N.J. cuts off rapist's castration request

Rejects claim of gender-identity disorder

Posted: September 04, 2010

A convicted rapist trapped behind bars in New Jersey state prison claims he's also a woman trapped inside the body of a man.

But the New Jersey Department of Corrections said James Randall Smith does not have gender-identity disorder, and an appellate court upheld the decision last month, denying Smith a procedure his victims' families would probably grant, if it were performed with a dull, rusty knife.

Smith wants the New Jersey Department of Corrections to pay for him to be castrated.

A truck driver from Vineland, Smith approached two 17-year-olds from Bucks County on an isolated stretch of the Ocean City boardwalk on Aug. 7, 2000, and forced them onto the beach with a hunting knife. According to reports, Smith tied up the male and forced the female victim to perform oral sex on her friend.

Smith left the boy, then drove the female to an isolated stretch of woods in Cumberland County, where he raped, tortured and choked her for hours before leaving her tied to a tree.

Smith, who was a registered sex offender for an incident with an 11-year-old boy while a teenager, was initially given a 40-year sentence but appealed, lost, and was given a 105-year sentence.

In a federal complaint filed against the New Jersey Department of Corrections last year, Smith claimed he "suffers from a gender-identity disorder" and is a male-to-female transgender individual.

Smith, who is classified as a "special needs inmate," filed the complaint because the New Jersey Department of Corrections and a host of doctors disagreed with his self-diagnosis and denied him the female clothes, cosmetics, hormones, feminine hygiene products, and castration he asked for. He has also tried to have his name changed to Amanda Raquel Smith, unsuccessfully.

According to the federal complaint, Smith spoke with DOC doctors about his urge to tuck his genitalia between his legs. The DOC gave him antidepressants.

The female victim's father said his family has no sympathy for Smith and has tried to forget him, and declined further comment. According to published reports, Smith sent the victim letters, telling her he would have run her over with his car until she was "unrecognizable" if he had known she was going to get free.

The state appellate court upheld the DOC's final decision to neither diagnose nor treat Smith for gender-identity disorder, agreeing with the doctors' assessment that he did not fit the two major criteria for the diagnosis: a strong identification with the opposite sex and a high level of discomfort with his own body.

Sex-change operations, the DOC pointed out, are elective and not available to inmates. Appellate judges also said that there was no mention of gender issues in Smith's past mental history and that he continues to sport a "longstanding mustache."

Smith declined an interview request, and the Department of Corrections and the New Jersey Attorney General's Office declined to comment.

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