Here are a few facts about a man named Grady Bell. Try to picture him.
Bell is 67 years old. Since 1998, he has been arrested 120 or more times. Last week, he appeared in the court room of Palm Beach County circuit court judge Christa Marx to face charges of trespassing. According to the Palm Beach Post's Cynthia Rolden, Marx had just ordered Bell receive psychiatric analysis when the Delray Beach Police came forward with new charges -- that Bell had sexually assaulted a woman with whom he was drinking in a parking lot, after the accuser passed out, drunk.
Do you have a mental image of Grady Bell? In it, is he unshaven, dirty, and homeless?
If so, congratulations: You've been slogging through SoFla news long enough to know this story by heart. It bears more than a little resemblance to this story, published here last week, in which we reported on a 64-year-old man who flashed his naughtybits at a busload of children on his birthday. He, too, was mentally unstable, serially arrested, and homeless.
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This story is retold again and again, with slight variations, every month or so. Good on Judge Marx for recognizing that Bell might have problems more serious than those addressable by a fortnight or so in the county jail. That psychiatric evaluation might have done him some real good a few months ago. Or a few years ago. Or a few decades ago.