At the age of 12, Brent Brents was sent to a boy’s home for attacking other children, and spent most of his youth in various juvenile detention facilities where he was accused of sexually assaulting others as well as having “inappropriate relationships” with other inmates and staff.
His family moved to Colorado, where Brents spent the bulk of his teenage years in and out of various juvenile facilities. Then in 1988 in Denver, an 18-year-old Brents used the pretense of a lost cat to lure a 6-year-old boy into an alley, where he raped him and then stuffed him into a trash bin. A few days later he hid next to a neighbor’s house and grabbed their 9-year-old daughter as she climbed the fence to return home after walking to a nearby Burger King. Brents dragged the girl to the family’s garage and raped her at knifepoint, threatening to kill her if she screamed. After the children identified their attacker, police issued a warrant for his arrest. Brents left the state in the middle of the night, and was later arrested as he headed toward his mother’s home near Las Vegas.
In the 1980s not much was known about pedophilia. In an effort to keep the young victims from the 1988 case from having to testify, prosecutors offered Brents a plea agreement of being guilty but legally insane. He was sentenced to 20 years, with the beginning of his sentence to be served in a state mental hospital “until restored to sanity,” according to court records.
Brents remained at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo for two years and four months before doctors there requested he be thrown out.
“For more than two years, staff have attempted to help Mr. Brents with his very traumatic past,” wrote Eric Whyte, the acting chief of psychiatry for the hospital, in a memo to a Denver district judge dated April 29, 1991. “He has made very little progress while in the hospital and exhibits very little insight into his illness…He has continued to act out his feelings impulsively, and recently stated that one method he uses to cope with painful feelings within himself is to inflict pain on other people.”
Brents had become “assaultive with staff,” Whyte wrote, after being transferred three times for “inappropriate sexual behavior.”
After that, Brents was transferred to various prisons throughout the state. Seven times, he waived a parole hearing, and also refused sexual offender treatment, taking the additional six months of prison over the supervision tied to parole. In July 2004, four years short of his 20-year sentence and despite a history of sexual violence toward children, Brents was released without parole.