This episode wasn't very well thought out and seems as if it was cut short. We never had any indication if the perp actually molested the girl at the beginning which sparked the new investigation.
The whole time it seemed as if Stabler was tempting him to think about rape again, even though the guy was trying to behave.
It seemed that he was struggling with his inner demons and wanting to do the right thing, but then threw his hands up and gave up for no apparent reason. far too quickly. But the episode doesn't make sense. If it's true that he DID molest the girl at the beginning, then why was he struggling so hard to be good the rest of the episode till the end? Wouldn't he have already given up being good right at the beginning by molesting the girl?
Then instead of raping the new girl at the end, he wanted to watch even though it was against his old "MO".
It would have been better to have made him innocent the whole time, and actually make the old cop having molested the girl at the beginning in a weird attempt to get the crim put back into jail. Nice twist, and in fact I thought that was what was going to happen.
It raises the question though, like their CO said, it's like putting alcohol in front of a recovering alcoholic. Don't we tell alcoholics not to go to bars, and don't we hid alcohol away from them to help them be strong? Yet here we have the police putting the perp in the way of temptation. It's hardly fair on the guy when he's trying to be good.
One question, did Stabler kill the guy? And finally did he REALLY molest the girl at the beginning, or was he innocent the whole time?