as the prosecutor who is opposing Ecker's bid for more freedom."

And it's not like he was a model prisoner. According to the earlier Post article there have been "at least four occasions since the late 1970s when Ecker has been caught with sexually sadistic materials, ranging from the short stories to a card catalogue of women -- including his murder victim -- with sexual comments about them.

"He also has been caught with hospital keys, pictures of himself dressed in a hospital guard's uniform, as well as snapshots of him and his girlfriend and some patients in sexually provocative poses. And he has disappeared at least twice, once on a hospital field trip to the zoo, and another time for several hours when he was in an apartment with his former wife.

"Each time, (prosecutor Colleen) Kennedy said, Ecker initially denied wrongdoing, then changed his story several times before finally admitting culpability -- examples of what she says is his manipulative personality."

Who's stupider? Hospital officials for letting him out to run for office and attend ANC meetings? ANC members for naming him chairman? Or Ward 8 residents for electing him?

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