Impact of Crime on the Victim and the Community

In the late afternoon of December 12, 2005, Judy Nilan went for a jog before having to pick her son up from track practice (Moffa, 2006). She never showed up. Judy Nilan, a guidance counselor and social worker for the Woodstock Middle School and the Northeast Communities Against Substance Abuse organization, was kidnapped, bound, possibly raped or sexually assaulted, and viciously murdered by Scott Deojay (Administrator, 2005a, 2005b, 2005c; Altimari, 2008; Dignam, 2006; Moffa, 2006). Judy’s body was found bound and beaten on the property of Carroll Spinney, who plays ‘Big Bird’ and ‘Oscar the Grouch’ on the television show “Sesame Street” (Administrator, 2005a, 2005c; Dignam, 2006). Scott Deojay worked as a stone mason and caretaker for Spinney (Administrator, 2005b, 2005c; Dignam, 2006; Kuuttila, 2005).

According to Altimari (2008), Deojay, now an adult, was a youthful offender who was assigned to probation officer Richard Straub. Straub was convicted of molesting and raping 15 of his young male probationers, including Deojay. Deojay, then, went on to beat, bind, and rape his best friend’s mother, his childhood baby-sitter, before kidnapping and murdering Judy Nilan in 2005 (Dignam, 2006; Geezer, 2006; Kuuttila, 2005). According to reports, Deojays previous crimes include:

  • Burglary 3rd degree (arrested: 12/7/88; disposition: guilty)
  • Larceny 5th and 6th degree (arrested: 12/7/88; disposition: guilty)
  • Violation of probation (arrested: 12/7/1988; disposition: probation terminated 3/27/1991)
  • Larceny, 3rd degree (arrested: 3/27/1991; disposition: released from jail 3/29/93)
  • Possession of controlled substance (arrested: 9/15/2000; disposition: guilty)
  • Criminal possession of a weapon (arrested: 11/11/2001; disposition: guilty)
  • Breach of peace (arrested: 11/11/2001; disposition: guilty)
  • Illegal operation of motor vehicle license under suspension (arrested: 6/27/2003; disposition: failure to appear)
  • Risk of injury to child (arrested: 11/1/2004; disposition: guilty)
  • Disorderly Conduct (arrested: 11/9/2004; disposition: guilty)
  • First degree sexual assault (arrested: 1/10/06)
  • First degree kidnapping (arrested: 1/10/06)
  • First degree burglary (arrested: 1/10/06)
  • Third degree assault (arrested: 1/10/06)
  • Third degree criminal mischief (arrested: 1/10/06)
  • Sixth degree criminal mischief (arrested: 1/10/06)
  • (Geezer, 2005, 2006)

Woodstock is nestled in what is commonly referred to as “the quiet corner” of Connecticut. This atrocity disrupted this quiet little town; however, the people here are resilient and have found ways to come together as a community and honor the memory of one of their own. The annual “Jog with Judy” five kilometer road race has been a celebrated memorial event for the past six years; launched by the students and staff of Woodstock Middle School, over 500 runners enter the race each year (Morales, 2008). In addition to the road race, the Northeast Communities Against Substance Abuse has developed an award, the Annual Judith Nilan Award, honoring the life and work of Judy Nilan and presented to “[recognize] one school social worker, psychologist, guidance counselor, teacher, principal or vice-principal who promotes positive youth development, drug prevention [sic] and anti-violence” (Northeast Communities Against Substance Abuse, 2011, para. 2).

In Moffa’s (2006) article, the pain of Judy Nilan’s family is described eloquently. The family was grateful to have the perpetrator apprehended and prosecuted quickly, allowing them to face the accused in open court. Though the pain will never go away, Judy Nilan’s family has witnessed an entire community of friends and family coming together to aid and support them. The residents of Woodstock, Connecticut, are resilient and take no consideration in “being the victim.” Judy was the victim of this crime, and we will all remember how she lived and, regrettably, how she died.


Administrator. (2005a, December 13). Re: Missing jogger Judith Nilan found dead (Update: Arrest made) [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Adminstrator. (2005b, December 14). Re: Suspect Scott Deojay in court charged with kidnapping & death of Judith Nilan [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Administrator. (2005c, December 17). Re: A Massachusetts medical examiner has ruled the death of a Woodstock jogger, Judith Nilan, a homicide [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Altimari, D. (2008, April 13). A legacy of evil: part one: Abused became abusers in former probation officer’s case. Hartford Courant. Retrieved from,0,3369036.story

Dignam, J. (2006, December 22). ‘Monster’ murdered jogger Deojay pleads guilty. Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved from

Geezer. (2005, December 20). Re: Why was the monster in Woodstock? Retrieved from

Geezer. (2006, January 10). Re: Why was the monster in Woodstock? Retrieved from

Kuuttila, S. (2005, December 20). Re: A Massachusetts medical examiner has ruled the death of a Woodstock jogger, Judith Nilan, a homicide [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Moffa, B. (2006, February 24). Remembering Judith Nilan: Husband, brother, share memories of ‘best friend’. Woodstock Villager, A1, A6-7. Retrieved from

Morales, F. (2008, May 3). Run a memorial to Woodstock woman; Jogger murdered in December 2005. Norwich Bulletin. Retrieved from

Northeast Communities Against Substance Abuse. (2011, October 21). News: 6th Annual Judith Nilan Award. Retrieved from