You’ve probably heard by now about Dallas Judge Jeanine Howard’s bizarre decision to sentence a convicted rapist to perform community service at a rape crisis center. As offensive as that move is, it’s not the only part of her punishment for the offender that people are taking issue with.
Howard sentenced the offender, Sir Young, to just 45 days in jail. Young will then serve five years of deferred probation, and his conviction will be wiped from his criminal record once he completes his term.
Given that rape is punishable with up to 20 years in prison in Texas, many wondered how Young got off so lightly. Howard answered that question recently, and her response is just as troubling as her sentencing.
“She wasn’t the victim she claimed to be,” Howard said. “There are rape cases that deserve life, there are rape cases that deserve 20 years. Every now and then you have one of those that deserve probation. This is one of those and I stand by it."
Young was 18 when he raped his victim. Both were high school students at the time, and the offense took place in a music room at the school. The victim says she and Young had talked about sex in the past, and one day the two started kissing in a room at school. When Young tried to make sexual advances on her, the girl said “stop” and “no” repeatedly and told him she only wanted to kiss. Young ignored her wishes and raped her.
When asked to explain her “She wasn’t the victim she claimed to be" comment, Howard said the 14-year-old girl wasn’t a virgin when the rape occurred and didn’t cry while the rape was taking place. She added that Young "is not your typical sex offender."
At this point, I can't help but ask:
Since when did a victim’s personal life or background matter in a rape case? What about the no means no, stop means stop, end of discussion ethics that parents and educators work so hard to instill in kids?
The victim, now 17, feels the justice system completely failed her. She thinks she reported the rape for nothing, and believes she would have been better off keeping the incident to herself.
“I did what I was supposed to do. I went to the law about this situation,” the victim said. To her, Young’s sentence means “everything I went through was for nothing.”