Jenny Bush had just graduated from college when she became one of the victims of James Allen Selby, an armed serial rapist who had broken into her home.
“It is hard to describe the fear and pain of that experience, but in many ways the days that followed were just as hard. I was doing what I needed to do in order to get on with my life, but I was living with so much fear. Whenever I went in an entered an empty house, I’d have to call a friend or family member on my cell phone, and hold a can of mace in my hand as I went room to room. Even today, I look behind the door every time I enter a bedroom.”
Jenny had the courage to report the crime to police — and the conviction to pursue legal justice. Following a nationwide manhunt, Selby was apprehended and accused of attacking Jenny and at least 10 others, including a 9-year-old girl. In October 2004, he was convicted on 27 counts. Just hours before facing sentencing, he hung himself in a Tucson jail.
To the shock of the victims and their families, Selby – who was a Persian Gulf War veteran – was then buried with full military honors. Jenny’s Dad Steve, himself a veteran, was angry. “When I first learned that the man who raped my daughter would be honored in this way, I was shocked. It was such an affront to victims, and to good and honorable veterans. Our family’s shock turned to resolve pretty quickly. It was a catalyst for us to get involved to change things.”
Today, Jenny and Steve Bush – along with several victims’ rights organizations – are working for a change in policy so that perpetrators like James Allen Selby are ineligible for honors burials. “Our family was changed forever after this happened – and most importantly, Jenny was changed. Now we are working to create our own change,” says Steve.
To find out more about “Jenny’s Law,” click here: A Rapist’s Shameful Honor