When I first saw this story, I decided it was an outlier and not to pay too much attention to it. But then Democrat Judge Jeanine Howard defended her actions. That increased the story’s importance to my mind. When a judge defends her decision with a public argument it means that she thinks her case makes logical sense to her hearers.
From Reason’s Hit & Run blog:
“There are rape cases that deserve 20 years,” Howard told The Dallas Morning News. “Every now and then you have one of those that deserve probation. This is one of those and I stand by it.”
So what made this particular case—a case in which perpetrator Sir Young actually admitted to the rape—one of the latter instances? Howard said it was because the 14-year-old victim “wasn’t the victim she claimed to be.”
Howard doesn’t dispute that Young forced the victim to have sex with him at the high school they both attended. But in Howard’s book, you apparently can’t be a real rape victim unless you’re a virgin who’s had zero prior contact with your rapist. From The Dallas Morning News:
“Howard said she made her decision for several reasons, including: The girl had texted Young asking him to spend time with her; the girl had agreed to have sex with him but just didn’t want to at school; medical records show the girl had three sexual partners and had given birth to a baby; and Young was barely 18 at the time.”
So, other than 45 days in jail, plus one day a year for the next five years on the anniversary of the rape, the teen’s only penalty for raping this girl is “community service.” Even this part backfired because the judge had the “brilliant” idea to order the rapist to work at the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC). That makes total sense because victimized women want the reassurance of having a convicted sex criminal on the other end of the line when they call to report an assault.
“It flies in the face of logic,” Bobbie Villareal, executive director of the DARCC, told the local CBS station. “First of all, in that you would ask someone to do their community service for the population that has been directly affected by the exact crime. That’s like saying a pedophile should do their community service helping at a preschool.”
Besides, DARCC doesn’t accept volunteers with criminal backgrounds. Judge Howard’s court coordinator told the Dallas Observer that she’ll modify the conditions to give him community service hours somewhere else.
As much as I hate the judge’s reasoning, I do see a method to the madness. Basically, when sex is considered casual it becomes difficult to understand treating rape as a serious crime. But the fact that a person is promiscuous doesn’t mean the rest of us should agree with her delusion (and that of many self-serving men in her life). Sex is not casual and treating it as such does not make rape a less serious crime.
The Judge has given aid and comfort to the common practice of abortion clinics in not caring whether or not their victims were raped. This girl has now been officially told, from the Bench, that she is cheap and worthless. Rather than giving her reason to reconsider her behavioral choices, she has now been told that she was right all along.
This is not the message that should come from our courts, or anywhere else.